Showing posts with label Hela. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hela. Show all posts

Sunday, 23 September 2018

I am a Song

Every story ever told really happened;

Stories are where Memories go when they’re forgotten.

Maybe some of them become Songs. 

"Some who cling to the traditional Shakespearean biography sneer at Oxford’s poetry, declaring it too inferior to be written by the great author; what these critics may not realize, however, is that many (if not most) of the earl’s signed poems were actually songs. Moreover, most were published in The Paradise of Dainty Devices of 1576, when he was twenty-six, and that he may have written them much earlier. Much later, in The Arte of English Poesie of 1589, he would be cited first among “noblemen and gentlemen of Her Majesty’s own servants, who have written excellently well as it would appear if their doings could be found out and made public with the rest.” "

- Hank Whittemore

"Pre-literature people aren’t stupid; they just aren’t literate. 
Their brains are organized differently, in many ways."

— Jordan Peterson

I that am lost, oh who will find me?
Deep down below the old beech tree.
Help succour me now the east winds blow.
Sixteen by six, brother, and under we go!

Be not afraid to walk in the shade
Save one, save all, come try!
My steps - five by seven
Life is closer to Heaven
Look down, with dark gaze, from on high

Without your love, he’ll be gone before.
Save pity for strangers, show love the door.
My soul seek the shade of my willow’s bloom
Inside, brother mine -
Let Death make a room.

Before he was gone - right back over my hill.
Who now will find him?
Why, nobody will.
Doom shall I bring to him, I that am queen.
Lost forever, nine by nineteen


The Mounds have been here since The Time of The Titans.
Kings buried in them... Great Kings...
Domains once glittered like The Light on a windy sea.

Fire won't burn there... no Fire at all.
That's why I live Down Here, in The Wind.


Do you care for these places?

The Wizard:

I sing to them.
On nights, when they wish,
I sing of the tales of battles, heroes, witches and women.
Nobody bothers me down here.

Not even...

Thulsa Doom.

Do flowers grow around here?





"But you were always a good man of business, Jacob," faltered Scrooge, who now began to apply this to himself.

"Business!" cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again.  "Mankind was my business.  The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business.  The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!"

It held up its chain at arm's length, as if that were the cause of all its unavailing grief, and flung it heavily upon the ground again.

"At this time of the rolling year," the spectre said "I suffer most.  Why did I walk through crowds of fellow-beings with my eyes turned down, and never raise them to that blessed Star which led the Wise Men to a poor abode!  Were there no poor homes to which its light would have conducted me!"

Scrooge was very much dismayed to hear the spectre going on at this rate, and began to quake exceedingly.

"Hear me!" cried the Ghost.  "My time is nearly gone."

"I will," said Scrooge.  "But don't be hard upon me!  Don't be flowery, Jacob!  Pray!"

"How it is that I appear before you in a shape that you can see, I may not tell.  I have sat invisible beside you many and many a day."

It was not an agreeable idea.  Scrooge shivered, and wiped the perspiration from his brow.

"That is no light part of my penance," pursued the Ghost.  "I am here to-night to warn you, that you have yet a chance and hope of escaping my fate.  A chance and hope of my procuring, Ebenezer."

"You were always a good friend to me," said Scrooge.  "Thank `ee!"
"You will be haunted," resumed the Ghost, "by Three Spirits."

Scrooge's countenance fell almost as low as the Ghost's had done.

"Is that the chance and hope you mentioned, Jacob?"  he demanded, in a faltering voice.

"It is."

"I -- I think I'd rather not," said Scrooge.

"Without their visits," said the Ghost, "you cannot hope to shun the path I tread.  Expect the first tomorrow, when the bell tolls one."

"Couldn't I take `em all at once, and have it over, Jacob?"  hinted Scrooge.

"Expect the second on the next night at the same hour.  The third upon the next night when the last stroke of twelve has ceased to vibrate.  Look to see me no more; and look that, for your own sake, you remember what has passed between us!"

When it had said these words, the spectre took its wrapper from the table, and bound it round its head, as before.  Scrooge knew this, by the smart sound its teeth made, when the jaws were brought together by the bandage.  He ventured to raise his eyes again, and found his supernatural visitor confronting him in an erect attitude, with its chain wound over and about its arm.

