All things are modalities or precipitations of the Infinite Sentient Power which is the Godhead.

Eugene Halliday – Essays on God

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NOTE: ‘Godhead’. Translated from Greek -‘qeoths’ – ‘divine nature’ or ‘the quality of being a God’.

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Simply we may de­fine Love as the will to work for the optimal dev­elopement of the potentialities of being.

Eugene Halliday – Essays on God

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When love retreats, power advances.

Carl Gustav Jung

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All that there is is Sentient Power; and this Sentient Power is continually Working for the development of the potentialities of its being.

We are circumscribed modalities of this Sentient Power.

We are sentient beings then, and we claim to possess ‘consciousness’.

If we will to develop this conscious ability such that we can use it to function reflexively, we may ‘join in’ with this act of Working, and thus – as it were – ‘lend a hand’ here, in order to develop these potentialities.

If we will to do this Work, then we will ‘realize a profit’ in doing so.

If we will not to do this Work, Work will still be going on within us, but obviously it will not be done by us; and any development of those potentialities that do happen to take place under these circumstance will proceed at a slower pace. Far more importantly though, any profit arising as a consequence of any development here will not be-long to us… A state of affairs that we might like to think about if we suspect there might be something to the idea that there is an ‘accounting’, or ‘final judgment’ that takes place just after we pop our clogs … 

From ‘NOCTURNAL EMISSIONS’
‘Random Dribbling from the Twilight World of the Undead’
by Bob Hardy
(A series of fragments from Bob Hardy’s notebooks – from the late-1970’s to date)

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According to those who claimed to have known Eugene Halliday ‘early on’ (and the two people with whom I spoke to at length about this period would be Donald Lord who, during a recorded interview that I conducted with him told me, “I remember exactly when I met Eugene. It was just before his 33rd birthday.” – which would be in 1944 then; and Ken Ratcliffe, who met him after the War, and who related numerous stories, about their time together up until the mid-1960’s, to me) Eugene Halliday’s earliest published work would seem to be ‘Defense of the Devil’ – a copy of which is freely available for downloading from Josh’s site here:  http://www.eugene-halliday.net

‘Defense of the Devil’ does not seem, to me, to place the concept  ‘All that there is, is Absolute Sentient Power’, center stage. At least in the sense that it constitutes a ‘governing concept’. However, the evidence that Eugene Halliday’s later went on to ‘involve’ the use of his term ‘Sentient Power’ as a ‘governing concept’ can, I believe, be clearly appreciated in most of his subsequent written Work.

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I would just like to add a word of advice here about Eugene Halliday’s frequent use of the terms ‘Laws’ and ‘Rules’ in many of his texts. Whether or not you accept these claims of his, and why you might chose to do so, is entirely up to you. I simply want to say here that, in my opinion, should you actively decide to engage with these texts of his, it would be a good idea if first of all you did a little Work on your understanding and use of both ‘deductive’ and ‘inductive’ reasoning.

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So! … What is that question? … Then!

Well I would say that there are an endless number of questions that revolve around my particular governing concept – ‘All there is is Sentient Power’ – and that all I can really do here is supply you with a couple of examples, and hope  that you get the general idea.

  1. If all there is is Sentient Power, why did I wake up feeling grumpy this morning, if I felt OK last night just before I went to sleep?
  2. If all there is is Sentient Power, and I see a brick on the floor in front of me and say something to myself like, “That brick right there is a complete object ‘in itself’ .. And so it’s actually an example then of ‘circumscribed sentient power’ … What happens to the sentient power if I hit the brick with a hammer, so that there are now two separate objects that I refer to as ‘two half-bricks’ … Are there in fact now two circumscribed objects instead of one? Or is it just all about the way I chose to see them? … Is there some sort of weird reproductive process going on here? Does the sentience of the two new half-brick bits somehow ‘remember’ that they was once a single brick ? What’s going on here, and how does it work?
  3. If all there is is Sentient Power, what is my temporary forgetfulness all about?
  4. If all there is is Sentient Power, how do I explain my feelings of, say, ‘disgust’?

I don’t happen to think that these questions I have asked myself (or indeed any question that I could ask myself which begins “If all there is is Sentient Power…”) are trivial…ever! … If only because one of the answers to these questions might seem to refute my governing concept; or that, no matter how hard I tried, I might simply just be incapable of  answering it…

(And just so you know, I have actually Worked on the answers to the above four questions 🙂 …)

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The initial impression that I gained, particularly where it concerned Eugene Halliday’s written material, was that it was incredibly rich in the range of subjects that it attempted to ‘take in’. And also – and more importantly for me – Eugene Halliday seemed to be able to ‘link it all together’, or ‘connect it all up’, in what seemed to me to be a very straightforward way – although at that time I had no real ideas as to why it did so, but only the firm conviction that, from his standpoint at least, it did.

When I revisited this material, and began to subject it to more scrutiny, there were a number of directions taken, or points made, by Eugene Halliday, that I found I could not go along with. But this only served to engage me even more with his Work, because I now had to spend a great deal of time contemplating why it was that I didn’t agree with him, or why I was uneasy about something that he had written.

My, shall we call it, ‘confrontational interaction’ here, with some aspect or other of Eugene Halliday’s material in no way diminishes my respect for him. In fact I believe this was actually one of the reasons why he produced it.

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If you’re looking for questions that involve a governing concept such as ‘All that there is is Sentient Power’ then I can suggest one of the methods that I came to use. Which was to ask questions that began, “If all that there is is Sentient Power, what is it doing here when I (…. … )?”  And then to fill in the blank here with my response(s) to a): whatever news source(s) I happened to have reacted to, or b): whatever form of leisure activity I was engaging in, such as, for example, watching movies, TV shows, or even documentaries, or c): my immersion (my identification with) characters  in any novel that I happened to be reading… So no questions here about any obvious ‘creative activity’ of mine then… At least not to begin with.

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Finally here, I would like to suggest that you read the following essays by Eugene Halliday. Because, if you do, I believe there would then exist a strong possibility that you will experience what it is that I’m trying to convey here for yourself.

Words of Power by Eugene Halliday

The Structure Of The Psyche by Eugene Halliday

The Role of the Unconscious in Religion and Art by Eugene Halliday

The Pursuit of Power by Eugene Halliday

The Psychogram by Eugene Halliday

Psychotherapy Part 1 by Eugene Halliday

Notes On Engram Work by Eugene Halliday

IHS – Original pamphlet plus Meditation guide by Eugene Halliday

Essays by Eugene Halliday from the Cavendish Magazine and Healing Quarterly 1956 – 60

And finally, a text by Eugene Halliday, together with an audio-file of  Ken Ratcliffe reading it.

The Biofield by Eugene Halliday

Ken Ratcliffe’s reading of ‘The Biofield’ by Eugene Halliday

 

To be continued….

Bob Hardy
Portland, Oregon, USA

16th March, 2017

 

 

 

What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

Christopher Hitchens

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I thought I might begin this post with a poem … for a change 🙂

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WT…..?

by Bob Hardy

God has never
God does not
And God will never

Do requests

 

God has never
God does not
And God will never

Demand that you do stuff

 

God does not want

Any of your money

 

God does not require

Elected morsels of your flesh

 

But if
However

From time to time
You believe that you must

                      (And if you enjoy talking to yourself)

Then the occasional
Heart-felt “Thank you!”

Is more than sufficient here

 

You see

God just is

 

Further
More

And simply put

Everything happening

That really matters
In all of this

Is actually
Up to you

All of the time

 

And that’s how bad
Things really are

Down here

I’m afraid.

 

Have a nice day.

 

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‘God’ is most definitely not ‘Absolute Sentient Power’… Regrettably though, it seems to me that ‘Absolute Sentient Power’ is what the vast majority of ‘religious folk’ down here very quickly end up worshiping.  

 

From ‘NOCTURNAL EMISSIONS’
‘Random Dribbling from the Twilight World of the Undead’
by Bob Hardy
(A series of fragments from Bob Hardy’s notebooks – from the late-1970’s to date)

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This post was written in response to an email I received a short time after I posted the previous one, from someone with whom I have been discussing – for some considerable time now – various ‘matters arising’ from my efforts here in this blog.

And because of the nature of this blog – in which I post (for the greater part at least) about my relationship to a number of particular concepts contained in Eugene Halliday’s material that have been of major importance to me – I have also included in my response here a considerable amount of extra material that I believe to be connected in one way or another with Eugene Halliday’s approach to these particular matters. Material that I probably would not have included (at least in the detailed manner in which I have attempted to do so here) in any personal reply to this email.

This might also now be a good time here to clarify my present relationship to Eugene Halliday’s material, and tell you that for some considerable time now I rarely listen to, or read, any of the material that is contained in the  ‘Eugene Halliday Archive’. This material was however, something that I did focus upon, but not exclusively, for many years … I mention this because some readers might have come to believe otherwise, for the obvious reason that  – when all is said and done – the title of this blog is, ‘Inside The Eugene Halliday Archive’!

I have also attempted to make it unequivocally clear to the reader here, throughout these posts of mine, that while I have a great deal of respect for all of Eugene Halliday’s material, the number of concepts of his that I have actually attempted to Work with are relatively few – at least to the degree that I have come to feel competent enough to talk about them from my own perspective.

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For reasons that I hope will eventually become clear, I have decided to begin here with what was originally intended to be the second half of this post, and immediately followed that by what was originally the first half….

If it helps

         …..think of this post

                      ……something likebob-urobrous

this …….                        .

 

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… I believe at this point that it would be a good idea if I provided you with at least some details from an actual, real, concrete example from my own particular experiences of Working… That is, an example of how a particular situation might present itself to me as one with which I should/could Work… And at the same time, also elaborate upon the sorts of things that I ‘bring to the table’, in order to help me further here.

NOTE: I don’t believe it’s possible to Work all the time … continuously…

But as to ‘continuously working on being able to Work’? – Well, I’m fine with that.

Maybe this might help here… You are not ‘doing’ breathing all the time. Breathing is simply taking place. And although you might decide to focus on your breathing in order to control it in some way, and then claim that you are now ‘Breathing’, with a capital ‘B’ (and perhaps you actually become very good at doing so), there’s that moment before you decided to control your breathing in this particular way when, logically, you obviously couldn’t have been. Which is when you were not ‘Breathing’ then, but were merely ‘breathing’ (with a small ‘b’)…

Thus my claim to be ‘Working’, implies that there are times when I am not Working, but that I am only (perhaps) ‘working’…

So, ‘Working; is a ‘willed act’ for me then. That is, it is primarily an activity that I have to engage in; that I have to do… This is because my natural response to anything at all is normally only ever to ‘react’ to it. And even if this reaction of mine really ‘does the business’ and is ‘successful’, it is still only ever a reaction… Just as training oneself not to ‘respond’ (by practicing some form of, say, ‘calming’ exercise) to a particular range of stimulus/situations is also, in the end, still just a reaction. However, we could in this case perhaps refer to this reaction as a ‘conditioned response’ – if that makes you feel any better… (Eugene Halliday had quite a bit to say about these sorts of responses by the way, if you’re interested). Regrettably however, as I understand it, developing techniques like this has got very little to do with Working – although they might help to keep you out of the pub, or to mediate a ‘panic attack’.

To Work, I must reflect, which in my case is always (that is, in every single instance) only something that I can only ever freely will to do…  It takes effort on my part, and so it is never just going to ‘happen’ then… At least for me I know that it isn’t.

An essential word that I had to Work on initially (to activate) here, was ‘transformation’, and not ‘controlling’, or ‘banishing’ or ‘healing’.. or ‘letting’… And in order to make any practical attempt at this, I first of all needed to create (and then ‘absorb’) a ‘system’ so that the energy tied up in any (in the moment) disagreeable state of say, worry, or panic, or depression, was somehow channelled into something that I wanted it to do (which is a completely different solution for me than the one I normally use in order to simply ‘get rid’ of some mood or other that I find myself in, so that I can then go back to grinning inanely)… I also find it very difficult to do, and I fail at it far more often than I succeed; it can also become extremely complicated very quickly; and it will more than likely ‘fight back’ in any way that it can in order to ‘remain in being’ (which is a very Eugene Halliday way of putting it … 🙂 ..). Funnily enough, the allegorical images contained in many Alchemical texts serve to illustrate this process remarkably well for me (but not however the texts that they accompany – at least to anything like the same degree that these images do).

So, no sitting still and just letting the mind become a mirror for me – if for no other reason than I have never found any value whatsoever here in attempting to doing so …  Directing my own thought processes though? Very useful indeed! … But it took me ages to develop any effective technique, and, even so, I find that it always requires a great deal of energy anyway – at least if I’m attempting to clarify some matter or other that I find extremely complex… But, happily for me, I also have very little problem in temporarily shutting this process down now if I chose to do so, and then coming back again to continue Working when I feel recharged…

Anyway, my example here below will, I hope, provide you with at least some concrete information re how I go about Working; my practical involvement with concepts of Eugene Halliday’s, such as ‘system’ and ‘governing concept’; and also how this active involvement differs significantly from that of my merely reacting passively to situations that I happen to have ‘collided’ with during the course of any one particular day, and have perhaps gone on to deal with in some way or other …. or not.

… So this is how I Work then … Regrettably for me, as I have already pointed out here, I have been unable to locate anyone else who appears to have been involving themselves with Eugene Halliday’s concepts in remotely the same way that I do. And also, as I say, there’s always the distinct possibility that the manner in which I have been going about things here is just plain wrong.

I’ll try to describe at least the outline of what it is that I do here in such a way that you could have a go at this example yourself if you wanted to (but in your own particular way of course)… And just quickly add, that if you do give it a shot, I would be really interested to hear how you got on 🙂 .

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OK then… Here we go …

At some point in my life I realized that the emotional, cognitive, and physical aspects of the state that I had been passively experiencing during any dreaming that had taking place immediately prior to my waking up, was very largely conditioning (was directly responsible for) the state in which I found myself to be in immediately upon my waking up – usually with any emotional aspect that happened to be present in that dreaming state now predominating.

And at this same point in my life (so, not before) I also realized that the particular emotional state that I found myself in immediately upon waking here (determined, as I now realized, by my passive emotional state during that pre-waking dream period) was pretty much pre-determining not only both the focus and trajectory of any thoughts that I might subsequently be having; but also my ‘physical demeanor’ (my breathing rate and, say, degree of muscular tension), at least for a considerable period after waking up…

And further, troublingly, I suspected that this state of affairs might actually continue on for the whole day, because of some sort of ‘knock-on’ effect! …

NOTE: Something that I later found out – from conducting some research in this area – was that many an educated Roman actually believed this to be the case. So much so, that if they’d had a ‘lousy night’, then they would often delay important decisions, or even remain indoors, for the remainder of their waking day.

Believe it or not, for the very long time prior to this point in my life, I had simply not realized that these two situations (dreaming and waking) were intimately connected in this way. Although when I did do so, it seemed blindingly obvious …

“Hey! The reason why I was all tense and anxious when I just got up this morning was because of that scary dream I’d just been having about me and that shark.”; “Hey! The reason why I was all jumpy, irritated, and frustrated when I got up this morning was because of that dream I just had where I couldn’t get out of that maize for what seemed like a thousand years.”; “Hey! The reason why I was so very relaxed and pleasantly disposed when I got up this morning was because of that dream I’d just had where I was wandering about in that beautiful garden.” etc. etc. etc.” ..

This state of affairs obviously must have happened to me on countless mornings before this, but – up until that particular morning – it just hadn’t ‘registered’ with me.

That is, had you asked me the following question ‘way back’,  “Does the dream that you have just had prior to waking, condition the way you feel when you get up?” (or something along those lines), I would have said, “Yes, now I come to think about it, of course it probably does!” But I did not then go on to factor-in the significance, or deliberate upon the effect, of what it was that this extremely personal (unique to me) experience might actually be about. In fact you might say that it would continue to mean very little to me, until it had become a ‘real experience’ for me.

I’m saying here then that, although I might obviously have been able to talk about these facts – that is, discuss them (perhaps even in great detail) – this does not necessarily mean that ‘the penny had dropped’ … at all! … In fact I could just as easily discuss these ‘events’ as if they were something that had only ever happened to you, or to people ‘in general’,  but had never actually happened to me  – because, say, I happen to be one of those people who insist that they, “…Know it’s hard to believe, but I never dream! At least I’ve never been able to remember that I have!” – However I would still find it relatively easy to join-in with some form of discussion here, and perhaps to even add my own two-penny-worth, by suggesting stuff like, “Well, that does sound extraordinary! But I think that what this ‘nocturnal adventure’ of yours might actually mean, is that you might be … etc. etc.”.

To posses any meaning then, there must be a conscious self-reflexive awareness that this event has happened ‘in the now’. (Although I believe that it is possible for the ‘meaning’ of these experiences to come to you, at any time, like a ‘bolt out of the blue’… However, you can’t make this ‘bolt’ happen by any act of will (at least I can’t) – so I’d say it’s best not to hold your breath here)…

To put this another way – the word ‘realize’ and also ‘in the now’ are the important ones here, and not ‘believed’, or ‘understood’, or ‘thought’ or ‘felt’, or ‘elaborated upon in great depth’ or some other word(s) like that…

Can you appreciate the differences for me, in these words here?

Only because of this ‘realization’ then, would I claim that this situation was now a ‘real’ one for me….

As I say though, I could, of course, also claim to ‘believe’, ‘understand’, ‘think’, ‘feel about’, etc., this situation, but none of these words convey (necessarily) a ‘realization’.

And deciding what word (in this particular case ‘realize’) is appropriate here, is, I believe, an example of just how particular you have to be if you are attempting to illuminate your actual experiences to yourself – never mind explaining these experiences to someone else! But, even so – and perhaps even more importantly – those that you do choose to speak about these matters with will also have to ‘have the ‘ears to hear’ you, in order to ‘get’ what you’re saying…to begin with! …

So then, in order for this event to come to mean anything (by perhaps only implying that there might be an interesting connection between my waking dream and awakened state if I chose to focus on it), it had to become real for me, in that I had to have realized the truth of this in a particular, actual, active (not passive) experience. In this particular case then, one particular morning the ‘penny dropped’. And as a consequence, I was then filled with the energy necessary to pursue the matter. Or to use my metaphor of a ‘journey’ here – my experience of this (recalled) event was now perceived by me to be emanating from a particular, interesting direction; and that attempting to ‘move towards it’ in order to examine it further (and maybe going on to move past it and continue on in the same direction) was now experienced by me as a ‘goal’ … To put it in Eugene Halliday’s terms perhaps – My ‘will had now been exalted’ here by this realization … Such that I was now eager to ‘get there’ and ‘also perhaps do a spot of exploring when I did so’.

If you’re OK with all that… Then go on to this next bit…

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It’s very important to have some way of representing Work to yourself in your own particular way.

NOTE: Traditionally, at least for Europeans with my particular cultural background, this ‘representing’ – in it’s textual form at least – would include allegories such as: passing through a difficult to negotiate gate; sticking to a particular route; toiling in the fields in the heat of the mid-day sun; reaping and sowing; separating the wheat from the chaff before consigning the latter to the fire; ‘realizing a profit’; appreciating the dangers of foolish, wasteful, behavior’, etc. etc.

Where it concerns my ‘journey then, this would include: balancing and stumbling; rate of progress; degree of difficulty; fatigue; terrain; others here; losing my way, etc. etc…  I will then incorporate these into narratives, by making use of my active imagination.

Because of ‘the way I’m made’ (as my mum liked to put it), before I was actually able to spend time applying myself to any one, particular ‘Work activity’ – like investigating that dream/waking thing (an activity that I wasn’t too bothered about accomplishing actually, once I’d made up my mind to do it) – someone like me here in this situation has, first of all, to find some way of understanding, in its broadest sense – the ‘What’ of Work … As in, “How does it differ from all the other things that I do: and what then, am I doing when I’m not Working?” … “What is the over-all nature (the major features as it were) of Work?” … “Is it special somehow?”…“What sorts of things are supposed to happen as a consequence?” etc. etc… Because – for all I knew – it might be that I had actually already been Working ‘all along’ anyway, but I just didn’t know it…

This should explain to you why it was not so much what Eugene Halliday said that I was primarily interested in (indeed much of what he did say was of little value to me in the end because I couldn’t use it), but rather, the ‘manner of his saying what he said’, as it were.  That is – how it came about that he was able to say what he said in the way that he said it – and so then, what it was that he was actually doing (and not simply what he was talking, or writing, about).

Anyway I eventually came to appreciate that I best understood what Work was – in this sense at least – by making allegorical use of that ‘Journey’.

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I believe that the most important function of beings such as Eugene Halliday is to help others to make a start at Working – always providing of course that these others ‘have the ears’ to hear him, in the first place… And I also believe that this was Eugene Halliday’s sole, affirmed, intention… That is, simply to help others to ‘wake’ up, if he could (See his very early essay ‘The Defense of the Devil’ for more on this).

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Why must I first ‘wake-up’ in order to Work? Because it is the essential initial state that must immediately precede any actual realization of why it is that I’m here; and that in order to embark on my ‘journey’ I can only start doing so from exactly where I am at that time, as opposed to where it is that I would like to be, or – more dangerously perhaps – where it is that I am pretending to everyone else (including myself)  that I am…

So I have to first of all realize then, where I actually ‘am’ …’in the now’ … I have to ‘wake-up’ then.

Just figuring this out properly, involved me in a process that actually took me decades to sort out … And even when I had done so, I knew that this did not guarantee that I would ever actually, take that first step. But, on the positive side I did manage to activate words such as ‘dither’..

……… Dither …… dither.

From ‘NOCTURNAL EMISSIONS’
‘Random Dribbling from the Twilight World of the Undead’
by Bob Hardy
(A series of fragments from Bob Hardy’s notebooks – from the late-1970’s to date)

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Anyway … … To examine further what I now believed was ‘going on’ with this dreaming/waking thing I, first of all, had to develop the ability to do this examining immediately upon waking up. Because even those major features of these dreams would, more often than not, rapidly fade from memory in a matter of seconds.

But the ability to engage here immediately on waking up was not an easy one for me to develop. In fact I would, more often than not, simply not remember to do so until it was far to late, and then I would usually only be able to recall fragments of these dreams.

However, this was enough to keep me at it, and so that’s what I did until I could manage to do so properly. I improved gradually by practicing – so there’s nothing mystical going on here then!

NOTE: Incidentally, now that I can do it, I often don’t (!) … However if I do ‘intuit’ that something of value has taken place here – something I need to Work on that is – then I will.

This is because Working on these dreams requires a great deal of efficiently directed effort (and time) on my part. And I am aware that, being circumscribed, I only ever have this energy in finite supply – although, by ingesting food I can, to some extent at least, restore it; or I can free up – and thus release energy – that is tied up either in previously established patterns of behavior, or in (and from a pronounced Jungian perspective) what I refer to as, ‘complexes’.

So not wasting, but rather developing, any ‘talent’ that you might have here is supremely important… You might almost say that it’s a ‘Commandment’ 🙂

And – very important to bear in mind here and, quoting a proverb that Eugene Halliday like to make frequent use of – you’ll get ‘Nothing for nothing, and very little for a half-penny’… So be prepared!

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Constructing ‘reasons’ as to why it is that you shouldn’t begin Working ‘just yet’ though (although you don’t actually tell yourself that directly of course) is the defining characteristic (and indeed the only really important meaning for me) of that term ‘inertia’ – at least in the active sense that Eugene Halliday used the word.

And so ‘intertic’, or ‘engramic patterns of behavior’ if you like, are not simply some problem or other that you’ve decided (or been persuaded) that you’ve ‘got’ (actually of course it’s more the case that it’s ‘got’ you)… Like, for example, always mechanically answering to the name that your parents gave you at birth … or something like that…This was just Eugene Halliday’s way of explaining ‘inertia’ to the curious idiot – a way of pointing them gently in the right direction – should they wish later to chose to move forward with this idea… Actually the example he often gave of the patterning of the behavior of children by adults (a state of affairs that he invariably painted in a negative light – which could tell you a great deal more about him than he might have suspected actually, particularly as he was childless) supplies far more interesting examples of positive self-patterning behavior for me… For example, any decent parent can tell you that their children will often engage in their own particular endless repetitious behavior with obvious pleasure; and anyone who has had to read the same bed-time story night after night to their own children can also tell you about repetition – particularly if you try to change the story in some way because you have formulated no sensible reason as to why it is that they should want you to engage in this behaviour, and believe that in making these changes you are making the story more ‘interesting’ for them. (Clue: Try imagining that you are living in an almost completely unpredictable environment for most of the time, like them).

Eugene Halliday would often give members of his ‘flock’ ‘special names’ (an alarming number of which, it seemed to me, started with the letter ‘Z’); or he would get them to throw the letter ‘h’ into their already existing name (‘Ken’ became ‘Khen’ for example – which always bothered me because the name Kenneth already had the letter ‘h’ in it – So would it now be ‘Khenneth’? … Which I thought was a bit daft, – Baptismal and Abramic precedents not withstanding here of course. But even so, I thought this was all a bit hubristic and contrived myself, even for the leafy suburbs of South Cheshire. 🙂 ..)

Anyway, these were situations which, in my opinion, should have provided those involved here with an excellent and controlled opportunity to clearly see how this new name almost immediately began to accrue to itself any number of ‘new’ (and often the same old) inertic patterns of behavior. Tragically for most here though – at least as I saw it – these new patterns of behavior were often far more seductive in quality than their old ones, because it was imagined that these particular ‘new’ ones (the word ‘new’ merely means ‘most recent’ by the way) were connected to something ‘special’ that they were ‘doing with Eugene’, and so, these new patterns of behavior were ‘OK’ habits then … Which is obviously hopelessly wrong – because, of course, they’re just another set of habits… And, even worse, they also trapped those who had willingly chosen to become involved here in a very seductive ‘Tacit Conspiracy’ – often for decades.

The less attractive aspect of engaging in the process of establishing behavioral patterns of dependency in others (as you will probably know) is referred to as ‘grooming’. This is an essential technique in the creation of hierarchies in any number of extremely well documented cults, and often has tragic consequences… (By the way, the OED definitions, and also the etymological roots, of the words ‘cult’ and ‘culture’ are well worth investigating).

It is most important for you to bear in mind here, that most people actually can’t wait to be presented with, or go on to develop, ‘new’ habits. That way they can still act mechanically, but might now be able to present themselves as ‘in the know’ one way or another, and so avoid doing any real Work… ‘Going straight from siting at the foot of the teacher into the teacher’s chair’ .. If you see what I mean.

Developing a technique that requires you to be forever ‘searching for the truth’ is another example of a useful habit here. This is a really efficient way of staying where you are, exactly where you’ve always been, and actually requires very little real effort… You just have to continually find yourself some question or other  (it’s not really important what it actually is), which functions in such a way that you can justify the fact that you never actually commit to anything that might move you out of your comfort zone, or (more importantly for most) might damage that image of yourself that you’ve spent so much time and effort constructing.

‘Stage two’ here then, is believing that, in order to move on, ‘good habits’ should be ‘developed’. These are then often presented to others using an attractive and fashionable label… As in, “I’ve started practicing that new (fill in the blank) now! It’s really interesting and, you know, (smile) it has really helps me with that (fill in the blank) problem I was having  … And I have to say say that I now feel so much better about myself!” etc.  … This, in my experience, is where the overwhelming majority of those who are ‘looking for answers here’ (and there are loads of them about) are to be found…

Problematically, it now becomes even more difficult (next to impossible might be better) to get them to look at the fact that everything they needed to move forward they already had, and was actually right their under their noses here, to begin with… Because they have convinced themselves that what is wrong ‘here’ (them) is in fact something which is wrong ‘there’ – as in ‘the world… out there’. Which they now decide that they are going to try to do ‘something about’ – even if it’s ‘only ‘in a small way’. And so they now spend the overwhelming majority of their time learning about, or learning to do, ‘new stuff’ so that they can ‘do something useful’ and ‘help’ the rest of us.. Isn’t that a wonderful excuse for not attending to their own development? If it wasn’t for the fact that many here will actually believe this is what they’re really doing now, anyway!

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To move on here …

It’s very important now for you to appreciate that I am not claiming my realization re this dreaming/waking thing here was an example of me Working – because it wasn’t.

It was only the point at which – and in this particular instance only – I had the opportunity to begin Working (I was ‘at the gate’ so to speak). And I would add here that this was only because I had been, in some way (and not necessarily as a consequence of my own deliberations) ‘prepared’, and was thus potentially able to begin Working here…

So then, this ‘being prepared’ is also an essential part of this whole Working process for me. It’s something like having the experience that events have ‘conspired’, or ‘constellated’, in order to get me to this point… Again, an allegory in the West here would be that of ‘The ground in this particular field has been tilled, and so was now ready for the seed’…

So this realization then, is only the ‘necessary prelude to being able to Work’… And only to Work .. here .. now.

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Having had a ‘realization’ then – and as a consequence – I need to construct a ‘system’, in order to actually do any Work here.

