Author Topic: Alchemy, spirit, and matter digression (from another post)  (Read 9651 times)

Matt Koeske

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Alchemy, spirit, and matter digression (from another post)
« on: March 23, 2007, 01:34:06 PM »

This post was a leftover thought that strayed from a post on the Differences in Feminine & Masculine Individuation thread.  That post end abruptly and this one starts "in the middle of things", but so be it.  Sorry for any confusion.  -Matt


As his primary axis, intuition/sensation was too divided to be subject to coniunctio/synthesis.  I see this as an inconsistency in Jung's thinking . . . and ultimately disagree with his conclusion.  The intuition/sensation coniunctio is possible . . . but it necessitates an essential compromise (for the intuitive) of the primary function.  The unified theory would have to see the archetypal as ultimately biological (in my opinion), compromising some of the "as-ifness" of spirituality.

I think some of the alchemists did see this (more clearly than Jung did).  They represented it as the extraction of spirit imprisoned in matter (first opus) and then the re-attribution of the spiritual to matter (second opus).  This is at least what I find most sensical when we look at the "de-spiritualization" of the second opus as depicted emblematically in the Rosarium Philosophorum.
So we see the second opus begun like this:



The white wings represent the spiritual or lunar consciousness attained with the completion of the first opus.  This consciousness is re-submerged in the mercurial bath and dissolved.  Which corresponds to the last figure above and is accompanied by a flight of the feminine/lunar spirit-soul while the hermaphroditic body is purified.  I would say, psychologically-speaking, that it is purified of its spirituality or its desire to want to see spirituality as extracted and separate from matter (or superior to matter).  Spirituality then is the perception (of the ego) of an anthropomorphization of the "principles" of matter (or the natural universe).  Remove the projection (of "consciousness")/anthropomorphization from matter and we recognize that matter is itself the producer of this consciousness . . . but it has produced consciousness through the evolutionary process, the Way of Nature, and not because it "possesses" consciousness which it can anthropomorphically endow to humans, who are the supposed "favorites" of this God.

Human consciousness then is seen as the spirit extracted from matter (extraction being equivalent here to differentiation) . . . and the second alchemical opus is the reconnection of this differentiated spirit/consciousness to matter, to biology, to instinct, to Nature . . . so that consciousness can function as an organ of the instinctual Self and help reciprocate/recycle libido.  Which is ultimately to live in the world and not transcend it.  The spiritual and biological instincts (which at first seem so opposed) are ultimately one instinct: the instinct to live effectively within one's environment.  To live in accordance with libido.

In truncating the alchemical process to one opus (the extraction of spirit from matter . . . manifested as a "transcendence"), Jung reneged on the possibility that intuition and sensation could form a synthesis.

In construing things this way, I am advocating for the Middle Path.  The heroic (i.e., conscious) approach to cognition is the synthesis of thinking and feeling (into a kind of "right thinking" or intelligent feeling") and a synthesis of intuition and sensation (into a kind of "knowing doing").  This accords with some Taoist thinking and with the principle that Roger and Remo advocate, Wu Wei.

But I think my interpretation differs from theirs (from what I can discern), because the Middle Path (to me) is not "non-action", but "doing without willfulness" or a conscious abiding of instinctual libido.  To me this is not a submission to instinct unconsciously, but a cooperation with libido and a dedication to facilitating the flow of that libido.  Not a relinquishment of conscious will, but a cooperative way of channeling it.

Without consciousness (a differentiation between ego and Self), though, this (from what I have seen) is impossible.  Unconsciously, it would lead to a stasis/death or a sense of detachment (a return to the preconscious state of the maternal, all-providing unconscious).  In that state, the ego is failing to function properly as the whole organism's organ of libido channeling.  It is not adaptive.  Instead of connecting the Self to the world and matter, it is preventing the libido of the Self from flowing.

Essentially, I don't see the purpose of existence as non-existence.  Such a belief is in distinct contradiction to Nature (or matter).  It is equivalent to asserting that there is a transcendent, spiritual purpose to living to which (conveniently) only human consciousness has access.  To me, this is hubris.  Only with ego-consciousness does such an idea exist . . . therefore, the idea of ultimate transcendence seems (to me) to  be a projection of ego-consciousness onto the material universe.  The material universe is then granted the task of exalting ego-consciousness as its ultimate expression (and awarding humans with heavens or deifications or "releases from the cycle of death and rebirth").