The apparition walked backward from him; and at every step it took, the window raised itself a little, so that when the spectre reached it, it was wide open.  It beckoned Scrooge to approach, which he did.  When they were within two paces of each other, Marley's Ghost held up its hand, warning him to come no nearer.  Scrooge stopped.

Not so much in obedience, as in surprise and fear: for on the raising of the hand, he became sensible of confused noises in the air; incoherent sounds of lamentation and regret; wailings inexpressibly sorrowful and self-accusatory.  The spectre, after listening for a moment, joined in the mournful dirge; and floated out upon the bleak, dark night.

Scrooge followed to the window: desperate in his curiosity.  He looked out.

The air was filled with phantoms, wandering hither and thither in restless haste, and moaning as they went.  Every one of them wore chains like Marley's Ghost; some few (they might be guilty governments) were linked together; none were free.  Many had been personally known to Scrooge in their lives.  He had been quite familiar with one old ghost, in a white waistcoat, with a monstrous iron safe attached to its ankle, who cried piteously at being unable to assist a wretched woman with an infant, whom it saw below, upon a door-step.  

The misery with them all was, clearly, that they sought to interfere, for good, in human matters, and had lost the power for ever.


" When I was first married, I’d have fights with my wife—arguments about this and that. I’m fairly hot-headed, and I’d get all puffed up and agitated about whatever we were arguing about. She’d go to sleep, which was really annoying. It was so annoying, because I couldn’t sleep. I’d be chewing off my fingernails, and she’d be sleeping peacefully beside me. Maddening. But, often, she’d have a dream, and she’d discuss it with me the next morning. We’d unravel what was at the bottom of our argument. That was unbelievably useful, even though it was extraordinary aggravating. I was convinced by Jung. His ideas about the relationship between dreams, mythology, drama, and literature made sense to me, and his ideas about the relationship between man and art.

I know this Native carver. He’s a Kwakwaka’wakw guy. He’s carved a bunch of wooden sculptures, totem poles, and masks that I have in my house. He’s a very interesting person—not particularly literate, and really still steep in this ancient, 13,000-year-old tradition. He’s an original language speaker, and the fact that he isn’t literate has sort of left him with the mind of someone who is pre-literature. Pre-literature people aren’t stupid; they just aren’t literate. Their brains are organized differently, in many ways.

I’ve asked him about his intuition for his carvings, and he’s told me that he dreams. You’ve seen the Haida masks; you know what they look like. His people are closely related to the Haida. It’s the same kind of style. He dreams in those animals, and he can remember his dreams. He also talks to his grandparents, who taught him how to carve, in his dreams. Quite often, if he runs into a problem with carving, his grandparents will come, and he’ll talk to them. He sees the creatures that he’s going to carve, living, in an animated sense, in his imagination. I have no reason to disbelieve him. He’s a very, very straightforward person, and he doesn’t have the motivation—or the guile, I would say—to invent a story like that. There’s just no reason he would possibly do it. I don’t think he’s told that many people about it. He thinks it’s kind of crazy. When he was a kid, he thought he was insane, because he’d had those dreams, all the time, about these creatures, and so forth. It wasn’t something he was trumpeting.

I’ve found it fascinating, because I can see in him part of the manifestation of this unbroken tradition. We have no idea how traditions like that are really passed on for thousands and thousands of years. Part of it is oral and memory, part of it’s acted out and dramatized, and part of it’s going to be imaginative. People who aren’t literate store information quite differently than we do. We don’t remember anything; it’s all written down in books. But if you’re from an oral culture—especially if you’re trained in that way—you have all of that information at hand. It’s so that you can speak it. You can tell the stories, and you really know them. Modern people really don’t know what that’s like, anymore. I doubt there’s more than maybe two of you, in the audience, that could spout from memory a 30-line poem. Poetry was written so that people could do that. That’s why we have that form—so that people could remember it and have it with them. But we don’t do any of that, anymore.

