Friday, 27 October 2017

St. Augustine’s Confessions


Lecture 5 - St. Augustine’s Confessions [September 14, 2011]

Chapter 1: Why we read The Confessions[00:00:00]
Professor Paul Freedman:  Alright, so you may be asking yourself, "Why are we reading the Confessions?" I think I gave a preliminary answer before, but since it seems to be perhaps more appropriate for religious studies or philosophy, let me remind you why we're struggling through this.
First, the impact of Christianity on the Roman Empire--that is to say, the social and intellectual setting of the rise of Christianity in the late fourth, early fifth centuries.
The second is to understand some of the Christian moral and doctrinal problems and their implications. Once again, we're not exactly interested in these for reasons of theology or morality, but we need to get into the minds of people at the time in order to understand what bothered them, what controversies they were involved in, and how those controversies indeed divided the Roman Empire and the successors to the Roman Empire.
Some of those problems--well, under that second heading of Christian moral and doctrinal problems, let me just mention three, which by no means exhausts them, but are three that we can sort of, if not identify with, I think see their importance. One, the problem of evil.Second, the relation between body and soul.And three, the Christian understanding of sin and redemption. Now, it turns out these are all aspects of the same problem, and they are dealt with in Augustine's works most thoroughly, more thoroughly than any other thinker of the ancient world.
The third reason we're looking at this is the interaction between Christianity and classical culture and religion. Roman life and politics, Augustine's career and his giving up his career, what that means, other ideas within the Roman Empire, such as Manicheaism, Platonism.
And then finally, this is a document of philosophical and psychological investigation. And while that is not our primary purpose here, you should not get out of a liberal arts college program without reading this and pondering it a little. This can be summarized in terms of the importance of the humanities, even, or of philosophical investigation, as opposed to mere investigation of natural phenomena, in words that Augustine uses in Book X, which we have not read. After Book IX, Book X is a turning. It discusses time and the meaning of time. Books XI, XII, and XIII are a commentary on Genesis. Worth reading, if you like, and interesting to think about how they do or do not mesh with the more confessional parts of the Confession.
But in Book X, he says, "Men go out and gaze in astonishment at high mountains, the huge waves of the sea, the broad reaches of rivers, the ocean that encircles the world, or the stars in their courses, but they pay no attention to themselves." They are busy looking at external phenomena and not examining their own heart. And if the Confessionsis anything, it is certainly an examination of the author's heart.
But it's not an examination of his heart in a purely emotional sense, in the way we're familiar with in so-called confessional literature. I had a tough upbringing. This happened to me. That happened to me. I struggled with addiction. I beat my kids. Now I'm a great person. Whatever. This is an intellectual investigation as well as an emotional investigation.
And indeed, Augustine doesn't see these as separate, or to the degree that he does, it's in a more complicated way than just saying intellectual versus non-intellectual. He is an intellectual, obviously. And he awakened to being an intellectual, an experience that many of you may have had. Remember, he reads this dialogue by Cicero, now lost, called the Hortensius. And this convinces him that the life of the mind is the most important thing to pursue.
And I wouldn't say that we all have had this experience, but maybe you--what was the point at which you discovered that you weren't like other people, that they lived more for immediate sensations, or pleasure, or what Augustine would call debauchery, and you wanted to read or think about stuff or do lab experiments?
I think the essence of Yale, if I understand it correctly, is I don't have to choose between fun and the intellectual life. So it's not actually perhaps relevant to your lives now, but particularly if you went to a public high school, grew up in a non-intellectual environment. Those of you whose parents are professors and went to some school where everybody was reading Latin at the age of six, I'm not talking to you. But I'm talking to the vast majority who woke up one day and realized, either with pride or with dismay, "I'm different from other people. Ideas have meaning to me. I'm going to suffer in life for that, though there're going to be some rewards. And I leave you to discern what the rewards are and to mull over what the suffering has been or maybe will continue to be." I hope not, and I suspect you'll have an easier time of it.
But this book is about a search for truth and a search that takes a number of wrong turns, at least from Augustine's opinion looking back on the situation when he wrote this in the 390s. It's a confession of sin. It's also, as I said before, a confession of praise for the God whose love directed him back to the right path. It is personal, but exemplary. It is about spiritual yearning, but it is also about intellectual yearning for truth. It's a book about the education of a young man and the adventures of this young man and what he learns from them.
Chapter 2: A Brief Biography of Augustine [00:07:34]
Now, in the first place, he is both an intellectual and a passionate person. He is someone who is unusually frank about his desires. But notice that he's not just opposed to desire. He is not someone who believes that desire, love are to be simply repressed or ignored. Love is a psychological need. And he has a very discerning and interesting passage in describing his teenage years and his lusts when he frequented the brothels of Carthage. In Book III, at the beginning, he says, "I was in love with the idea of love." So he was not only in love, but he was in love with the idea of being an emotional being, of love that is both sexual and spiritual, in which these two things are not well marked off from each other.
He is also a believer in friendship. And it's funny, because in our own culture, I think friendship has changed. When I started teaching, people had trouble dealing with the affection that he has for his friends, like Alypius and Nebridius, or the mysterious unnamed friend who dies after being baptized. Augustine is always surrounded by friends. Even in the most intimate moments, when he's undergoing this conversion, there're all sorts of people right around him. And as I said before, this seemed to be--the explanation was, well, he must've been homosexual, or he must have these desires, or maybe it's part of Roman culture of friendship.
But in recent decades or years, where we have a culture of friendship, where your friends are extremely important--admittedly, if you have 900 of them, it's a little bit, perhaps, weakened--but I think we can understand some of this better than might have been the case a little while ago. This friend who dies after being baptized, here is an example of another form of seriousness. They go out and have fun together. The friend becomes ill. The friend is suddenly very serious. The friend gets baptized, because to be baptized, as with Constantine, means that you are committing yourself to a much more stringent and moral life than before.
And then he dies. And this certainly disturbs Augustine. What is life all about? Any of you who've had the experience of contemporaries of yours who have died will understand this, I think.