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(A large spotlight quickly fades up, and we can see him standing center stage, dressed rather like an Oxbridge Don, complete with black gown. However he is sporting a slightly too large floppy white bow-tie over a check-shirt, and is wearing a pair of ‘John Lennon’ spectacles . The rest of the stage is in darkness.

We see that he is holding a piece of paper in each hand, which he then raises just above his head

Before he addresses his audience directly, he steps confidently forward, slapping one piece of paper on top of the other with an exaggerated theatrical flourish. The spotlight follows him, as we first of all overhear him making a short comment quietly to himself).

“You know… I really do like this little piece…I think I’ll call it … 

(He has now reached the front-center of the stage. He clears his throat in an exaggerated theatrical manner, and proclaims confidently, and loudly, to his audience). 

“.. ‘Snakey Stuff’!! 

(He grins broadly before beginning to read. The spot has been tightened up so that we now only see the top half of his body.. As he reads, he starts moving slowly, stage left. At the end of this short piece, as he utters the last word and returns to the front center of the stage, it is important that the audience realize that he has actually completed a perfect circle). 

And…without data. That is to say, without developing your very own ‘Scheme of Inquiry’ … Can you appreciate that the very best that you will ever contribute to any subject is simply your facile, uninformed opinion?

(He pauses, looks up, and peers out at his audience. Before continuing on).

And further, that without some sort of ‘Conceptual Framework’ – even if you do go on to develop your own ‘Scheme of Inquiry’, and so then, manage to accrue … and perhaps bother to commit to memory … all sorts of interesting ‘smatterings of knowledge’… The best that you will only ever be able to contribute to any subject, will be some manner of… smart-assed … clever … reaction to it … No matter how proficient that you might now believe yourself to be, at stringing words together.

 (He pauses again, and looks up, peering out once again at his audience, before continuing on).

This ‘Conceptual Apparatus’? … This ‘Conceptual Framework’… that you must fashion for yourself ?..

(He looks up from his paper, and peers over his glasses – which are parked on the end of his nose – and says conspiratorially to the audience in a slightly quieter voice)

I often think of this ‘Conceptual Framework’ as my very own ‘mirror’… But others find this metaphor very confusing and imagine that it means I have to remain very still in order to peer into it and …hopefully …’see stuff’!  … So to them it’s not like I’m shaving and using a very sharp cut-throat razor… or driving around in rush-hour traffic glancing in my rear-view mirror then! .. Which is actually more like what goes on! (He grins broadly, before continuing his reading in a louder voice)

Anyway! It is the one essential tool in your armory that you must construct for yourself… (He says in a slightly louder voice) … and only you can actually construct it! (He pauses again and lowers his voice a little before continuing) … if you’re ever going to go on and make any real use at all, of that ‘reflexive’ ability of  yours!

(He pauses again, looking up over his glasses again, and then continues reading – his voice rising slightly for the next sentence). 

And if you haven’t constructed this ‘Conceptual Framework’  – never mind then going on to Work with it; to add to it; to ‘polish it’; to refine it … as it were? (He looks up over his glasses again, and then continues on in a slightly lower voice) Then although your utterances on any particular subject may indeed now be the result of your …perhaps considerable … inquiries here (He pauses) … Due to that ‘Scheme of Inquiry’ of yours that I just mentioned before, do you see? (He pauses again and looks around before continuing on)… It will, at best, still only ever constitute your reaction here, even if it is now an informed one! And no matter how reasonable it might seem to be to you at the time, it will only ever be just that – simply another of your reactions … another of your ‘opinions’ … informed or not…

(He gestures theatrically with the first piece of paper as he places it behind the second one, and adjusts his glasses, before continuing on with his reading).

And the problem with that? … Well, absent the initial stimulus that provoked this reaction. This subsequent informed, or uninformed, opinion of yours? (He looks up again over his glasses at his audience before continuing). No matter how smart it was, it will very soon fade from your memory … to be lost forever anyway. At least as far as you’re concerned!… (He pauses)

Funnily enough though! (He looks up over his glasses again  and grins) It could be of real use to others who might have heard you delivering it (He  grins again, only this time it is even broader) So you could say that these others have been ‘given this talent’ of yours … as a ‘free-be’ … if you want! .. (He looks down, and, while appearing to search for his place on the paper, says in a quieter voice before continuing on). Regrettably though, as I say, it will be of absolutely no use whatsoever to you!

To be of use to you – or perhaps to others – you must obviously, also develop your own ‘Mode of Presentation’… And the essential ingredient to this? … Without which this ‘Mode of Presentation’ of yours will only ever still be so much blather? …(He pauses again dramatically, and looks around before continuing on). This ‘Mode of Presentation’ must be thoroughly grounded in your real, actual, lived experiences… Because it is only these that are ever going to constitute the real subjects of your Scheme of Inquiry! … Even if it appears to you at the time that you’re studying ‘something else’.

And … Ultimately! … This is the only data here that is of any real value … (He pauses dramatically before looking up at his audience, and then speaks, using a very loud voice, the word)… … … And!..

(As he completes that word ‘And!’ he drops both his hands, which now contain one piece of paper each. We realize that he has now moved back to where we saw him front and center stage. The stage lights now go up to reveal that he has, in fact, walked slowly around the circumference of an uroboros.  

He now moves back towards it’s center – situated at his original position, center stage, where we first saw him.

The stage lights go down, and once again we see him illuminated by the large spotlight. He raises both his hands above his head, each of which has a piece of paper in it.

Before he addresses his audience directly again, we first of all overhear him making a short comment to himself, as he steps confidently forward, slapping one piece of paper on top of the other with an exaggerated theatrical flourish).

“You know… I really do like this little piece…I think I’ll call it … 

(He has now reached the front-center of the stage again. He grins broadly before beginning to read. The spot has been tightened up so that, once again, we now only see the top half of his body..He clears his throat in an exaggerated theatrical manner, and proclaims confidently, and loudly, to his audience). 

Snakey Stuff”!!! 

(He grins broadly before beginning to read. The spot has now tightened up so that we now only see the top half of his body..) 

And! …without data.(audio cut, and lights black-out)

From ‘Field-notes for Armageddon’ by Bob Hardy

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Any ‘system’ that I use contains the same four essential major aspects, or components. These consist of:

1).  A ‘Governing Concept’.

After Eugene Halliday – this would be, ‘All that there is, is Sentient Power’. Which means, for me, that any use I put my system to must demonstrate to my satisfaction that this is indeed the case.

So – one of the ways in which I could ask myself the same question as, “What is going on here with this dreaming/waking thing?” would be, “If ‘All that there is, is Sentient Power’, then what is going on here with this Sentient Power such that this dreaming/waking activity can be understood by me to be a manifestation of it?” (Which is actually far more like the question that I would actually ask)… … And – by the way – answers here that would certainly not be acceptable to me would, for example, be, “Because Eugene Halliday told us all that it’s true.”: or, “Because I believe that ‘All that there is, is Sentient Power’ no matter what the evidence is that I happen to uncover which appears to demonstrate the contrary.”

Perhaps this would be a good time to mention that, although I have stated in this blog that Eugene Halliday’s short and pithy ‘All that there is, is Sentient Power’ is my ‘governing concept’ – actually it isn’t 🙂  … Well it is … But this is the ‘shorthand version’ of it that I make use of because, first of all, it’s convenient and I like it, and it’s easy to put down on paper; and secondly, I am assuming that those who are reading this blog will probably have come across it somewhere in Eugene Halliday’s material..

But this concept has been around a very long time. In fact I would claim that it belongs at the very beginning of Western Philosophy…

Here, in my opinion, is the ‘first version’ of it – which is far more like my actual ‘governing concept’… It is also from a text I believe that Eugene Halliday would certainly have come across very early on in his studies…

We must then, in my judgment, first make this distinction: what is that which is always real and has no becoming, and what is that which is always becoming and is never real? …[28A] …. We must ask the question which, it is agreed, must be asked at the outset of inquiry concerning anything: Has it always been, without any source of becoming; or has it come to be, starting from some beginning? [28C].                                                                                                                             Plato – Timaeus. 

The most import aspect, for me to ponder over, in this text from Plato? … The realization of the supreme importance of that very first phrase here, ‘We must then … first make this distinction..’ Because, in my opinion, if you don’t do so, you cannot actuate this ‘governing concept’.

And bear in mind that this particular axiom of mine should not be taken to mean that it is ‘A tenet of my belief’, or some thing along those lines … It  is more like a ‘theory’ that I hold to; a way of investigating ‘meaning’ for me; a component of the ‘deeper structure’ that arises in my attempts to formulate a ‘Conceptual Framework’ (See ‘3’ below)

2).  A ‘Scheme of Inquiry’:

I would claim that this is also after Eugene Halliday.

This consists essentially of taking on board all and anything which happens to come along that I can handle… This would include – but would not be restricted to – studying lots of difficult books about lots of different subjects; acquiring legitimate qualifications and skills; making a living; entering relationships of one kind and another; life experiences, etc. etc.

In the case of the dreaming/waking thing that I am using for my example here, this would include an exhaustive investigation into the dreams themselves (location, events, emotional state, etc.); investigating whether any of the components of my dream match-up with any of my day-to-day experiences, together with a similar examination of my immediate waking state (my emotional state, the subject matter of my thoughts, bodily sensations, etc.).

The one essential tool for Working effectively with any ‘Scheme of Inquiry’ would be, of course the use, and continuous development of, an ‘active’ language.

3). A ‘Conceptual Framework’:

‘Conceptual Apparatus’ is a term from the 1930’s, that I appropriated from the Polish Philosopher, Kazimiertz Adjukiewicz, because I rather liked it…

However, I did then go on and customize it somewhat … For your information it was originally defined as: “The set of all meanings which attach to the expressions of a closed and connected language.” (A part of his definition that I rather liked), and that then goes on, “Thus two conceptual apparatuses are either identical or entirely disjoint.” (A part of his definition that I didn’t agree with at all), and ends with “(E)very meaning is an element of some conceptual apparatus.” (Another part that I certainly do completely agree with).

In my system here, I refer to my modified version of this ‘Conceptual Apparatus’ as a ‘Conceptual Framework’, and it consists of those ideas and concepts that arise as a consequence of the examination, and subsequent distillation of, those events that constitute the raw material (prima materia) obtained from my ‘Scheme of Inquiry’. Ideas and concepts that must then all be placed in formal relationships with one another by me, in texts that make use of my particular ‘active language’, in such a way as to illuminate for me the particular realized event that is under scrutiny.

Thus, hopefully, they will inform, and  illuminate, the ‘deeper underlying structures’, if you like, that are common to all my dreaming and waking states, and that I conceive of as being responsible for, and that generate, these states.

The ideas and concepts that go to make up my ‘Conceptual Framework’ not only consist in material obtained from my contemplations here, but also make use of those ideas and concepts which I believe I understand, and that are contained in any one or more of my previous, more serious detailed studies into, for example, Jung’s approach to understanding the nature of the ‘unconscious’; or Marx’s approach to understanding the nature of ‘The Commodity’, … etc.

This ‘Conceptual Framework’ that I make use of in my system not only confines me to, but also initiates the production of, that series of questions then which will serve (hopefully) to ‘get behind’ the particular phenomena that I am investigating in my ‘Scheme of Enquiry’. But only from the particular aspect of my ‘Conceptual Framework’…

And so any result that I do manage to obtain here obviously then, constitutes an ‘abstraction’. (It is only perceived from this particular aspect – which is only one of possibly many) … A situation that Eugene Halliday maintains (and I agree), is problematic… Because there is a tendency to wrench the information you do gather completely out of it’s context – to completely decontextualize it – but to then go on and believe that you’ve now found out all about it…

So you must be continually aware that any ‘truth’ you do believe that you’ve uncovered using your ‘Conceptual Framework’ is not ‘absolute’, but is merely ‘relative’… However, ‘if you’ve done it right’ it should qualify as being ‘Sufficient onto the day’.

4). A ‘Mode of Presentation’:

a). To one’s self; and also perhaps b). To others…

My attempts at constructing and refining my active language would be an example of a); and the more linear account here in this blog would be an example of b).

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Coming to grips with the Jungian concept of ‘directed’ and ‘non-directed’ thinking would be of great help here, in my opinion.  (See Vol 5 Collected Works: ‘Symbols of Transformation’. Part One: section II – ‘Two Kinds of Thinking’)

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To continue… What you must really now go on to appreciate, or better, ‘realize’ here 🙂 – and so not just say stuff like, “Yes I understand that, it’s obvious!” – is that my particular ‘Scheme of Inquiry’ and my ‘Mode of Presentation’  are completely different from each other… And this is extremely important for you to always bear in mind.

Actually, I initially confused Eugene Halliday’s ‘Scheme of Inquiry’ (his studying, and then the subsequent production of those précis of his – see below) with his ‘Mode of Presentation’ (the material he presented to the public at large in his many talks and essays)… Well actually it was more like I had no idea at all what was going on when I first heard him speak. Particularly as those I questioned about his ‘technique’ here, seemed to be implying that the information he was delivering was coming ‘to him’ from some ‘Infinite Field’,” … (A ‘Field’ that he was ‘somehow’ … ‘letting’ … ‘come through him’, as it were)…

This was somewhat misleading, to say the least, but I eventually figured out what was going on here – well actually I just read the rules of membership for ISHVAL and the exact instructions about how to engage in a Scheme of Inquiry were there! (I’ve already posted a great deal about these ‘rules’, in an earlier post if anyone’s interested)  And it was only decades after he had died that I realized nobody I spoke with who claimed to be one of his ‘followers’ etc. (and there were scores of them) had actually ever either heard of these rules; or if they had, had taken the trouble to read them; or if they had read them, had taken any real notice of them – which, when you think about it, is really weird! … I think they just preferred to believe all that stuff about the ‘field’ … and that he was ‘somehow’ … ‘letting it all’ … ‘come through him’ … business instead … Because, initially at least, lets face it, it seems to be a much easier, far more refined, and downright much more pleasant way of going about things down here – far more enjoyable than actually taking the trouble to engage with any of those very hard to understand books at least! But if you then go on for decades ‘attempting to make contact with this field’ for yourself, and nothing really ever happens here that can’t be explained in a more obvious and sensible way, then you’re in real trouble! Because due to the inertia produced as a consequence of your prolonged investment here – you become less and less able to accept that things actually don’t quite ‘work’ like this – at least for you they certainly don’t! A realization that in fact would constitute a profit for you here – something you now really understood and that took you a great deal of time and effort to arrive at – so, extremely valuable in the ‘authentic world’ then, regrettably though, not so in any ‘genuine make-believe world’ 🙂

So my initial understanding of Eugene Halliday’s concept of ‘Sentient Power’  – which is an essential part of his Conceptual Framework, and was mentioned by him (using his ‘Mode of Presentation’ then) again, and again, in many of his talks and essays, was that it was an ‘a priori’ concept of his; that it was just there ‘in him from the beginning’, if you like; a sort of ‘given’ axiomic starting point for him… And in fact, the ‘sheet of white paper’ analogy that he used for this ‘infinite field of sentient power’ was often the starting point for many of his talks that he gave in Liverpool back in the 1960’s – if you’d like to check that out…

But I came to realize that this concept of the ‘Sentient Field’  emerged in him over time, and that he had in fact ‘synthesized it’ from his contemplation of the material that constituted his ‘Scheme of Inquiry’ – a gold nugget that he refined from all the crap he had to dig through if you like…

So very importantly, I would stress that this major concept of his was not ’caused’ by this material in any ‘linear’ sense…

It’s more like the way in which ‘value’ emerges from a relationship as it transforms dynamically over time… You cannot find this ‘value’ by simply examining the miriad objects, or ideas, or emotions, that are within this relationship; you cannot ‘take everything in it apart’ as it were – and then say,”Here it is, I’ve found this ‘value’ thing, it’s this bit here!” or “This ‘value’ thing is not here, so obviously it doesn’t exist.” … It’s more the case that ‘value’ … ‘becomes’ … that it ’emerges from’ … that it ‘arises above’, the relationship in some way…

But this is another (rather complex) subject entirely here, and in my opinion it does have a lot to do with understanding Modern Dialectics. So I won’t be saying any more about it here! … I would, however, be happy to go into it in more detail privately.. But I would suggest that anyone who wishes to do might first like to bone up in this area by reading one or two of those very hard to understand books 🙂

And anyway, as far as you’re concerned here, even if Eugene Halliday does happen to mention during one of his talks that, ‘All that there is is Sentient Power’ (a concept, as I say, that I believed arose from his ‘Scheme of Inquiry’), this is still, as far as you are concerned, just a piece of information that you have managed to acquire here from him. And that without you embodying this idea for yourself, this concept will lack any power to effect any real change in you. Indeed, it is far more likely that you will just appropriate this idea, to either impress others, or yourself….

Eugene Halliday’s advice to others here was that they: first develop an active language; with this language to then study major writings in science, art, religion etc., and to then present their findings to a group of like-minded people…  As I see it, developing this ‘active language’ is the crucial factor here then, and so not the studying…. And certainly not simply reading the latest trendy book (‘Quantum Reality and Life After Death’, or, ‘(Yet another) Gnostic Gospel’) and then clobbering together a cute little 45 minute talk on it – which is something almost any dim-wit could do really, isn’t it? 

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If you’ve Worked on something, my experience is that it always ‘comes up’ in you when you really need it (so it’s not the same as remembering then, but more like recalling) and it also forms part of who it is that you ‘authentically’ are. But what most folk are striving to remember is who they ‘genuinely’ are – an image that they have created for themselves and that they would like others to see them as  – and so it’s just acting then. So they have to repeat their lines every night or they will simply, very quickly, forget them.

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I have, over the years, become extremely cautious about involving myself with others who claim to be Working. And I will tend to (particularly during the last 20 years or so) do – to what to others might seem – an enormous amount of ‘checking-out’ before committing myself to anything more than just a temporary, and somewhat facile, social relationship here.

I’ll usually conduct what I like to call ‘One of my Little Tests’, by throwing out a few words, such as ‘Archetype’, or ‘Evil’ or ‘Death’ or ‘Religion’ or ‘Global Conspiracy’ or ‘Yoga’ (there’s loads of them) and then carefully examine any responses that surface as a consequence. Very quickly a pattern will usually emerge, and it then becomes relatively easy to see whether or not the person I am engaging with here has any real interest in: who they are; what they are; where they are; or, why they are … And go on hopefully then, to query what, in their opinion, will be their ‘next step’…. Incidentally, it’s more than OK if they say,”I don’t really know,” to that last one. 🙂

Not everyone who is Working is traveling by the same route anyway, and even if they are, then attempting to ‘go deep’ with them demands a great deal of care. Thus, even though you believe that you always ‘know’ if someone else is Working, this doesn’t confer any special qualities on this relationship necessarily, and it certainly doesn’t mean anything like, “And so you can now see into each others minds,” or that you have no need to bother discussing things, because now you both know everything there is to know about all this, or anything like that… In fact it’s one of those myths about this whole business that seeks to equate Working with belonging to some ‘special group of beings’ … You know the sort of thing – something like that ever-popular popular ‘celestial band-in-the-sky’ – the one that apparently includes John Lennon, David Bowie, Elvis Presley, Sid Vicious, George Formby, Billy Cotton, and Gracie Fields..

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I am only ever really comfortable with those who are more than willing to admit a lack of ‘certainty’, but maintain that they are honestly attempting to discover what’s going on here with as much integrity that they can muster, and for as much as their time as they can manage.

But it might be that maybe we do all eventually end up in the same barrel, and then again maybe we don’t – I wouldn’t know, or even like to guess…

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For me it’s all about my journey; and I would perhaps even go so far as to say that it might be about ‘our journeying’. But it has never been, for me, only ever about ‘someone else’s journey’. Because, fascinating though it might be, it’s still – in the end – just more entertainment (but perhaps of a more refined nature, if that’s what you need to float your boat).

Interestingly enough though here, others often imagine that I am ‘going deep’ with them, when actually I’m doing no such thing 🙂 … ‘Going deep’ isn’t something I do really, it’s more the case that it’s something that I am… And I wouldn’t say that it confers any advantages particularly either 🙂 Most of the time I’m deliberately trying to not ‘go deep’. In fact, normally, I’m just trying to ‘return a serve’ as simply and straightforwardly as I can, and trying not to upset others too much – usually though without much success.

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An added complication here is that, in my case at least, the amount of effort required to Work is so demanding that the temptation is always there to try to find a easier approach. But I do try to hold on to the belief that I am never being tested more than I can bear – although I will readily admit that I do very often, throw my rattle out of the pram.

So I am very clear about what I am being presented with when I hear Eugene Halliday speak, or I read an essay of his, or when I examine one of his drawings or figures – which is that this material forms a portion of the ‘fruits of his labor’.. and not mine…

And thus, even though his ‘Scheme of Inquiry’ might be one that I came to adopt – the actual material that comprises this is, for the most part, completely different from his; and even if my ‘Conceptual Framework’ makes significant use of a number of his concepts, it also does not use others that many here would see as fundamental to his particular system – such as the universal meanings of ‘proto-sounds’; or the occult significance of the letters of the alphabet; or many of his views on music, or gender; and particularly where it concerns the typology and topology of – what is a major concept in my ‘Conceptual Framework’ – the ‘unconscious’… As to my ‘Mode of Presentation’ – well I hope that this is very obviously different from his.

But if it helps you in any way here, I can tell you categorically, that his ‘Scheme of Inquiry’ involved him in attempts to absorb a extremely large variety of culturally important texts, and then go on to produce copious notes from these texts by hand – which he referred to as his précis…So, in my opinion as I say, these ‘fruits’ are not just simply ‘coming from this ‘Field” in the naive sense that many I have spoken with like to imagine, but could only arise in him as a consequence of his ‘Working’ – that is, from his particular patterning of this ‘Sentient Power’ that constituted him

And so, from my perspective here, his ‘Mode of Presentation’ then, does not ‘come to be’ as a consequence of some sort of ‘spiritual sleight of hand’ on his part, or some ‘supernatural trick’, but only from his ability to ‘labor’ at his ‘Scheme of Enquiry’ and his ‘Conceptual Framework’.. This task is, necessarily, very ‘hard work’ and a great deal of it needs to be done before you can even begin to focus upon the task of actually ‘Working’ in the particular.

NOTE: I have already made a few of these précis of Eugene Halliday’s available to readers of this blog in post number 11. But here they are again:

Précis – Eugene Halliday – Hierarchy

Précis – Eugene Halliday – Islam

Précis – Eugene Halliday – Karlfried Von Durkheim

Précis – Eugene Halliday – Modern Physics

Précis – Eugene Halliday – Pseudo-Denys

Précis – Eugene Halliday – Sorcery

Précis – Eugene Halliday – Soul

Précis – Eugene Halliday – The Basics of Judaism

Précis – Eugene Halliday – The Body

Précis – Eugene Halliday – Zen

So – to give you an example – Eugene Halliday’s ‘Scheme of Inquiry’ certainly involved him attempting to absorb material from books written by, for example, writers such as Iamblichus. And what he managed to glean from this material did, I would claim, then go on to form a part of his ‘Conceptual Framework’.

But his subsequent expressed opinions (his ‘Mode of Presentation’) re, say, ‘The One’ and ‘nous’ (using this Iamblichus example here) fail to include any stated reference to the original author, or this particular form of Neo-Platonism…. Rather, Eugene Halliday presents these ideas in such a way (using his ‘Conceptual Apparatus’) that, if you didn’t know he’d studied ‘The Mysteries of the Egyptians’, you could perhaps be forgiven for thinking they had somehow magically appeared to him out of ‘thin air’, or came to him ‘from the Field’, by a process that he referred to as ‘Letting’… (Again, the latter is, of course, ‘sort of true’, at least on his account. But I would still say that his manner of presentation never satisfactorily made this clear)…

In fact there was much of what he presented that I would claim was inspired by, or originated from, various sources – and I would say that this was obvious.. And yet, as I say, there were many who thought that it was all just ‘coming through him’ in a way that very clearly did not factor in the fact that he might have come across many of these concepts before (although, as I say, clearly not in the same form)… I don’t have anything to say about whether he did or didn’t really, because to me he clearly Worked on this material. But I do believe that he was aware that those who listened to him did think of him in this way – and this I do find mildly troubling… But then again, I do believe that he did have a great sense of humor 🙂

There are also those who claim to have heard him say that he wasn’t thinking when he spoke… And I find it difficult to understand what they (or he) might have meant by that. Unless they were simply trying to say that he wasn’t just reciting something that he remembered ‘from his memory’, as it were…. Maintaining that, “He wasn’t thinking when he spoke,” is a rather clumsy, and unnecessarily obscure way of putting this in my opinion… And anyway, I’m fairly certain that the more gullible here did imagine that, when he was talking, he went into some sort of trance and perhaps did something similar to what it is that folks now like to refer to as ‘channeling’ – so just yet more trendy crap then really, in the end, I suppose … And yes … ‘tricky’ .. (yet again) .. 🙂 …

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In my experience, it is entirely possible to Work on an active hermeneutic ‘Mode of Presentation’ in such a way – particularly if you use little technical language, but instead use words that are in regular common usage that you have ‘activated’ – to then go on to be able to use this seemingly ‘ordinary language’ on a ‘lay’ audience, in such a way as to demonstrate rather exciting new ideas in an extremely convincing, but essentially passive, manner.

But what happens then – particularly in the case of followers of speakers such as Eugene Halliday – is that a significant number of them will then go on to believe that they really understand him; that they have somehow ‘got it’, without ever having to engage in any ‘Scheme of Inquiry’ for themselves…. ‘Something for nothing’ then! … They just have to turn up at Eugene’s talks and ‘all will be revealed’.

Perhaps some of them will eventually become troubled though, because they cannot ever re-present his concepts in any depth to either themselves, or to others; or ‘get them to function properly, like these ideas clearly do in him’; or because they find that they have to continually go over his recordings and writings in order to ‘refresh’ their memories 🙂  … Can you see that this sort of behavior is a million miles away from ‘rendering an account’ of your own life experiences, gathered from your own particular ‘Scheme of Inquiry’?

I won’t go into my perception of this particular aspect of Eugene Halliday’s approach any further here, but would just add that, in my opinion, nothing of all this will be really understood by you in any real sense without an in-depth appreciation of yet another of Eugene Halliday’s concepts. The one that revolves around the two terms,  ‘circumscribed’ and ‘uncircumscribed’ …

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Anyway … To carry on with this example of mine … I have had the following repetitive dream for a very long time now (decades)… Sometimes I will have it every night for a week or so, and then it will suddenly stop – often for very long periods …Why does that happen? Well I couldn’t say exactly. But from my own perspective I’m satisfied that I have eventually formed an extremely useful Working hypothesis about it.

I should perhaps also mention here that I have a number of these reoccurring dreams – some of which are obviously connected to each other… But just let’s just deal with this one for now.

“I find myself in the house that my wife and I bought when we were first married.

It is very small and in need of a great deal of repair. Much of it is derelict, and I need to take care when I’m moving around, but in my dream I don’t feel over-burdened, or anxious, by having to do so.

I keep on discovering new doors, rooms, and passages in this house.

Eventually, and by a somewhat torturous route, I get to what seems to be the attic, which not only seems to be enormous, but also very, very, old.

It is also very dusty. But there is a light that is shining through the holes in the roof that makes the dust sparkle.

I am now somewhere in this house then that I never suspected even existed.

Emotionally I am experiencing a positive state of amazement cum astonishment. But there is also a faint sense of trepidation present that centers around a vague suspicion that actually I might be totally lost, and so might be unable to find my ‘way back’. But I don’t formulate, or focus, upon this – not because I am reluctant to do so, but because doing so seems inappropriate somehow. And anyway, that light, which is being reflected off all the dust here, encourages me to maintain a positive frame of mind.

I am also aware that I would like this state of affairs to continue.”

That – in essence at least – is my dream. And my recalling of all the details in it that I can, together with my consequent attempts to flesh these out without embellishment if at all possible, focuses on questions such as: what it was that I was wearing; physical details of the location(s) – the state of repair, ambient temperature, if it was raining or not etc; the degree of physical comfort or discomfort that I was experiencing; my changing emotional state during this dream; details of anyone else who might have been present in the dream; what was it that I particularly ‘noticed’ – that was experienced as being ‘more present’ than something else … etc.

This ‘recalling’ and ‘fleshing out’ of mine in this way, constitutes – in part at least – my ‘Scheme of Inquiry’. At least where it concerns this dream here.

NOTE: I am well aware that there are any number of ‘interpretations’ (in the sense of Joseph’s interpretation of the Pharoah’s dream) that can be applied to this dream – some of which might surprise you. But interpreting this dream is not my major concern here at all…

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What I do next arises as a consequence of my (ever evolving) ‘Conceptual Framework’.