From what I can discern, this is all maya, illusion, the fictioning of the egoic perspective.  To me, the ego is an expression of nature as essential and valuable as any other expression of nature.  It does appear to be unique in our experience . . . but all manifestations of nature are unique in some way.  Every species possess distinct characteristics . . . but all of these characteristics and their distinctions were products of evolutionary adaptation.  That is, "attempts" to channel libido into the environment (evolutionary niche) of the species that developed them.  These "attempts" or mutations are all ultimately "selected" by the environment, by the evolutionary niche.  Or, in other words, by material nature.

In reference to the universe, the human ego is merely one of these mutations that proved adaptive to its niche.  The universe as a whole does not bow down to this mutation and award it some exalted value.  It is only the part of the universe that is human (i.e., that we project onto the universe) that finds the ego cause for exaltation.

. . .

Wow, that's pretty far afield from where I started, huh? (-)titanic(-)

[Here I came back to planet earth and realized how much I'd digressed from the initial post . . . so I'll leave this line of thinking here for now.]

Yours,
Matt
You can always come back, but you can’t come back all the way.

   [Bob Dylan,"Mississippi]

Roger

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Re: Alchemy, spirit, and matter digression (from another post)
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2007, 01:52:10 PM »

This post was a leftover thought that strayed from a post on the Differences in Feminine & Masculine Individuation thread.  That post end abruptly and this one starts "in the middle of things", but so be it.  Sorry for any confusion.  -Matt



Wow, that's pretty far afield from where I started, huh? (-)titanic(-)

[Here I came back to planet earth and realized how much I'd digressed from the initial post . . . so I'll leave this line of thinking here for now.]

Yours,
Matt

Not at all Matt, this is simply a circumambulatio.

And I really love what you write. I will simply have to find the proper language to show that we are walking along the same path... though of course we are different and unique, each of us as anybody else  (-)laugh(-). But I believe also that it is very important that this kind of sharing happens and that maybe that way some sort of multiplicatio takes place.

 (-)cheers(-)

Roger

« Last Edit: March 23, 2007, 02:09:24 PM by Roger »

Roger

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Re: Alchemy, spirit, and matter digression (from another post)
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2007, 02:26:57 PM »

In construing things this way, I am advocating for the Middle Path.  The heroic (i.e., conscious) approach to cognition is the synthesis of thinking and feeling (into a kind of "right thinking" or intelligent feeling") and a synthesis of intuition and sensation (into a kind of "knowing doing").  This accords with some Taoist thinking and with the principle that Roger and Remo advocate, Wu Wei.

But I think my interpretation differs from theirs (from what I can discern), because the Middle Path (to me) is not "non-action", but "doing without willfulness" or a conscious abiding of instinctual libido.  To me this is not a submission to instinct unconsciously, but a cooperation with libido and a dedication to facilitating the flow of that libido.  Not a relinquishment of conscious will, but a cooperative way of channeling it.

I guess you really misunderstood my use of the Wu Wei expression.Wu Wei is not a submission to instinct etc... It is active passivity. A paradox in itself. Like fishing in a way: you just wait and 'it' catches (you do not catch 'it') and then back to the world and cook the 'fish' and eat and drink you see... Or if I can put it that way it implies putting one's life in accordance with one's fate, which means action and power and the lot but as a consciously accepted consequence of the deep inner drive...

So "doing without willfulness" is ok with me.

Quote
Without consciousness (a differentiation between ego and Self), though, this (from what I have seen) is impossible.  Unconsciously, it would lead to a stasis/death or a sense of detachment (a return to the preconscious state of the maternal, all-providing unconscious).  In that state, the ego is failing to function properly as the whole organism's organ of libido channeling.  It is not adaptive.  Instead of connecting the Self to the world and matter, it is preventing the libido of the Self from flowing.

Well, sure enough.

Quote
Essentially, I don't see the purpose of existence as non-existence.  Such a belief is in distinct contradiction to Nature (or matter).  It is equivalent to asserting that there is a transcendent, spiritual purpose to living to which (conveniently) only human consciousness has access.  To me, this is hubris.  Only with ego-consciousness does such an idea exist . . . therefore, the idea of ultimate transcendence seems (to me) to  be a projection of ego-consciousness onto the material universe.  The material universe is then granted the task of exalting ego-consciousness as its ultimate expression (and awarding humans with heavens or deifications or "releases from the cycle of death and rebirth").