Anyways, back to Jung. Jung was a great believer in the dream. I know that dreams will tell you things that you don’t know. Well, how the hell can that be? How in the world can something you think up tell you something you don’t know? How does that make any sense? First of all, why don’t you understand it? Why does it have to come forth in the form of the dream? It’s like something’s going on inside you that you don’t control. The dream happens to you, just like life happens to you. There is the odd lucid dreamer who can apply a certain amount of conscious control, but most of the time you’re laying there, asleep, and this crazy, complicated world manifests itself inside you, and you don’t know how. You can’t do it when you’re awake, and you don’t know what it means. It’s like, what the hell’s going on?

That’s one of the things that’s so damn frightening about the psychoanalysts—you get this both from Freud and Jung. You really start to understand that there are things inside you that control you, instead of the other way around. You can use a bit of reciprocal control, but there’s manifestations of spirits, so to speak, inside you, that determine the manner in which you walk through life, and you don’t control it. And what does? Is it random? There are people who have claimed that dreams are merely the consequence of random neural firing. I think that theory is absolutely absurd, because there’s nothing random about dreams. They are very, very structured, and very, very complex. They’re not like snow on a television screen or static on a radio. I’ve also seen, so often, that people have very coherent dreams, that have a perfect narrative structure. They’re fully developed, in some sense. So that theory doesn’t go anywhere, with me. I just can’t see that as useful, at all. I’m more likely to take the phenomena seriously.

There’s something to dreams. You dream of the future, then you try to make it into reality. That seems to be an important thing. Or maybe you dream up a nightmare, and try to make that into a reality. People do that, too, if they’re hellbent on revenge, for example, and full of hatred and resentment. That manifests itself in terrible fantasies. Those are dreams, then people go act them out. These things are powerful, and whole nations can get caught up in collective dreams. That’s what happened to Nazi Germany in the 1930s. It was an absolutely remarkable, amazing, horrific, destructive spectacle. The same thing happened in the Soviet Union, and the same thing happened in China. You have to take these things seriously—you try to understand what’s going on.

Jung believed that the dream could contain more information than was yet articulated. I think artists do the same thing. People go to museums and look at paintings—renaissance paintings or modern paintings—and they don’t exactly know why they are there. I was in this room in New York that was full of renaissance art—great painters, the greatest painters. I thought that, maybe, that room was worth a billion dollars, or something outrageous, because there was like 20 paintings in there, priceless. The first thing is, why are those painting worth so much? Why is there a museum, in the biggest city in the world, devoted to them? Why do people from all over the world come and look at them? What the hell are those people doing? One of them was of the Assumption of Mary—a beautifully painted, absolutely glowing work of art. There were like 20 people standing in front of it, and looking at it. What are those people up to? They don’t know. Why did they make a pilgrimage to New York to come and look at that painting? It’s not like they know. Why is it worth so much? I know there’s a status element to it, but that begs the question: why do those items become such high-status items? What is it about them that’s so absolutely remarkable? We’re strange creatures.

Where does the information that’s in the dream come from? It has to come from somewhere. You could think of it as a revelation, because it’s like it springs out of the void, and it’s new knowledge. You didn’t produce it; it just appears. I’m scientifically minded, and I’m quite a rational person. I like to have an explanation of things that’s rational and empirical, before I look for any other kind of explanation. I don’t want to say that everything that's associated with divinity can be reduced, in some manner, to biology, an evolutionary history, or anything like that. But, insofar as it’s possible to do that reduction, I’m going to do that. I’m going to leave the other phenomena floating in the air, because they can’t be pinned down. In that category, I would put the category of mystical or religious experience, which we don’t understand, at all.

Artists observe one another, and they observe people. Then they represent what they see, and transmit the message of what they see, to us. That teaches us to see. We don’t necessarily know what it is that we’re learning from them, but we’re learning something—or, at least, we’re acting like we’re learning something. We go to movies; we watch stories; we immerse ourselves in fiction, constantly. That’s an artistic production, and, for many people, the world of the arts is a living world. That’s particularly true if you’re a creative person.

It’s the creative, artistic people that move the knowledge of humanity forward. They do that with their artistic productions, first. They’re on the edge. The dancers, poets, visual artists, and musicians do that, and we’re not sure what they're doing. We’re not sure what musicians are doing. What the hell are they doing? Why do you like music? It gives you deep intimations of the significance of things, and no one questions it. You go to a concert; you’re thrilled. It’s a quasi-religious experience, particularly if the people really get themselves together, and get the crowd moving. There’s something incredibly intense about it, but it makes no sense whatsoever.

