Showing posts with label Timon of Athens. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Timon of Athens. Show all posts

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Gold


There's been a lot of death as a prerequisite to the embodied form that you take. It’s taken all that trial and error to produce something, like you, that can interact with the complexity of the world well enough to last the relatively paltry 80 or so years that you can last.


This may be wrong, but I think, at least, it’s a useful hypothesis: I think the idea of God the Father is something like the birth of the idea that there has to be an internal structure, out of which consciousness itself rises, that gives form to things.

If that's the case—and perhaps it’s not—it’s certainly a reflection of the kind of factual truth that I’ve been describing. I also mentioned that I see the idea of both the Holy Spirit, and most specifically of Christ, in the form of the word, as the active consciousness that that structure produces and uses, not only to formulate the world—because we formulate the world, at least the world that we experience—but also to change and modify that world.


There’s absolutely no doubt that we do that.


We do that partly with our bodies, which are optimally evolved to do that, and that is why we have hands, unlike dolphins, that have very large brains, like us, but can't really change the world.

We’re adapted and evolved to change the world. Our speech is really an extension of our ability to use our hands. The speech systems that we use are a very well-developed motor skill and, generally speaking, your dominant linguistic hemisphere is the same as your dominant hand.


People talk with their hands—like me, as you may have noticed—and we use sign language. There’s a tight relationship between the use of the hand and the use of language. That’s partly because language is a productive force, and the hand is part of what changes the world. All those things are tied together in a very, very complex way with this a priori structure, and also with the embodied structure.

I also think that's part of the reason why classical Christianity put such an emphasis not only on the divinity of the spirit, but also on the divinity of the body, which is a harder thing to grapple with. It’s easier for people to think—if you think in religious terms, at all—that you have some sort of transcendent spirit that is somehow detached from the body, and that it might have some life after death. But Christianity, in particular, really insists on the divinity of the body.


******

One of the things that’s cool about that is that the creativity curve for men is almost exactly the same. It ramps up when testosterone kicks in and then it starts to flatten out around 27. The curves match very, very closely, so that’s quite cool. It’s the creativity element of it that I'm particularly interested in, because creativity is, in many ways, an attribute of youth. I mean, if you look at that sentence, and you stripped it of its religious context, what you would say is that the older people use the younger people to generate creative ideas and renew the world. It’s like, yea, that’s what happens. We also have no idea how many of the things that we discovered or invented as human beings were stumbled across by children and adolescents. They’re much more exploratory, less constrained by their extant knowledge structures, and they’re less conservative. That seems just right to me—right in an extraordinarily important way. It also means that, if you’re an actual father, part of what you should be doing is encouraging your son. That is clearly the role. To encourage is to say, well, go out there, confront the chaos of the unknown and the chaos that underlies everything. Grapple with it, because you can do it. You’re as big as the chaos itself, and do something useful as a consequence. Make your life better and make everyone else’s life better. You can do it. Man, that’s the right thing to tell young men. Talking to young women is more complicated, because they have more, let’s say, issues to deal with. Their lives are more complicated in some ways, but that’s definitely the right thing to be telling your son.

One of the things that I’ve really noticed recently, especially in the last 7 or 8 months, is that most of my audience has been young men. I’ve talked a lot to them about both truth and responsibility, and I think those are the two things that underlie this capacity. There seems, to me, to be a tremendous hunger for that idea. It’s not the same idea as rights. It’s a very different idea. It’s the counterpart to rights. Life is hard, chaotic, and difficult. It’s definitely a challenge. You can either shrink from that—and no bloody wonder, because it’s gonna kill you, and it’s no joke—or you can forthrightly confront it and try to do something about it. Well, what's better? And then you say to the person, look, you can do it. That's what a human being is like. If you just stood up and got yourself together, you’d find out by trying that you can, in fact, do that. I do think that’s a great, core religious message. I think that’s deeply embedded in this sort of idea.

All right, so this is what I’ve been telling you. This is something like how knowledge itself is generated: There's the unknown as such, and that's really what you don’t know anything about. Generally, when encounter that, you don't encounter it with thought. You encounter it with a startled expression. That’s the first representation of the absolutely unknown. It’s something that's beyond your comprehension. It’s terrifying, and because it’s beyond your comprehension, you cannot perceive or understand it, but you still have to deal with it. The way you deal with it is that you freeze. That’s what a basilisk does to, say, the kids in Harry Potter. They take a look at it, and they freeze. That’s the terrible snake of chaos that lives underneath everything. You see it, and that thing freezes you, because you’re a prey animal. But, at the same time, it makes you curious. That’s the first level of contact with the absolutely unknown: the emotional combination of freezing and curiosity.

That’s reflective, I think, in the dragon stories. The dragon is the terrible thing that lives underground that hordes gold or virgins—very strange behavior for a reptile, as we pointed out before. But the idea is that it’s a symbolic representation of the predatory quality of the unknown, combined with the capacity of the unknown to generate nothing but novel information. You can see that as very characteristic of human beings, because we are prey animals, but we are also unbelievable exploratory, and we’re pretty damn good predators. We occupy this weird cognitive niche. One of the things we’ve learned is that, if we forthrightly confront the unknown—terrifying as it is—there’s a massive prize to be gained, continually. That seems to be as true as anything is.