Neither can I see the purpose of existence as non-existence. To me a full life is a life where what comes from deep is put written sculpted or whatever into flesh blood matter or whatever. And there is only one way: the go-between's...

 ;D

Love

Roger

PS: I would like to had that there is very 'practical' dimension to this process with astounding effects... But I will talk of that later
« Last Edit: March 23, 2007, 02:39:55 PM by Roger »

Matt Koeske

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Re: Alchemy, spirit, and matter digression (from another post)
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2007, 02:59:23 PM »
Not at all Matt, this is simply a circumambulatio.

And I really love what you write. I will simply have to find the proper language to show that we are walking along the same path... though of course we are different and unique, each of us as anybody else  (-)laugh(-). But I believe also that it is very important that this kind of sharing happens and that maybe that way some sort of multiplicatio takes place.

 (-)cheers(-)

Roger

Thanks, Roger.  I completely agree.

It is an important part of my personal "dialectic" to hold ideas up to as much scrutiny as I can muster.  I try to do this with my own ideas as much as possible . . . although sometimes I need to grow a bit before I can see the loopholes clearly.

I also get the feeling that we are talking about the same things in a slightly different language . . . and it frustrates me that I can't quite find the intersections on just a couple points that I would need in order to understand all the parallels.

Here's to the dialog, though  (-)cheers2(-) may it enrich us and not overly annoy others  (-)howdy(-).

Yours,
Matt
You can always come back, but you can’t come back all the way.

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Matt Koeske

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Re: Alchemy, spirit, and matter digression (from another post)
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2007, 04:29:00 PM »
I guess you really misunderstood my use of the Wu Wei expression.Wu Wei is not a submission to instinct etc... It is active passivity. A paradox in itself. Like fishing in a way: you just wait and 'it' catches (you do not catch 'it') and then back to the world and cook the 'fish' and eat and drink you see... Or if I can put it that way it implies putting one's life in accordance with one's fate, which means action and power and the lot but as a consciously accepted consequence of the deep inner drive...

So "doing without willfulness" is ok with me.

Dear Roger,

Ok, that helps.  I understand more clearly now . . . and I agree.  Thanks.

Quote from: Roger
Neither can I see the purpose of existence as non-existence. To me a full life is a life where what comes from deep is put written sculpted or whatever into flesh blood matter or whatever. And there is only one way: the go-between's...

Again, this makes sense to me. 

I think my confusion derives from one important point (and it has nothing to do with your ideas . . . but with some of the other things I observed at Unus Mundus).  Namely, I feel that the prescription you and I are both making in our own ways needs to be elaborated in a way that is as comprehendable as possible.  I.e., something as close to the "scientific method" principle as such arcane, psychological topics can get.  I like to see these difficult notions held up to a practical and logical evaluation.  Perhaps, ultimately, we "know" these things that spark our theories and languages due to intuition and introspection.

From what I can sense, this is definitely the case with me.  I have a valuating hunch and then I have to pursue it with language that is increasingly pared down by revision after revision of "sense-making".  This "circumambulatio" process (good word, that) also puts more and more flesh on the bones of the intuition . . . hopefully allowing the intuition to be connecting to something practical and worthwhile.

So, my two concerns for those of us who try to talk about the things we are driven by and hope to communicate are that 1) we do our best to counteract the "Intuitive Fallacy", and 2) we pay special attention to the ways our ideas are being interpreted by others.

By "Intuitive Fallacy", I mean merely the tendency of us intuitives to accept pure intuition as truth . . . without exploring the ramifications of that intuition or trying to merge it with the practical.  I don't see intuitions as whole.  They are half-way gestures from the unconscious.  I think we have to passively open ourselves up to this potential, but we also have to actively translate and make use of it.  To me, this is the Middle Path.

And of course, intuitives hate to do this more than anything.  It is much more likely that they worship and exalt such intuitions rather than applying them to the process of living.  In my own Work, I have found the most active and profound responses from the Self (here I use the term perhaps in a way that means both what you and what Jung mean by it) have come as complements to my willingness to both go down to grasp it and to my drive to come back up and utilize it.