The (if you like) ‘axiomic position’ that I start with here is that ‘All there is, is Sentient Power’. But my actual examination of this dream (a dream which is, for me therefore, an aspect of this Sentient Power) begins from what I might call my second axiom. Which is that nothing ‘transcendent’ – in the sense that anything experienced by me ‘in’ here, has actually come to me from ‘without’; that nothing actually ever ‘drops in to pay me a visit, before moving on’, as it were.

Everything, for me then, is always ‘immanent’ … or is only ever some modification or other of my consciousness (which is also an aspect of this Sentient Power, but in my case, it is circumscribed).

I do believe however that there is an external reality, but that this is, in it’s essential nature, ultimately unknowable; and that I can only inter-act with it via my relationships with particular aspects of it (these aspects would include then ‘other beings’, and also ‘events’). And that these aspects ‘ever-more come to be’ as I become more involved with them…

This external reality can ‘influence’ me as something ‘coming from without’, or ‘from out there’, and be experienced by me as anything from ‘unwelcome intruding’ to an ‘aid to progress’ – depending upon my actual relationship(s) with this particular aspect of this objective world of mine at any one particular moment… Such relationships are also dependent then, to a very large extent, upon the ‘make-up’ of my individual integument at the time… So this is what, in part at least, I mean then by my use of the term ‘external reality’…

This ‘external reality’ of mine can also be experienced by me as a place along my particular journey where I can do some Work – in order to modify my integument in such a way that it functions ever more positively to develop my potential …

It hardly needs me to add then, that as a consequence of this perspective of mine re these concepts of Eugene Halliday’s, I consider my approach to them to be more than just simply ‘an understanding’ of them, but as a definite mode of praxis for me, and one that consciously affirms my taking on board these (expanded by me) concepts of his.

As I have repeatedly stated here in this blog though, there may be other ways of approaching this for all I know. And if anyone reading this has, in fact, developed their own way of proceeding here (and is not merely reacting to what it is that I’ve written) then I would love to hear from them about this (different) mode of praxis of theirs.

Finally for this bit … I don’t believe that unless you have somehow come across these ideas of Eugene Halliday’s you will be unable to Work … Because you obviously can do so without ever having heard of him, or his ideas … (See, for example, Boehme, for more on this point if you’re interested).

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If you change whatever it is that you believe the world to be, then you will change whatever it is that you believe yourself to be; and if you change whatever it is that you believe yourself to be, then you will change whatever it is that you believe the world to be .

And if you do ever come to realize this about your existence, you will now need to learn to function dialectally… Because you now know that what is going on down here is not just simply a process of merely ’causes and affects’.  

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Whether you’re a fan of Saussure, or Pierce, or Wittgenstein, or Derrida, communicating with either ‘yourself’ or with ‘others in the world’ requires that you come to terms with ‘the arbitrariness of the sign’.

And although you might still suppose – at least where it concerns your own private, hermeneutic language – that you do not need to agree or disagree with others here on the particular meaning (never mind the definition) of any sign (word), because ‘what you’re saying’ is all going on here in ‘the privacy of your own mind’ – in fact you do.

Because when you talk to yourself, actually ‘someone else’ is listening… And this ‘someone else’ must either agree or disagree with you – even if you believe that this ‘someone else’ is ‘still you’…

And also – perhaps even more importantly – this is where the roots of ‘difference’; ‘the other’; and ‘division’, actually lie.

From ‘NOCTURNAL EMISSIONS’
‘Random Dribbling from the Twilight World of the Undead’
by Bob Hardy
(A series of fragments from Bob Hardy’s notebooks – from the late-1970’s to date)

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I believe that it is only ever my relationships with an ‘objective world’ that provide me with any ‘meaning’. And it is only this ‘meaning’ that can ever make any difference.. Or I could say – after Eugene Halliday – “It’s (only) real, if it makes a difference.” …

And so it follows for me than, that ‘nobody’, or ‘no thing’ at all, could possibly ever make a difference to me, unless I’m in a relationship either with them, or to it.

NOTE: An interesting series of very important questions for me here center around, “Is it possible to be in a relationship, and thus be effected by it, if I’m not conscious of it?” (It is – by the way)… or “What happens if I am mistaken as to the nature of a relationship here; does this mean that my subsequent inter-actions with my objective reality are ‘flawed’ in some way?” (Yes – it does) .. “How do I refer to something if I’m not in relationship with it?” (I don’t – I can only register, and then refer to, it’s affect)…

To come to grips with these question though, I believe that you first of all must appreciate the crucial difference between the meaning of the terms;: ‘sentience’; ‘reactivity’; ‘awareness’; ‘consciousness’; ‘reflexive-self-consciousness’…

For many though, these terms are often confused, or conflated. And although this might not matter that much in the course of any day-to-day chatter, if you are using these terms when you’re Working it is crucial that you appreciate the fundamental difference in meaning between them…

A whole portion of my active language is devoted to illuminating: What is, or is not, ‘real’?; What is a ‘trick’ and what is an ‘illusion’?; What process takes place in me in order for me to accept events as ‘real’?, etc.

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To summarize a bit here…What is only ever happening ‘in me’ is that I am experiencing modifications of the circumscribed Sentient Power that constitutes ‘me’, and so there is never then, as I am very fond of saying, “Anyone else here in the building with me.” And thus I am – you might say – only every experiencing immanence – modifications of that circumscribed Sentient Power that constitutes ‘me’ … So I never have an experience of any ‘extra’ Sentient Power ‘manifesting’ or ‘doing stuff’ in ‘me’ – so not transcendence then – except  via these modifications of my own circumscribed being. And hence the reason for that every present possibility of ‘doubt’ then 🙂 … Eugene Halliday’s concept of a translating wave of sentient power impacting upon the outer surface of a sphere of circumscribed sentient power is a useful starting point here – but in my case, I had to initiate quite a few modifications to it very early on in order to get further (And I started doing so by constructing and examining analogies using the way in which ‘heat’ is transferred by the way. i.e. Conduction; convection; and radiation).

This idea of ‘immanence only’ seems to make some people nervous … Perhaps because it reinforces a largely negative emotional reaction to the idea of ‘being alone’ – not a reaction to this idea that I share actually.

Rather, for example, the idea that everything in this dream that I’m dealing with here is some aspect or other of myself (and that would include all the ‘other’ people who might be in it, together with the buildings, the weather, the impossible situation, the emotional states etc) – all this symbolism that is arising from my non-directed thinking then – is something that I find mind-bogglingly mysterious, magical, and amazing, and – in my case, and so more importantly – much more reasonable to believe in….

And so my investigation of the manner in which I communicate with this ‘otherness’ that I am creating in this day-to-day waking world of mine that I then ‘find myself in’, by acts of seeing; smelling; touching; tasting; hearing; reasoning about; emoting over, etc. – and that are all properties of this ‘Sentient Power’ – is as much as I need to be dealing with … It’s far more than I can handle actually 🙂 …

I mean, “What is the purpose of all this?” … (And please note, that’s a completely different question from, “What is my purpose of all this?”)

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It might help you here if you could appreciate that, for me, even my ‘seeing something’ brings me – immediately that I do so – into relation with it. This in fact was another of my Work exercises. That is, to develop the ability to ‘See’ –  as opposed to just ‘see’.

To appreciate how I came to this idea though, you first really have to become aware that there are any number of things that are present in your ‘field of view’ all of the time that your eyes are open, and as a consequence of this, that it is, in actual fact then, possible to both ‘see’ and ‘See’.

Developing the ability to ‘See’ (with a capital ‘S’) hinges around the concept that the sense of sight, for me, (and all the other senses actually) is essentially irrational. In that the sense of sight ‘sees everything’ without discriminating, or focusing – obvious to you if you have ever observed a new baby attempting to gain ‘control’ of its own vision, I would say. …

So ‘seeing’ – in the sense that I mean it here – requires the ability to instantly initiate the act of consciously ‘looking at’, or the ‘bringing to be’ or ‘selecting’ some particular in that field of vision, and also incidentally, at the same time, of excluding everything else (much easier to get a handle on this idea by using the sense of hearing and imagining that you are focusing on that conversation that you want to over-hear ‘over there’ in some crowded, noisy room, while you are being spoken to by someone else, and have to converse with them).

This ‘seeing’ then, is for me, a purely rational process – in that it is one requiring an increasingly conscious act of discrimination the more that focussing upon some ‘particular’ within the ‘field of view’, is required by the looker… But – and here’s the interesting thing – although this sounds very complicated to manage, it’s something that everyone learns to do before they can even talk!

Why then have I brought it up here? … Because it provides a great metaphor for understanding what Working is about. The usual pitfall here is that ‘Seeing’ as opposed to ‘seeing’ involves cultivating the ability to ‘focus better’ or developing some sort of ‘occult micro-vision’… It isn’t anything like that! … ‘Seeing’ with a capital ‘S” is the ability to observe yourself ‘seeing’; to be aware in the moment that you are doing so… even if you’re nearly as blind as a bat!

Working on ‘sight’ (‘Seeing’) then, is practicing the act of ‘seeing’ – which, as I say, is almost always confused with ‘concentrating upon’ (or ‘focusing’) on some particular object of interest in your field of view –  which is still just ‘seeing’.

Actually, Working on the senses is another subject entirely, so I’ll leave you there with just that brief introduction, and carry on with the example of dreaming/waking.

And finally for this bit here.. And you might find this disappointing … a lot of what is actually ‘Working’ – particularly on your senses – is no big deal really.. And you can do simple things like ‘Seeing’ any time that you want. Developing these abilities won’t get you very far here though – so perhaps it would be better for me to refer to this mode of Working as being one that begins with a letter ‘w’ that is somewhere between a small case and a large case… For the time being anyway 🙂

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The next thing that I attempt to sort out?

To what extend can the events in this dream be subsumed under a series of dynamic, simple, causal, set of relations… For example, “I am climbing higher up this long flight of stairs here because I’m lifting my feet up one after the other, and as a direct consequence I feel a bit weary” or, “I am getting higher up this set of stairs here because I can levitate and the ability to do so is raising all sorts of conflicting emotional states in me.”… And to what extent can the events in this dream be subsumed under the aegis of an emergent system. For example,”What are the factors that went into determined my evolving emotional state in this dream – as in my being aware that there were two events in the dream that gave rise to a third, and my emotional state moved in a direction that could not have been realized from only one of those two prior events… And so was I then ‘being headed’ towards this emergent emotional state purposely in this way, or was it somehow a random consequence?”

Now here we can easily see a real problem with my attempt to formulate a ‘Method of Presentation’ that will suffice for me to inform others as to what it is that I’m up to here. Which is, that unless they already appreciate the concept of the ’emergent system’ (part of my ‘Conceptual Framework’ then) – at least as it applies to the simpler case of these changing emotional states of mine mentioned above – what will happen now is that more and more of any little ‘presentation’ of mine here, will very quickly become increasingly ‘passive’ to those who are listening to it… And although they might, from moment to moment, claim to be ‘following me’ and to ‘sort of‘understand’ what I’m on about – they will very soon forget any ‘meaning’ they have temporarily given to what it is that I am saying. Because what I’m presenting to them is neither ‘grounded’ in them experientially, nor can it be understood by them in any depth – due to their lack of an adequate ‘Conceptual Framework’.

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Anyway 🙂 …To go back a little to this example of mine. Notice that, in my case then, that it’s the, “Why is this happening … at all?’ that predominates, and not, say, the ‘What does it mean?”. And importantly, for me, this different approach to understanding something in all this here constitutes a different ‘journey’ for me… Do you see that?

So then, for me at least, the initial question here is ‘Why?’ … That is: What is it about us as beings (as circumscribed modes of this Sentient Power) that brings this state to be?… Does it happen to artichokes? … Does it happen to kangaroos?… If it does, does it happen in the same way? … There are literarily hundreds of questions you could think up here….And without a system, I believe you will do just that – go round in circles asking an unending number of, in the end, unconnected or unrelated questions.

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Thus – and problematically so – which direction do you go off in then? … Well I can only tell you that I believe you’re free to choose…

What particular perspective(s) do you focus on, and which do you ignore? … Well, I believe you’re free to choose them as well… 🙂

The question “What constitutes the ‘wheat’ and what constitutes the ‘chaff’?” here is, perhaps, a good way of looking at this, because it implies that you have to separate out these two components for yourself… Which of course implicitly implies they are initially ‘present together’ here… But we don’t all have the same ‘chaff’ and we don’t all have the same ‘wheat’. However we can have the same value systems of morality, or ethics, and so we can metaphorically use money (‘talents’ say) in order to clarify any ideas we might have about any increase in potential that we may have achieved (a profit then) in order to present our experiences at least to ourselves. So ‘chaff’ then is, to all of us here ‘worthless’, and ‘wheat’ is, to all of us here ‘a profit’.

You have to Work in order to refine as much of what you have that you can, and you can only do that by gathering together – using your ‘Scheme of Inquiry’ – as much unrefined material as you can, initially. So you could say that, “To begin with, it’s rather a messy business, but things eventually begin to clear up as you begin to Work and separate out what is valuable (to you, here and now) from the rest.” …

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I don’t believe that at some point, this requirement  to Work that I experience will ever cease. Neither do I believe that becoming ‘totally self-reflexive’; or ‘getting rid of my ego’; or ‘reaching a higher level of consciousness’; or ‘being saved’, or embracing any one of a host of ‘New-Age clap-trap quick-fix ideas’ out there, will ever make Working any ‘easier’.. Looking for this easier route though, is how I experience most people’s efforts here …

Here’s a rule for you then – ‘If you do find ‘Working’ easy, then you must be doing it wrong’.

For me … We grow old … and then we die .. And this whole business is such a profound mystery to me that if there was one state of being that I experience which convinces me there is some hope, then that would be when I am brought to the place where I can appreciate just how essentially unknowing all this ‘to be from moment to moment’ business actually is for me… The relief that I experience, in those rare moments in my life when this happens, is like nothing else.  Nonetheless, and paradoxically perhaps, I have still always had an unshakable belief in purpose – which I came to refer to, sometime in my early thirties, as Working…

Others, may of course, do exactly as they wish to with their lives… It’s in the rules down here anyway… 🙂

To be continued …

December 2016

Portland, Oregon.

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Here now, is the original first half of this post…

Sections of the email that I received are also included here in italics. I have expanded my reply to it a great deal in an attempt to clarify my position re Working and ‘matters Halliday’, in the hope that this will prove useful.

 IF, we are on similar wave-lengths, then you won’t mind engaging with the following ‘conundrums’ which arose as I read your most recent blog. Obviously it seeks to continue and summarize what went before, but without re-reading the last 20 posts (time being of the essence!), your ‘argument’ here does little to clarify what it is that we are aiming for with this ‘Working’ business.

Well, first of all, I would like to make it clear that it has never been my intention to present some form or other of ‘argument’ in this blog – at least in the sense that I’m defending any particular, intractable position of mine against others here.

Neither was it ever my intention that these posts of mine – even if read in numerical order – would constitute some manner or other of ‘causal chain’ – if only because they clearly do wander around a bit. ..

But apologies if what you have read here comes across like this… And I do admit that I can easily see how you might have come to this conclusion 🙂 …

I am, rather, you might say, “Always open to suggestions.”…

I should also like to add – just for the record – that I am not attempting to give my opinion here, as to who it is that I believe Eugene Halliday ‘was’ (such as a 20th Century ‘guru’, or anything like that) either.

What I have been attempting to do in these postings of mine, is tender an account of sorts re the consequences of my interactions with, what I consider to be, a number of major concepts that are contained in Eugene Halliday’s material output.

So my endeavor here is then, I would claim. far more of an ‘expansionist’ one – in that the perspective that I did eventually arrive at, ‘arose’ out of my attempts to engage experientially with this material. In other words, I didn’t listen to recordings of Eugene Halliday talks by starting with ‘number one’, and then go through them ‘in order’ – such that I was persuaded in some way re the ‘truth’ of them by the time I got to, say, the twenty-fourth one – which contained additional ‘information’ sufficient for me to say something like, “I would never have got all this without listening to that little bit of this particular recording, because without it, it’s obviously impossible!” … In fact, the penny only started to drop when I began to see that what he was ‘basically saying’ was contained in its entirety in many (but not all) of his individual talks. However I didn’t see this until I’d immersed myself in quite a few of them.

Providing some account or other of this ‘journey’ of mine is, I believe, the only purpose – where it concerns the products of someone else’s endeavors – that I (or anyone else here for that matter) could legitimately maintain with any integrity, at least out here in a public arena.

So I’m not trying to ‘persuade’ anyone here that the result of my ‘journeying’ – that is, what it is that came to have meaning for me here – is the unequivocal meaning of some particular concept or other of Eugene Halliday’s.

Also of primarily importance to me (at least when I started out with this blog) was to discover if this material actually had any meaning for others. And if it did, then what might that meaning be? …

My own take on Eugene Halliday is that he was (what I refer to as) ‘Working’. Which, in his case, I would claim was the attempt to perceive, to experience, ‘being here in the now’ from one unifying (axiomic) position; or (as he would, perhaps, put it) ‘governing concept’. To whit, ‘All that there is, is Infinite, or Absolute, Sentient Power’…. And that he was doing so, in part, by producing (what I refer to as) ‘texts’ that served to demonstrate this ‘governing concept’ of his, and thus functioned as a witness to his affirmation here; or that came to  constitute the ‘Fruits of is Labor’, you might say..

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Regarding your use of the word ‘we’ here, where it concerns ‘Working’.

I would have to know something more about your side of things here. I’m not aware that you have ever claimed to be (in some way) ‘Working’. And I have never maintained that what I refer to as ‘Working’ is an activity that has to be engaged in by anyone else. Unless, that is, they claimed to be, “A pupil of Eugene Halliday’s,” or to have, “Sat at the feet of the master,” etc.. or something like that . …

I do claim in my blog that I believe Eugene Halliday was  ‘Working’ – but have gone to some lengths to maintain that this is only how I see what it was that he was doing, and that I fully appreciate others might disagree with me entirely… So .. I engage with Eugene Halliday’s material, and I conclude that what he was doing was what I refer to as ‘Working’. I also understood him to be clearly, at least suggesting to others, that they also Work (see his note to that effect at the end of his ‘Rules for Ishval’) – which is how I subsequently came to innocently ask the question “So how did anyone else get on here who claims to have been involved in the things that Eugene Halliday suggested that they do?” And why I was so surprised by the response – or I should say (more accurately) by the almost total lack of response.

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My response to anyone who happens to put the word ‘Work’ and ‘we’ in the same sentence came, almost invariably, to be my “Who’s this ‘we’ you’re talking about? … I do hope that you’re not including me here!” position… 🙂 .. In fact I don’t ever recall ever having found anyone else who was Working to ‘join-up’ with – at least in the way that I would claim that I am..

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And I wouldn’t say that this ‘Working’ (in the sense that I use the term) necessarily constitutes a ‘group’ activity anyway… Primarily, because my experience at attempting to suspend any judgment here and ‘join in’ with what others seemed to be doing when they claimed to be either ‘Working’ themselves, or doing something that they believed was the same thing, always – in the end – seemed to back-fire on me, and seemed to me to be only ever productive of – what I came to refer to later as – an ‘inertic indulgence’. That is, a group of activities that were far more likely to produce some form of ‘consensus reality’, which very soon trapped those involved here in some pseudo-‘spiritual’-esoteric social space, and effectively blocked the possibility of them making any further progress.

A form of social activity then, where its members quickly come to invest most of their energy in supporting each other in their various attempts to rationalize, either their own inertic tendencies, or their participation in some crazy pseudo-esoteric cult; or some form or other of calisthenics – usually with a pseudo-Indian name with the word ‘yoga’ tagged on the end of it;  or in their support of some recent, fashionable (batty) New-Age ideology.

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I’ll just add here that I have never viewed Eugene Halliday as having ‘belonged’ to any group – at least in quite the same way that the majority of others who claim to have been involved here clearly seemed to think that he was.

I do believe that Eugene Halliday was advising others to ‘Work’ though – at least in the sense that I use the term. And, it seemed to me that he frequently suggested to various groups of interested listeners, an extremely straightforward and practical way of at least making some attempt to go about it… And so I suppose it would be reasonable that these listeners could collectively come to view themselves as a ‘we’. Particularly if they turned up at meetings for years on end…  But I have been unable to find any real evidence that this ‘we’ here ever developed into anything more really than just a ‘social group’. And the group meetings that I understood Eugene Halliday to have organized, and that I attended during week-days were certainly not Working in any sense that I came to understand the word. (Interestingly he handed the running of these groups over to others not long after they started. He would drop in on them from time to time, presumably to ‘lend his support’)… In fact most of those who attended didn’t appear to have the faintest idea as to what it was that they were supposed to be doing, or what was going on in general really.

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Speaking for myself here. When I saw Eugene Halliday giving a talk; or listened to one of his recordings; or read any of his essays, I was primarily interested in what he was doing, and how it came about that he was doing it (and also – as a fully paid-up deconstructionist – what was it that he was not doing) … and stuff like that… And thus, not so much then about the ‘subject content’ here (a great deal of which I will say that I did find extremely useful, but then again, a great deal of which I didn’t) but how he came to it… And the process by which he produced this material is really all that I have ever maintained a prolonged, deep, and abiding interest in.

Anyway, the generic term I use – that is, what I came to call what I believe he did – is ‘Working’.

I believe that Eugene Halliday Worked alone. But whether though that was from choice (an aspect of his technique here then) or circumstance (he simply made as much use as he could of what was ‘to hand’, ‘in the now’) I really wouldn’t like to say.

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Back to this ‘we’ thing again though..  I actually do believe that some form of ‘mutual’ support is possible where it concerns attempts to Work, particularly from a life-partner, or a close friend. But that in order to be able to offer this support; or be able to take advantage of it, those making these attempts must crucially – from the outset – be prepared to, “..show me yours, and I’ll show you mine.”

Regrettably though, it seems to me that one of the major motives for becoming a ‘we’ here, is that it enables many of those taking part to legitimately ‘hide in the crowd’ and wait for an endless stream of others to ‘go first’.. (“No Please! .. I insist! .. After you!”)  – And so, perhaps then, with a bit of luck they will be able to avoid ever ‘having a go’ themselves.. (“Oh look everyone! … We’ve run out of time again! … Sorry about that! … We’ll try to get those who didn’t step up this week to have a go next week… But we really do have to must move on here… Could we bring our empty cups back please” … Sighs of relief.). But now they have the delicious possibility of convincing themselves that they have, by their own good offices, got themselves ‘in the right place, and with the right crowd’. And then, by continually  deferring what the hell it was that they were actually going there for in the first place, they enter a sort of ‘Twilight Zone’ where they come to firmly believe that they must have in fact, ‘done the business’, because they’ve ‘been at it so long’, as it were…. Tragically, it is only when they eventually look back (if in fact they ever do) over those last couple of decades, that they might come to see that they’ve just been ‘marking time’… Regrettably though, most won’t.

But even if every single ‘we’ in this group are all, by some major fluke, in a rush to jump to the front of the queue and ‘be the first to show it all’. Crucial to any understanding of these ‘ritual relationships’  – first of all – is the appreciation that there is yet another major negative aspect here. Which is that most of those who turn up have no real idea of who it is that they really are to start with, and will instead make ‘genuine’ attempts to present each other with endless modified versions of the image of who it is that they happen to believe themselves to be, or that they like to show to others, at that particular moment… To (sort of) keep taking their wallets out of their back pockets in order to show the others involved here an endless series of snaps of someone else.

But most importantly, in the end – even if what is required here is successfully achieved – any thoughts, or feeling, or emotions, or actions, that subsequently arise as a consequence of this ‘revealing’, are only of relevance if they serve to move anyone involved here forward (even one would be OK).

So it’s not about ‘we’ really… ; or of gaining entrance to that mysterious ‘esoteric’ group’; or ‘arguing’; or ‘winning’; or ‘persuading’; or ‘negating’; or ‘disagreeing’; or ‘debating’; or ‘holding an opinion’, but only ever about being presented with the opportunity to ‘take another step’…

And notice that I’m not claiming here that taking this next step is what will certainly be done, necessarily. Only that you have succeeded in placing yourself in a position where you believe there is now an opportunity to do so… … And at this point then, it’s clearly not a ‘we’ thing at all … Anyway 🙂

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I don’t believe that there’s any particular methodology that ‘we should all be aiming to apply here either. That is, there is no ‘one size fits all’ then. But in my particular case, if it helps:

  • I believe you need to have a particular over-riding sense of purpose – such that you can eventually come to realize that having a ‘profound interest in’, or deciding that something would be ‘a very good thing to ‘attempt to do’, or ‘to live by’, is just not enough here… A much more stoic approach is needed in my opinion then (although I admit that this might just be me, but somehow I don’t think it is).
  • You also have to recognize that rationality – while obviously an excellent and essential tool for ‘understanding stuff’ – is only one half of what it is that is needed here; the other half then, being irrational. And that a major portion of what it is that you are attempting here, is the transcendence of both of these two approaches in your dealings with the objective world (the rational and the irrational) such as to bring them together into ‘dynamic balance’, in such a way that you are always ‘becoming’….
    If that sounds a bit too cryptic, try, “Becoming someone who can transcend these two aspects of their objective world, and see them as giving rise to something further.” … But I suppose that sounds just as cryptic … Now I come to think about it .. 🙂
    In my experience, the rational aspect of what I like to think I’m doing can always be contained in some form of text; but the irrational part cannot. This is easier to see in a shared experience, where any effort to ‘trap’ this experience ‘in the now’ (in language say) is always experienced by the parties involved as inadequate (from mildly to hopelessly so – even if one of them perhaps resorts to the reciting of one of Shakespeare’s sonnets, or throws in the odd Latin quote {And why is it that if somebody says something in a dead language that translates into English as, “A face like a sack full of spanners,” there’s an opinion that it is somehow more ‘worthy’?} … An approach that I’ve never been able to understand personally, because it always seemed like cheating to me – although others seem to quite like indulging in it) … Anyway ‘something is always left out here then’, if I could put it like that…
    Thus, what I am saying here, is that any complete and rational ‘summarizing’ of the various states experienced here – particularly when we reach the level of a really intimate relationship – is impossible in principle…
    However, the spontaneous presentation of a bunch of roses at precisely the right time, can ‘do the trick’ here – but only ever ‘in the moment’, and only ever, ‘for the moment’… If you see what I mean  …
    Think of that question, “What do you mean when you say you love me?” ….And then think of that same question – with the addition now of some comments – something like this … And see what you think.

“What do you mean when you say you ‘love me’? … … Oh! … Wait a minute! … I’m sorry! … You gave me an exhaustive answer to that particular question last week! … So I already know exactly what it is that you are going to say! … Don’t I? …  I’m so-oo sorry!!  … And I do so-oo apologize for momentarily forgetting, and thus risking the possibility of wasting your time! … Can you ever forgive me darling?” .

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There have to be questions… You have to develop your own unique questions. Questions that no one else would ask in quite the same way that you do… Questions that are always there, and that come to constitute a large part of who it is that you ‘authentically. are, and what it is that you do…And you have to really know what these unique questions of yours mean, you have to develop that active language of yours in order to really ‘nail’, to pin, your question  ….They are the why of your Work… And I also believe that it is only by Working that you will ever find any answers to them… So I could say that this we is only, in the end a we when all the individuals that make it up have come to the place where they can all formulate ‘authentic questions’ – even if these questions differ… A bit heavy that, I suppose, but there it is 🙂

It would probably help you further here if I provided some detailed biographical information about the way in which my own efforts to move forward were reinforced, or augmented, by what I saw as the efforts of a number of other people (including Eugene Halliday) … But again, to do that properly would take a great deal of time and so it must – for the time being at least – be something for later.

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I am presuming that you are writing this out of a loving concern for ‘Action’ in your fellow journeymen, who show no signs of ‘putting the plug in the socket’ shall we say?

 

Not really … but thanks!

I’m not really that lovingly concerned about what it is that others are doing, I have enough going on with what it is that I’m trying to do… But I’d probably get a lot more Christmas cards if I did..  🙂

I’m actually just looking for others who might be Working, and trying to clarify to myself (and any others here) what I have been and am still, attempting to do.  And I’m also placing on record what it is that others who claim some association with Eugene Halliday, seem to have been doing from my perspective.

If we have a Governing Concept at all, then we have either idolized it or are not understanding it.

The simplest reply here would be for me to say that I’ve never actually met anyone else who has made any claim to the effect that they have a ‘governing concept’. Although one or two have trotted out the occasional ‘motto’… In fact I have never met anyone who has claimed that they make use of a ‘system’ (in the sense that I use the term – and which is also the sense in which I believe Eugene Halliday used it) either.

So it would be safer for me to say here that I don’t know. And that what I have attempted to do in this blog re the concept of a ‘governing concept’ is to point out some of the problems that I have experienced in attempting to formulate, and subsequently Work, with what I believe was the one that I make use of.