Augustine's also ambitious. He is a successful person. Even though he's from a modest family--his father, a pagan or non-Christian, middle class official of North Africa, his mother, a Christian--He's clearly marked for success because of his unusual gifts, his unusual gifts being intellectual, ability to write, ability to argue. He's marked out as extremely smart. And at that time, success for such a person, the course of success was through government service-- this is the era post-Diocletian, post-Constantine--and related particularly to a combination of rhetoric and law.
This is not all that different from societies familiar to us. That is to say, the training in law gives one access to a number of different kinds of political offices. But rhetoric is perhaps a little stranger to us. Rhetoric in this context means the art of persuasion. So it's very closely related to law and legal pleading. It is the art of writing well, of writing elegantly, and it is very, very highly valued in the Roman Empire.
His mother, Monica, is extremely pious. In fact, the first section, class rather that I taught--no, I guess I was a section leader--when I was a graduate student, the first section I had, my students were arguing with me about Augustine's patronizing attitude towards his mother. And I said, well, no, he's not patronizing. He's smarter than his mother. His mother's just an ordinary person. After all, Augustine becomes a saint, and his mother doesn't. Some guy from Santa Monica Catholic School said, who do you think Santa Monica is? This is Augustine's mother.
So anyway, I've learned. Augustine's mother is a saint. She is a more steadfast kind of person than Augustine. She's not someone who stays up all night wrestling with the problem of evil. Nevertheless, she does not want him to be baptized. She wants him to be successful. Like most mothers, she wants her child to be a good person. But even more than that, she wants her child to be a success. And that means delaying baptism, because if he's going to be a success, he's going to have to be involved in the world of high government, and that may mean--well, that definitely means involvement in sinfulness, involvement in the shedding of blood, involvement in legal wrangling and stuff like that.
And so he is encouraged to lead a normal life, "normal" meaning, at least in his own retrospective view, sinful life. This is what Augustine is giving up in his conversion. He is giving up a career. He is giving up a social expectation of success or social definition of success. He is giving up the pleasures attendant on that career, which range from parties to honors to sexual conquests and the whole life of a well-established member of the Roman elite.
Chapter 3: The Problem of Evil [00:14:33]
What is bothering Augustine? What bothers him is, in part, the problem of evil, which we've alluded to already. Why does a good and omnipotent god allow evil to flourish? A related problem is that compared to the works of the Greek writers and philosophers, the Bible seems awfully crude to him, rhetorically, in terms of style, and conceptually, in terms of its ideas.
The Old Testament god--and we're probably at various levels of familiarity with the Old Testament--but the Old Testament god is temperamental, I think it's fair to say. Here's a guy who decides to destroy--a guy--a deity who decides to destroy the world by flood, destroys the cities of the plain, kills one of the people bearing the tabernacle back to Jerusalem because he stumbles. What kind of god is this?
This bothers Augustine. And his anthropomorphism bothers Augustine. In the Old Testament, in the Hebrew Bible, a god speaks with people. Adam hears him walking in the garden. How can that be? How can this human-seeming god be the real God? So these two anxieties put Augustine in the camp of the Manicheans.
Remember, the Manicheans believe that the solution to the problem of evil is that God is not omnipotent. God is trying, but there's another evil god who is opposing Him. And that evil god is the god of the flesh and the god of the Old Testament, Jehovah, the creator god, the god of matter and flesh. We are souls imprisoned in flesh. Our true home is the spiritual, and we have to renounce everything that has to do with the flesh in order to go there.
So Manicheanism would seem to be extremely ascetic. You should have absolutely nothing to do with the world. But as is always the case with the statement, "everything that's material is evil, but we are material," Manicheanism also offers or affords you an opportunity to be completely involved in the world, totally involved in the world, because there's nothing you can do about it. All you can do is say, the flesh is evil, I'm in the flesh, I'm just going to have to deal with it until I am liberated into the spirit.
So Manicheanism is not necessarily world-renouncing, but they do identify the source of evil with the body. The body is wicked. The immaterial soul is good. This is not Christianity, as Augustine discovers or elaborates. Even though we may think of Christianity as exalting the soul over the body, nevertheless, it also exalts the body. Christian doctrine is that the bodies of human beings will be resurrected, not just the souls. There will be bodies after the Last Judgment in heaven and in hell.
God created the world, and it was good. What then explains the presence of evil? Augustine at this stage turns to Platonism for an understanding of the nature of evil. Evil is not a thing in itself. It is rather the absence of good. Now, if anyone has ever said that to you, you will have found that unconvincing, at least in its first iteration. Because we're not just talking about the absence of good, as in, this bowl of chili is not very good. It's not very flavorful. It's OK, but it's lacking in something. But that's not evil. Evil is not like, not particularly good. Evil is much more vivid, gratuitous, cruel, all-encompassing.
The Platonists don't deny that. What they mean by saying it's the privation of good is that it is nothingness. Evil is, in fact, the absence of being and meaning. The reason it produces such spectacular effects as war, oppression, crime, is that people turn away from the good, or they turn away from what is truly good to prefer lower goods. They turn away from the things of the spirit to the things of the flesh. They prefer their own lusts and desires, their own ambitions and greed, to the common good or to the immaterial and spiritual good. And it's this turning away from the Sun, this turning away from good, that seems to be a human problem. Human beings, generally speaking, don't understand what they're on Earth for, according to the Platonists.
Many of you are familiar with the metaphor of the cave from The Republic. This is the classic depiction of this wrong preference. The people in the cave are chained facing the back wall of the cave, and they see images of what's passing in front of the cave reflected on the wall. As time goes on, they come to believe that those images are reality. They forget that they're chained. They forget that they can't see the real things. They forget the Sun.
If you were to liberate them and turn them around and show them the light, first of all, they couldn't bear it, because they're used to the world of shadow. Secondly, they'd kill you, because you are destroying their assumptions and their world. They would at least persecute you. They're not interested in the truth. They're interested in getting by.
So for the Platonists, evil is the result of this error in perception, assuming that it's a great thing to get rich. Or assuming that it's a great thing to beat people up because you're stronger than they are. Or it's a great thing to conquer and subjugate. Or all of these things, some of which are evil but are really the preference of things that you should not be pursuing or that you should be pursuing for reasons inspired by spiritual truth.
How do you get rid of this? In the Platonists' imagination, by education. That's the whole point of Plato's dialogues. That's why they are dialogues, many of them, with a question and answer. They're very didactic. They're like being in a class. Socrates quizzes people, and then he shows the solution. And they say, "Oh, wow, Socrates, now I understand. Now I'm going to be a Platonist, and I'm going to build a perfect society." End of story.