The more I give my constructive thought to my dreams, for instance, the more those dreams adopt language that makes sense to me in their effort to communicate.  My dreams have increasingly used symbols, images, and concepts from my writing . . . which is for me an intimate interaction with the unconscious or Self.  My dreams have never been critical or corrective of my efforts to address them and comprehend them in language that the ego can make sense of . . . if anything, quite the opposite.  What I feel is an excitement in the Other because I am willing to devote so much time trying to commune with and facilitate it at the expense of whatever egoic prejudices might get in my way.

My Self has shown (in recent years) a distinct sense of respect for my efforts to meet it half way.  This is never a glorification, and when I falter, it clearly states its disagreement.  But there is an "understanding" between us that we are working for the same goals.  Which is not terribly surprising as I have followed its advice on living as best I could for many years . . . even when it meant throwing away important aspects of my material life.

As for the second concern mentioned above, we both know that the things we are talking about, insomuch as they really are a kind of gnosis, are come to only through experiential pursuits.  It is nice to find books and mentors or friends that accord or help orient us, but we have our own teachers within.

But it takes years of disciplined devotion to differentiate the ego from the Self and figure out what is driving our attitudes.  Frankly, it always (still) comes as a surprise to me, but many people simply don't devote themselves to the Work extensively enough to be able to speak experientially about such arcana as the anima/animus work.  Even in the Jungian community, these major archetypes remain so mystical that they are only addressed by theory and citations of other thinkers much of the time.

Although the intuitive framework is there (thanks especially to alchemical precedents), there is no agreed upon paradigm of the animi stages of individuation.  Not only that, but there is no attempt (or at least resolution) among Jungians to try to find and understand a non-mystical, non-spiritual parallel for these archetypes . . . even though the Jungian dogma clearly states that they represent instinct.  Yet, I haven't read any Jungians who try to understand these archetypes instinctually, i.e., as serving a biological, evolutionarily adaptive purpose.  They are left to be merely abstract phantasms.

One might argue that they must be abstract . . . but then one cannot also argue that they are instinctual.  There is a stumble in the Jungian logic here, and it falls into the Jungian shadow.

The point I mean to make is that Jungians have become too accepting of an abstract language for the contents and ways of the psyche . . . and therefore, they are inclined to project into these theories whatever they personally want them to mean.  There is no "higher standard" as with the scientific method that evaluates the usefulness of such theories.  But, in my opinion, such a standard needs to be constructed or else Jungian psychology has no intelligence from the Other guiding it anymore.  It becomes an ego-only pursuit . . . and this tends to lead toward morphing into a cultic religion (much as Richard Noll decried, although not, I think, with complete understanding of what he was saying).  A religion with dogmas and deities in which the pursuit of its ideas are only meant to promote a faith in those dogmas and deities, not a true process of investigation and testing.

So, I feel that anyone who wants to edit the Jungian dogma, especially those who want to push beyond it or push it beyond where it is (as we both, I feel, do), needs to devote him or herself to constructing a language that is as difficult to misinterpret and dogmatize as possible.  Of course, this is impossible . . . but the alchemical opus is impossible, too.  It seems to me a worthy goal to strive for.

I believe that all theories need to exist in a context of scrutiny and debate.  There needs to be an admission that, in our act of putting the understanding of the Self into the ego's language, there will never be perfection.  We always have only the story . . . and we can only do our best to make the story "good" or functional.  But the ego does not operate in the realm of the True.  So the value of those philosophies we express in language cannot really be ascertained on a scale of Trueness.  Instead, they must work.  They must prove their effectiveness and diverse applicability.

And when we have only our language to communicate such things to one another, personal testimonies to worth and veracity can never substitute for logical arguments and explanations.

In the ideas we create, there are dangers . . . sometimes overt, sometimes in the susceptibility to misinterpretation and misuse.  We are, I feel, responsible for the effects of our words . . . and to no small degree we need to see the ultimate value of our words and ideas in the way others react to and use them.

A theoretical language is only ever a suggestion, even an act of theater.  It is only as good as what it creates and communicates, it's "Taoist usefulness".

My personal desire is to find a language that can express and elaborate my intuitive and experiential ideas as clearly as possible.  And I am used to befuddling people with my language.  But I see this as largely my own fault.  And I am a writer.  I know the importance of revision.  The audience/Other is the ultimate determiner of the worth of my ideas and expressions.  If they misunderstand what I write, I have failed.  If they understand and respond with constructive criticism, then I have stumbled upon riches.  Either way, I must continue to revise and rethink.