Perhaps I could add here though, that if this ‘governing concept’ is employed only in the production of a ‘genuine’ response, then probably (regrettably) the answer to your question here – from my perspective at least – would be, “Yes. It has indeed been idolized, or at the very least it has not been understood.” … But then perhaps not so much ‘idolized’, but more like, “What a great idea! I’ll give that a try just as soon as I can get round to it,” … And not so much ‘not understanding’ then, but more like a process of de-contextualizing or ‘trimming’ Eugene Halliday’s material, such that it then magically appears to fit quite nicely (or near enough) with their present lifestyle… And so all that really needs to be done here then is just a little bit of tweaking … And also perhaps some minor spring cleaning… … So ‘no need to make a fuss’ then..

If it is employed in the production of an authentic response however, then most of the time a ‘governing concept’ is far more likely to be experienced as a self-imposed limitation that can often be really irritating… This is because when Working ‘authentically’ the major purpose of your governing concept is to act as a guide, and also a limit to your endeavors…

As your involvement with your ‘governing concept’ grows though, this growth will be experienced as an expansion of the limits of the application of this term (as Eugene Halliday would put it) and as a direct result of this you will experience a real ‘increase’ in power (or – to put it another way – you will realize an actual profit, or an increase in ‘talents’, if you like).

Thus, if you’re really serious about your attempts to Work, your Governing Concept will function something like your very best friend.

If this isn’t what happens, then I would say that you must be doing it wrong. 🙂

I seem to remember in a previous post, that you were very emphatic about the difference between and the correct usage of the terms ‘genuine’ and ‘authentic’, vis-a-vis active and passive language.

I would like to stress here that, primarily, it’s in my own usage of these terms that I am ‘emphatic’ about  – I don’t particularly care how anyone else uses them really, except where it relates to their personal elaboration of Eugene Halliday’s material – in which case I would probably be very interested. And I only offer my perspective on these two words here in order to perhaps assist those who will (in their more unguarded moments) confess to not having got very far in all this. And so then, viewing ‘Work’ in this way – from the perspective of these two words that is – might help them here … Then again, maybe it won’t ….

So the elaboration of these two words here in this blog comes about because they are intimately connected with my own particular approach to Working, which is intimately connected to my understanding of the terms ‘active’ and ‘passive’ – and maybe not at all to anyone else’s understanding of them..

 

This might help. I am, say, attempting to create more ‘meaning’ in my use of the two words ‘genuine’ and ‘authentic’. I now consider the word ‘individual’, and then look at two further words connected with it… like this

  • ‘Individualist’ (and so ‘individualism’). This is a word I would use with ‘genuine’ .. the development of our own particular traits, such that we might become a ‘rugged individualist’ for example.. Changes then, in who we are, and – predominating here – how we are perceived by others ’in the world’
  • ‘Individuation’ – the process of working on ourselves as a totality – warts and all – through the medium of relationships – which are the magic ingredient in our lives, and the only way by which we can achieve any  real transformation here, and not just change, in my opinion.

Clearly however, there is some overlap here, and this is where I believe you must start – but if you want these words to be really ‘active’ for you, then you must involve yourself in a contemplation of them that is exclusively centered around your actual experiences with them… To ‘bring them to life’ then, if you like…

This will bring you to the limit of the application of these two terms as they apply to you ‘in the moment’ … So you can now say something (if only to yourself) like “When I say these two words, I mean this.” And perhaps go on to say to others, “What do you mean when you use these two terms?” … This will allow you to see whether or not the person you are talking with has done any Work on these words, or knows hardly anything about their meaning at all (and by ‘hardly anything’ I include their definition and etymology of it – which I consider to be only a reasonably clear starting point here).

That is, these words carry only enough meaning for them such that they ‘sort of’ understand any conversation that they might be having where they might hear, or perhaps use, one or both of these words.. For example, “I think Graham Norton is a genuine person.”; and, “I think that’s an authentic ‘Beano’ comic there. But that other one … that ‘Dandy’? … It’s only a photo-copy! … It’s a fake, mate!”

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This might also help… Initially, if you only try to use one of these words deliberately, when you can, in some situation or other. (As in , ‘I’ll try and get the word ‘genuine’ into as many conversations as I can, as many times as I can, for the next week … So that I can get used to it,” – sort of thing.) Then I would say that there’s a good chance that you will, not very long after doing so, forget anything of value you might have picked up here … But if you tell yourself instead, that you have to decide which of these two words to use – and tell yourself why you do use one over the other, then you will begin to see some sort of relationship between them, and this will make them active – because there will now be a perceived (experiential) dynamic between them (a ‘Yes’ and a ‘No’, that is) that you can sense between them – the little dance that they now do together, the little pattern they now make in your head, if you like. And this pattern can only come ‘to be’ by making use of that limited Sentient Power you have at your disposal, which you have now actively willed here to become tied-up in this dynamic pattern…

However, that’s not the end of it’, because it will now need ‘tending to’ –  otherwise it will very quickly become choked with weeds… The more you get here, the more response-ability you have, because it’s only you that can do the ‘looking after’ here 🙂

… So my further advice is always to try to work on two related terms at the same time, that way you will begin to see what Eugene Halliday’s ‘limits of the application of terms’ really means …. for you… And how it is that you need to ‘switch terms’ in certain situations; or even find that it’s possible to use the two of them. Because these two terms will sort of ‘shade into’ each other due to where and what it is that you are doing at the particular time,.

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Here’s a bit more about these two words.

Becoming truly (or fully) ‘authentic’ is my way of providing some sort of ‘umbrella-word’ as to what it is I’m experiencing down here. And so my claim to be attempting to center on my ‘authentic being’ is my way of expressing the idea that I’m struggling to be ‘on my way’ as much as I am able, and that part of my problem is that I’m divided – in the main – into who I am ambitious to be – that’s my ‘genuine’ self, the one that wants to save the world, if you like; and my ‘authentic’ me, who needs a lot of Working on….

And what is that all about for me in a little more personal detail?

Well – as a Christian – I need a couple of words to imagine two forms of being that provide meaning for how I feel about: a) what it’s like to be ‘having a go’ here (my version of the ‘imitation of Christ’ if you like) and; b) what I’m doing most of the rest of the time (which is usually naughty stuff; but occasionally might be ‘nice’ – particularly if I’m after something).

These two words are ‘authentic’ and ‘genuine’ …

I believe that there is only ever one representative, truly ‘authentic-all-the-way-down’ ideal human-being in any particular culture; in any particular aion, or that functions efficiently for any particular ‘zeitgeist’. And, as a European, that is for me is ‘The’ (the definite article here with the capital ‘T’ to remind me) Christ … And all the rest of us are as it were, in the end, failures for one reason or another.. Including all those ‘Saints’ and Martyrs’ (and definitely Mr Halliday then), however magnificent the effort.

Well… So what? …Because if Christ was ‘God incarnate’ (and that’s only just a couple of words by the way – and you really do need to clarify to yourself what this short two-word phrase might mean to you. Clue – this would definitely not mean someone who could part the waters of the Red Sea; or change water into wine; or pull a rabbit out of an empty hat) … Anyway, to continue, if Christ was ‘God incarnate’ somehow, then doesn’t he have an unfair advantage here?

Well no, he doesn’t really – at least not down here, as I see it, he doesn’t.

How do I arrive at that conclusion? … Well, here’s three reasons.  1) Christ’s ruminating in the garden over what he must do, before ‘giving it up’ to the Romans; 2). His having to take little rests when he was lugging his cross up the hill; 3). His cry from the cross re ‘being forsaken’ … These three ‘states’ that he experienced here makes him appreciably human for me..And that is the crucial thing in this whole scenario – I don’t care too much about the ‘God incarnate’ thing (because I don’t really know what those ‘organized religious’ mean when they say stuff like this – they seem to always mean ‘magic-man’ to me) but, “I do the Work of my Father,” I can get… Because in the sense that they can both do the same thing, I can see the meaning of ‘I and my Father are one’ when that is going on.. But if they were both doing it all the time this would mean to me that they were essentially the same and that would be a duality… But they’re not – because one of them is ‘part human’.

Interestingly here… What is this, “My Father Works..” all about?  (… “Sorry! … Can’t stop for a chat right now mate! …I’ve still got loads of Work to do.”) … Is there then, ‘something’ (let’s say, ‘creation’ for convenience here) unfinished in some real sense… Is it still then a ‘Work in progress’?… Is that what this ‘purpose’ thing is all about? (No space here to write more about this, but this is yet another very interesting aspect of all this for me 🙂 …)

A useful metaphor for me here is ‘Light’, where ‘full of light’… which (like Boehme) I would claim  is a state that ‘covers’ the darkness – a darkness which would be experienced when the light goes out (which is often the Human Condition) and that ‘comprehends the light not’ … As in, “Hang on a mo’, I’m just gonna turn this light out, to see what the dark looks like.”

Tripping up down here – even if it’s only once – means that an attempt has to be made to get back up.. Which means that something needs to be done (a decision needs to be made) … which is what we humans appear to be about.

So in order for me to believe Christ was human, I need to see that he had an awareness of the darkness here – which he needed then to overcame.

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But I would also have to say here that for me, this God does not decide. That is, there is no “Oh heck! What am I going to do here now?” going on. Because God is ‘All light’ and so, gets the big picture immediately then. (And, in Christ’s case that would also be the case for a lot more of the time (important word here – that ‘time’) than the rest of us, and is what I refer to as ‘being awake’)… But there must be a point at which we see his Humanity, his striving, because we need to, in order to form any relationship with Him. Otherwise it would be a bit like trying to be Spiderman, or Superman… Interestingly though, the way we have been trained to see this culturally by church and state, it’s the ‘human’ part that always does the letting down (but not by as much if you happen to be the Pope or the Prince of Wales, say, apparently) …

And see, that’s another bit of this that I’m not on board with here really. In fact there are a some of us who think there’s something that might not quite right about the Head Honcho   … 🙂

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So for me there has to be an experience in us that informs us that even for Him it wasn’t all just a ‘stroll in the park’ – and that, in act, he Worked on overcoming this darkness – even when it threatened to overwhelm Him…. He was Working ceaselessly then.. And those nails in his hands and feet were in fact just as much a ‘big oww-ee’ for him as they would be for anyone else – except for perhaps Spiderman or Wolverline.

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Finally on this bit. Even if it seems to you that I am being far too emphatic, remember that you are reading a text from me here, it is not the actual experience itself .. I am not debating an idea … I am attempting to describe a state – which I find frustrating sometimes and that, even at best, is extremely elusive to pin down… And it doesn’t really matter in the end if I can’t present it as clearly as I experience it … It’s about the trying. If it was ‘no trouble’ – all that ‘just ‘let’ it come in from the ‘field’ rubbish,  it just wouldn’t be worth doing .. Nothing would be revealed … The light wouldn’t flicker… It wouldn’t be Work… It would just be the illusion of Work… As far as I’m concerned.

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In this current post, the thrust of your ‘concern’ is spelt out near the end of the post, when you write, “ultimately this means, (at least as far as I’m concerned) that there are no ‘universal meanings’…..” To be consistent here, would you not have to allow that others may use these terms according to their own allocated meaning, which must then, be equally valid, given that you are not interested in the …”definition of, or etymological root” etc, and firmly place the stress on ‘You must do the necessary Work’, …”only you are able to initiate a process, and then subsequently involve yourself in it, such that it will give your life any meaning down here” ?

Exactly. But the problem here (where it concerns Eugene Halliday’s material particularly) is that I’ve never met anyone who’s ever been prepared to do that. That is – tell me what it (never mind any ‘Universal’) means to them… No one has ever said to me anything like, “Well this is what it’s actually like for me, this is what goes on; these are the surprises; this is how I ended up a couple of times; this is really hard for me; I don’t really know where to begin; I never seem to be able to stick at it; I suspect I’ve gone way of track; I never imagined that doing this would take me here; It doesn’t seem to be affecting others like this,… etc. etc.” It’s like talking to someone who has never actually been in the water, but has accumulated endless ideas and anecdotes about swimming; professes that swimming is their abiding interest; that they’ve met Tarzan, and – where it concerns any attempt by you to tell them what swimming is actually like for you – immediately starts insisting that what you say either couldn’t possibly have any validity – because Tarzan didn’t say it first, or that you’re ‘doing it all wrong’ … And yet there you are standing in front of them, in your swimming trunks, dripping wet, and panting. … (OK… So – not a pretty sight then 🙂 ) …

And yes! … ‘others may use these terms according to their own allocated meaning, which must then, be equally valid’ … Of course I do! And also that I am free to accept or reject these meaning that others give… But be aware that I believe many out there have little, or next to no, meaning in their lives – even though they might have heaps of ‘other stuff’.

Having earlier explained (in this same post) that “Working then, which is a process whereby one is (not simply accomplishing tasks but) attempting to ‘become’ something”…. What is the ‘something’ that we are trying to ‘become’?

First of all, irrespective of: whatever you believe it is that you’re doing: whatever it is that you are actually doing; whatever it is that you’d like to be doing; whatever you don’t want to do; whatever it is that someone else is making you do; etc. etc., like it or not, you are always ‘becoming’ something … anyway…

And you are certainly becoming older, and you’re certainly going to die…

And there are also a myriads of things that you will never become – such a giraffe; or a bunch of chrysanthemums; or a nuclear bomb shelter; or a song.

And so then, if you’re going to ‘become’ something anyway – what’s the big deal here?

I’m going to say that the most important word in this sentence What is the ‘something’ that we are trying to ‘become, is that word ‘trying’  Here is that same sentence with this word changed: What is the ‘something’ that we are going to ‘become’?; What is the ‘something’ that we are having to ‘become’?What is the ‘something’ that others want me to ‘become’? … Can you see what I mean?

I’m saying that the word ‘trying’ here is the one that has to become an active part of your language (For me, by the way – if this was my sentence – the word would be ‘striving’)  …  … In the same way that, in the term ‘All that there is, is Sentient Power’ – the important word for me here is that ‘is’… either one will do).

Anyway… What are you trying to become by Working then? … That would ‘your authentic self’, instead of your ‘genuine’ self, which is that being you are continually attempting to present to the world for whatever reason (You believe that you are a Roman Centurion say, and that you have lots of very important functions that you clearly just cannot abandon… Can you? … I mean – be reasonable for Christ’s sake! … 🙂  ) … And even for what you imagine is for a ‘very good’ reason (like devoting yourself to some charitable cause or other – a method much favored by pop and film stars; and also for those with too much money, or time, on their hands); or something you have come to believe is for the very best of reasons (Eugene Halliday would ask you though, “Good for what, or for who, exactly?)…

And before you think I’m against this sort of behavior, I will tell you that I am most definitely not, I indulge in it myself. But I would add that this behavior is almost always NOT constitutive of Working… It’s just something you can do in order to oil that conscience of yours – as (hopefully) you come to see how you are connected to so much of what is going on in the world that is dreadful – and how helpless you are – by yourself – to do anything about it…In other words, this ‘very good’ reason’ that you have for behaving like this, is actually a mercy  … For you. 🙂

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It’s also important to ‘take stock’ here at regular intervals. To take it easy for a bit… Say once every seven days..

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There’s a view of doing stuff out there that is connected very closely with sitting in a quiet room and doing nowt… But this has got very little to do with Working either, which is far more like trying to get that washing in off the line during a sudden heavy rainstorm, accompanied by a high wind… You just find yourself ‘trying to do your best’ … By, say, putting the clothes-pegs in your mouth while trying to stuff as many still-damp clothes under both your arms as you can…

You might be able to see here that your ‘genuine self’ could, far more likely, be much more concerned with ‘looking good’ while doing so. And so could easily start protesting, and be trying to discover all sorts of acceptable motives for quickly running back into the cosy kitchen – and not doing anything about those clothes out there on the washing-line…

This is the major hang-up, as I see them, for all of those well-meaning folk who are desperate to present themselves as  ‘yoga teachers’,  or some variety of ‘self-elected guru’ or other. They seem to have deluded themselves into believing that if only they knew the right trick (which always seems to involve training oneself to breath up one nostril; or ‘think of nothing’ {something that many of them actually seem to be very good at}; or eat only beans and radishes; or wear a white suit, grow facial hair, and talk using a very quiet reassuring tone about how easy it actually all is when you ‘know’,  then they will be able to stand in their garden in the middle of a howling gale with not a hair out of place, remain bone dry, and with all the washing stacked up and folded very nicely in that organic basket at their feet. … In the meantime, the best that they actually seem to have on offer, as far as you’re concerned, is to tell you to, “Try to keep calm, and wring your trousers out when you get back in the kitchen.” Something that our budgerigar could have told you for free, without you having to buy a special mat and go to all the trouble of learning – and then having to remember – the Sanskrit word for ‘Clothes-line’… You surely don’t need to go on a special diet to figure stuff out like this out do you? … Or maybe you do, because perhaps you believe that if only you can fill your life with an endless number of disconnected ideas, you’ll get to the end of it without spoiling your perm…

So then, I would maintain that  you need to have a period set aside (a ‘day of rest’ is a good way to think about it … 🙂  …) to do a bit of getting up-to-date and sorting out..

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If you’re ‘doing it properly’, you will eventually reach a place where you clearly have to accept who it is that you really are, and (at this point, rather obviously) you see that now (and only now) you have a choice to ‘set your face’ towards doing something about yourself – that is, to ‘become’ what you’re supposed to be… Another way to see this is that you now, finally, at last, have someone real that you can love, because this ‘authentic self’ is someone real.

And out of this love, you will now have the latent possibility to love others, because you are now real (please note, I’m not saying that you are ‘perfect’ or even ‘better’). Only that you are now a ‘someone’ then, who can ‘be’ with others …really..

Having had this realization (you don’t have to Work on perceiving initially that you are divided – if you look, you will see that you have always known that you were).. You can now begin your journey of ‘becoming who it is that you have the potential to really be’ (I call this process ‘Working’). Any particular progress that I happen to make here, I conceptualize as a ‘profit’. And no matter how insignificant it might seem at the time, it is always welcomed 🙂

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Something else that might help here … For me, the phrase ‘behaving spiritually’ means to be working on a re-arrangement of your present form by controlling the way that you function (learning ways to discipline yourself either positively or negatively) – something that usually requires the production of a great deal of  guilt on your part… Becoming a ‘spiritual person’ on the other hand is to transform your form by Working, and then engaging in meaningful relationships with others and with the world and the objects that you find in it, and thus ‘becoming’, such that you will have ‘more life, and have it more abundantly’ (producing an ‘increase’ or ‘profit’ for yourself then)… This will automatically produce a change in the manner in which you subsequently function, which will transform your form (but perhaps not in the way , or in anything like the measure, that you might have wanted)… One of Eugene Halliday’s suggested methods here was that you commit completely to something … (Letting our “Yes” be yes, and your “No” be no, then), without knowing (without being able to predict) what was going to happen (“I will help this mentally ill person no matter what happens; no matter how they behave; and no matter what is required of me.”) Mothers do it all the time by the way… Obviously though, once again, it is very easy to maintain that in some cases there might be some overlapping of the ‘genuine’ and ‘authentic’ – but if that’s all you’re doing (producing dialogue of the type, “I don’t quite get what you mean… What about etc. etc.”) the most important thing for you to now understand is why you are doing so, and if in fact it’s the sort of thing (continually engaging in delaying tactics by telling yourself you’re just being cautious, or that you don’t quite understand) that you only ever really do in situations like this… 🙂 … Once again, I believe that Eugene Halliday had a great method for Working with this overlap, that he systematized using his concepts of ‘Ancestral Inheritance’ and ‘The Long Body’ (etc.). Where – to cut to the chase – your ‘authentic’ self convinces your ‘genuine’ self that it will get what it wants out of any situation if it will only get out of the way and stop interfering while you ‘get on with things’ here… In his system any increase now achieved by the ‘authentic’ self removes some of that engramic energy of ‘your’ circumscribed Sentient Power from the ‘genuine’ self, thus weakening it’s influence (It’s a bit more complicated than that… Actually it’s a lot more complicated than that 🙂 … And so, once again, I don’t think this is too good a time to go any deeper into it here)

Is the ‘be’ always coming and never arriving? You go on to say that your criteria for evaluating others “…re. their claims to be Working…..is just how able they are becoming at ….’doing’…..themselves”. Is your intention here to place the stress on ‘doing’…themselves’? In which case, only you and the given ‘Worker’ would know about it, i.e. you have ‘defined’. Working and say that few, if any, manage it, which is really hardly surprising given the lack of ‘ultimate meaning’.

See above on my belief in the requirement to Work as part of  the Creative Process… And I would just add that I have no idea how many of the seven billion plus of us are Working (I can’t ‘feel them doing it in the field’, or anything like that)… I suspect though that many are Working away quietly, but that, unlike me, they don’t happen to need material – such as that produced by Eugene Halliday – to keep them at it… I happen to be one of those beings who do so, because all my activity – like that of any introvert – requires that I first acquire or create some form of interior form to relate to before I can interact with the objective world  ..

I  don’t feel that this is of any real concern to me anyway; I can’t really generate any interest in something like ‘ultimate meaning’…

My only concern here are for those I meet with as I go on my way…  I don’t see many Working, it’s true, but – to use what I believe is Eugene Halliday’s view here –  Creation continues with or without any particular circumscribed being’s committed involvement to Work for the development of potential (He referred to this as the ‘slow way’ of evolution) – you can be as selfish as you damn-well like! It’s just that you can join in if you freely chose to do so, and that if you do you will find that you now have that  ‘Pearl of great price’ … But I’m getting all mystical again now…  🙂

Once again, as I have already pointed out somewhere in these posts I have no idea what the ‘ultimate’ in ‘ultimate meaning’ really ‘means’. It’s an idea that seems to me to be very closely associated with ‘the best’ – a major obsession for the many ambitious folk who appear to me to be spending most of their time attempting to clamber up very greasy poles in order, they fancy, for them to ‘get somewhere’… Can I ask if you have this ‘ultimate meaning’ in any aspect of your being?

In the post, you are interested to consider where the stress belongs in the words of a sentence, in order to deduce the intended meanings. However, if all meanings are subjective to an individual (“know what it means to you”), then this subjectivity implies that meaning is ephemeral and as fleeting as our lives, upon which that meaning then depends for manifestation. Hence, meaning becomes a pseudo-meaning, anchored to nothing (not even the ‘no-thing’).

All meaning is predicated upon the value of your relationships to other beings; objects; experiences, etc. as well as to your ideas. And it seems to me that you don’t give these aspects of all this the importance that I believe they deserve. It is dangerous to be satisfied entirely with a ‘correct answer’ – which is, in my view, merely a component of your current ‘Savior for a time’ – a construct then that will (and should) fall apart or turn to dust in the time process – because (thankfully) you will no longer need it..

 

I agree with the necessity of your heuristic approach to ‘meaning’ (or Work), through techniques which seek to inquire, explain, investigate and real-ise for yourself, yet as I already mentioned, I can’t see that Meaning itself..

There is no such thing as ‘Meaning itself’ except where it ‘arises’ from those techniques you happen to employ that are being used to throw light upon an already existing relationship… You cannot dissect a piece of paper with the word ‘five pounds’ on it and say, “Here’s the value bit – this little chunk here.” Just as you cannot ‘dissect’ your relationships in order to extract their ‘meaning itself’.

does not have some ‘objective’ (wrong word, but can’t find a better one) source (as does ‘Truth’, ‘Value’, ‘Purpose’ etc), which can only be conceptualised as God, S.P. or the Father etc.

I am not dissuaded that, yes, we do create our own meanings ‘down here’ because it is our way of qualifying what is real to us. Or, to put it another way, “All that there is, is Sentient Power, and this Sentient Power is Working for the development of potential in All being.” .. And the act of qualifying this process, as we experience it ‘in the now’, forms part of our attempt to ‘give it’ meaning.

Again there seems to be an attempt here to abstract the term ‘meaning’ from the experiential relationship that it essentially and necessarily requires for me to be. It’s like using a term like ‘just love itself’ … I have no idea what this might ‘mean’ and in fact it sounds ridiculous to me. (Interestingly here, Eugene Halliday maintains that ‘hate’ is ‘love deprived of its object’).

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My experience has been that although I’ve met more than a good few who claim that they are really interested in the idea of Work (one group here would be those who turned up to hear Eugene Halliday speak). But all that they really seemed to be interested in were ‘snippets’ of ‘occult information’ (if I could put it like that), or some definite course of action (complete with instructions of one sort and another) so they could ‘get stuck in’ and ‘develop’, and which they would then go on to discuss endlessly, between themselves. And if I had to say what was really going here with all these beings, it would be, “Nothing much at all really. Nobody here comprehends the purpose of Work, and instead imagines that it’s an ‘activity’ or something like that, where we learn all about ‘knowing things’ or ‘developing life-styles’ in order to perhaps, ‘ further enjoy our lives’ (Whatever on earth that is supposed to mean).” And without a sense of profound purpose already present (even if this is, by and large, unformulated, or undeveloped), without any overall direction then, engaging in pursuits like this confers no more real understanding necessarily  than any other leisure activity would.

So it is not that ‘All that there is, is Sentient Power, and that it is Working for the development of potential in all Being’ then… Because, as it stands, this is merely yet another interesting idea to discuss; or some sort of theological position that promises to become a fruitful area of study.

And so, in this facile sense, it cannot possibly be then, …’The .. Sole … Purpose … For .. My … Being …Here .. Now’. .. The problem? … This concept has to have meaningfor … me. And it can only have that if I enter into a relationship with it … If I experience it.

To be Continued ….

Bob Hardy
Portland, Oregon, USA

20th December, 2016.

 

 

THE BAD NEWS.
Those of you who have recently attempted to use the original domain name address (eugenehalliday.com) to access the Eugene Halliday Archive site will have discovered by now that you can now no longer do so.

This is due directly to the incompetence of (or was perhaps a direct decision taken by) those who insisted – some four plus years ago – that they should be the ones to be responsible for maintaining the continued presence of the Eugene Halliday Archive on the internet (by paying the rentals due directly for this service themselves).

I would add here that I had taken care of what is really this rather trivial (but non-the-less still essential) detail here myself for the first six years of the archive’s existence with absolutely no problems. So there was no straight-forward reason that I could see at the time for anyone wanting to take it on. Although it was suggested to me directly by one of those involved here that, “I wasn’t getting any younger.”

Ever the optimist though …

What’s this? … Are these people so desperate to appear as if they’re useful here? ….

Why don’t they do something that actually helps things to move forward in some way – instead of continually fiddling about?… …

But… surely… they will be able to take on this simple task without making a complete mess of it! …

So – OK! … Why not?

Let me then – in the spirit of co-operation and positivity – agree… ‘Give it a go’ then!” …

(Were there, even then, dark clouds gathering on that distant horizon … a message to me from the ‘field’ perhaps … one that I was choosing to ignore? 🙂

How many times do you need to go through this? … Look on the positive side though – It’ll be a useful learning experience, whichever way it goes. ….etc. etc.)

... I agreed.

However, those who sought to involve themselves directly here are now apparently  no longer paying for the rental of the necessary server space…. Surprise!! Surprise!! 🙂

THE GOOD NEWS.
As I suspected that this situation would inevitably end up in one form of shambles or another from the moment that those directly involved here did ‘take over’ … (Think: ‘Couldn’t’; ‘piss-up’; and ‘brewery’, in the same sentence here, if you want to know why) …  I made ‘alternative arrangements’ for the continued presence of the Archive well over a year ago – so that those who still wished to do so could avail themselves of this material, in a way that was still – so to say – ‘cost free’ …

So the archive is now back on line.. And this will not be happening again – at least not on ‘my watch’.

Here then is the Link to Eugene Halliday archive

Or, if you prefer, you can cut and paste this address:  www.eugenehallidayarchive.info  into your browser

BTW, I would advise you to ‘bookmark’ the new site for yourselves – if only because it’s far easier to do that than to keep coming to this blog, simply in order to access the above link.

 

Bob Hardy

9th August 2015

 

 

Before continuing on…

I must stress here  … that the methods I have devised to assist me in any presumed understanding of Eugene Halliday’s ideas or concepts, were developed exclusively for my own use; and it must also be clearly (and unequivocally) understood that I make no claim whatsoever to possessing any kind of ‘universal authority’ here… Indeed, I fully appreciate that many might completely disagree with my approach.

Bob Hardy – from the ‘About’ page of this blog

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Nothing down here is ever quite what it seems… … ‘Par exemple’…

(The lights fade up slowly to reveal a plainly decorated room with pale green walls; and dark brown varnished wooden floor-boards that are partly covered by a threadbare, stained rug. The room is lit by a single bare electric light bulb, suspended from the ceiling. The furnishings consist of a coat-stand – on which hangs an over-coat; bowler hat; scarf; and umbrella; a small table, on which there is a kettle, a few cups, and a biscuit-tin, etc; an old-fashioned electric-fire. Against the back wall, in which there is a door, we can see a couple of green metal filing cabinets.