It’s not an easy thing to understand. Music is deeply patterned, and patterned in layers. I think that has something to do with it, because reality is deeply patterned in layers. I think music is representing reality in some fundamental way. We get into the sway of that, and participate in Being. That’s part of what makes it such an uplifting experience, but we don’t really know that’s what we’re doing. We just go do it, and it’s nourishing for people—young people, in particular. Lots of them live for music. It’s where they derive all of their meaning—their cultural identity. Everything that’s nourishing comes from their affiliation with their music. That’s an amazing thing.

The question still remains: where does the information in dreams come from? I think where it comes from is that we watch the patterns that everyone acts out. We watch that forever, and we’ve got some representations of those patterns that’s part of our cultural history. That’s what’s embedded in fictional accounts of stories between good and evil, the bad guy and the good guy, and the romance. These are canonical patterns of Being, for people, and they deeply affect us, because they represent what it is that we will act out in the world. We flesh that out with the individual information we have about ourselves and other people. There’s waves of behavioural patterns that manifest themselves in the crowd, across time. Great dramas are played on the crowd, across time. The artists watch that, and they get intimations of what that is. They write it down, tell us, and we’re a little clearer about what we’re up to.

A great dramatist, like Shakespeare—we know that what he wrote is fiction. Then we say, ‘fiction isn’t true.’ But then you think, ‘well, wait a minute. Maybe it’s true like numbers are true.’ Numbers are an abstraction from the underlying reality, but no one in their right mind would really think that numbers aren’t true. You could even make a case that the numbers are more real than the things that they represent, because the abstraction is so insanely powerful.

Once you have mathematics, you’re just deadly. You can move the world with mathematics. It’s not obvious that the abstraction is less real than the more concrete reality. You take a work of fiction, like Hamlet, and you think, ‘well, it’s not true, because it’s fiction.’ But then you think, ‘wait a minute—what kind of explanation is that?’ Maybe it’s more true than nonfiction. It takes the story that needs to be told about you, and the story that needs to be told about you, and you, and you, and you, and you, and it abstracts that out, and says, ‘here’s something that’s a key part of the human experience as such.’ It’s an abstraction from this underlying, noisy substrate. People are affected by it because they see that the thing that’s represented is part of the pattern of their being. That’s the right way to think about it.

With these old stories—these ancient stories—it seems, to me, like that process has been occurring for thousands of years. It’s like we watched ourselves, and we extracted out some stories. We imitated each other, and we represented that in drama, and then we distilled the drama, and we got a representation of the distillation. And then we did it again, and at the end of that process—it took God only knows how long. They’ve traced some fairy tales back 10,000 years, in relatively unchanged form.

It certainly seems, to me, that the archaeological evidence, for example, suggests that the really old stories that the Bible begins with are at least that old, and are likely embedded in prehistory, which is far older than that. You might say, ‘well, how can you be so sure?’ The answer to that, in part, is that the ancient cultures didn't change fast. They stayed the same; that’s the answer. They keep their information moving from generation to generation. That’s how they stay the same, and that’s how we know. There are archaeological records of rituals that have remained relatively unbroken for up to 20,000 years: it was discovered in caves, in Japan, that were set up for a particular kind of bear worship that was also characteristic of Western Europe. So these things can last for very long periods of time.

We’re watching each other act in the world, and then the question is, how long have we been watching each other? The answer to that, in some sense, is as long as there have been creatures with nervous systems, and that’s a long time. That’s some hundreds of millions of years, perhaps longer than that. We’ve been watching each other, trying to figure out what we’re up to, across that entire span of time. Some of that knowledge is built right into your bodies—which is why we can dance with each other, for example. Understanding isn’t just something that you have as an abstraction. It’s something that you act out. That’s what children are doing, when they’re learning to rough-and-tumble play. They’re learning to integrate their body with the body of someone else in a harmonious way—learning to cooperate and compete. That’s all instantiated right into their body. It’s not abstract knowledge, and they don’t know that they’re doing that. They’re just doing it. We can even use our body as a representational platform. |