I am therefor not inclined toward satisfaction.  Just as the Self-as-Other compels me, so do actual other people compel me.  I try to pursue the Work as though I and my guesswork are guinea pigs to be studied.  I keep at it not to find bliss or contentment or truth or peace or God, but because I see its potential value in respect to knowledge and to others.  In essence, I have worth as a cog of Eros.  So if I want to dip my wheel in the water, I also need to connect the axle to something productive, to (as our dear Susanna dreamt) a generator.  I am not a battery  ore receptacle, but a converter of energy.  Here I am using "I" to mean the ego in general. 

I feel that I have no right to commune with the Self if the current doesn't allow me to grind some grain in the material world.  The Self is not for me . . . I am for it.

Yours,
Matt
You can always come back, but you can’t come back all the way.

   [Bob Dylan,"Mississippi]

Roger

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Re: Alchemy, spirit, and matter digression (from another post)
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2007, 07:05:49 PM »
Dear Matt,

Quote
I think my confusion derives from one important point (and it has nothing to do with your ideas . . . but with some of the other things I observed at Unus Mundus).  Namely, I feel that the prescription you and I are both making in our own ways needs to be elaborated in a way that is as comprehendable as possible.  I.e., something as close to the "scientific method" principle as such arcane, psychological topics can get.  I like to see these difficult notions held up to a practical and logical evaluation.  Perhaps, ultimately, we "know" these things that spark our theories and languages due to intuition and introspection.

Yes, the neutral language Jung and Pauli were dreaming of is necessary. This is also what Remo is working at.
But I’d like to stress that no real understanding can happen without a true individual experience. Maybe this is the most frustrating point when one wants to communicate on this subject publicly. I say publicly because it appears that in the intimacy of a closer relationship many more aspects join in the communication and understanding becomes a sort of cross permeating flux. But this is not the point here.

Quote
So, my two concerns for those of us who try to talk about the things we are driven by and hope to communicate are that 1) we do our best to counteract the "Intuitive Fallacy", and 2) we pay special attention to the ways our ideas are being interpreted by others.

By "Intuitive Fallacy", I mean merely the tendency of us intuitives to accept pure intuition as truth . . . without exploring the ramifications of that intuition or trying to merge it with the practical.  I don't see intuitions as whole.  They are half-way gestures from the unconscious.  I think we have to passively open ourselves up to this potential, but we also have to actively translate and make use of it.  To me, this is the Middle Path.

In a funny way in this matter I always tend to make a pause when anything comes up be it an intuition, a feeling, a thought or an [introverted] sensation.
I does not mean I reject or shy out . No: I accept but I wait till some sort of different corroboration happens. Then I just act.

Quote
And of course, intuitives hate to do this more than anything.  It is much more likely that they worship and exalt such intuitions rather than applying them to the process of living.  In my own Work, I have found the most active and profound responses from the Self (here I use the term perhaps in a way that means both what you and what Jung mean by it) have come as complements to my willingness to both go down to grasp it and to my drive to come back up and utilize it.
Yes, sure!

Quote
My Self has shown (in recent years) a distinct sense of respect for my efforts to meet it half way.  This is never a glorification, and when I falter, it clearly states its disagreement.  But there is an "understanding" between us that we are working for the same goals.  Which is not terribly surprising as I have followed its advice on living as best I could for many years . . . even when it meant throwing away important aspects of my material life
.
This is Modesty in the sense of #15 in the I Ching.

Quote
As for the second concern mentioned above, we both know that the things we are talking about, insomuch as they really are a kind of gnosis, are come to only through experiential pursuits.  It is nice to find books and mentors or friends that accord or help orient us, but we have our own teachers within.

Yes, and no small ones!

Quote
But it takes years of disciplined devotion to differentiate the ego from the Self and figure out what is driving our attitudes.  Frankly, it always (still) comes as a surprise to me, but many people simply don't devote themselves to the Work extensively enough to be able to speak experientially about such arcana as the anima/animus work.  Even in the Jungian community, these major archetypes remain so mystical that they are only addressed by theory and citations of other thinkers much of the time.
I guess the common misunderstanding is there: in our culture experience seems to come far after intellectual consideration; so far behind that many people just cannot care. Of course this is highly dangerous. The state of the world shows that.
 