He is dressed conventionally in a wrinkled, shabby-looking cheap suit, and is siting on a revolving chair behind a cheap desk, on the top of which is an open file. There is a large, black, old-fashioned telephone to one side of the desk, and he is holding the handset up to his ear and mouth…

He appears to listen intently for a few moments, before finally looking up and frowning.. He begins to speak).

…No, no! … What I’m telling you, is that we have not yet discovered any sure-fire way of guaranteeing that they will understand any of the clues that have been left lying around down here… Most of the time they simply just don’t ‘get it’ at all! … (He pauses) In fact, most of the time they just don’t seem to ‘get anything’ at all! (He laughs) … And in some instances they will arrive at a conclusion that is so bizarre – (He breaks off suddenly and looks up as if searching for inspiration) …. I’m telling you – you just couldn’t make it up! (He laughs loudly, and then listens intently for a few moment before continuing)…  

Well, as I say, not very many of them have the faintest idea …. But there are a group of beings down here that the rest of them like to refer to as ‘Artists’ … And sometimes, the ones that they call ‘Poets’ do attempt to create ‘more serious’ works. Often making use of – for some unaccountable reason – specific metaphors … For example, English-speaking poets are very fond of inserting the names of various Greek or Roman gods – such as Zeus, Apollo, Juno, Mars, Aphrodite, Hermes, Mercury, and Venus etc, into their poems to give them a touch of dignity; or Hindu Ishvaras – like Krishna, Rama, Shakti, Shiva and Kali, to add that little dash of ‘exotica’ here … A convention that they probably like to imagine automatically confers some degree of ‘special insight’, or ‘heightened realism’ in situations that they have come to believe are really important … … Such as an account of some famous battle or other where they – yet again – slaughter one another in great numbers; or descriptions of what they imagine are ‘heightened states’; or of what it is that happens to them when they inevitably die; … or other such scenarios …

Anyway, one of their … what they call ‘geniuses’ in this particular field of ‘poetry’ … a field that actually just seems to me to be a fancy way of labeling the creative output of someone who is struggling to present the truth as they see it…(He pauses)

..Well, if you ask me, ‘telling the truth’ is a discipline that – unfortunately – most of them do not happen to be particularly good at. (He pauses)… Which probably explains why they tend to see those who attempt to do so as somehow … special … I suppose! (He pauses and listens intently again) 

Well no! … I don’t really know how it is that so very many of them have managed to get themselves in this mess either! (He pause and smiles) You tell me!…(He leans back in his chair before continuing) ….

Anyway, to get back to what I was going to tell you about …. I have to say that much of what this particular ‘poet’ of theirs has created is very … insightful ….But he does get so wrapped up in trying to keep the style of the thing going, that he manages to make at least one real howler…

But, on the positive side, I would say that this particular example does demonstrate very nicely what it is that we’re actually up against down here … (He leans forward, pauses, and passes his hand over his face as if thinking, before continuing)

This particular poet’s name was Dante Alighieri, and he was around approximately seven hundred of their years ago – about 1300 AD their time … just before their ‘Black Death’ …. You remember that….

Anyway, (He waves his free hand and arm dismissively) he was a native of Florence, Tuscany, in what they now call Italy, just at the beginning of what the local tribes in the greater area to the North and West of this particular locale later referred to as their ‘Renaissance Period’ ….And he wrote, amongst other things. something the he called ‘The Divine Comedy’ … (He pauses as if listening) Yes … I know! What a ‘spot on’ title that is !

… This ‘Divine Comedy’ was in three parts, and the first part was called the ‘Inferno’ – which is Italian for ‘Hell’ … And look! …I’ll repeat that I personally regard Dante’s imagery  – his vision of things if you like – how he ‘sees’ all this – as amazing!… And, that in my view, this piece of writing is, in the main … and generally speaking … an extremely interesting piece of work …

But, as I say, he does make this extraordinary howler… which is in Canto III of this ‘Inferno’ – where he describes coming across a cave in a wood, over which are written the following words …”Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate” … which translates as,” All hope abandon, ye who enter in!”  … (He pauses as if listening) ..

Well of course we know what he saw … But … just wait til I tell you what he thought he saw! …

He makes this entrance out to be the one you go through when you’re on the way to what they call ‘Hell’… And, once again by the way, his descriptions of what is going on in that place they like to imagine is ‘down there’ makes for very interesting reading… In fact at their stage of development at that time, I would say ‘ten out of ten’ for effort (He pauses, continuing on in a slightly louder voice)

But of course he’s got it completely wrong!!  …Because, had he stopped to think about it, he would have quickly realized that no one here could ever be induced to abandon their ‘crutch of hope’ until they were absolutely convinced that they will no longer need it!! … And maybe not even then!!  (He pauses to listen, before giving a short, snort-like laugh) …

Exactly!! Of course!! … It was the exit from Hell that he’s seen in his vision! … And – if he but knew it – this is actually the entrance to the other place!!… In fact, if you look at the etching that one of their later graphic artists – Dore – produced of this scene, you can see it shining through all the gloom! … (He pauses again, and the lights begin to fade as he finishes speaking swinging round in his chair to crouch over the phone)

I’ll say it again .. And I really do mean it! … You couldn’t make this stuff up if you tried! .. It’s things like this that make it almost worthwhile being down here! (Black-out as we hear the sound of the phone being placed back on the cradle) …”

 

Dante's Inferno - 'Abandon all hope ye who enter here'.

From ‘Fieldnotes for Armageddon’ by Bob Hardy

 

Now we must also remember another thing… Every being has come on earth for the express purpose of learning what it means to be a human being. We come here to learn.. and we’ve got no time for anything else.

Eugene Halliday – from his talk ‘Magic’

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Notes from a conversation with Zero Mahlowe  (2007)

All that there is …  is Sentient Power… Modalities of Sentient Power are: Power to contemplate – to think; Power to feel – to experience; Power to act – to will; Power as matter – substance.

We ask the following three questions about anything: Why? .. How? .. What?

‘Why’ is a  Psychological Question.  ‘How’ is a Mechanical Question.  ‘What’ is a Substantial Question.

‘Why’ is concerned with motive, or purpose.   ‘How’ is concerned with process, or means.   ‘What’ is concerned with the benefit, or end result.

 Why do we wish to realize a given purpose? … For some benefit.

How can we realize this purpose? … By ‘such and such’ means.

What is this benefit that we wish to realize? … A particular state of consciousness.

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What we term ‘Human Evolution’ can be viewed as a movement of ‘Sentient Power’; as cosmic intelligence positing within itself ‘pluralizations’ or ‘beings’.

Each one of these posited beings has a purpose; which is that it will eventually be able to function consciously, deliberately, and by act of will freely from within itself – such that it will eventually be absolutely self-determinant, and absolutely reflexive … And when this has occurred, it will constitute an end to its evolution.

Various individual human beings, in the recent past, have been further along this evolutionary path than others, and so they can serve to provide us with an indication of future possibilities for human beings. For us in Europe, we can see this in the recent emergence of certain schools of psychology; in various accounts of ‘how it really is’ – generally subsumed under the broad umbrella of ‘mysticism’; certain schools of philosophy – particularly Existentialism and Phenomenology; in the rise of Quantum Physics as the ‘explanation’ for matter; and in the implications arising from the rapid rise of ‘virtual communities’ via instantaneous global communication on the Internet .. etc.

All these constitute, in the end, the various states of consciousness that are experienced by particular beings. These states can be viewed as attempts on the part of an evolving cosmos to precipitate itself into various states of individuation – a consequence of ‘grasping itself to itself’ – in order to create a plurality of conscious beings. 

The only way to arrive at any heightened awareness of the existence of this processes itself, is ‘to come to be what one really is’ … And the only way to do this, is by the – usually difficult and painful – process of ‘Working’.       

From ‘NOCTURNAL EMISSIONS’
‘Random Dribbling from the Twilight World of the Undead’
by Bob Hardy
(A series of fragments from Bob Hardy’s notebooks – from the late-1970’s to date)

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Although I’ve always enjoyed both listening to, and reading Eugene Halliday’s material; for a long time now my major purpose in doing this has been to use it solely as an aid to Working.

Thus, engaging in some form of consensus here (something that most of the others I have met – who claim to have had, either some kind of relationship to Eugene Halliday, or some ‘understanding’ of his ideas – appear to consider to be of prime importance) is of relatively little concern to me….A viewpoint of mine that might seem odd at first, particularly if I also add here that, ultimately, I am not particularly concerned as to whether or not Eugene Halliday would have agreed with any of the conclusions that I have drawn from my interaction with his material – or in anyone else’s opinions or conclusions here necessarily, for that matter…

Working can have very little, even perhaps nothing, to do with ‘agreeing’ …Working is about coming to ‘know; ‘or ‘see’; or ‘experience’  yourself … who you really are; and is not at all about what it is that you would like to ‘know’; or ‘see’; or ‘experience’ here  …

One of the common over-riding major obstacles to any attempt at Working, is the inability to make the decision that you will – ‘right now’ – attempt to move on… A state of affairs that, in my experience anyway, is usually the result of being unable to convince yourself that you now understanding some thing (or some situation) well enough for you to risk using it to ‘stand firmly on’ yourself – without being overly fearful that everything, as a consequence, will all somehow collapse around your ears (although this is what will happen eventually anyway … … … … I’m jus’ sayin’)..

If you do hang around though, this situation will very often – in fact more often than not – further devolve into a pointless discussion (with either yourself, or others) – in which all that you seem to be doing is endlessly dithering over a series of trivial intellectual objections that somehow keep cropping up … The real purpose of which is, of course, to keep you firmly where you are, with ‘your head up your own behind’..

This is a situation that I would say that you will just have to ‘get over’ – and I can only stress that, in my case, I am continually attempting to make sense of all this only in order to move forward… So the idea that there is a particular body of ideas; or a state of being; or a physical activity, that constitutes – in some bizarre and overriding way – how to do all this ‘properly’, or as ‘the only correct method’, is not something that I have ever been able to grasp – although I would maintain (if I am going to stick to the metaphor of ‘a journey’ here) that everyone engaged in this Working must eventually arrive at the same destination….

Another common pitfall here is to make a decision that you are going to be one of ‘God’s little helpers’ in all this – you know, to be ‘really useful’ here if you can … and present yourself as someone who is ‘sticking around’ in order to help others here in their journey…(You really do want to move forward of course, but you’ve made the ‘selfless’ decision that you’re going to be the ‘last one off the ship to climb into the lifeboat’ … Because that’s the ‘noble thing to do’ .. Isn’t it?)…  A contrived scenario of yours which now gets you very nicely out of the problem of attempting to get up off your own behind, and actually demonstrate the far more difficult problem of moving forward the odd micro-inch yourself…

If it helps, here’s another way of looking at this … It’s a bit like the difference between actively seeking to develop an appreciation for gourmet food, by investing heavily in the process of seeking out – and then frequenting – certain restaurants; as against, not only learning to cook this food yourself, but also developing the ability to concoct new recipes.

Metaphorically then, you could say that for me, Eugene Halliday’s body of Work functions as a light; or series of beacons, or markers, which indicate a direction for me that I might be able to take… A direction that could hopefully result in me moving forward (as opposed to moving sideways, or even backwards)…. But that the selection for any of the clothes that I chose to wear; the things I take with me; those other beings I chose to travel with; the way that I experience this journey (and consequently relate to it); or the various means that I employ in order to navigate the terrain – these are all my sole responsibility. And any consequences arising from my freely engaged-in choices here are to be born, solely, by me. …

My experiencing of Eugene Halliday’s material as ‘effect’ then, is the production of this ‘affect’ in me – of a belief that if I engage with this material further, it will assist in moving me forward…. So, although I do believe that a sense of gratitude is most definitely in order here, this position of mine does not support any notion to the effect that the purpose of engaging with Eugene Halliday’s material is merely to somehow eventually emerge here as – at best – some sort of ‘intellectual doppelganger’, or ‘Halliday-ian apologist’; or that his Work constitutes some sort of lacuna, and that what I’m doing here is somehow filling in the odd blank – as it were..

Anything else therefore, that might go on as a result of engaging with Eugene Halliday’s material becomes, in this final analysis, irrelevant … Thus, over a period of time, coming (perhaps) to be addicted to – what you like to believe is – ‘enjoyment’ in all this, would mean – from my perspective at least  – that you have squandered any profit you may potentially have been able to realize in doing so; and will now, instead, be either content to remain exactly where you are (in order to further ‘enjoy’ yourself) or, more alarmingly, now be moving backwards …. It’s like claiming that Christ ‘really enjoyed’ the decision he made to lug that cross around those twelve stations, before being nailed to it by a bunch of Romans … (Apologies if I went a bit deep on you there) …

This way of my ‘being in the world’ I have found very difficult to describe to others (and quite  impossible to ‘pass on’)… Such that, in my experience, I would have to say that you are either ‘like this’ or you aren’t … And, by the way, although I’m quite happy with this state of affairs, I would stress that I don’t view it as – in any way – particularly desirable or advantageous … and I certainly don’t view it as in some way ‘an essential requirement’ for others in all this… I just happen to experience my ‘being’ positively in this way  – at least for part of the time 🙂 … The few others who I like to think I’m sharing this journey with, are nothing at all like me … And indeed … would probably be deeply insulted if anyone suggested to them that they were.. (Hard to believe, I know, but there it is) …

But I do hope (although, in the past, I have paid far to much attention as to whether or not it is the case) that other(s) in the relationships that I have engaged in here will benefit also …  However, it did eventually dawn on me that ‘being concerned for others’ here made it very easy for me to justify not Working .. (“Too busy pretending to be ‘Mr Wonderful’…”)…  And I did come to realize that – once having committed myself – I have a tendency to ‘stick around’ in a relationship or a situation here, desperately attempting to ‘fit square pegs into round holes’ as it were, even though I might be being told by others (and if I bothered to stop for a moment, would see it clearly for myself) that this particular situation has long ceased to ‘go anywhere’; has long ceased to be of any practical use to any of those involved – particularly me! ….

On the other hand, for example, although I have found that much of what I have been engaged in during the past couple of years has turned out to be excruciatingly difficult for me deal with – in the end it I can see that I have learnt a great deal about myself from this exercise … So… I would have to say that there’s also an element of ‘you never can tell until you’ve tried it’ here!…

[NOTE: By the way, ‘Sacrifice’ (in what I take to be Eugene Halliday’s use of this word at least) in the situation(s) that I have attempted to outline immediately above is a different matter entirely… Something you might like to check out for yourself though – by making use of the ‘Search’ facility of Josh Hennesey’s transcription site, located a click away, here]

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So then, is Eugene Halliday in some way essential in all this?…  Well…Where it concerns you, that’s not for me to say  … But where it concerns me? … My answer would be a qualified, “Yes!” … In the sense that I made a decision to engage in, and Work with this material some time ago; and that in having done so, I am aware that this would obviously limit me – as this decision of mine served to define and fix (or locate) me metaphorically, in this specific area.

This decision of mine – that I believe I freely committed to – can have a serious down-side for others who might try it, particularly if they are inclined to be neurotic, and somewhat insecure – and so liable to be more obsessed about matters of self-worth, than of making progress…

Because, although it can be relatively easy for them to appreciate that they are being helped by someone like Eugene Halliday. Due to the nature of the ‘transference’, and the matter of ‘projecting’ (processes that are normal, and to be expected, in this situation) – they will tend to cling to the comfort afforded to them by the social situation that they now find themselves in, and thus it becomes almost impossible for them to move on … And they will, instead, rotate endlessly around the object of their desire in this relationship of theirs (in this case Eugene Halliday)…. This result is usually accompanied by some justification or other – perhaps the claim that they don’t know quite what to do (yet), and that they’re not ready; or that they believe that they have already somehow ‘arrived’ – and are now convinced that ‘moving on’ is not what the game is about…

And even if you don’t fall into this pitfall, one of the first things that you must attempt to understand (perhaps ‘intuit’ or ‘have faith in’ might be better) is that if you decide to Work (although you have always and everywhere been capable of doing so) part of what can happen to you – especially when you begin – is that it will seem to you that almost everything, and everyone you are in relation with, appears to be conspiring to prevent you… …  Just so you know …

So, hopefully, it will now be a little clearer for you to understand, that for me, going away on retreats; maintaining a special diet; engaging in various practices such as yoga; martial arts; marathon running; painting and drawing; astrology; homeopathy and other New Age pursuits; writing poetry; playing music; studying (either academically, or privately); becoming an expert in anything from Anthropology to Zoology; writing dictionaries, or constructing Etymologies; becoming proficient in a variety of languages; etc. etc… None of these activities – in and of themselves – are necessary for any attempt by you at Working … and that further, these activities do not in and of themselves (and indeed could not), necessarily constitute examples of Working… Because, if it were the case that these forms of activity did constitute Working itself, then there would be millions of people out there who would be doing just that… And – as someone who would claim to have ‘been round the block’ a couple of times – I like to think I would probably have noticed that there were far more ‘out there’ than the handful here that I have actually come across …

Regrettably for me then, being surrounded by any number of beings who are all engaged in these various situations and occupations, and who – it could be claimed by others – are Working then … has not been my experience here …at all! … …

[NOTE: But I do believe that the question, “Who is, or who is not, Working?” is one that is far more complicated than this; and that any answer given will risk presenting those attempting to provide one (and I would most definitely include myself here) as being, in some measure at least, hubristic – or, at least, of being in continual, immanent danger of being so …. So .. be sure you appreciate then, that – in the situation(s) alluded to by me in the above few paragraph at least – this is only the conclusion, experientially, that I have reached… And I am not maintaining – at all – that this should, or would, be your conclusion in the same situation(s)]

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I’m going to begin the final bit of this post by repeating that it is possible (in principle at least) for anyone to Work in any situation whatsoever that they happen to find themselves in … And that once all the preconceptions have been cleared away – which, unfortunately, is a process that can (in my particular instance at least) take decades – the actual technique to be used is very straightforward… You might even call it ‘simple’ 🙂

As I mentioned in my previous post, I would now like to start introducing Eugene Halliday’s Work itself here, with a view to facilitating some discussion about it on this blog’s forum.

Here then, is a short piece of his that was first published in the parish magazine of ‘St Michaels and All Angels’ in February of 1969. There is now a copy of this available for viewing, and downloading, from Josh Hessnessy’s site here …. Click on ‘Written Work’ in the Menu bar at the top of the page and you’ll find it there…. Incidentally the pdf version available for downloading here also includes a scan of the original article.

To make things even easier for you, I’ve also recorded an audio version of this essay which I have tagged for iTunes … Now – although I’d be the first to admit that my effort here is not exactly ‘Richard Burton reads Dylan Thomas’ – nonetheless I hope that  it will still ‘do the trick’ for you – if, say, you want to ponder on this essay when you’re ‘out and about’ in your car… Anyway here it is: The Idea of Sin by Eugene Halliday – read by Bob Hardy  To download this audio file to your computer, simply right click on this link and select ‘Save Link As’; or you can just click on this link in the normal way and it will then play on your computer (but you might have to wait a minute or so for it to load in).

If you’re relatively new to all this, I would suggest that you attempt, first of all, to pay close attention to your initial feeling-tone here. That is – to the degree of ‘yes’ or ‘no’ that you are experiencing – as this constitutes both the ‘polarity’, and the intensity, of your reaction; and also to your subsequent analysis of this reaction. Be conscious that you are attempting to use your own terminology here. Strive for self-clarity; for the development of your own ‘active language’ – either spoken or written – and which hopefully, from now on, you will be attempting to refine continuously.

NOTE: I have already mentioned before on a number of occasions that it is possible for your attempts here to consist of some other form of expression  (or ‘text’) … Not a written or verbal account then, but perhaps a drawing, or a painting … or even a little dance … etc ..

Any viewpoints of yours that do eventually emerge; and any conclusions that you draw; etc, etc; should then be involved into some form of praxis by you, if at all possible … Otherwise what you have created here will ultimately turn out to be just another burden at best; or a particularly well-thought-out opinion of yours on ‘The Idea of Sin’ that you cannot prevent voicing to others whenever the opportunity presents itself … Or – perhaps a little more distressingly – this group of ideas that you imagine you now ‘understand’ (because you have concentrated on them) will simply fade from memory… The rule here then being ‘Use it or lose it’ – as it were …. …. (But I would say that you shouldn’t be too concerned about this last part for the moment….. Not just yet anyway … 🙂 …)

The idea is not to just ‘understand’ the essay – that is, to ‘have’ it, or ‘possess’ it … (although this is part of it – in the beginning at least). … Your major concern here is to appreciate what your relationship is to it; how you were affected by it (by the process of recalling it for now perhaps, if you can’t do this ‘in the moment’ yet) and not just simply ‘what it means’ (as this phrase is understood in  common speech).

If you’re having difficulty understanding what I mean in this last bit… This might help a little…

If you are reading something that is in your native language – unless it is constructed entirely of a technical language – there will always be parts of it that you will (let us use this word for now) ‘understand’… So – if you read something like, “On rotating the ‘calamaleno spring’, the ‘whiz-banger’ should now start to vibrate,” … although you mightn’t have the fainest idea what a ‘calamaleno spring’ or a ‘whiz-banger’ is, you do know what the rest of the words signify … However the Swahilli phrase ‘Kufunga mlango’ would be completely incomprehensible to you – even though it translates into English as, ‘Shut that door’…

Your depth of understanding is not what is important here  … Halliday’s, ‘The Idea of Sin’, can easily be understood by two different persons in two different ways; indeed, it’s possible for one person to understand it in two different ways! … What you are trying to do primarily in this exercise, is to drag into the full light of consciousness, all the other stuff that’s going on inside you when you are confronted with this text … And the first step here is to realize (probably to your complete amazement) that there are all sorts of ‘other things’ going on ‘in there’…

So striving to understand this essay isn’t what we are ‘actively doing’ … What you’re doing is attempting to develop methods of WorkingAnd no matter what smart ideas you believe you have come across here – what ‘insights’ you believe you’ve gained – if this is all that’s going on, then you’re not Working… And this can be the case even if the results of your endeavors here resulted in you winning the Nobel Prize – because you can deliver ‘the very last word’ on ‘sin, sinners, and sinning’; or that you find yourself siting on a platform next to the Dalai Lama, availing ‘one and all’ of your deep wisdom… … I would bet that you will – almost certainly – still be fast asleep here, and further, that there is more than a good chance you have never actually been awake … ever…. 🙁

Things to try to be aware of in the moment – What comes up in you just from being presented with a title like this? ….  Is there any intellectual content in it: Is there any emotional content in it?: Is there any urge to act? (There will be all three by the way – but at this stage you might not be aware of this)…

When describing this state to yourself, attempt to create as much interest in it as you can … It doesn’t matter what this interest is.. In fact it doesn’t even matter what place in the essay you start with – just strive to ‘engage’ with the text – do not attempt to just ‘watch yourself ‘ (whatever that’s supposed to mean) … Get yourself a bit sweaty if you have to, but you must involve (that’s something quite different from ‘observing’) yourself… Because it is only this interest of yours in yourself (and nothing else) that will generate the energy required to precipitate you into any creativity here… If you’re successful, you will then produce something (no matter how trivial you believe it is) that will be in some way unique to you… And this process that you have actively and consciously engaged in, is what will make you an Artist – just like Mr Halliday … Maybe a fledgling one for the moment – as far as the world, and maybe even you, are concerned at least – but none the less, a real one.

And if you’ve ‘done this right’, you should feel some real sense of accomplishment and possibly excitement here – because you find you’re ‘enjoying’ (if I might use that word) the exhilaration of relating to something, and not just of ‘trying to think of something clever’ here, in order to impress others…

Maybe – at first – you will be a little protective of what you’ve achieved, and perhaps a little too sensitive to criticism, but you must learn to accept this – not everyone will think you’re efforts here are wonderful… And anyway, very shortly you won’t care about that, even if you decide to write down your experiences in something like a blog, and almost no one reads it.. Because although you must Work in the open in the world (that’s just how it is) what you will be seen to be doing – to almost everyone who imagines that they are observing you –  is not what you are really (good word that) doing … at all!! It might even seem profoundly obscure and somehow ‘special’; or perhaps even ‘secret’, and ‘arcane’ to others …  A situation that can result in you never having a minute to yourself if you’re not careful, as these others will be continually ‘earnestly’ wanting you to explain just ‘how you do it’ – every ‘nut and bolt’ – if they can get you to;  or get you to give them advice, or attempt to give you advice; or perhaps even argue with you about all this …

Simply put 🙂 … All that you are actually doing, is engaging in the process of revealing yourself to yourself; and striving for ever-more efficient ways of supplying structure and feedback here to yourself… So, as a consequence of attempting to do so as efficiently as possible then, you should strive to press into service here, anything whatever that is available and that you can use – at any one time – in order to ‘keep you at it’…

If someone else happens to find your approach useful, in their own attempts at moving forward, then so be it … But – because of the way things fundamentally are here – you can have no control over this .. You can force no-one here … And you cannot do this for them – even if you, or they, wanted you to… It can only be done alone … Having a friend along here will help – but you will only ever earn one of these if you’ve ‘put the time and effort in’…

So, in the end then…if it helps … you could say perhaps that, “Working has a lot in common with dying.”…

I will be posting something on the Forum about this essay of Eugene Halliday’s towards the end of next month, and I would be delighted if anyone reading this blog decides that they would like to join in…

To be continued…

Bob Hardy

30th September 2013

 

Hello viewers…

This particular posting is rather long, and as it’s also somewhat involved, I’ve split it up into sections using these things – ◊◊◊◊

Anyway, here the first bit.

I would, first of all, like to tell you something about Josh Hennessey’s site, which is located here

This site will – it is hoped – eventually contain transcripts of all of Eugene Halliday’s talks, and also all of his written material, in the form of freely downloadable digital files.

However, the most important feature of this site for me is its on-line ‘Search’ facility, which will now make it possible to locate any particular word or phrase used by Eugene Halliday, in any of the files of his talks or writings that are presently housed on this site…

[For instance, placing the word ‘Lucifer’ in the ‘Search’ box will – at the present time – give you no less than 17 separate locations where Eugene Halliday makes use of it. A further example – the word ‘sentient’ is presently to be found in 68 locations].

So then, there will be, hopefully in the not too distant future, a way for those who are serious about studying Eugene Halliday’s ideas, to cross-reference his use of any particular word or phrase over the whole range of his talks and essays. A facility that will, I believe, considerably reduce the problems that might arise from the acceptance of a too simple; or one-sided; or ‘conveniently’ selective; or aphoristic ‘cherry-picking’, approach, to these ideas.

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When you’re interested – God’s interested

                                                                                         Eugene Halliday

 

I also feel that it is now time for me to write something about the events that took place round about the time – in 2004 – that I began my attempt to provide ‘one and all’ with a ‘Eugene Halliday Archive’… I believe this account is of interest here because – some 20 or so years after Eugene Halliday’s death (which was when I first began this project) – it was by no means clear, at least to me, whether or not some sort of selection process had been put in place (by person or persons unknown) that was determining just who should, and who should not, have access to this material. This situation was (and should still be) I maintain, a cause for genuine concern, at least until all this material is unequivocally available to all, without any restrictions whatsoever.

Broadly speaking, this situation centered around various attempts by a number of people to act, in some way or other, as ‘gatekeepers’ here. The major problem I had with this was that I could not actually get to the bottom of just how it had come about that the people – who were now claiming to be in charge here – had actually pulled this off. And frankly, at the time, what I did discover about all this seemed, to me, to be more than just a bit shady …

Before I start though, I will admit that – from what I’ve written immediately below at least – it’s fairly obvious that in the beginning, I hadn’t really thought this thing through…. And I’ll just repeat here – once again – that you are, of course, completely free to supply your own interpretations to my account here … But, on the bright side – and if nothing else – this account of mine might tell you something about ‘human nature’… even if it’s only about mine….

This section of the post then, is an attempt by me to relate: why I did it; what at the time I was sure the outcome of my doing so would be; and finally, what it was that actually happened … instead.

So, if there’s anyone out there – nine years on – who might still be wondering, “But what was in this for him?” … Here, once and for all, is the answer to that question, ‘straight from the horse’s mouth’.

I’ll begin by mentioning that, when I first began this project in 2004, Eugene Halliday had already been dead for almost twenty years… So I hope, dear reader, it is blindingly obvious to you that it was not as if I had ‘made my move here, before the corpse was even cold’ … as it were.

Some eight years or so previously (during the mid-1990’s – and particularly after the death of David Mahlowe) I could find next to nothing that led me to believe that Eugene Halliday was, in the near future, going to be anything other than a fading memory in the minds of a group of people who were in the main, more or less, ‘half-way through the last lap on their journey through life’ …(if I can put it that way)… And I would add here, that I can see nothing that has been put in place since, by those concerned, that addresses this problem.

Numbers here then, were dwindling  … (and still are) … and at an increasing rate…

Those that I did come across (between the late 1990’s up until the early 2000’s) and who were claiming in some way or other to be promoting, or basing their own efforts on, Eugene Halliday’s ideas, did not appear to be doing so at all, in my opinion ….