We know that one of the metaphors that underlies God’s extraction of habitable order out of chaos at the beginning of time is an archaic idea. God confronted something like the leviathan, and that’s one of the words for this serpent-like chaos creature that's often used in the Old Testament. There’s this idea—that I think probably came from the Mesopotamians—that God, either in the Son-like aspect or in the Father-like aspect, is the thing that confronts this terrible beast—the chaotic unknown—and cuts it into pieces, and then, sometimes, gives the body parts to the populace to feed them. You can see a hunting metaphor there as well, but it’s deeper than that.

Monday, 29 January 2018

Timon of Athens



"...that idea of The Far-Off Man, way, way out there,  but what does The Hermit tell us...?


If you try this get as lonely as you can get, you become visibly aware which you can't get away from it, because when you get very lonely very fast you become extremely thin and everything that goes on is or now ordinarily unnoticed cum spiritum 


First of all, you will find that there is a  Community of Insects.

And they are tremendously interested in You, and not necessarily hostile, in maybe some cases they are so.



But alone in The Forest, when you get really quiet, you'll notice little creatures will come and inspect you look you all over an
they'll go away and tell their friends and they'll come and look to see what it is and you become aware of every single sound and you realize that alone you're in the midst of a vast burning crowd - it may not be human but it's everything else - so
that the the point of being honest the discipline leads you to understand that 
You can't Resign


The lonelier you are, the more you're joined together with everything else. "



" Look at it - from another point of view, supposing I say everybody's playing the game Me First  - now, I'm going to play the game You Firstto use the phrase of Bonhoeffer who called Jesus The Man for Others - now, let's see if we could play that game instead of Me FirstYou First 

Or,




"I'm the one see who's so generous I'm the one who's so loving so self-effacing and all you insolent brats ...."

- Alan Watts





" This controversial play follows the declining fortunes of a man of extravagant contradictions.  

The fabulously rich Timon believes all his friends to be as open-hearted and generous as himself. When his wealth suddenly evaporates, however, he discovers the truth and his altruism turns to a bitter hatred of mankind. Stirred up by the cynical Apemantus, Timon retreats to the woods where he plots the destruction of Athens, the city that had formerly seemed to embody everything pleasurable and civilized. The cosmic scope of his hatred is communicated in a series of powerful and disturbing dramatic tableaux. 


The Curse :



SCENE I. Without the walls of Athens.


Enter TIMON
TIMON
Let me look back upon thee. O thou wall,
That girdlest in those wolves, dive in the earth,
And fence not Athens! Matrons, turn incontinent!
Obedience fail in children! slaves and fools,
Pluck the grave wrinkled senate from the bench,
And minister in their steads! to general filths
Convert o' the instant, green virginity,
Do 't in your parents' eyes! bankrupts, hold fast;
Rather than render back, out with your knives,
And cut your trusters' throats! bound servants, steal!
Large-handed robbers your grave masters are,
And pill by law. Maid, to thy master's bed;
Thy mistress is o' the brothel! Son of sixteen,
pluck the lined crutch from thy old limping sire,
With it beat out his brains! Piety, and fear,
Religion to the gods, peace, justice, truth,
Domestic awe, night-rest, and neighbourhood,
Instruction, manners, mysteries, and trades,
Degrees, observances, customs, and laws,
Decline to your confounding contraries,
And let confusion live! Plagues, incident to men,
Your potent and infectious fevers heap
On Athens, ripe for stroke! Thou cold sciatica,
Cripple our senators, that their limbs may halt
As lamely as their manners. Lust and liberty
Creep in the minds and marrows of our youth,
That 'gainst the stream of virtue they may strive,
And drown themselves in riot! Itches, blains,
Sow all the Athenian bosoms; and their crop
Be general leprosy! Breath infect breath,
at their society, as their friendship, may
merely poison! Nothing I'll bear from thee,
But nakedness, thou detestable town!
Take thou that too, with multiplying bans!
Timon will to the woods; where he shall find
The unkindest beast more kinder than mankind.
The gods confound--hear me, you good gods all--
The Athenians both within and out that wall!
And grant, as Timon grows, his hate may grow
To the whole race of mankind, high and low! Amen.

Exit

Friday, 15 September 2017

The Urban Hermit







"...that idea of The Far-Off Man, way, way out there,  but what does the Hermit tell us...?


If you try this get as lonely as you can get, you become visibly aware which you can't get away from it, because when you get very lonely very fast you become extremely thin and everything that goes on is or now ordinarily unnoticed cum spiritum 

First of all, you will find that there is a  Community of Insects.

And they are tremendously interested in You, and not necessarily hostile, in maybe some cases they are so.

But alone in The Forest, when you get really quiet, you'll notice little creatures will come and inspect you look you all over and they'll go away and tell their friends and they'll come and look to see what it is and you become aware of every single sound and you realize that alone you're in the midst of a vast burning crowd - it may not be human but it's everything else - so that the the point of being honest, The Discipline leads you to understand that 

You can't Resign

The Lonelier You Are, 
The More You're Joined Together with everything else. 



Look at it - from another point of view, supposing I say everybody's playing the game Me First  - now, I'm going to play the game You Firstto use the phrase of Bonhoeffer who called Jesus The Man for Others now let's see if we could play that game instead of 

Me First, You First 

Or,

"I'm the one see who's so generous I'm the one who's so loving so self-effacing and all you insolent brats ...."