Quote
Although the intuitive framework is there (thanks especially to alchemical precedents), there is no agreed upon paradigm of the animi stages of individuation.  Not only that, but there is no attempt (or at least resolution) among Jungians to try to find and understand a non-mystical, non-spiritual parallel for these archetypes . . . even though the Jungian dogma clearly states that they represent instinct.  Yet, I haven't read any Jungians who try to understand these archetypes instinctually, i.e., as serving a biological, evolutionarily adaptive purpose.  They are left to be merely abstract phantasms.

One might argue that they must be abstract . . . but then one cannot also argue that they are instinctual.  There is a stumble in the Jungian logic here, and it falls into the Jungian shadow.

This is a sad and once again dangerous reality indeed.

Quote
The point I mean to make is that Jungians have become too accepting of an abstract language for the contents and ways of the psyche . . . and therefore, they are inclined to project into these theories whatever they personally want them to mean.  There is no "higher standard" as with the scientific method that evaluates the usefulness of such theories.  But, in my opinion, such a standard needs to be constructed or else Jungian psychology has no intelligence from the Other guiding it anymore.  It becomes an ego-only pursuit . . . and this tends to lead toward morphing into a cultic religion (much as Richard Noll decried, although not, I think, with complete understanding of what he was saying).  A religion with dogmas and deities in which the pursuit of its ideas are only meant to promote a faith in those dogmas and deities, not a true process of investigation and testing.

The only reply to such an attitude is practice. Reality is not avoidable, be it inner or outer.
Individuation is not a Jungian concept, it’s the stream of life. These people are dead or close to.

Quote
So, I feel that anyone who wants to edit the Jungian dogma, especially those who want to push beyond it or push it beyond where it is (as we both, I feel, do), needs to devote him or herself to constructing a language that is as difficult to misinterpret and dogmatize as possible.  Of course, this is impossible . . . but the alchemical opus is impossible, too.  It seems to me a worthy goal to strive for.

I don’t think it is impossible: are we not talking? No more than I think that the alchemical opus is impossible, but this I know.

Quote
I believe that all theories need to exist in a context of scrutiny and debate.  There needs to be an admission that, in our act of putting the understanding of the Self into the ego's language, there will never be perfection.  We always have only the story . . . and we can only do our best to make the story "good" or functional.  But the ego does not operate in the realm of the True.  So the value of those philosophies we express in language cannot really be ascertained on a scale of Trueness.  Instead, they must work.  They must prove their effectiveness and diverse applicability.

And when we have only our language to communicate such things to one another, personal testimonies to worth and veracity can never substitute for logical arguments and explanations.
If you want to demonstrate you are right, if you want to communicate I would nuance your words. Very often the sharing of an experience has an effect words cannot reach.

Quote
In the ideas we create, there are dangers . . . sometimes overt, sometimes in the susceptibility to misinterpretation and misuse.  We are, I feel, responsible for the effects of our words . . . and to no small degree we need to see the ultimate value of our words and ideas in the way others react to and use them

The point is that we do not create ideas, they come from the same source as for instance our intuitions. If you believe you create ideas then you fall into some kind of Logos inflation.

That’s why I told you I ‘treat’ ideas, intuitions etc in the same way: marvelled but pondering.
 
Quote
I am not a battery  ore receptacle, but a converter of energy.  Here I am using "I" to mean the ego in general. 

That’s what I call being a channel, but I guess your image is better.

Quote
I feel that I have no right to commune with the Self if the current doesn't allow me to grind some grain in the material world.  The Self is not for me . . . I am for it.

A true servant then…

Best

Roger

Sealchan

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Re: Alchemy, spirit, and matter digression (from another post)
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2007, 10:21:38 AM »
Quote
Quote
I feel that I have no right to commune with the Self if the current doesn't allow me to grind some grain in the material world.  The Self is not for me . . . I am for it.

A true servant then…

There is a time to find the current and ride it and there is a time to divert the current and make it go in the direction willed by something "higher" than instinct.  There is both separation of and no separation of ego-consciousness from unconscious.  The hero both conquers and is conquers in the great wheel of life and death. 

I'm beginning to think of Zen Buddhism as the discipline of a self-nullifying intuition.  My essay The Depth of Consciousness would then be an effort to, like Wotan, create something new and objective without tainting it with my subjectivity...to escape the self-imposed curse, the deep wound...an impossible task.  But there just might be a trick...