I was – beginning at around that time – concerned (and indeed I still am) that the opportunity to present Eugene Halliday’s ideas in an ‘unadulterated form’ to the public-at-large, while these ideas were still of some contemporary relevance, would simply be missed. … Either because of an innate desire to control access to this material by a gang of self-appointed ‘worthies’ (who appeared to me not have the faintest idea as to what it was that this material represented); or out of a self-centered desire to gain some sort of social standing by re-presenting various de-contextualized fragments of Eugene Halliday’s work, in order to legitimize some hybrid form of European-ized ‘oriental exotica’; or to shore-up the shallow sentimentality – in one form or other – of trendy, fashionable, New Ageism….

To put this ‘in a nutshell’ (!) …. If I could preserve Eugene Halliday’s material in it’s unadulterated form in some sort of archive – one that was freely available to all – then I believed that it wouldn’t really matter what the loonies out there got up to after that …

Crucial to my approach here, was that I believed Eugene Halliday’s ideas would either ‘grab’ the individual enquirer, or they would not… And thus, anyone’s initial response to this material then – as I saw it – was constituted along the lines of a simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No’…

I had figured out long ago that the appropriation of the Work of people such as Eugene Halliday (for just about any purpose whatsoever) was, to all intents and purposes, unavoidable…. Material like this will always attract more than its fair share of  ‘Seekers after Arcane Wisdom’ – for good, or for bad…. And so I took the unilateral decision to ‘go it alone’ here, and start something myself. Focusing on the idea, that even if it helped only half-a-dozen or so people, then perhaps this was simply a consequence of the nature of things  …

I should also add that, in my particular case (and I really have no clear idea why), there was one significant aspect to this response of mine – which came about as a result of being exposed to Eugene Halliday’s ideas – that was of direct relevance to this whole ‘Archive’ project. And this was that I was conscious of a definite and pressing obligation to make some sort of concerted effort here and ‘pass on’ to others the opportunity to both hear, and read about, these ideas.

…. But how to go about this? … … Clearly, I needed a plan…

The wealth of original source material that I had at my disposal – in the form of so many of Eugene Halliday’s recorded talks and essays – seemed to make the solution to this problem relatively simple. Particularly as I believed no requirement would be required on my part (or on anyone else’s for that matter) to provide additional elaborate ‘interpretations’ of this material; or even for me to claim that I necessarily understood this material in the way that Eugene Halliday intended  …

I believed that all I was required to to do here was to simply make this material available via the Internet, and that it would then, as a direct consequence,  just ‘speak for itself’ …

This outcome appealed to me very strongly … and it still does … And to put this another way – it is like the experience of ‘rhythm’ to me – you either ‘get it’ or ‘you don’t’ ….(you can of course deliberately ‘fake it’ – particularly if the people that you chose to mix with ‘aint got it’ either… and as long as you always take care to avoid the company of those that do ‘have it’, as much as you possibly can)….

All rather obvious really… Or so I thought at the time…

In doing all this, I believed that I would then have discharged any obligation that I felt I was under here. And further, that my project was (I believed then) so self-evidently simple in its actual execution, that my motives here could not possibly be mistaken for anything other than they actually, and obviously, were.

I would make my archive as ‘severely functional’ as I could – basing the design of my site on Eugene Halliday’s ‘sheet of white paper’ (an idea that he used over and over again in his many talks, but that no one has actually picked up on – at least as far as the layout of my site was concerned).

There was also to be a complete absence of any claims by either myself, or anyone else, to be an authority here… And I would still maintain that – at the time – you would really have had to be an imbecile if you believed otherwise… Particularly as this archive site contained – at least for the first eight years of its existence (that is, up until 21012) – nothing else except the above said files of Eugene Halliday’s material, together with a contact email address for site visitors who might be experiencing problems with any downloading…

Anyway, after I had created this archive site, my fond hope was that I would then simply sit back, and wait for the deluge of interest (which I was sure it was going to create) to simply wash over me…. There would then begin a wonderfully fruitful period of my life, in which I would engage in a veritable cornucopia of productive discourses with those numerous kindred spirits – that I was so sure must be ‘out there’ … somewhere…

My thinking here was also, in part at least, based on the fact that – considering the subject matter of much of Eugene Halliday’s work – surely the only people who would bother to get in touch with me here were (at least initially) those who had spent the 20 or so years since the man’s death pondering over his ideas…

And I further imagined – that as a consequence of this said pondering – these people would have many interesting things to convey to me, regarding their personal life-experiences… Life-experiences involving any number of the subjects that Eugene Halliday had both spoken, and written about … Including, for example: ‘Love (defined as ‘Working for the potential of all being’); ‘Reflexive Self-Consciousness’; ‘Tacit Conspiracies’; ‘Truth’; ‘Sentient Power’; ‘etc. etc. etc. … … How it was that these ideas had ‘played out’ in their own lives then … as it were…

That’s what I expected, anyway….

Because surely, this was what the essence of Eugene Halliday’s Work was about … Wasn’t it? …

And I thought all this was really obvious….

But many of those who did contact me ‘way back then’ clearly thought otherwise, and that I must instead, somehow be ‘up to something’… A reaction which, at the time, told me a great deal more about these people than they perhaps realized …either at that time, or indeed since…

So, sadly, I must now go on to tell you that a significant percentage of the initial email responses that I did in fact receive (some nine or so years ago) caught me completely off-guard…. As the focus of attention here was not – as I imagined it would be – on Eugene Halliday’s ideas, but rather on just who should have access to this material, and who should not.

Among the more bizarre communications demanding that I ‘cease and desist’ here, was a letter that – it was claimed – had been ‘channeled’ from the (dead) Eugene himself (it was even ‘signed’ by him!!)… And, my particular favorite – a warning that unbridled access to recordings by Eugene Halliday could be dangerous for the uninitiated listener, as ‘His Master’s Voice’ (apparently) contained ‘dangerous vibrations’ … There was also one particularly slimy ‘appeal to reason’ – an appeal that almost, but not quite, masked the writers own personal ambitions here ….  I ‘kid you not’ folks! …

Others here were overwhelmingly hostile… The most virulent being those containing commands to ‘take this material off the internet immediately, because it didn’t belong to me’… Which I will freely admit is very obviously true…. But that’s not the point here though … Is it? … What is far more pertinent to statements over ‘ownership’ here, is that those issuing these commands appeared to believe that, somehow, this material had come to belong to them! …

I have to say that I found (and still do) the notion that anyone could somehow claim to ‘own’ the ideas of Eugene Halliday ridiculous: or the idea that some self-appointed guardian, or group of people, had decided that these ideas needed to be, somehow, ‘safe-guarded’ …. …. In case of what exactly? … In case it fell into the hands of a covert group of neo-Nazi’s from Wythenshawe – who then used it to seize control of a chapter of the Women’s Institute in South Cheshire?  … Or something like that?…

The next group of negative emails were from a number of people who claimed (and indeed, some who still do) – and who had also somehow managed to convince as many hapless others as they could – that they were empowered by some sort of ‘process’ (be this process quasi-legal; or via some supernatural agency; or by having been a ‘friend’ of the ‘master’ and ‘sat at his feet’) to now be responsible for – what shall I call it – the exclusive dissemination of Eugene Halliday’s various creative outputs. …

The remainder of these emails – and there were (thankfully) a considerable number of these – were, by and large, positive in their (unsolicited) opinion of my efforts here – which was very encouraging. …So ‘Many Thanks’ to these people …

But not one email that I received at that time concerned itself with what it was that Eugene Halliday’s material was actually ‘about’…. And, aside from the fact that I appeared to had got my prediction as to the reaction to my efforts from a grateful public, by and large, completely wrong  – I began to find this state of affairs to be intensely interesting..,.

What on earth was going on here? …

You will now (hopefully) at least begin to appreciate why, at the time, I found all this to be acutely disappointing … even mildly depressing…

I had somehow (because I hadn’t really thought about it too deeply at all) convinced myself that those who were claiming to have embraced the basic ideas of Eugene Halliday would, at this late date, now be moving forward by actively engaging in – what I perceived as – his major ‘themes’. These would certainly include then: the breaking down their own inertic patterns of behavior, and ideas; or the repeated attempt to dis-affirm their own self-wills, and rather instead, the striving to always ‘affirm the good’…

And further, that by relating accounts of their various efforts here to each other, they would have created a genuine (non-hierarchical) sense of community. And even if these accounts consisted – in the main – of an admittance that none of those involved here were getting quite as far, quite as quickly, as was first imagined, and that none of this was quite as easy (or as ‘simple’) as it might at first have seemed it was going to be… None-the-less, all this could, at the very least, be a very good method for keeping the level of hubris, that is always flying about in these circumstances, under some sort of control; and also serve to mediate, what was clearly an innate compulsion on the part of many here to ‘be in charge of things’….

To provide a ‘mutual support system’ then … ….

I imagined that something like this would have been going on …somewhere …..

But alas! What I seemed to have landed myself in the middle of instead, was a bunch of ‘experts’’ who were all – on the contrary – simply intent on  ‘enjoying life’; or – more alarmingly, as far as I was concerned – appeared to perceive no real dichotomy between: the ideas of Eugene Halliday; those of some German guy in a white suit, who had recently moved to Canada, and was doing very well from his book and DVD sales; or the practice of some fashionable variety of ‘calming exercise’ – which was usually relabeled, and subsequently presented by one self-appointed ‘teacher’ or other, as ‘really being’ some form of an ‘ancient mystical (usually) Indian practice – A bizarre, hybrid ‘half rice-half chips’ version as it were, that they went on to peddle to an unsuspecting public as ‘the genuine article’…    …

And so then, as far as these ‘followers of Mr Halliday’ were concerned  ….It seemed to me that, instead of having problems attempting to understand – via a serious study of his creative output – just what all this ‘might be about’, and then involving this newly acquired understanding in various forms of praxis …  ‘Au contraire’ … it was all just … very … … peachy.

Which left me ‘right outside of the loop’ here. Because, from what it was that I understood Eugene Halliday to be advising me to do here in order to move forward, I was finding, practically, to be – at the very least – extremely difficult and demanding … and in some areas of my life, downright impossible.

But, as I say, the negative response to both the Archive, together with my subsequent experiences with others here, soon began to fascinate me… and I started to be intensely interested in the whole performance that was taking place here ‘right before my very eyes’ …

Because it very quickly dawned on me that this sort of behavior – that is, the attempt to control the dissemination of someone else’s ideas (particularly if these ideas were of a ‘spiritual’ nature) by some self-appointed group or other; or to de-contextualize this material and so ‘water it down’, such that it could now be marketed as a desirable and pleasant experience, was typical of man’s cultural experience(s) concerning (what others are pleased to call) ‘The Major Religions’ (and probably the overwhelming number of ‘Minor Religions’ too)… [That said, there are obviously other ‘cultural experiences’ here that are not nearly as ‘pleasant’ – but these, I would maintain, are still merely ‘the other side of the coin’]…

Monitoring all this then, provided me with all sorts of insights into what it was that might really have happened to the teachings of those others who had also ‘fought the Good Fight’ during our remoter (and recent) historical past…  At least in principle.

But on the positive side here, a close friend of mine pointed out to me that when I began in 2004 – perhaps for the very first time in recorded history – it was now possible for interested parties, without the mediation of any ‘self-appointed authority’, to conduct their own researches here. And to also be able to discuss their subsequent conclusions freely with whomever they chose… Thus developing their own personal approaches to the concepts of people such as Eugene Halliday, in complete freedom….

Interested parties could then decide for themselves whether or not those who claimed to be Working with Eugene Halliday’s ideas were actually doing so, in their opinion – by ‘simply’ checking any claims that were being made here with the actual source material  ….

And I have to say that I found this particular perspective on all this very appealing. Because I saw that it had the immediate advantage of providing me with a method of quickly ‘checking out’ whether or not any person that I was engaging with ‘in the moment’ here, had actually done any Work. Or had simply been attracted to these ideas for one nefarious reason or another; and that their enthusiasm was probably just some vacuous reaction of theirs at the time, and nothing – or very little – more ….

But could this new way of proceeding really be any better, or any worse, than what had been in place here for the past couple of thousand years?

Well, as I see it, even if it were the case that many here would still ultimately ‘mess it all up’ for themselves – a conclusion to all this that, I believe, is inevitable for all of us [And, “Yes!” That would also include Eugene Halliday] …All of these attempts to ‘go forward’ I believe – in the end – boil down to understanding, as well as you are able, the degree to which you have indeed ‘messed up’. Together with the belief – the strength of which comes about as a direct consequence of this very striving – that you might actually be forgiven for doing so… (I see that I might just have turned into ‘Baffling Bob’ again here, and gone all mysterious on you  … Sorry)  …

Many do live in hope… And perhaps – during the present aeon – the Zeitgeist is in the process of changing so rapidly, that man’s present traditional ‘hallowed institutions’ might, indeed, now be ‘on the way out’ … And that ‘something else’ might be coming in to take its place …. (I know … I just went mysterious on you there again for a moment)…

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My involvement with Eugene Halliday’s ideas has always stemmed from a belief that there was a decidedly practical slant to them…. And I always banked heavily on a conviction that I would surely … eventually … become so inspired by these ideas of his, that they might even succeed in getting me to off the couch, and into doing something positive…..

With regard to any advice from others about Working with Eugene Halliday’s material, there is only one requirement that I believe is essential here, and that is: this advice must have been embodied by those giving it.

And my own advice to you here? (!) … Do not be concerned about putting questions – to those who are attempting to pass on Eugene Halliday’s ideas to you – about their own particular, personal, experience(s), re the nature of those attempts by them to embody these ideas that they now claim to ‘understand’ and seem to want to ‘pass on’ to you: And do press them to tell you about just how it was that they went about this… And also to describe in some detail what it was exactly that happened to them subsequently as a consequence…..

Don’t be deflected either, by any sugary, sickly, conspiratorial ‘sagely pieces of advice’ trotted out by some self-styled ‘guru’ or other, to the effect that you should not, “Be afraid to gain your own insights here,” or something like that… Because you surely already know this, if you bother to think about it… It’s just obvious isn’t it? … Just keep insisting, “Yes, I know that! But what is it exactly that you actually did here yourself; what was the actual process that you engaged in yourself, in order to gain any insights here that you now claim to have?”

You can easily tell if these people are talking from fragments of Eugene Halliday’s Work that they’ve attempted to commit to memory – because they will usually dry up very quickly; or they will attempt to bring a fragment of an idea from another area – such as ‘Indian metaphysics’, or mention the odd philosopher (usually Plato) – but only ever in passing… And your lasting impression will be that whole thing never managed to ‘go anywhere’ ….

You are, in fact, listening here to – what Eugene Halliday refers to as – ‘con-fusion’ (The ideas being presented to you have been melted together – in the heat of that desire to impress you, on the part of the person speaking here) … Their intention here is to convince you (and tragically, often themselves) that they actually ‘know something about all this’… But the end result here is always the same… Everyone present ends up with a faint, polite smile on their faces … And a few hours afterwards (or earlier, more often) almost everything they heard here has faded from memory…

On the other hand, if the person giving the talk has embodied these ideas, on being asked your question here they will almost immediately – and confidently – attempt to reply… And you will normally now be aware of an almost unbridled enthusiasm – as they relay those very real, and crucially important, events from their life to you … And you will remember this.

Can you understand that they are not talking from memory here, but are talking instead ‘from themselves’. (I appreciate that this might be ‘difficult to get’ if you don’t – in some way – already know what I mean)… And so they will usually  be able to waffle on here for some reasonable time… There will be a little confusion perhaps – but this will be clearly experienced by you as a result of their enthusiasm’  … and you will have a definite sense that you have just been told something ‘real’ … Or – as Eugene Halliday would have it – you will have a definite sense that you have just been told something that made a difference to them

And you don’t need to develop that much sensitivity to feel this… But beware, because you might – if the talker has had a bit of practice here – be put into a passive state, just because you are being so superbly entertained…

Others here will have no scruples whatsoever about appropriating someone else’s experiences, and then relaying on to you these (pseudo) accounts as their own … They can even come to believe (tragically) that these events have actually happened to them (Weird huh?), like a certain kind of actor, who comes to wear their stage personae in their everyday daily life as well as during their performances on the stage ….

All of which isn’t really much use to you if you’ve gone along to hear something that you have been told will ‘move you forward’ here.. (Although you could always treat your attendance at one of these meetings as an exercise for ‘being here now’).

Listening to those who are relaying ideas purely from memory  – or that are ‘coming just from the head’ if you prefer – is not going to help you. Indeed those who make a practice of this are probably instead, attempting to draw you in into their ‘sphere of influence’ by making use of one form or other of ‘The Tacit Conspiracy’… or, to put it that more dramatically, ‘psychic vampirism’ … And when you’ve been sucked dry, they will simply move on to someone else.

Most of the time though, this sort of behavior is reasonably easy to spot with a bit of practice – because, if you’re paying attention (by watching your own reactions to all this here ‘in the now’ – like your supposed to) there will be too many instances of ‘the dots not quite joining up’ (because the person doing the talking has forgotten ‘this bit’ or ‘that bit’)  …

So, do be careful … This is a difficult game you want to play… Always be on the alert for danger signals… Such as a faint whiff of sulphur …

If some of this last bit sounds polemical  – ‘a bit over the top’ as it were – you might like to bear in mind that I have lived for the past five years or so, in Portland, Oregon, which is the New Age capital of the world … And I am, literally, surrounded by an army of yoga teachers; martial arts instructors; hypnotherapists; Buddhist monks; tarot card readers; acupuncturists; astrologers; regression therapists; wellness centers; zumba sessions; practitioners of Wicca, druidism, rosicrucianism; gnosticism etc. etc.; tatoo and piercing parlors; ‘medical marihuana’ dispensaries; Lesbian choirs; nude bicycle riding festivals; etc. et al,.. (to say nothing of the normal American ‘store-front’ churches; gang activity; and drive-by shootings; etc. etc)…..

And almost everyone I have met who is ‘doing this stuff’ here, shares one characteristic in common. Which is that they are all busy attempting to pedal information that they have clearly memorized from someone, or somewhere, else…

I do have to say though that I love it … And if I were asked to provide my own brief,  post-card description of Portland, it would be along the lines of, “Portland is  a ‘Spiritual Disneyland’ where people come to live in order to practice a variety of post-modern, ‘hyper-religious activities'” … … Perfect then for that ultimate ‘Celestial Pick-n-Mix’ … and to watch people ’embracing the truth in all religions’ as it happens …

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How I manage to pull it off.

The one, sure-fire way of Working with ‘Eugene Halliday’s ideas is to posit yourself as an object, and then generate intense interest in yourself as an ‘object of study’ – until you become the most interesting object in the universe ….

But you must – while doing this – strive as much as you are able to always be ruthlessly honest with yourself, and with what it is that you discover about yourself here …

And – if you are even going to hope to begin to do any Work that is – having discovered just how far below your own very exacting standards you are, you must, in truth, then attempt the very difficult task of actually loving yourself. …

This is why (if you don’t want to find yourself in the position of wasting masses of valuable time) it is of premier importance to always ask those you meet along the way, and that you suspect might actually be really serious about doing some Work, about themselves – as soon as you can …

Luckily for me, I have only ever come across a few people who appeared to me to actually be doing any Work, as I see it anyway…  [Perhaps I should change my deodorant?]…

Eugene Halliday in his talks and essays provides, at the very least, many practical ideas about how one should go about this Working … But this does not minimize the fact – in any way – that it is you, and you ‘alone’ (good word that), who has to actually do every single bit of this Work…

So that then, if I do claim to understand any part of all this, this simply means that I have attempted to involve that particular aspect of Working into some form of praxis – and can now speak of it out of my experience… Which is not the same thing at all as me talking about it, simply because I have come to present myself to others as someone who ‘knows what Eugene Halliday’s ideas mean’ …

From ‘NOCTURNAL EMISSIONS’
‘Random Dribbling from the Twilight World of the Undead’
by Bob Hardy
(A series of fragments from Bob Hardy’s notebooks – from the late-1970’s to date)

Here’s a couple of much better ways of putting this last bit:

To create as some painters might, with a palette of concepts instead of colors, systems of internal consistency, logical expressiveness, or even architectonic beauty, is not the office of philosophy, though such activities might prove to be a valuable exercise in preparing oneself for that function; which is to examine into and discover the rationale and reason d’etre of this world, of this scheme, in which our histories and indeed we ourselves as well as our philosophies all occur. The bona fide aim of philosophy to discover the world in which we live, think, feel, sense, dream, and philosophize, has been too often neglected in attempts to justify the intellectual stencil which some system or school wished to place triumphantly over the world, at the expense of omitting a whole host of fundamental experiences and testimony ….

From ‘Illumination on Jacob Boehme in the Work of Dionysius Andreas Freher‘ by Charles A Muses (New York. 1951)

It is through direct experience that we come to know ourselves. It is through full engagement in life that all our senses, feelings, and thoughts come into play. Doing is knowing – what we do we come to know, and what we come to know is stored in our brains as our baseline of learning. We can talk about swimming, read books on the subject and learn strokes on dry land – but until we get into the water, we have no direct experience of swimming. So it is with life: until we do, we do not know.

From ‘The Drama Within: Psychodrama and Experiential Therapy’ by Tian Dayton. (Florida 1994).

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And now … on to those ‘Emotions’…

NOTE: A crucially important component of Eugene Halliday’s material was, I believe, his various ideas on the ‘Four-Part Man’. But it is blatantly obvious … surely … that simply ‘understanding’ the couple of thousand words that he actually wrote on this subject does not constitute an end in itself …  So if it is the case that you’re simply inclined to say that you ‘know’ about Halliday’s ‘Four-part man’ because you’ve just read the text, then I would be inclined to believe that you have no real idea about what it is that he was on about here.

I believe that the ultimate purpose of Eugene Halliday essay here, was to get the reader to attempt to experience, in the now, these ‘four parts’ for themselves. And that, like everything else that Eugene Halliday produced for others, this ‘idea’ constitutes on aspect of his material that assists in the task of Working on ones-self….

If you agree with me here, it should be simple for you then to view my ideas below concerning ‘The emotions’, as being connected with the ideas contained in Eugene Halliday’s ideas on the ‘Feeling body’, at least…

To begin this part ‘proper’ then ….

… So …. Here I am, attempting to systematize various ideas that center around ‘The Emotions’ in order to assist me to – as it where – ‘find out just who I am’…. And I would say that some ability at least, to  – as Eugene Halliday’s puts it – ‘Be here in the ‘now’, will prove to be more than useful here; as also will be a reasonable grasp of the of his ideas that are contained in the essays, ‘Five Things To Do’ and ‘ Four-Part Man’.

This exploration of mine involved a fairly rigorous exploration of what it was that ‘emotions’ might be, and was split into two major areas. The first of these was concerned with descriptions of emotional states. And this exploration I found to be, in principle at least, relatively easy to make headway with. As (in my little world anyway) any creative text whatsoever (any painting; music; writing; etc) is constitutive of these descriptions… In other words, that is what they ‘really are’ to me….

 The second area, involved various explanations as to what it is that emotions ‘are’, was however, far more trickier for me.

 [NOTE: That ‘first major area’ of mine (involving the descriptive aspect of ‘emotions’) I would prefer to leave to you (at least for the time being), and instead I’ll go straight into a little more detail here about the ‘explanatory’ aspect of this system of mine].

 … In doing research into any particular subject, I’m inclined to make lists (due, in major part I believe, to my particular psychology). I then delve into a particular ‘item’ on my list until I believe I have ‘gotten what I wanted’ from it…. I then ‘move on’ to another item on my list… And I will repeat this process until I come to believe that I eventually have what it is I need in order to move on…

 Sometimes though, I might just get fed up with the whole thing, and simply ditch it… Sulk for a bit … And then try something else.

 My approach re ‘explanations’ here is centered – in the main – around the material produced at the three major symposiums on ‘Feelings and Emotions’ that have taken place in the West since 1928 – beginning with The Wittenberg Symposium (Clark University 1928); followed by the Mooseheart Symposium (Illinois 1948); and finally the Amsterdam Symposium (Amsterdam 2001). To this material I would add ideas from the field of Analytical Psychology, including (obviously) the ‘Collected Works of Carl Gustav Jung’  … (I do make use of a lot more material actually – but these examples are typical.. And so they  should give you a good idea of what it is that I do here).

By the way, I do not Work with the material that I introduce into this system of mine with a view to becoming an ‘expert’, or a ‘teacher’, in this particular field (in this instance, that would be the field of ‘feelings or emotions); rather, I use this material to provide me with as rich a perspective on this subject as I am able to grasp… So the matter of my agreement or disagreement here with my ‘research’ material is not of primary importance to me…. It’s a bit like studying for that first degree – you read what your tutor gives you to read and then turn out a paper to show that you understand them …

It is far more the case with me that I simply need ‘a place to stand on’ in order to ‘look around’ – before eventually (hopefully) ‘moving forward’ …

I’ll now ‘cut to the chase’ then, and provide you with this list of mine.

Clearly some of the topics here contradict each other, but that’s OK, because – as I say – I try to work within as wide a field of the subject-material that I’m looking into, as I am able.

I now select the particular topic(s) on my list that I ‘fancy’ the most – as these will usually be the ones that I can assimilate the easiest – and I then try to move on ‘up my list’ to the ones that I don’t really fancy at all … Until I either exhaust all the topics on my list or – more usually – give up, at some point along the way.

I have elaborated on two of the items in my list below (numbers 1 and 6) as I feel that these can best serve here to demonstrate – in part at least – the actual inter-action by me with material contained in the Eugene Halliday Archive… (At least where it concerns my ‘thinking about it’). And also, perhaps, how it is that I might personally develop these major areas of mine…

 1.    ‘Emotions’ don’t exist.

This position might seem to be in conflict with the project here – but actually it doesn’t.

The bad news here is that you need to read ‘The Concept of Mind’ by the British philosopher, Gilbert Ryle (it’s a bit like reading Wittgenstein, only the jokes are better) – particularly where it concerns Ryle’s very own concept of the ‘Category Mistake’.

The part of this concept in Ryle’s book to ponder on (or at least the part that I pondered on) is the example he gives of some ‘foreigner’ or other (like an American, say) watching a cricket match, and who doesn’t really have a clue as to what it is that’s going on here.

The batsmen, bowlers, and fielders are all pointed out to our visitor, and their various functions are explained satisfactorily, such that our visitor now understands them.

 But our visitor then says something to the effect that, “Well gee! I can see the batsman, the bowlers, and the fielders – and I understand all that – but where’s this ‘team-spirit’ that you Limeys keep going on about?”

There are a number of ways of thinking about this… The way I proceed here is to imagine that our visitor simply removes (in his, or her, mind) everything that has been explained to them that is not this ‘team spirit’… And, at some point, I imagine that our visitor will eventually be left with nothing to imagine. At which time they will exclaim something to the effect that, “There’s no team spirit here than I can see!” … or something like that.

However – because we Limeys do maintain that there is such a thing as ‘team spirit’ – this result must somehow be incorrect. And it is this error that constitutes, for Ryle, the above-mentioned ‘Category Mistake’. (Batsmen; bowlers; fielders; umpires, etc. then, do not belong in the same ‘category’ as ‘team spirit’ for him).

[NOTE: A version of this reductive approach is, I maintain, also used by the philosopher Daniel Dennett in his book ‘Consciousness Explained’ – where I believe it would go under the fancy academic label of ‘Eliminative Materialism’…].

By discussing ‘emotions’ in certain ways, it is possible – because the person speaking had made a ‘category mistake’ then – to maintain that there is no such thing as ‘the emotions’. …

By the way …In my view, this way of looking at emotion demonstrates – yet again – the crucial need to develop ones own active language. ‘

2.  Emotions are distinct things – in and of themselves

3.  You only experience emotions when you’re thinking or doing something physical.

4.  Your body changes continually, and so your emotion change continually.

5.  Emotions emanate from the unconscious, and are only ‘experienced’ when they ‘break through’ into consciousness.

6.    Emotions are ‘energy’.

This view of the emotions would be very much in line with, what I would claim, is one of Eugene Halliday’s central concepts – which is that ‘All that there is, is Sentient Power’.

The dynamic aspect of energy – a dynamic created by a ‘difference in potential’, such that this energy can subsequently ‘flow between’ these differences – can thus be held in order to ‘explain’ conscious affect – and thus to explain the emotions.

‘Energetic tension’ in this case then, is more properly viewed as a ‘metaphysical’ idea, and not as a ‘scientific’ one.

Paul Bousfield, in his book ‘Pleasure and Pain’ (London, 1926), puts forward this idea by suggesting that pain (which is – broadly speaking – constitutive of Eugene Halliday’s, “No!”) is the conscious affect that accompanies this tension; and that pleasure (Eugene Halliday’s “Yes!”) is the result of its neutralization.

The beginnings of this homeostatic view of the human beings is (you might like to know) pre-Socratic … Anaxagorus maintaining that sensation depended upon irritation by opposites – which amounts to the same sort of thing.