The important thing to understand about Platonism is that it is not dualist in the way that Manicheanism is or the way that we instinctively think about evil. Evil is not opposed to good. It's hierarchically inferior to good. The Platonists' universe is like a ladder with many rungs going up from mud, bugs, rocks to the immaterial One, and with many, many steps, as I said, many rungs or steps or levels in between.
Human beings are in the middle. And also, human beings--unlike animals, mud, slugs, but also unlike angels and demiurges and deities--human beings can move up and down the ladder. That's what free will is. That's what being human is. You can read Hortensius, read the Confessions, fall in love with the liberal arts, and ascend to some very high realm of the spirit. Or you can choose the downward path to debauchery and mere pleasure. It's a question of how free you are, but we do have the opportunity to move up and down this ladder, unlike the animals and all other created forces that are fixed.
Now, the question is what makes us move up and down this? Or what'll motivate us to move up? And here we come to some key differences between Platonism and Christianity with regard to evil. Platonism tends to ascribe evil to ignorance. Christianity tends to ascribe evil to sin. The difference between sin and ignorance is that sin is deliberate. You know you shouldn't do this, and you do it anyway. You're not overcome by desire.
Chapter 4: Pears and Augustine’s Conception of Sin [00:25:00]
So to anticipate one of the paper topics--but I don't think I'm going to be giving away the answer--what is it about the pear-stealing incident that makes it so important? Anybody want to venture a preliminary response to this?
Student: Well, it's the fact that he doesn't need the pears. He just does it because he feels like sinning.
Professor Paul Freedman: So the pears--he doesn't need the pears. It is just a desire. I mean, he doesn't say to himself, I want to sin. I haven't sinned in two days. He doesn't need the pears. What do they do with the pears when they get them?
Student: They chuck them.
Professor Paul Freedman: Yeah, they throw them out. They throw them to the pigs. So they're not hungry. It's not like, I was overcome by desire, and that led me into some sinful behavior. They weren't overcome by desire at all. How would you describe their pre-pear-stealing state? At least, what would you guess was their pre-pear-stealing frame of mind? There's one word that'll describe it, but if you want to, use a few more. Some guys go and they steal some pears from an orchard. They fool around with them. They throw them to the pigs.
Student: Bored?
Professor Paul Freedman: Bored. Bored. Now, here's something we can identify with. They're bored. They need to amuse themselves. They cannot amuse themselves by saying, "I'm a good person," or, "I'm going to contemplate the One," or, "I'm going to do some homework." It doesn't end. Young people are thought to be easily bored, but the boredom of old people, it's a different kind of bored. But there it is. It's persistent. That's not the only reason people sin, but it is a gratuitous reason. And that's what's interesting about the pears. It's gratuitous. It's not from need. The Platonists don't have a good response to why this happens, because it's not a question of education.
Now, Augustine does not invent Christian ideas of sin. If you said to Augustine, "Come on, why are you so worried about the pears?" He's not worried about the pears as such. It's just a little emblem or a little example of a different kind of problem--that is to say, knowing how to behave doesn't change us. Feeling how to behave--to put it in Freudian terms, it's not the ego that decides. It's the id. It's the instinct, not the intellect.
And that's what his conversion means. His conversion is not: "Suddenly, I was convinced that Christianity was true." He already knows that Christianity is true, but he knows it intellectually. The conversion is a conversion to an emotional apprehension of it. So however intellectual he may seem to you, however formed in the tradition of Greco-Roman classicism he was, however much the Hortensius awakened him to the life of the mind, he is ultimately a theologian and philosopher of the irrational, of the supra-rational.
And indeed, Christianity in its history has an oscillation between intellectualization and the rediscovery of sin and God's grace. If you think of movements like the Reformation of Martin Luther, John Calvin, et cetera, in the sixteenth century, it takes issue with the notion that we can do works that give us merit in the sight of God, and that the Church tells us we have accumulated merits, and therefore we'll go to heaven.
The Reformation teaches that we are face to face with God and that our so-called good deeds don't amount to anything. We are all sinful. If God operated according to justice, we would all go to hell. It's faith and grace that save people, hence the Reformation. But it's also the Great Awakening of Britain and America in the eighteenth century, the development of Methodism, the Fundamentalist movement, all of these tend to reject attempts to approach God contractually, attempts to approach God in terms of a deal.
So if human beings are sinful and if education is not going to get them out of sin, what will? Now, the Augustine of the Confessions is different than the Augustine of 20 years later when he wrote The City of God. And we're not studying The City of God, but this book, written in response to the sack of Rome in 410, develops some ideas that are found in the Confessions about the nature of sin and how we get out of it. The nature of sin is the pears. How we get out of it is at least in part the conversion. We got the pears sufficiently for the time being?
The conversion is started--well, it started long before the event. But what precipitates it as a drama is this conversation with Ponticianus in Book VIII, Part VIII, who has traveled and describes the monks of Egypt. Now, we'll be talking lots and lots about monks, but the monks of Egypt are the first example of Christian monks, men who flee the world into the desert and there live on weeds, saline water, locusts, other insects, basically nothing. And they have visions, and they are sought out by ordinary people.
It's key to understand that to be a hermit in this society does not necessarily mean that you have nothing to do with people. People start to want to find you, because you must have special power. Back in Alexandria, their baby is sick. "Maybe you, oh hermit, living on locusts and out in the desert, have some spiritual power to help my baby."
This is shamanism. It happens in all sorts of religions. You can't just be a shaman, a medicine man, a wise man, and hold down a regular old job. Or you can, but it helps. And that's the conceit of a lot of TV ideas, secret heroes. They're the real estate agents, but they're battling the forces of darkness. But generally, most of the time, you've got to be special, and you've got to look special. And you've got to be a reject. You can't have a spouse, kids, a mortgage, a garden, a swing set. You've got to be a seer. You've got to have your vision focused on the other world.
Ponticianus tells Augustine about these men, and his response is not only to be impressed by them, but to be humiliated by them. First of all, here are these guys who are intoxicated with God, while I'm still thinking about my career. But--and this is the ancient world speaking--they are uneducated, these monks of Egypt. They didn't study The Republic, the Hortensius, the Timaeus, the rhetoric of Quintilian, the Satires of Juvenal.
They don't know anything about this. They're uneducated people. Many of them are illiterate. And yet they are closer to God. They have an apprehension of the divine that causes them to renounce the world, whereas we--Augustine says of him and his circle--we "lie here groveling in this world of flesh and blood, while they storm the gates of heaven." And this is the moment of his conversion.