So, if man is conceived of by Eugene Halliday as ‘Sentient Power’ (but as ‘circumscribed’ – and thus cut off from the ‘whole’ field of Sentient Power by this act of circumscription) then it now becomes reasonable, on this view, to say that any dynamic changes inside this circumscribed area that are produced, either internally (by thinking say) or from sensations that emanate from without, we will subsequently experience as ‘emotions’.

‘Science’ will evaluate this energy from without (by observing a being’s various ‘activities’ and then evaluating them) while the being itself will – by experiencing this ’energy flow’ from within, and by the development in itself of an aesthetic appreciation – reveal the ‘nature’ of this energy, by producing various ‘texts’ (philosophies; poetry; music; art; discourse; etc.).

Just how this ‘energy’ produces all this ‘internal stuff’ though, is the big question. But it would obviously require some form of collation between what is meant by ‘energy’ and ‘consciousness’, at least. …And unfortunately this also still leaves us with the problem of explaining how consciousness (as energy) behaves in ways that energy, in other forms (mechanical or electrical, for example) doesn’t.

However, if we view energy, in some way, as an immaterial abstract (which is how French natural philosophers of the time viewed Newton’s ideas of ‘energy’, ‘force’, and  ‘action at a distance’ – even going so far as to accuse him of introducing ‘supernatural’ ideas here), then it becomes a metaphysical hypothesis…. Which – you might like to know – A.N, Whitehead also put forward, in his lecture ‘Nature Alive’,

“The key notion from which such a construction should start is that the energetic activity considered in physics is the emotional intensity entertained in life.” (‘Modes of Thought’ (Lecture 8) – Cambridge.

Here’s a transcript of the whole lecture, if you want to read it – Whitehead 1938 -Nature Alive (Blog) )

Sentient Power’s ability to experience itself (in the case of ‘sentient beings’, this would be ‘emotionally’) I would argue, is the cornerstone of Eugene Halliday’s monistic ontology. For him, emotions are here, a subjective experience of the flow (or as he puts it, ‘vibrations’) of this universal ‘energy’, and which he refers to as ‘Sentient Power’.

‘Emotions’ then, could – on this account at least –  be said to occur as a result of some sort of ‘discharge’.

But we have not really removed a central problem to this viewpoint. Because, if we are maintaining that this ‘energy’ can be mechanical; chemical; neural; and even psychical, in nature, then we must account for its transformation (or ‘conversion’ might be more in keeping here) from one state to the other. Because we are, in affect, asserting here that – at a certain level, emotions becomes affects, and this greater degree of ‘energy’ will resonate with the ‘thinking’ body to produce mental affects (thoughts and ideas etc.); and also perhaps with the ‘conative’ body to produce physical affects (sexual arousal etc.).

So the problem here now becomes …”How exactly is it that the carrot I’ve just eaten changes into the  ‘emotional state’ I’m now experiencing whist watching this old Elvis Presley movie?” …Or, in another example … “How is my ‘mental activity’ (energy behaving as thoughts about various nasty things, say) ‘converted’ into the ‘emotion of  fear’?” …

And so on…..

7.  Emotions are actually what we are, and the thinking we engage in and the things we do with our physical bodies only arise as a result of this experiencing of these ‘emotions’.

8.  Emotions are ‘located in the brain’.

9.  Emotions are a consequence of ‘blood chemistry’.

10.  Emotions are the consequence of a stimulus and are thus ‘situation dependent’.

11.  Emotions are subject-object dependent. Emotions then are a consequence of the world as objectively posited by you, and so they aren’t ‘really there’.

12.  Emotions are a consequence of an earlier evolutionary auto-response, such as flight-fight etc.

13.  Emotions are those experiences that we can represent in language – less language then, means fewer emotions.

14. Emotions are the means by which the organism produces conflict within itself, in order to produce a course of action which resolves that conflict.

15.  Emotion is a disorder, a pressure from within that produces agitation and irresolution

16. Emotion is the force behind the creative act – the work of art having, at its root, a desire to resolve a pair of opposites, by synthesizing them and ultimately transcending them in the ‘work of art’ produced as a direct consequence.

POSTSCRIPT: Hopefully the material I’ve presented in the section immediately above has given you a better idea of how I might work with Eugene Halliday’s material; and how I might then subsequently attempt to incorporate the results, either into my own material, or into the material of others… I should stress here by the way, that I am not suggesting this method should be used by others….  Whatever ‘Works’ for you, is the rule here.

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Here are some notes of mine from one of my various notebooks that will, hopefully, set up the next section of this post.

If, from out of our own free will, we come to confer existence on some agency – that is, on some person, or some thing, or some body of ideas – such that we have now endowed that agency with a sustained potency. Then, even though we might subsequently like to believe that we can exercise power over it; sadly, it will more often be the case that it will exercise power over us

Beings will almost invariably reveal their true selves, when they have come to possess the real object(s) of their will – although I would now better refer to these as, ‘The object(s) of their desire’….

 At this point though, if you have developed the necessary ability through Working, it is now possible to see these beings as they really are – in and of themselves. Without the need for formulating any judgments; or of any ‘considering’, or ‘deciding’ on your part… You just ‘look’ and you can ‘see’…

 Unfortunately, I have found that this does not necessarily make it any easier to socially interact with these beings; or to formulate what it is that you see. Any more than your ‘seeing’ here makes the decision on your part as to your subsequent way of proceeding any easier….

But – ‘just seeing things the way that they are’ can help to strengthen your resolve to continue with your attempts to move forward … Should you decide that this is what you will to do.

From ‘NOCTURNAL EMISSIONS’
‘Random Dribbling from the Twilight World of the Undead’
by Bob Hardy
(A series of fragments from Bob Hardy’s notebooks – from the late-1970’s to date)

 

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(Scene: Lights fade up to reveal a theatrical ‘black box’ on the back wall of which is a sign that reads  ‘University Theater Club’ …

There are a few large black boxes dotted around the stage area on which are placed a number of coffee mugs; ‘working-on’ scripts and pens; and an assortment of sweaters and personal belongings; etc.

The impression to be created here is that of a bounded ‘working space’. The lighting can be random – except for those lights directed to the front of mid-stage and that serve to illuminate both him and the high stool on which he is perched.

 He is dressed casually (although perhaps a little too neatly) in an all-black outfit, which includes a turtle-neck fitted sweater. He has silver-grey hair, which is combed back and caught in a band at the back of his head in the form of a pony-tail. This pony-tail covers to some extent his bald spot, which we can just get to see from time. He has a darker, thin mustache, on his top lip, and also sports a small goatee beard.

He is holding a script on which we can just make out the title – ‘Romeo and Juliette’ by William Shakespeare.

 The impression he gives is that of being a (slightly hammy) director – in that his movements and manner are somewhat over-theatrical, and also vaguely androgynous.

He is in the process of addressing – what we cannot see, but we take to be – are  a number of his theater students. He begins to speak).

 We will begin by examining the role of the main characters here – that of the young lovers, ‘Romeo and Juliet’ – in an effort to appreciate a little more of how it is that this process of ‘performance’ plays out down here…. (He leafs through his script – as if examining it) … Because – as I’m sure those of you who have been posted here would agree – ‘All the world is.. most definitely .. a stage’ (He looks up and beams) As ‘the man himself’ so famously wrote. (He smiles, somewhat condescendingly, before continuing) ..

So let us now go on to examine what we maintain, are some of those ‘expected outcomes’ here… That is, at least as far as our average, reasonably informed theatergoer is concerned.

First of all, I would say that we could be fairly sure that those attending a performance of this play as members of the audience would be certain that our two major characters are both very young, and also very much in love with one another… And that they are also very eager to consummate their relationship…a.s.a.p! (He smiles with a faint leer) …. And that without our audience believing … or, at the very least, during the course of our performance – coming to believe that this is the case … (He looks up and smiles before exclaiming) … Then this play just wouldn’t work at all (He puts down his script and looks out earnestly)…. Would it?

That is to say …You can put this work by Shakespeare into any setting you that like …. Be that setting traditional…. contemporary … avant-guard ….. But if Romeo isn’t desperate to ‘have’ Juliet … And if she isn’t just as desperate to ‘let him’ (He pauses for effect) ‘have her’ … Then it just won’t ‘get off the ground’!

 Remember…. What we are attempting to understand here is what bearing this experience of being actors, and of being members of an audience – the one they refer to here collectively as ‘Theater’ – has on things down here … And on what they are pleased to call, their ‘real lives’….(He looks up, pauses, and grins broadly) Whatever it is that they imagine they are!

But, “Which is which?”… “Which is ‘theater’; and which is ‘real? you might – at some point in your observations of their behavior –  find yourself asking …(He pauses and sounds slightly conspiratorial)

And I feel it is a good time here to take the opportunity, and remind you that this is the reason why – while we’re all down here at least – we must wear our make-up  (He raises his voice suddenly and exclaims) at all times!… (He pauses over-dramatically and smiles, before continuing).

But our major advantage here is that – for the overwhelming majority of them down here at least – there seems to be an almost pathological inability to attend… to anything … To actually…  listen. …To focus … on what is going on….(He pauses)

But ‘attend’ to what?… ‘Listen’ to whom?” … you might ask (He looks ‘past’ his students and directly out into the audience ‘proper’, smiling broadly) ….

Why obviously … To themselves, of course! (He lowers his head somewhat again, before continuing)

Capture their attention, and they will … almost invariably … go into a passive state of one form or another… And… incredibly … many will still actually believe…  that they are, instead, ‘actively involved’ …That they are not ‘asleep’ at all… But are… on the contrary … ‘wide awake’! (He half rises off his stool and looks out at his audience in mock disbelief… as if asking a question).

(He sits down once again and picks up his script). Anyway… let’s try to use the characters in this play here… and attempt to throw some light on all this. (He continues to speak while examining his notes… He looks up quickly and says, rather sharply) … And No! … Sometimes I don’t know why we bother with all this either! (He begins to speak earnestly as if he has now begun ‘lecturing proper’)…Your assignment for this section of the module will be to write a short dissertation of about eight thousand words or so… But don’t worry … I’ll provide you with the outline of what it is that I want from you at the end of this unit.

Let’s get on now and examine the two actors playing these two roles…. And let’s call these actors Rolf and June for convenience (He puts his script notes down and looks up intently) And let’s say something about their private lives… (He pauses) I’m going to give you a list of scenarios … and take you through them all briefly to give you the general idea…(He picks up his script and begins)

Here’s the list then (He pauses, looking up from his script and gazing into the distance as if concentrating, before beginning to speak dramatically).

Scenario one: Rolf and June used to be married … to each other… But now they hate the sight of each other. They have just gone through an extremely nasty divorce…. They are both superb, dedicated actors (He pauses dramatically before continuing).

Scenario two: One of these two – Rolf and June – is madly in love with the other but no matter what they do, they cannot seem get the object of their affections to ‘notice them’  …. They are both superb, dedicated actors (He pauses dramatically before continuing).

Scenario three: One of these two – Rolf and June – is madly in love with the other but is married to someone else and has a young child, and is desperate to keep this state of affairs hidden in the hope that it will ‘blow over’ …. They are both superb, dedicated actors (He pauses dramatically before continuing).

Scenario four: One of these two – Rolf and June – is madly in love with the other but no matter what they do, they cannot get the object of their affections to ‘notice them’. However, the object of their affection does know, but is not interested …. They are both superb, dedicated actors (He pauses dramatically before continuing).

Scenario five: One of these two – Rolf and June – is madly in love with the other but no matter what they do, they cannot get the object of their affections to ‘notice them’. However, the object of their affection does know but is not interested ….Because they are gay but haven’t yet ‘come out’ – because they are in denial …. They are both superb, dedicated actors (He pauses dramatically before continuing).

Scenario six: Rolf and June are a ‘couple’… They have been seeing each other for some time now, but both suspect that the other is cheating on them – with their best friend… And so they engage in continual innuendo… They are both superb, dedicated actors (He pauses dramatically before continuing).

Scenario seven: Rolf has always been gay, and June has always been a lesbian – neither of them has every engaged in – or has ever had any desire to engage in – straight sex. … They are both superb actors (Once again he pauses dramatically before continuing) ….

Scenario eight: Rolf and June are crazy about each other, so much so that they just can’t leave each other alone…. (He pauses dramatically before exclaiming dramatically) They are both lousy actors. (He pauses once again, and puts his script down before continuing)

 OK! That should give you the general idea here …. Here are the questions… What would you mean here if you were to say to someone, something to the effect that, “I’ve just seen Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’… It was a really good/bad performance”?.. Or what do you mean if you go on to say something like, “Of course they didn’t really mean it – because they were only acting after all.”…. Which of the above scenarios do you think would ‘work; or do you think all of them would ‘work’? … Do you think any of them wouldn’t work? … Why? … What would you say ‘acting’ consists in? …. Describe someone you know who you would say definitely never ‘acts’ – and why it is that you believe this to be the case; or, why you believe that everyone is always acting .. or why you think that everyone always – at some time – acts …

( As he begins asking the above questions, the lights and sound start to fade slowly, until we cannot hear or see anything)

From ‘Field-notes for Armageddon’ by Bob Hardy

POSTSCRIPT: The piece above is still in the form of a rough draft, and is one that I put together in an attempt to explore the dynamics between: the emotions that are actively and objectively produced by role-playing, but within some form of scenario – this would be our actor here giving his ‘seminar’ on actors and acting; the consequential production of deliberate – and, if you think about it – fairly predictable emotional states in the (unseen) students that we assume are attending this seminar, and who believe that they will go on to produce their ‘interpretations’ about what is going on from their own – as it were – largely ‘uninfluenced’ positions ; in the ‘theater audience proper’; and finally in ‘you’, the reader of this piece…

It helps me to examine the interplay of emotional states, and to perceive them as more complex (which they are always becoming – because they are always as complex as you are capable of dealing with) if I view the various components here as being ‘fugue-like’. In this particular case for example, the emotional state produced by the major character could be viewed as the ‘exposition’; the students who – because they are deliberately positioned by me as being ‘passive’ here – provide a virtual ‘development’ (‘in absentia’ as it were) – by virtue of the fact that they are required to supply a dissertation that would effectively serve that purpose; and finally, a theater audience (or you the reader) who would each supply their own private ‘recapitulation’, in the form of their (and your) own privileged understanding here – based on the viewing, or reading, of this piece …. And then of course … there’s me – the writer…

However, I will admit, that perhaps I haven’t yet exactly made that point clear here… But I am Working on it.

The initial idea seemed reasonably simple for me to put in place. But the consequences that I keep coming up with created severe problems for me in the subsequent writing of it… Because the piece kept collapsing into one conclusion or other that I was either not happy with at all, or was so unprepared for that I couldn’t come to grips with; or that kept opening up, in me, into the propagation of a multitude of  ‘alternative endings’…

[Shakespeare does a superb version of this (in a different way of course) in ‘Hamlet’ .. Particularly with his ‘poison in the ear’ bit … But I’m guessing that you already knew that…  Didn’t you]..

One positive outcome for me here, however – and the most productive aspect of it for me up to now – was that as consequence of my conscious self-reflection of the process here ‘in toto’, I came to be aware of a great deal of  ‘meaning’ that centered around the two words ‘authentic’ and ‘genuine’ …. But once again ….. I’m afraid you’ll either get that; or you won’t…

Like I say, I’m still working on this (!)

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Finally, here’s another chance for anyone out there who is interested in working with Eugene Halliday’s ideas, to join in on the blog forum here.

… One of the initial problems faced by anyone attempting to understand the writings of someone like Eugene Halliday is that – in many cases at least – these writings presuppose each other. That is to say, they exist in a web of ‘referential inter-textuality’. Which means that, as a consequence, you have to be familiar with all the major ideas that are contained in each of his essays, before you can really understand any one of these essays in any depth.

This, I believe, is why many I have spoken with about Eugene Halliday prefer listening to the ideas contained in his talks, rather than engaging with those contained in his writings… But I have to say that I don’t think this really works most of the time – because when I question these people about what it is that they have gleaned from one of these talks, the overwhelming majority of them appear – to me at least – to have simply only ‘sort of’ dimly remembered one or two, by and large, disjointed fragments.

What I think is going on here, is that these people just find the talks more ‘enjoyable’ (more ‘entertaining’) than the writings, because they are not as dense, or nearly as demanding … Which is fine as far as it goes I suppose, but it doesn’t really seem to get them very far.

On the other hand, I would say that the harder you engage with Eugene Halliday’s writings, the more meaning you will get back from them. But I appreciate that these written presentations of his ideas can be very dense, and that they contain very few wasted works.

A further complication here is that I believe Eugene Halliday did not write a ‘magnum opus’; but that he only ever wrote essays and articles. However these do – in my opinion – all ‘link-up’ to individually comprise the chapters of one large book… Although I would also maintain that it is a book he never ‘finished’ [but as I don’t believe that ‘finishing it’ was ever his purpose here anyway, this is not of any relevance really].

Luckily though, there is an enormous volume of Eugene Halliday’s written work that was published in the parish magazine of St Michael and All Angels, and many of these do not require (that much) previous familiarity with his major ideas. They are all reasonably short…. And I’ve picked one here that I would like to start a thread on the forum about. It is – I would claim – somewhat extraordinary!  The title of it is ‘The Idea of Sin’ … and it first saw the light of day in February of 1969.

In my view, this short essay is extremely thought-provoking (to say the least), and in fact I would even go so far as to say that it isn’t ‘peachy’ at all … [And indeed, I experience a great deal of Eugene’s writings in this way – but have met very few others who agree with me].

So I’m interested in what anyone out there might have to say about this short piece. It’s not on Josh’s archive yet –  but I have produced a ‘working-on’ scanned copy of it as a pdf here if you are interested in joining in … or even if you’d just like to read it.

I would be really interested in any comments you would like to post on the forum here regarding this piece…

So I will be started a Forum thread in the very near future for this very purpose …And I would also like to tell you that as well as being available for ‘Sinning’, I will also be discussing one or two other taboo topics there, in the near future…

So if you’re interested…do take a peek now and then … if you can make the time …

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I should also tell you that I might not be posting for the next couple of months  – as I will, instead, be bumming around Europe… But then again. I might!… … So …

‘À tout’ … … Then!

Bob Hardy

30th July, 2013

 

Intro:

Over the course of the last couple of months – and with the assistance of a number of comments and emails from various people – it has gradually dawned on me that visitors to this blog might not be … ‘getting’ … these various accounts of my interactions with Eugene Halliday’s material in quite the way that I had intended. … So then – in an attempt to clarify things here if I can – here are one or two points that you might like to bear in mind for the future… … As you ‘read on’ … So to speak…

Most notably:
a). I may have subsequently modified my understanding of a particular concept(s) of Eugene Halliday’s, that I initially took on board sometime during the 1970’s and ’80’s. Such that the account that I give here of my understanding ‘back then’, is nothing like my understanding of this particular concept(s) now.

b). That I might have found myself at some earlier date rejecting a particular concept of Eugene Halliday’s. But as a direct consequence of doing so, I immediately began working on developing my own ideas here… And although these ideas of mine may have been antithetical to Eugene Halliday’s – nonetheless they still owed their genesis directly to that (original) concept(s) of his….Indeed, I had already begun to appreciate ‘way back then’, that without this initial impetus from him, I might never have engaged with these concepts at all. … So whether I agreed with him or not, Eugene Halliday still did something for me here. An intention of his that I believe he elaborates upon at some length in his essay written during the 1940’s – ‘Defense of the Devil’ …(And before moving on, an interesting point that you might like to consider here is, “And what was it that other people did for Eugene Halliday …?”)

The primary purpose of this blog then is to describe these, and other processes of mine, by recounting – as best I can – how it was that I proceeded through some of the material contained in the Eugene Halliday Archive. This purpose also governs, in the main, the position I would prefer to take here regarding any discussion of Eugene Halliday’s ideas or concepts – either on the Forum, or in the Comments Section of this blog…

So, before moving on from the subject of ‘Words’, and onto ‘Feeling’ (as I fully intended to do at the end of last month), I have decided that it would be a good idea if I provided you with a couple of examples illustrating my present relationship to this whole ‘activate language’ thing… And although these examples could hardly be said to be exhaustive  – that is, I hope you don’t think that this is all I have to say on the subject – they might help to shed further light here…

Shortly… The problem I’m having at the moment with my attempts to clarify my position regarding ‘active language’ here, is centered around a lack of (let us call it) ‘differentiation’ in the use of (amongst others) the following particular terms: ‘meaning’; ‘definition’; and ‘understanding’….. (This would be a lack of differentiation on your part here by the way, and not on mine … Although having just written that, I do immediately see that it appears to make me out to be somewhat hubristic) …. To continue … ‘Meaning’; ‘definition’; and ‘understanding’ are – ipso facto – three completely different words, because they (obviously) each have three different, written, and spoken, forms …. And thus – at least according to my take on Eugene Halliday about this – they must therefore perform three different functions…. So … This being the case … I can now put my little problem here this way:-

If you take my use of the word ‘meaning’ to be, say, the same as your use of the word ‘definition’ …then ‘we two’ are going to be in all sorts of trouble where it concerns any attempt by us to communicate with each other here… Aren’t we?  … Such that we will probably just end up talking past each other … That is – I will fondly imagine that I’ve ‘said’ one thing, and you’ll maintain that I’ve ‘said’ something else….. ‘Non comprende’ in other words….

So, here below are a couple of examples centered around my particular ‘Work Experiences’ with the word ‘meaning’. And thus, as a consequence of these experiences, how this word ‘meaning’ functions (in part) for me now  …. Hopefully perhaps, after reading these examples then, you will understand a little more about what it is that I’ve been prattling on about in this blog – in part at least – up to now…

I am fine, by the way, that your experience with this word ‘meaning’ involved you in completely different experiences, as it surely must have … And indeed, I would be very interested to hear from you about these experiences of yours…. Hopefully though, you will not be overcome with the urge to send me your ‘ideas’ about what it is that you ‘think’ the word ‘meaning’ might possess… Because – as I might have mentioned before – I am not that interested in hearing about ‘just’ your ideas … I want to know how you arrived at these ideas experientially.. and how you subsequently ‘balanced’ yourself …

To repeat then, I would be absolutely delighted to hear from anyone out there in blog-land who has actually had any authentic experiences here….(Clue: ‘authentic’ experiences are not the same thing as ‘genuine’ experiences).

I have put together the pieces below – in part at least – from entries in the many and various notebooks that I have somehow managed to accumulate over the years – and I really do have lots of them, but that’s probably because I always start my entries in them by using my best handwriting for the first few pages – employing a brand new pen purchased solely for that purpose… Then – for some reason which I’ve never quite been able to fathom – I will scrawl stuff in the next few pages using a blobby biro, with the result that I’m only able to decipher half of this material at a later date… Finally, I will make a hurried note  (which I will recall at some later date as being crucial to my future development, but which, regrettably, I have now somehow completely forgotten) – somewhere in the final third of this notebook, with what appears to be an H500 (or even harder) pencil – the line of which is so faint that I cannot subsequently decipher anything of it at all, but which I cannot now erase without making a hole in the paper … … I then find myself – and sooner rather than later – impelled to buy myself another new notebook … Going on to repeat the above process … over, and over … and over, again….  ‘Nox profunda’, as they used to say ….

A¹: The Meaning of Objects.

Let me say right away that I like my choice of title for this section … It reminds me of a sort of ‘surrealist manifesto’ thing. … Rather like ‘The Exquisite Corpse’ ….

All of a sudden, as if a surgical hand of destiny had operated on a long-standing blindness with immediate and sensational results, I lift my gaze from my anonymous life to see the clear recognition of how I live. And I see that everything I’ve done, thought, or been, is a species of delusion or madness… I’m amazed by what I’ve managed not to see… I marvel at all that I was and that I now see I’m not.
                                                         The Book of Disquiet – Fernando Pessoa

Sometime during my mid-fifties – and as a consequence of what many might view as an incredible stroke of luck – I was given the opportunity of ‘retraining’  for the job market…For free …. (A situation that very nearly ‘did me in’ as it happened… And that, amongst other things, resulted in me becoming the apparent victim of a bizarre strain of what I can only describe as ‘lycanthropy’, for short periods … But that’s another story) …

Out of the blue, my line-manager at ‘The Wirral Metropolitan College’ (which was where I was working at that time as a part-time lecturer) offered to get the college to pay for my university fees, should I want to ‘bump up my qualifications’ and go for an MA… (“They must have had more money than sense,” as my sainted, maternal grandmother might have put it)…

Being the pig I am (and using the old Liverpool maxim ‘If they’re free, I’ll have two’), I embarked, simultaneously, upon not one, but two, three-year courses (Education with Manchester University, and Music at Liverpool University) eventually receiving two pieces of very nicely embossed paper, on which were printed my shiny new, impressive ‘qualifications’. These were immediately prominently featured in the first two pages of a fake-leather-bound folder that we were all required to clobber together during this period, and which laughingly constituted what ‘the powers that be’ liked to referred to as your ‘C.V.’.. And…as much of what was in there – up to that time at least – resembled nothing so much as a collection of antique Hoover guarantees … I will admit that… OK… I was rather taken with my shiny new qualifications…But only ‘in a mercenary way’, as Dame Edna might have put it….

Had they still been alive, my achievements here were something that my parents would have been proud of (in the way that all of us parents usually are). And it was this aspect of my newly acquired scholarly status that kept presenting itself to me, whenever I thought of my splendid achievements here … something like nostalgic regret …. In a nutshell, I had became conscious of the fact that, “My dad (and my mum) would have been proud of me.”

My father had worked in a precision engineering company, and such was the nature of his job that he was required to wear a suit, complete with collar and a tie, under a white laboratory coat – very similar to the one that the actor Peter Cushing used to don whist playing Dr Frankenstein in those old Hammer Horror movies…

Anyway, my dad had been dead for some fifteen years, and my mum had been dead for about six years when I received my  ‘presentation award ceremony letter’ from Liverpool University … I had no intention of actually going to be ‘presented’ because – as I have already said – I only wanted the official pieces of paper to stick in my CV.. But my wife, Jean, pointed out that, “It would be a nice thing to do, because your mum and dad would have wanted you to.” … So I compromised… and agreed to have my photograph taken…

I had very few of my mother and father’s belongings, but for some reason, I had kept my dad’s tie … The one that I remember he wore to work.. It was a blue plaid affair – made of a sort of wool material…. The sort of thing you could buy in any decent high-street tailors….

Anyway, I decided to wear my dad’s tie (around the collar of that brand-new white shirt I found that I had to buy) when I went along to the appropriate university department in order to pose for my official (rip-off) photograph – wearing the specially-hired (at the session) for-the-session standard mortar-board, complete with fake-fur-lined gown: standing in front of an impressive array of fake books, and holding a rolled-up piece of blank parchment complete with a fetching strip of silk (matching the above fake fur) which had been wound around it, and then tied with an impressive bow, and that was presumably intended to represent my new ‘degree’…. (There’s ‘one born every minute’ isn’t there?) …

When I think of ‘dad’s tie’ now – all this (and a great deal more) ‘comes up’ in me… It’s what it ‘means’ to me.

On the elaboration of my thoughts here regarding this extraordinarily interesting phenomena, see ‘B section’ below … After you’ve read  of course …

A²:  …But what does this particular concept really mean?

I’m now going to attempt here to ‘marry up’ – that is, as far as ‘my very own, personal, belongs-to-me, meaning’ is concerned – a concept of Eugene Halliday’s; something from the writings of Jacob Boehme; … and the Eskimos ..

NOTE TO THE READER HERE: I can read a very thick book from cover to cover, and get absolutely nothing from it. … And have in fact done so, on numerous occasions ….

My usual way of processing texts, is to read through them as quickly as I can and wait for part of it to ‘stand out’…. You can think of this process as something like waiting for a portion of the text that you are reading to become, spontaneously, ‘virtually highlighted’ – if it helps you..

This way of engaging with texts will often result in me being completely unable to tell the curious, casual enquirer what the particular book I have now just finished reading, was ‘about’  … But if, on the other hand, they ask me “What did I get from it?”, and a part of it had been ‘virtually highlighted’ – then I am able to give them my ‘take’ (on that part at least) without much effort … and often at great length… Which usually sees them backing off (particularly if they’ve read the book themselves) and muttering something like, “Mmmm, I would never have got that from it,” followed very quickly by, “Well! … Must be off !”

You must also understand here that I have no way of knowing beforehand, if and when this ‘virtual highlighting’ will manifest itself. But I can tell you that the possibility of its appearance is the only reason why it is that I engage with any text of any kind since I can remember – that is, even when I was a teenager… …  I might engage with a text I’m not drawn to if I’m asked to do so – as a favor by someone who is important to me for example – but if no ‘virtual highlighting’ appears, then I can find this to be an excruciatingly uncomfortable experience …..Weird…hey?…

Anyway, to continue on here…..