Now, after his conversion, Augustine's plan was to lead a life of contemplation with his friends. They would retreat from the world, meaning they would give up their careers, but it would be a little bit like one of your friend's parents have a lot of money and have this wonderful cabin somewhere in the Rockies or the Sawtooth Mountains. And you're going to figure out some kind of way of--you'll be on the Internet and everything, but you're going to have this kind of beautiful, contemplative life.
But the beautiful part is that it's not going to be uncomfortable. It's not the desert of Egypt. It's remote--you're not going to be bothered--but there are beautiful mountains, trouts in the stream. It's idyllic. And you and your friends are going to talk about reality and the spirit and philosophy and--I don't know how idyllic this sounds to you, but it's certainly an understandable idea of a way of life.
It is the ancient idea of what's called “leisure with dignity”. And indeed, that's what being a professor was supposed to be when I signed up for it. Otium cum dignitate, leisure with dignity. "Leisure" meaning not wasting time leisure, but not responding to clients, or not responding to urgent scheduling phone calls, deals. You've got to show up to your classes, but that's not really onerous. At least, that was the idea.
And I won't go into the frustrations of being a professor or the dissatisfactions. But the classical idea is otium cum dignitate, "dignity" meaning not being naked in the desert, not having to eat locusts and figure out how to-- "OK, I had curried locusts last night. Tonight, I think I'll have locust casserole." No, no, no. Something nicer than that.
But in fact, he did not follow through on this. He did not lead a life of cultivated classical dignity with his friends. He went back to North Africa. He became a bishop. His years were consumed by disputes over doctrine or with heretical--as he deemed them--tendencies, like Donatism, most notably. And he died defending his city of Hippo, Hippo Regius, in modern Tunisia, from the Vandals, one of those barbarian invaders who will occupy us next week.
He then was very much involved in the world. To be a bishop in the Roman Empire was by no means an office of dignified leisure. It was right in there in the political trenches. It's a position of honor, to be sure, but his understanding of the Christian's duty in the world was that you cannot lead a life of perfection. You cannot lead a life of sin-free contemplation. We all are sinners. He becomes more and more the theologian, philosopher who combats perfectionism.
Chapter 5: Perfectability, Sin, and Grace [00:38:23]
Perfectionism is a doctrine that human beings can be made radically better--perfect, even. There are debates throughout societies about the degree of human perfectibility. This is indeed supposedly and to some extent I think really at the heart of debates between what is called liberalism in the United States and conservatism. Liberals believe in human perfectibility. If you educate people, if you help them, if you encourage them, if you provide government subsidies, you will build a better society. The response upon the part of conservatives to that is, people are the way they are because that's the way they want to be, or they made wrong choices. But all the help from some public authority isn't going to help, isn't going to really make a difference.
Are people perfectible? People who believe in education tend to believe that they are. On the other hand, very well-educated people have been bad. Hitler loved classical music. So did Stalin. Just because you are a connoisseur of art doesn't make you a good person.
Augustine is a radical imperfectionist, more so in The City of God than in the Confessions, which is teetering on the brink. The pears is a kind of imperfectionist moment. He glimpses the power of sin. By the time of The City of God, by the time that the end of the Roman Empire is at least glimpsed as a possibility and the rise of the barbarians, Augustine has become someone who does not believe that human beings can, in any way, earn salvation. Human beings are irrevocably sinful.
Once again, if God judged people according to their merits, they would all be damned. Since the Christian belief is that some people are saved, they are saved by a mysterious process called "grace." Grace, by its very meaning, is undeserved. You don't show up at the door of Heaven with a ticket of admission earned by your deeds on Earth. What opens the doors to you is a generous, arbitrary decision. Well, "generous" may mean, I had good intentions. I didn't kill anybody. But "arbitrary" may mean that we can't figure out who's going to Heaven and who's going to Hell. It may even mean that since God knew before we were born, God predestined us for Heaven or Hell.
This is a harsh doctrine. It gets periodically rediscovered and then dropped. It's at the heart of the belief of the people who settled Massachusetts and Connecticut. It is the heart of Calvinism and of Puritanism, the belief in the elect. The question is, are these elect visible or invisible? The elect are people who are going to go to heaven. Are they visible? Can we say, this guy is so good, he's going to heaven? This woman is so loving, nurturing, self-effacing, whatever, she's going to go to heaven? That's the notion of a visible elect. An invisible elect is, "We don't know, we have no idea."
And this is a crucial difference. Because if you believe in the visible elect, even if you say they're not guaranteed, but anybody outside of this circle is for sure going to hell, then you have Puritan New England. You have a small community of people pursuing perfection. Or you have the Amish. Or you have any small pious community that believes that outside of it is more or less given over to sin and more or less doomed. Inside of it, maybe it's not guaranteed, but your chances are much, much better.
But if you believe that we don't have a visible elect, that we have no idea, then everybody ought to be in the Church. Everybody ought to have access to the sacraments that provide initiation into the Church. You ought to start converting pagans, even savage pagans. You ought to be out there roping in as many people into the church, including people who don't want to be. Because you just never know. Maybe their kids will be.
Augustine is behind ideas of things like forced conversion. As long as they're baptized, there's a chance of them being saved. And baptized as infants, preferably, because baptism does not any longer mean, in Augustine's world, perfection. It means the beginning. It means entering the process.
So the three things that he is teaching that are implicit in the Confessions and that he is important for in terms of his intellectual impact are his opposition to perfectionism, his exaltation of grace, and the notion of sin as indelible, not solvable.
Where this becomes of key historical importance is in the Church. The Church is a body that can either be sectarian and small, as with the Amish or Puritan New England, or it can be huge and universal, as with the medieval Catholic Church. Augustine stands behind the medieval Catholic Church, which is a political body, a body of doctrine, a structure ruled by princes, and a structure that has a missionary impact on the rest of the world.
Now, the papers. You have the paper topics. If you didn't get them, come up and see me after. You can choose any one of them, or you can choose something else. But if you choose something else, please talk to your teaching fellow or to me. And talk to us anyway about these papers. We'll give you plenty of opportunity to bounce ideas off us.
Now, next week, we talk about the fall of the Roman Empire. But this is implicit in what we've talked about today, because the bottom line is the Roman Empire is going to fall in the West, and the Church is not going to. And so we'll look at how that works next week. Thanks.
[end of transcript]

After The Rain

In `Five by Five`, Faith comes to Los Angeles and is hired by Wolfram and Hart to kill Angel, which she attempts to do after torturing Wesley. In the end, however, Faith is dealing with bigger issues, and it all culminates—after a street fight—with her collapsing in Angel’s arms, crying. 

Offers Minear, `We knew we wanted to bring Faith back, and I think the episode works on all cylinders. Here’s an interesting behind the scenes item: The writer, Jim Kouf, writes big feature films, and sometimes he writes scenes that are not producible for a TV show because he is used to working with much more money. 

So he wrote this big, huge fight at the end that you actually get to see because we shot it. But he wrote it to take place in the rain, and we decided that we can’t afford the rain. It was going to be too much material to shoot and that’s going to be one extra technical complication that’s going to make it impossible. So we cut the rain from the script. 

If you notice, the big fight at the end, when Faith collapses in Angel’s arms, it’s in the rain. 

That is because it actually rained. 

It poured while we were shooting. It was the first night of a big torrential rain storm that we had for several days. It started that night, on the set of Angel, while Angel and Faith were fighting.`

Thursday, 26 October 2017

What's Mine vs What's Not Mine

"Whaddaya got?"

"Dead Dog."

John Doe, 
Killer of Men, Murderer and Rapist of Women :
[ Without shame ]

I didn't do that.

How To Stop Taking Things Personally (What's Mine vs What's Yours) 

You would have no idea of what you looked like physically without your bathroom mirror.  The bottom line is, you come to know yourself through reflection.  People in the external world are like a giant mirror.  When someone says, “Why are you so angry all the time?” You come to consider yourself to be an angry person.  If people look at you like something is wrong with you, you come to consider yourself as defective.  If people tell you that you are beautiful, you come to see yourself as beautiful.  We see the way people react to us as a reflection of who we really are and when we are children, we do not question the reflection we are being shown through other people at all.  We do not question the accuracy of the mirror.  Instead, we swallow the mirror.  Our internal concept merely becomes the same as what is being reflected from the outside. 

Let’s imagine that a child has a mother who actually does not want a child because she wants to live a life around what she wants to do and have no obligations.  The mirror (which is the mother) will not be accurate.  It will be tainted with “I don’t want you”.  This mother will not be able to reflect to a child that he or she is important and valuable.  The reflection the child will see in the mirror is that he or she is a burden and is not important and is an unwanted burden.  Instead of questioning the mirror, he or she will swallow the mirror and will see himself or herself as someone who is a burden and unwanted and unimportant and not valuable.  In order to ensure his or her survival, he or she will then adapt his or her behavior according to that self-image.  For example, if he or she sees himself or herself as intrinsically worthless, he or she may decide they cannot get connection for being who they are because no one would inherently want them in that way given that they have no value.  Therefore he or she might instead choose to get the connection they need from others through codependent strategies.

Because of our early childhood environments, many of us adopt a self-image of shame.  We swallow the mirror, which is reflecting that we are bad, wrong, hold little or no value and are unwanted.  We swallow the mirror that something is wrong with us.  This usually happens the strongest if we grew up in households where our caregivers made us the problem.  They deflected their own shame by blaming us for everything.  The mirror we swallowed held the reflection that we carried all the responsibility for anything negative.  As a result, we develop into adults who take everything personally.  Meaning that any time someone reacts to us in a negative way or any time something negative happens, it was our personal fault.  We are the ones who carry the responsibility for that fault or wrong.  We do this because we have instinctively learned from our primary childhood relationships with people who refused to carry any responsibility for anything negative themselves, that it was personal.

We end up being people who take everything personally because we were raised by people who could not face and resolve their own shame, so they passed it on to us and that shame became our self-concept.  For this reason, I need you to watch my videos titled:  The #1 Relationship Obstacle (And How To Dissolve It), in which I explain the mechanics of shame deflection, as well as Projection (Understanding the Psychology of Projecting).

Responsibility is the opposite of the state of victimhood.  In victimhood, one feels that they do not govern themselves or their own life.  One feels no ability to choose and one has lost touch with their sense of free will.  They are in a state of powerlessness relative to themselves and their life.  Responsibility is when someone healthily claims their power over themselves and their own life.  This causes them to feel a sense of their own free will and to consciously choose.  If you have responsibility, you are leading your own life.  But what about toxic responsibility? Responsibility is actually at the opposite end of the vibrational scale from self-blame, which is toxic responsibility.  But it takes a high degree of emotional awareness to see responsibility and self-blame as opposing states because both states recognize the self in a position of causation.  For this reason, self-blame can disguise itself as responsibility like a wolf wearing sheep’s clothing. But one is self-hating, the other self-loving.  One condemns the self and the other saves the self.  If you are taking responsibility, you are feeling empowered.  If you are self blaming, you are feeling bad about yourself and disempowered.  But self-blame is in fact how we escape a feeling of genuine powerlessness to someone else. 

 Sometimes, we are so powerless to something that taking blame for something is the only way we can avoid feeling powerless and victimized.  For example, often children who are abused feel less powerless and terrified and victimized if they believe that they are somehow at fault for the abuse or did something to deserve it.  When this is the case, we have a toxic attachment to responsibility.  To be responsible so as to see and own your part in the causation of events in your life is a great thing.  Up until the point where you are seeing and owning not just your part in the causation of events in your life but also everyone else’s part in it… Or potentially not seeing their part and what is theirs at all.       

When we believe down deep that we are bad, we automatically assume that any negative thing that happens is because of us.  We take any negative reaction that someone says personally and our deep, visceral sense of shame is instantly triggered.  And many people take advantage of this by either allowing you or forcing you to own that blame, whether or not something is actually your responsibility.  They get to avoid their own shame by doing this.  But taking everything personally leads to a super painful life and it reinforces shame, which leads to things like broken relationships, addiction, and even suicide.  So what should you do in order to not take things so personally?
  1.  Question The Mirror.  If we are imprinted with a deep, visceral sense of shame, we swallow the mirror.  We accept the reflection of ourselves that we are perceiving in other people’s reactions without any question.  We need to learn to question the accuracy of the mirror itself and consider that there may be something distorting and warping the mirror itself, which might make the reflection different than the thing it is actually reflecting (you).  Ask yourself in a situation where you are taking something personally, is there something in them that could be distorting the reflection?  For example, if they are acting rude, could they be stressed with something else in their life, like a failed relationship?  If they are furious at me, could I have triggered some unhealed wound from their past?  If they are treating me like I’m a slut, could it be because they have disowned their sexuality?  If they are treating me like I’m worthless cause I have no money, could it be because their father traumatized them into feel like they held no value unless they were financially successful? 
  2. If we struggle with shame, and as such seem to inherently take all the blame in any given situation regardless of whether we want to or not, we have an impossible time separating what we are responsible for from what other people are responsible for in any given scenario. For this reason, I want you to get in the habit of doing an exercise where you discern what’s theirs and what’s yours in any given conflict or negative situation.  Alternatively, you could do what’s mine and what’s not mine, if your situation isn’t directly about an interpersonal conflict.  To do this exercise, take a piece of paper and make two columns.  Put ‘Mine” at the top of the first column and either “Theirs” or “Not Mine” at the top of the second.  Now, close your eyes and witness the negative situation from third person perspective.  Witness it as if you were a genuinely objective bystander who is able to see and know all.  And pick apart the situation for what part of the situation belongs to either column.  Here is an example that a client did relative to herself and her husband post divorce:

    His parents have a classic codependent and narcissistic relationship and have raised him to relate in that same style in relationships. 

    He was a child at the time and was not ready for marriage. 

    He doesn’t want to be there for a woman, he told me so himself.

    He is un-attuned and has said he doesn’t care whether he hurts people emotionally.  His ‘honesty’ is cruel.

    He decided to marry me even when he knew I had clinical depression… Assuming he wouldn’t or shouldn’t have to deal with that in the marriage.

    He “just gave up” with the pressure of taking care of me and didn’t even communicate about it or even put effort into getting us help with it.

    He makes himself feel good by putting people down.  LOVES shaming.

    He didn’t try to remedy the marriage at all, no therapy or anything, just filed for divorce.

    He made it about me being too hard to handle instead of admitting that he really doesn’t want a serious relationship, he wants a trophy wife.

    He spins everything that he does to hurt relationships into good things… for example, “It’s good that I run in relationships, it’s them who need to be run from.  He can’t and won’t see anything bad about himself. 

    He is not committed at all.  The minute the going gets tough he gets going. 

    He can’t be in a relationship with someone who has needs and who needs anything from him.  As he puts it “He will not sign on to be leaned on”.  He wants an independent woman who does not depend on him at all.  He sees dependence as ‘sickness’.  

    He was so self centered that when I was in Labor, he was focused on how much discomfort he was in because of feeling “sleep deprived” because I needed his support. 

    I was so desperate for belonging that it didn’t matter what man I was with.  Because of this, I have NO discernment with men.  I get like a starving person willing to eat poisoned food.  I wasn’t in love with him.  I wanted to belong and I really wanted to belong with his family.

    I struggle with clinical depression.  This is too much for some men.

    I married him one month after meeting him.

    I was obsessed with pregnancy and whether I was pregnant or not and even lied to a few boyfriends that I was at that age because that = getting the belonging I was so desperate for to me.  I wasn’t concerned with whether the man I was with wanted it.

    I feel ashamed that I can’t cope like ‘normal people’.

    I didn’t have the money for therapy at that time, so I didn’t go to therapy which put a lot of pressure on my partner.

    I told him I could be a stay at home mom when I had no support system.  This wasn’t true.  I didn’t realize I couldn’t do that – I couldn’t see that as a limitation of mine.

    Deep down if I’m honest, I do feel I need a man to take care of me.
  3. Do a meditation where you give back what isn’t yours to hold and keep only what is yours to keep and be responsible for.  You can either invent your own way of visualizing this or you can listen to the guided meditation that I have designed for doing this.  You can do this only once to relieve yourself of burdens you’re carrying from situations that have happened in the past or situations that are currently happening.  Alternatively, you can do this any time you are in a situation where you are feeling like you are to blame for everything.  To access the guided meditation that I offer for this process, visit my website and click shop on the menu.
  4. If you are taking everything personally, you are trusting other people (or their reactions to you) tell you everything about who you are, instead of relying on what you know to be true about yourself; what really defines you as a person without any outside influence.  For this reason, commit to the practice of authenticity.  To learn how to be authentic, watch my video quite literally titled: How To Be Authentic.
  5. Put yourself in the other person’s perspective.  Often, when we are limited to our own individual perspective, as well as the inherent shame we feel, we are blind to seeing the reality that the other person is observing so we can’t actually see what their reaction is actually about.  Doing this exercise makes it much more clear and also helps us to discern what is ours and what isn’t ours.  Pretend to be them but interacting with you.  If you want an awesome technique for how to do this, watch my video titled: The Octopus Technique.
  6. Face your own shame.  You now know that the root of taking everything personally is shame.  Therefore, make focusing on and resolving your shame, your top priority.  To learn more about how to do this, watch my video titled: How to Overcome Shame.  We all take things the most personally when people hit our sensitive spots.  For example, if I feel confident that I’m doing something right, I won’t feel insecure or take it personally when someone says I’m doing it wrong.  If I’m insecure that I’m overweight, I will take it personally if someone makes a joke about weight.  Recognize that when we are taking things personally, often a deep wound (sore spot) that is unhealed is being triggered.  To learn how to heal these old wounds, try out my process called The Completion Process, which is outlined in detail in my book titled “The Completion Process”.
  7. Question the meaning that you are adding to the experience.  We encounter various experiences in our day-to-day life.  Some we could consider positive and some we could consider negative.  But the quality of our experience relative to those experiences is flavored by one thing and that is the meaning that we assign to the experience. When we are taking things personally, it is an indication that we are adding painful meaning to an experience.  We need to ask ourselves, what am I making this mean? And then question that meaning that we have assigned to the experience.  For example, imagine that someone ignores you when you try to get their attention.  You could make this mean that they are currently absorbed in their own thoughts or you could make it mean that you don’t matter to them.  We need to make sure that the meaning we have assigned to an experience is actually the meaning of the experience.  Allow people to clarify if you are confused about their actual meaning.  To learn more about how this works, watch my video titled: Meaning, The Self Destruct Button. 
  8. Recognize the egocentric worldview.  People in general are prone to seeing themselves as the epicenter of the world.  Everyone sees the world this way because everyone is experiencing the world through his or her singular perspective.  Therefore, if you walk into a room, chances are everyone is really thinking about themselves.  We’re thinking about our own insecurities, flaws, weaknesses, feelings, thoughts, experiences and realities.  We often think everyone is thinking about us or judging us (because we see ourselves as the center of the world) when in fact, often they are not because they see themselves as the center of the world as well and are concerned that everyone is thinking about and judging them.
A miniscule part of what people do and how they act towards you is personal.  So throw up the mirror you swallowed long ago.  Throw up the mirror whose reflection shows that you are to blame for and are thus responsible for everything negative.  And as a result, you will see not only yourself, but also the world more clearly.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Yes, Beauty!

"The camaraderie that grew up between them was... extraordinary...

And for me, much more moving than working with guys.

With men, it's much more about Conquering - whereas, with women, quite honestly, it was much more about SHARING.

"If I can't do it, and she can, if I try, then she will help me."

- Former Spartan Army Field Marshall and Themysciran Militia Boot Camp Commandant,
Amazon Army

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Time's Champion

No. No Mel. 

You must go. 


Before I go I'd like to say... 


There's no point, Mel. 

No point hanging around wasting Time. 

I haven't even met you yet. 

Nyah! That was a nice nap. Now, down to business. 

I'm a bit worried about the temporal flicker in Sector-13. 
There's a bicentennial refit of the TARDIS to book in. 
I must just pop over to Centauri-7; 
and then perhaps a quick holiday. 
Right, that all seems quite clear. 
Just 3 small points :-
Where am I?
Who am I? 
And Who are You...?

Bernice ran into Mel in the corridor and saw that she had been crying. She stepped in front of her and spoke before Mel could.

‘Look, I’m sorry I was funny with you. It’s just that you get so used to the Doctor’s ways — it’s hard to remember how strange they once seemed.’

Mel shrugged. ‘So he’s talked you round to his way of thinking. You’re still guilty by association.’

‘It’s not that simple.’

‘Oh, it never is!’

‘No,’ said Benny firmly, ‘it’s not. He’s doing the right thing on Detrios, I can see that.”

“What about your Seven Planets?’

Benny nodded morosely. ‘I try not to think about it. And I gave him hell at the time, believe me. He’s made things easier since — and he does do good, he’s risked his life on countless occasions. I can’t doubt that he does what he thinks is right.”

“And you?’

‘I have to trust in him.’

Mel nodded. Bernice could see from her body language that she wasn’t completely consoled. But she did appreciate that Benny was human. She smiled in what she hoped was a reassuring way. 

‘Tell me one thing.’ 

Mel looked willing enough. 

‘As I said, the Doctor keeps risking his life. 

Since I’ve known him, he’s been shot through the heart, had his mind ripped open by mechanical insects . . . 

I thought his head had been lopped off once.’

‘Nasty,’ agreed Mel.

‘I’ve come to think of him as invulnerable. Yet you saw him die — one of him, at least. How did it happen?’

Mel pursed her lips. ‘I didn’t actually see it. I was unconscious at the time. But I think . . .’


‘Well, he fell over and banged his head on the TARDIS console.’

Benny laughed until her sides ached.

Ah, Mister Warmsly. 
If you'd join Mister Rawlinson in the vehicle, we'll evacuate you from the area. 

Excuse me, there are a few questions I want answered. 

And I have absolutely no intention of being evacuated. 
This area is where I live

You're very angry. 

Of course we're angry. 

And you want to leave. 

No, we do not want to leave. 

(The Doctor gives Pat a Look.

Of course you want to leave. 

Of course we do. 

I wouldn't stand for any nonsense, if I were you. 

Look, Doctor, the situation is perfectly simple.  
We are very angry and we -

(Warmsly gets the Look.

Want to leave, isn't that right, Pat...? 

Don't get in our way. 

I wouldn't dream of it. 

There's just no reasoning with these people...
(Pat and Warmsly go to the truck.

You must go. 


Before I go I'd like to say... 


There's no point, Mel. 
No point hanging around wasting Time. 


No, I'm not going until I've said my piece. 
I just want to say that...


There's no time, Mel. 


Oh, all right, you win. 


I do? I usually do. 


I'm going now. 


That's right, yes, you're going. 
Been gone for ages. 
Already gone, still here, just arrived, haven't even met you yet. 
It all depends on who you are and how you look at it.
Strange business, Time. 


Goodbye, Doctor. 


 I'm sorry, Mel. 
Think about me when you're living your life one day after another, all in a neat pattern. 
Think about the homeless traveller and his old Police Box -  his days like crazy paving.

“ A man stepped out of the darkness before him and barred his path. The Doctor’s hearts sank.

‘I’ve been wanting to talk to you.’ The tone was threatening.

‘I deny you!’ the Doctor spat. ‘You can’t keep me here.’

The newcomer laughed, and the laugh was rich and malevolent. ‘You’re too late. I already have.’ 

The blackness was metamorphosing, taking on form around him. 

Brick walls formed into a perfect square. 

A Room with No Doors. 

‘A barrier, like the one you’ve kept me behind all these years.’

‘You should have stayed there,’ the Doctor growled.

‘Why? Are you so afraid of me? Of what I might say?’

The facade crumbled. The Doctor’s shoulders slumped. There was no point in denying it. ‘I am.'

The other man’s face darkened and a scowl wrinkled his brow. 

‘You killed me!’ the Sixth Doctor spat. 

‘You were so desperate to exist yourself that you ended my life. I accuse you,“Doctor”, of murder. 

Of suicide in the first degree!”

The Doctor’s predecessor was just as he remembered him. That catlike arrogance and the childish naivete in his handsome features; that costume, the jacket of clashing patchwork, the supreme evidence of an unbalanced nature. 

He hated him. 

But no, what he really hated was his own past. 

And, perhaps, his future. He had spent so many years avoiding both.

He wanted to keep on avoiding them.

‘I refuse to listen to you.’ 

He turned away, but the Sixth Doctor reached for his shoulder, spun him round and pressed him up against the wall. His eyes were insane, his smile one of hatred.

'You don’t have a choice. You can’t hide from my opinions 
by closing your mind to them. The energies in this crystal have brought me out of your subconscious, given me form. I won’t surrender my existence again.’

‘What do you intend to do?’

‘I want my life back.’

‘You can’t have it.’

‘You owe it to me!’

‘I had to take it!’

His past self pulled away. The Doctor stumbled from the wall, recovered his composure and confronted him, eyes glittering with determination. 

‘You were unstable. You were travelling the road that leads to the Valeyard.’

‘I was trying to avoid it!’

‘But you still met Melanie, you still destroyed the Vervoids.

You might have delayed our future but you couldn’t avert it.

You almost killed Mel on Earth in 1999, when you were so close to becoming the Valeyard yourself. That was when I had to act. I had to come out and stop you.’

‘And kill me!’

‘And terminate your regeneration.’

‘So that you could live!”

“So that you couldn’t make any more mistakes!’

His sixth self released a scream of frustration and sprang for him with shocking speed. The Doctor brought his umbrella up and drove himself forward with the implement straining against his attacker’s throat. 

The sixth Doctor’s head hit the brickwork and they remained locked, jaws set, eyes staring mutual loathing into each other’s.

His previous self had never been so unhinged. His enforced captivity, the perceived injustice of his demise, had done this to him. 

The duties of Time’s Champion were responsible.

The Doctor’s doubts lent strength to his earlier form. He threw his successor and the Doctor skittered back, bringing up his brolly and preparing for a second deadly thrust.

The sixth Doctor fell silent, choosing not to press his advantage for now. They stared at each other and the sixth Doctor clenched his fists, his breathing deep and tightly
controlled. They circled warily.

‘I had to exist,’ the seventh Doctor claimed, almost in desperation. 

‘You know that. No manifestation before me could consider the consequences of what we must do. 

We were too young when we left Gallifrey. We created paradoxes, set time on one course but undermined that too. 

Somebody had to tie the loose ends up. 

Somebody had to unwind the threads. 

Somebody had to become the Ka Faraq Gatri. 

I had to take responsibility.’

‘To become the great manipulator,’ the sixth Doctor sneered.

‘To use your companions and condemn whole races. To satisfy some ungraspable concept of what you deem to be the Universal Good.’

‘That’s not how it is.’

‘How many people did you endanger on Earth, playing games with the Daleks? Manoeuvring them into destroying Skaro so that you wouldn’t have to do it yourself? Keeping blood of your hands! Like when you persuaded Benny and Chris to destroy Detrios from afar.

What makes you think your version of right is better than mine? What makes you think that you won’t become the Valeyard?’

‘I have to be right!’

‘I knew what good was. I travelled. I found injustice, I sided with right and I beat back darkness. 

But I respected my travelling partners too. I practised decency and morality. 

You lie to them and trick them. 
You killed Ace on the moon. 
You left Kadiatu to her fate. 
You use them time and time again and never even tell them why. 

Doesn’t that make you feel guilty?’

‘Of course it does!’ the seventh Doctor howled. ‘Of course I do! That’s why you got free. Don’t you understand that? Of course I feel guilty. Each one I use, each one I sacrifice, is a piece out of my own soul. 

But I have my responsibilities too. To life, to justice.’

‘And the “Universal Good”?’

‘I can’t — I won’t — treat things as simplistically as you did.
The cosmos can’t afford for us to act like that any more.’

‘And the ones you’ve killed — the people that you’ve decided shouldn’t live on in the universe that you’re creating what about them? What about Gabriel and Tanith?’

The seventh Doctor averted his gaze. ‘I do what I have to. I do what I think is right.’

The sixth Doctor took advantage of his distraction to attack.

The seventh Doctor was down and the sixth Doctor’s hands were about his throat, thumbs pressing down hard, mouth drooling saliva as his eyes flashed with the insanity that comes from long-denied retribution.

‘You’ll . . . kill us both,’ Time’s Champion choked. ‘This crystal is melting. You’ll kill me and you’ll kill my companions.’

‘Then give in to me!’ the sixth snarled. ‘Return what’s mine.

Surrender your life so that I may live again.’

‘Can’t . . . do that.’

‘Oh no, because you’re so important, aren’t you? Clinging on to existence even when the odds are against it; when you should have given in to Number Eight. Or me.”

“Or . . . Valeyard?’

The Sixth Doctor reacted as if stung. His eyes flashed and he drew back his fist to punch the usurper across his face. 

‘I am not him!’ He pulled back again, levered himself to his feet and staggered momentarily, a hand to his forehead. 

He seemed dizzy, unsteady; weakened by his foe’s resolve.

The seventh Doctor took his chance. He left himself exposed and concentrated, willing the walls to fall and release him. He was unsuccessful. 

The sixth Doctor laughed. ‘You’re keeping yourself blocked in, because you know my cause is just.’

‘I won’t let you do this.'

'You don’t have a choice. If you give in, I can save our
friends. To leave, you will have to find a way through me.’

The seventh Doctor glowered at him and tried to remember that this was but a fictional creation: a representation of what was inside his own mind. He needed to keep that thought clear if he was to do what needed doing.

The construct was awaiting his move. The Doctor shifted his grip on the umbrella and squared up to him; took a deep breath and tried to forget that he was battling a part of his own self.

‘So be it,’ he said in a hushed tone. ‘Let’s end it'

“What the hell kept you?’

Ace practically fell into the TARDIS and gulped in deep breaths of its sweet, rich air. The Doctor was silent. He remained at the console and reset the coordinates.

“Don’t tell me you had problems?’ Ace mocked. She grinned, looking over to him for some form of rejoinder. The expression froze as she saw him properly for the first time. 

‘Bloody hell.
What happened to you?’

‘It doesn’t matter. It’s over now.’

‘All except for the cleaning bill. Who did you murder?’ He looked at her sharply, but chose not to answer. He returned to his work, but Ace’s eyes were captivated by the stains on his jacket and his skin. There was even a splash of blood on his face. 

‘You must have some pretty wild dreams,’ she said.

She was obviously not going to get an explanation. She found herself wondering what sort of dreams he did have. She wondered to what lengths he had gone to triumph over his own mind.

As the fictional blood began to evaporate from the Doctor’s hands, Ace wondered if the metaphorical stains could ever fade.

And They All Lived

Excerpt From Head Games, by Steve Lyons