One of the problems I have with any authoritative religious text is – what I like to refer to as – ‘The Eskimo (and Various Other Peoples of the Frozen North) Conundrum’ … Basically this problem centers around the attempted transmission of any information that makes use of culturally-based customs, metaphors, or simpler ‘folk wisdom’ (parables and the like)… Such as those accounts that originate in areas where there is lots of sand; very little rain; the sun never stops shining; there are vineyards and olive groves; people slop about in sandals and loin-cloths; houses are made of stone; locusts are a problem because they eat those crops that the farmers have just spent most of the year cultivating; there’s often a scarcity of water, and they have a lot of problems over who owns ‘that well’ or ‘this oasis’; dead bodies will putrefy in a day or two; they submit themselves to any number of random, bizarre, dietary restrictions; some of the inhabitants have to cover themselves from head to foot in black, leaving holes only for the eyes; For real fun they like to get everyone together now an again and stone somebody to death – usually a woman, and usually for having sex without permission, (it’s almost always about sex) and because God told one of his ‘special earthly representatives’ that this was what He (notice that’s ‘He’ and not ‘She’ by the way) wanted them all to do; or that hundreds of millions of them are still, even today, condemned to suffer a pernicious form of slavery as ‘untouchables’, because of something they apparently did before they were born (which is a really neat trick to pull – if you can get people to swallow it that is… … “Please drink the Kool-Aid!”). But whose ‘sacred religion’ still has a very special place in the hearts of Westerners (usually with more money than sense – and particularly ‘celebrities’) because they are so very nice to cows… etc. etc.

Now… to folks who live in a place where, for a great deal of the time, everything is ‘white-on-white-in-white’; it’s mostly cloudy; there are often blizzards, or at least howling freezing winds for days on end; they only get to see the sun for five minutes a day for a significant percentage of the year; houses are made of snow, or reindeer hide; they stand for hours holding a spear, covered in animal fur, over tiny holes in the ice, waiting to catch some unwary seal (another mammal not frequently alluded to in those standard ‘authoritative texts’ either – at least as far as I’ve been able to discover); dead things hang about for millennia; they have no problem in chewing on hooves, scales, and drinking warm blood; they have never seen a grape or an olive (or a ‘farmer’ for that matter) in their lives; they have more than enough water; they keep company with walruses; a significant number of them wouldn’t be seen dead drinking wine – preferring instead to down shots of neat spirit; they like to Sauna together naked, then jump into freezing water, before downing a few of the aforementioned shots, and then spank each other with bundles of fresh branches … And they are ‘animists’ as well – That is, they believe that animals have spirits, and so they thank them, after killing them for food. etc. etc. (What would Irenaeus have made of that?)

Thus, talking about the Roman Empire; the Holy Land; having to build the pyramids; virgin births; ‘wise men from the East’; burning bushes that talk; The Angel of Death; facing South and bowing down five times a day; dying and being ‘resurrected’, or having your own planet to populate; traveling hundreds of miles overnight on a winged horse; telling them that when you die you get forty acres, a mule, and seventy-two virgins; etc. etc. will signify absolutely nothing …Nada …. Zilch …to this second group of human beings… And it is also questionable if any ‘well-meaning’ ‘peddler of the Good News’ here would be doing them a favor particularly, by letting them ‘in on the truth’, either…

(Scene: He is sitting on a pile of animal skins, dressed in traditional North American Inuit clothing, in the center of what appears to be an igloo. The entrance to which is somewhere off to stage-right, and through which we can occasionally hear the howling of the wind as a flurry of snow blows in. This is happening as the scene begins. The yellow, smokey, light, which is coming from a number of oil-filled lanterns situated around an area in the center of the stage fade-up from black-out ….. He shouts impatiently).

“Shut that door!”…

(He appears to be talking in an extremely animated manner to an unknown number of  people who are seated just outside of the area illuminated by the lamps)…..

“You mean … no more fun with those bundles of fresh branches then? …

Tell you what! … I think we’ll just ‘pass’ on this whole business of wearing hair-shirts; cutting the end of your baby boy’s weenie off; dressing the women from head to foot in black; throwing the headman’s wives alive onto his funeral pyre while they’re still alive; worrying about plagues of …(We hear the howling of the wind and see a flurry of snow again. He shouts, and immediately afterwards, he shakes his head, and quickly smooths his black long greasy hair back with his hand) …. Shut… that… door!”… 

(He continues)

…And then standing up to your waist in a river while you’re holding someone’s head under the water, to – what did you call it? …. ‘Babtize them?” .. Well if you tried that here you’d both be dead in two minutes …But then, I suppose, you’d go straight to – what did you call it – ‘Heaven’! (He roars with laughter)

…And what did that other guy say? … You sit out there under the stars for hours on end and .. How’s that again? – ‘Meditate’ …so that you eventually become …enlightened? (He looks extremely quizzical) ….What? ….. (He turns round ninety degrees or so, and points – appartly at one of the people beyond the light) And what did you two say was written in this this ‘Book of Mormon’ thing, about you’re not supposed to drink alcohol, or drink – what did you call it – caff…een? …(He pauses).. or (He frowns unbelievingly) … hot drinks !! ….

Look! … This has been all very entertaining… But it’s my turn to get the sauna ready for this evening’s fun… So I’m afraid you’ll all have to go ….(He stands up and makes a shoo-ing motion with his arms and hands. We hear movement and the shuffling of feet. The igloo door opens and we hear the whine of the wind and see a flurry of snow billowing in again) … Shut the door on your way out, would you please! …. And do watch out for polar bears… …. What are they?  … Well if one of them spots you, you’ll soon find out … …No…It doesn’t look anything like a ‘camel’ ……. Bye!” …. …. (He shouts) … Shut that door! ….

(He sits down and and continues to address someone beyond the circle of light) Would you get that lot? …Notice there were no women amongst them except for those two – what did they call themselves? …. ‘Jehova’s Witnesses’  … They were a right bundle of laughs, weren’t they? …..

Couldn’t make head nor tail of anything any of them were saying …. Mind you, one of the guys with the little cap on the back of his head said that he did quite like liver – but that he didn’t fancy eating it raw….(He looks puzzled for a moment) … So what does he do with it then? …Boil it? (He roars with laughter)…. …. And what’s a chicken?..

(He fiddles with the wick on one of the lanterns) … Seems like they’re all obsessed with rules to me …(Flurry of wind and swirling of snow. He shouts at the top of his voice) … Shut!… That!…Bloody! …. Door!!!…..

Well! … Better be off to get the fire going!…. Lots of steam and hot air … (He chuckles to himself again). But the useful kind … That’s what we need…..(He stands up,pulls his hood over his hair, and picks up his harpoon. The igloo door opens again and we hear the howling of the wind and see another flurry of snow. He shouts again) … Shut! … That! …(He continues in a quieter voice, talking half to himself)  Oh, forget it! …  I was going out anyway (He moves out of the circle of light, the sound of the wind rises, the flurries of snow becomes thicker and blow further into the igloo towards center stage, as the lanterns fade to black-out)….

From ‘Fieldnotes for Armageddon’ by Bob Hardy

What’s going on here? …And far more importantly to me … What’s wrong with this picture? …It is questions such as these that have bothered me for far longer, and much more, than, “What happens to us when we die,” or, “Is there, or is there not, a ‘God'” ….

Earlier on in my life, the affect on me of all religious stories was, frankly, to confuse me …. I didn’t get them at all… Although I was interested…And I did go to Sunday School every Sunday, and sing in the church choir until I was about twelve, so it wasn’t like I was a heathen … But it was as if I was covered with a kind of ‘religious water-repellent’ and none of the stories touched me… I could remember information without any trouble (the story of Christ’s life, for instance) but it didn’t mean anything to me … And I was also worried because that whole, ‘He died for our sins’ thing was incomprehensible to me – I just couldn’t find any point of entry… I didn’t feel as if I was ‘covered in sin’ or that I needed ‘saving’ particularly.. …The only ‘religious-type’ text that I connected with it at all during this period was the children’s version of Bunyan’s ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’ (the title of which is ‘Little Pilgrim’s Progress’, written by Helen Taylor) that I’d read before I was ten, and had enjoyed very much (I still have a copy actually)…It made a very deep impression on me … But the message in the book didn’t seem to be too ‘puritanical’, at least not to me; and I was fine with the degree of striving involved, in order for the young pilgrim to complete his journey… I seemed to ‘get’ the morality of it without any problem. …And somehow it seemed to clarify part of what I sensed the whole thing was about …(But I was only nine or so at the time – when all said and done)…

Delving into other ‘religions’ in my mid-teens only made this whole situation worse.. Because – absent the cultural connection, and unlike a lot of what was going on with other people of my age at the time – these stories all seemed to me to be even more implausible than my own. … I couldn’t even take the majority of them seriously enough to disagree with them… Let’s put it that way!… And the platitudes of various ‘gurus’ etc. from the ‘mysterious and mystical’ sub-continent of India later on in the mid-sixties just sounded to me like an endless recycling of the sort of sentimental stuff that you find scripted on the inside of birthday greetings, and Christmas cards…

What to do then? …. Well, the light started to go on for me when I came across the following words of St. Thomas Aquinas … “In order that the happiness of the saints may be more delightful to them and that they may render more copious thanks to God for it, they are allowed to see perfectly the sufferings of the damned.” … After reading this particularly nasty piece of ‘inspired writing’, it hit me that,  as far as I could see, much of what was being claimed by men, about what it was that God, life, and ‘the purpose of it all’, etc. could be viewed as was – when you got down to it – just an involved series of rewards and punishments… Such that, for instance, the wealthy ‘got theirs’ during this (earlier) earthly existence, while the rest of poverty-stricken humanity, ‘got theirs’ in something referred to a the ‘afterlife.” – A sort of weird (and very convenient) ‘payback’ arrangement…. Anyway, whatever it was, it appeared to me to have a profoundly materialistic foundation –  for all it’s prattling-on about morality and ethics…Because, in the end, the promise here always seemed to be the same, “Believe this – and there’ll be something in it for you.” … And at that point in my journey … thankfully … I was able to leave all this behind….Because that just didn’t seem to be at all what it was ‘all about’ to me ….I didn’t like the whole idea – particularly where it concerned the ‘special deals’ that seemed to be on offer …’Saint-hood’, ‘prayers for the dead’, rewards for ‘going to church’ and that sort of thing…

But if I was going to stop bothering with all that… I couldn’t say ‘drop it all’ because it wasn’t like I’d ever ‘picked it up’… What was it that I going to ‘carry with me’ in its stead then?… What was of use here?…. This now became my new pressing concern…. Because I still had all those damned questions of mine rattling round in my head…

But on the positive side, I was now a whole lot ‘cooler’ about the ‘believe systems’ of others…. and in fact I still don’t get involved in ‘debates’ about ‘science v religion’, even today, if I can possibly avoid it – because I think it’s a classic example of people ‘talking past each other’ frankly – and a more fitting pursuit for a couple of smart-arsed ale-house lawyers…

So, as I say, I was to put my acceptance of any belief system that was being offered ‘out there’, on the back burner – for the time being at least… But that still didn’t mean that I wasn’t a very enthusiastic searcher.. And, looking back, I see that it was strange that I didn’t feel any impatience about immediately finding any ‘solid ground’ here – because that is very unusual for me… I felt instead, that somehow that I was still going to get there (and I still do)…. Wherever ‘there’ is, of course…

Anyway …I began to see a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, sometime in the early 1980’s when, through a couple recorded talks (see below) I came across the writings of Jacob Boehme… I soon saw any number of ‘Virtual Highlights’ in his stuff ( too many actually)… But I will admit that I couldn’t see an ‘over-all picture’ in his writings – at least not for a very long time …However, I did sense that – for all the obscurity of his texts – I was finally ‘in the right area’….

[If you don’t know who Jacob Boehme is, then you can check him out for yourself here by listening to these three (in my opinion) excellent audio recordings of introductory lecture on various aspects of Boehme’s thought, given by two friends of Eugene Halliday’s – David Mahlowe; and Donald Lord. You can then go on to download every single one of Jacob Boehme’s books from the Internet, for free, if you would like to learn more..

The Seven Spirits Of Jacob Boehme – David Mahlowe

The Four Complexions of Jacob Boehme – David Mahlowe

Jacob Boehme’s Election of Grace – Donald Lord

Eugene Halliday studied Boehme extensively, and he also made copious notes on many of Boehme’s ideas… Here are two very short examples for you to look over.

Eugene Halliday – Boehme Seven Properties

Eugene Halliday – Boehme Centre and Circumference

 

Anyway, it was Jacob Boehme’s inspired writings, such as these couple of paragraphs from Chapter 6 of his Three-Fold Life of Man (also contained in Chapter 10, of W. Scott Palmer’s excellent (in my view) Anthology – The Confessions of Jacob Boehme) that played a large part in solving the above ‘Eskimo’ problem for me;

19. The law of God, and also the way to life, is written in our hearts: It lieth in no man’s supposition and knowing, nor in any historical opinion, but in a good will and well­doing. The will leadeth us to God, or to the devil; it availeth not whether thou hast the name of a Christian, salvation doth not consist therein.

20. A Heathen and a Turk is as near to God, as thou, who art under the name of Christ: if thou bringest forth a false ungodly will in thy deeds [lead a wicked life], thou art as much without God, as a Heathen that hath no desire nor will to God.

21. And if a Turk seek God with earnestness, though he walk in blindness, yet he is of the number of those that are children without under­standing; and he reacheth to God with the children which do not yet know what they speak: for it lieth not in the knowing, but in the will [purpose and resolution].

… And now it’s time to add a pinch Eugene Halliday:-

[Note: please bear in mind here that ‘is’, is the Present Simple tense (third person) of the verb ‘to be’…]

The first phrase I can attribute to Eugene Halliday that had any lasting affect on me was, “All that there is, is Sentient Power’…Which I actually heard first from Ken Ratcliffe.  (By the way, when dealing with ‘Working’, I will not be using acronyms such as, for example, ‘SP’ for Sentient Power; or ‘short-hand’ versions of words, such as, for example, ‘resec’, for reflexive-self-consciousnes, in this blog if I can possibly avoid it. Because, frankly, the practice depresses me) .. Anyway this concept of Eugene Halliday’s – which I view as very  simple – was to provide me with a great deal of support over the years…. Not because I understood it particularly, but because it became a ‘governing concept’ (more about them later) of mine with very little help from me…. I must point out here that ‘Sentient Power’ is not the same thing at all as ‘Absolute Sentient Power’ (Can you spot the difference?) … In the latter case, those who are fond of using this phrase invariably add, “Which is the same as ‘God’,” or, “What we mean when we say ‘God’, “… Which actually isn’t what I mean … So I’m just going to stick with, “All that there is, is Sentient Power.”… (If you don’t mind)..

I take this to mean exactly what it says, by the way… That is, every facet of being (of ‘is-ness’) such as awareness; feeling; emotions; sensations; consciousness; material existence etc…. ‘are all’ … or, ‘have their being’ … or, ‘take their rise from’ … or, ‘are aspects of’… or, ‘IS’ …this Sentient Power…  Thus, it follows from this that I too am, in some sense (which I will go into in a later post) Sentient Power… As indeed are you … and also that steaming dog turd just outside your front door…

This viewpoint, by the way, now had the affect of making one of my ‘very important questions’ much simpler to articulate. To wit – “What is Sentient Power ‘up to’, here … now?”…

Well – to cut straight to the chase here – Sentient Power ‘loves’… And, once again, to quote Eugene Halliday, “The word [love] means ‘laboring for the development of the potentialities of being’.”

Thus, ‘Peoples of the North’ have the ability (being aspects of Sentient Power themselves – because that’s all there ‘is’, remember) can – without the mediation of anyone in the particular – ‘labor for the development of the potentialities of being’…Because that’s what Sentient Power does…Whenever it possibly can…

Which all just seems ‘right’ to me. And also – for use as an initial point of departure at least – provides one way of structuring this whole business of ‘being here’, ‘from the ground up’ as it were…. Anything that can help to dispense with the idea that there are ‘essential people’ necessary for the rest of us to ‘get the message here’, such as: The Pope; The Archbishop of Canterbury; the Head Rabbi; The Chief Mula, The Dali Llama; Billy Graham; Jim Jones; Bhagwan Shree Rajbeesh; Eckhart Tolle; New Age gurus; etc, makes me feel a whole lot better, when I attempt to contemplate the ‘meaning’ of ‘purpose’ here … Because, as I’m Sentient Power (just as ‘everything’ and even – Eugene Halliday would argue – ‘everythink’ is) I can always, in every moment – if I reflect on the situation that I find myself in – chose to ‘labor for the development of the potentialities of being’… or not….. I have to confess though, that were it concerns my own efforts here, in this world, to date, while I am always aware that this is possible for me to do, most of the time I chose not to…

No other particular human being appears to be essential for me here….  Although – to varying degrees – there have been people who have entered may life and have assisted me in this process ..And indeed, as they say… ‘That’s what friends are for’… (No… Better still, I would say, ‘That’s what friends are.”)…. But it’s not like you are in a permanent state of panic, attempting to  keep your options open until you make contact with that ‘special person’ …

This ‘meaning’ of mine that I have outlined here is obviously not an etymological or definitional thing … and if you ‘don’t get it’ then there’s nothing much that I can do about that… But this is what it ‘means’ to me… And I can now add that it’s centered around my experiences, or my interactions with, aspects of Sentient Power… and also that it’s about ‘Being Here Now’ … It’s not about ‘secret knowledge’, or being in the company (from time to time) of someone that you fantasize is ‘on a higher level than you’, or is ‘an avator’, or ‘enlightened’ (How the hell would you know anyway, by the way?)… It’s about ‘balance’ …. If it has to be about anything, that is. …

And, in my case at least, the result of acquiring (in part at least) an active language, will not necessarily assist in transforming me into something ‘better’. From being, say, something like a caterpillar (clinging frantically to the earth), into something like a butterfly (fluttering delicately above the petunias) for example … But it might – rather – help me to be transformed from something like a ‘tadpole’ (a rather insignificant, silent, and slimy thing) into a ‘frog’ (an even bigger, wrigglier, far noisier, and much slimier thing) …

“Ribbit … Ribbit…”

Bridge: “No, you can’t have my meaning! … Get your own!”

“Men content themselves with the same words as other people use, as if the very sound necessary carried the same meaning.” – John Locke

In the case of (the ‘tie’ thing), I think it’s fairly obvious that my account here is not a ‘definition’ of the material object – ‘my father’s tie’; neither does it present an understanding of this object…. What it does rather, is provide an account of my relationship to this object. And it is this relationship that constitutes the substance of (or ‘the matter of’), what I refer to as, the ‘meaning’ of ‘my father’s tie’.

It is this sense that I take to be this object’s (my father’s tie) primary ‘meaning’… As a consequence then, I would argue that, without my ‘being’ in the world, or – to put this another way – without this particular aspect of Sentient Power (that constitutes me) existing, this other particular aspect of Sentient Power (that constitutes my father’s tie) could never have come to possess this ‘meaning’….

An outcome that I view as extremely cool….

If I now work backwards from this position, I can see that I had a major problem from the beginning with this word ‘meaning’ when I insisted on focussing on it as a single word (as I might do, say, with any single one of the words contained in this particular post)… I have no problem agreeing with a particular authoritative version of the definition of any word (in my case the OED)…. But, in the case of the word ‘meaning’ –  although I seemed to know what I ‘meant’ here – I  couldn’t tie this ‘meaning’ of mine down when I attempted to do so…. And I had the same lack of success even with words that you might think were ‘easy’ – such as ‘marriage’ or ‘parent’ … Because it was becoming clear to me that the ‘meaning’ (in the general, common sense, use) of these words could be taken to be almost anything… And as, in the majority of ‘helpful’ conversations – where it concerned ‘normal enquiry’ that is – the overwhelming desire here by most of those taking part is the attempt to appear clever, or informed (or, if they’re smart, ‘sincere’) by simply ‘reacting’ to what it was that someone else said (under the guise of supplying ‘input’ – a version of speaking as part of a group that is often [mistakenly] referred to as ‘brainstorming’ by the ignorant), it was next to impossible to get to any ‘meaning’ in the sense that I am using the term here…Although there might be a great deal of ‘information’ flying about…

It seemed to me that in these cases I was always attempting to ‘force things’…And although I like to believe that I was able to come up with some ‘very good ideas’ here, I would – more than likely  – forget these in a very short time … But in the case of the example above (of my ‘meaning’ for ‘my father’s tie’) I don’t have to remember anything … I just look at this object, or I imagine myself looking at this object, and I then ‘see’ what the ‘meaning’ of  it ‘is’…. It reveals itself… by itself … before me…I don’t have to ‘try to remember’ … And because of this, I now believe that I will never ‘forget’ this meaning – simply because I don’t have to try and remember it in the first place…

I will say that I actually had better luck in my attempts to get to the bottom of what ‘meaning’ was, with relatively complex concepts – such as the one in …Before I figured out a way to work with single ‘words’ (or, more exactly, ‘nouns’ first) – even to a limited degree…

The inspiration for associating ‘meaning’ with objects in the ‘objective world’ (such as the tie) came about rather slowly.. And I actually got my first hint when I was working with the group of words; ‘sign’; ‘icon’; … and ‘symbol’… It was ‘symbol’ that gave me my first clue, because I realized that it was impossible for the ‘meaning’ of a symbol to be discovered from its definition… But that you can always  define a sign – in fact you have to (‘This picture of a red raised hand ‘means’ Halt.”). And as a consequence of this I consciously attempted to remember to use a word such as, ‘indicates’, instead of  ‘means’ here, when talking about signs ….

In the case of an icon, it ‘represents’…. For example -“The imagery in this mural is from the Russian Orthodox Church, and it is an iconic representation of St. Michael.”)… So it is possible, simply by researching here, to discover what an icon is primarily representative of.. Such that, if you’re asked what it is that a particular icon ‘means’ (where I would now say ‘represents’), by simply supplying the correct information, you will do the trick.

Finally, there are any number of ways then of appearing to be able to interpret symbols. For instance you can simply commit to memory accounts of  the ‘meaning’ of a symbol that others have experienced when ‘working’ with them and have subseqently ‘written up’… You can then easily present these accounts as your own … (I have found this a very common, and very sad, occurrence)… But I eventually came to see ‘meaning’ as the crucial component in the interpretation and consequent understanding of any symbolism …

I would maintian then, that ‘symbols’ cannot be defined. But this is not to say that a particular dogmatic interpretation cannot be ‘learnt by rote’ (hence ‘schools’ of astrology)…. However, the ‘meaning’ of symbols, at least in the sense that I ‘mean’ it, cannot be learnt… It can only come from the experiential ‘you’… And I can see that this is complicated by the fact that there is a difference between the common ‘meaning’ of a symbol in the ‘public domain’ (such as the imagery of Tarot Cards) and the hermeneutic personal ‘meaning’ of an object (or image) that has been acquired by you due entirely to a personal relationship….

Re the ‘tie account’ then … This  meaning was actively put here by me.This is the meaning that this particular object has for me – out of all those objects that have ever existed in the past; that do exist now; and that will exist in the future … The tie represents (or symbolizes) this experience of mine.. As the alchemists might have put this – it ‘fixes’ this experience of mine … But this tie is not symbolic in this way for you … This meaning is completely hidden from you… It would be impossible in principle for you to ‘get this’ meaning of mine from simply studying that tie. Because my relationship with it is unique, and is what gives it this ‘meaning’…

However, I can share this ‘meaning’ with you, (A sort of ‘The Fellowship of Tie’ thing if you like) particularly if you told me of some object out there that represented (to you) some aspect of this account of mine, in some way that you could verbalize, and that you believed you resonated with….

This is a social phenomena that serves to give some purpose to this ‘living’ business for me. Because through the possibility of this sharing of ‘meaning’ with others, we can establish ‘real’ relationships – ‘Sentient Power meets Sentient Power’ if you like.  But this does demand that you have ‘got yourself out there’ and ‘done a bit’ … Because you can’t experience your life ‘second hand’ – through someone else’s account… Although you can appropriate someone else’s account and then attempt to pass it off as your own; or manufacture one of your own from the comfort of your ‘retreat’ ( you could lie about one and so present yourself as someone you’re not; or be sly about it, and present yourself in such a way that others infer things about your life that are false )…

So that now, after pondering on this ‘tie thing’ for a long time, I can split all the objects ‘out there’ into two groups: a group that will contain those objects that, through the course of my life, became ‘meaningful’ to me – a limited group of objects obviously, because I only live for a finite time; and all the rest of the objects ‘out there (which might constitute an infinity of objects, for all I care).. And this way of looking at this situation says something to me about the word, ‘Mercy’ … …. But I’ll stop there for now on this, because I don’t want to go all mysterious on you again ….

‘Tie’ also has an OED ‘definition/etymology’ of course, and there is probably a lot that is said ‘in the public domain’ about the word ‘tie’. But all this, however, has nothing to do with it’s ‘meaning’ for me …

And finally of course, for many people, the word ‘tie’ might never possess any particular ‘meaning’ at all – even if they wear one every day of their lives…and that’s OK too, of course… ‘Horses for courses’ as they say …

In the case of experiences such as (The Eskimo thing). I would initially be troubled by a particular scenario to begin with. In this case it would be something like, “How would a group of people from one environment (the ‘Middle-East’), communicate ideas to a group of people who live in a completely different environment (the ‘Frozen North’), if the explanatory material they use had become dogmatized and so relied almost exclusively upon experiences arising from interactions with particular regional, local, cultural, and environmental, experiences?”

Then, I would be aware that there were a number of crucial concepts that supplied a ‘meaningful answer’ for me here that appeared to come form material produced by two distinctly separate human beings from two completely separate eras; ideas, I would say then, that are not obviously connected… I would then realize that all this was quite mysterious, and that the chance of it occurring to others in exactly this way (even if they posed the ‘same kind’ of question) was somewhat remote….

The material that I have synthesized here, in my example, that comes from Boehme and Halliday does, I believe, reside entirely in the realm of this experiential ‘meaning’ created by me….But it could very easily be appropriated by someone else who – for the best of intentions – wished to formulate my question in more ‘formal terms’ and, using the substance of the answer that satisfied my search for my ‘meaning’ here – rearrange it, such that they supplied a ‘clearer version’ to ‘the greater public’ as it were. … My point here? … I believe that, in this case, this material would be passive (although perhaps ‘informative and presented in a very acceptable and entertaining manner’) – and there would be every chance that it would soon be forgotten by both the presenter and the audience here….

I know of a number of people who appear to believe that they can ‘acquire/appropriate/learn’ the ‘Work’ of others, simply by studying these ‘closely’ (often by presenting themselves as a suitably ‘humble enquirer’ in an attempt to manufacture an acceptable face, for what is – essentially – thievery; or at best a form of self-serving appropriation; or – to put it more traditionally – covetousness), and then attempting to ‘pass on’ this acquired information by ‘giving talks’ … I’ll just say here that I do not believe this approach ‘works’ – at least in any appreciably effective way; and that further, if it ever was the case that it did, then the implications are horrendous …It will, at best, possibly provide those doing so with ‘a reputation’, or with a way to ‘earn a living’ … I suppose.

In my case though – as the question came to me ‘unformulated’ as it were – that is, I had to struggle in order to clarify what the hell it was that was bothering me – I don’t ‘remember it’… It’s there whenever I want it in the form of an experience…. It is no longer merely just (more) information…

The experience of acquiring ‘meaning’ then, is as if there is now always a path for me that I have forged for myself, to a destination that I can always now perceive – and the resurrection (a lovely word) of this ‘meaning’ by me then, would constitute the time it would take me for me to describe this journey either to myself, or to others…

…These re-tellings of mine might turn out to be somewhat different from the initial account I have given in and A² above … (Actually, I believe that if any further account of  A¹ and A² by me is going to have any life in it – it has to be different) …

A³: Tell Me a Story

What then of people who pass on accounts of ‘meaning’ – but not from an experiential perspective.? …. This, to me, is what we allow teachers to do.

The best teachers seem to include their own authentic experiential accounts in any dissemination of information (their ‘subject of expertise’ as it were) whenever possible. … But, as meaning becomes less and less important in this dissemination, so we can move further towards ‘pure information’ – towards ‘logic’ (but please, not necessarily, towards ‘rationality’)….

Perhaps, at the ‘collective experiential end’ of the scale, the best examples of teaching techniques would be those involving the transmission of ideas, regarding morality etc. that are contained in folk tales and parables, where the teacher ties these stories into a significant contemporary event; and at the other end of the scale, the material contained in subjects such as mathematics…

One of the reasons for the adulation of ‘spiritual teachers’ (if I can call them that) is that the listener assumes that much of what is being said is experiential, when in fact it is not… And it is crucially important when becoming aware that you might be falling under the influence of someone else (for whatever reason) to spend as much time as you possibly can in ignoring what they are saying, and attending very closely to what it is that they actually do. …. This method of filtering out rubbish works both ways incidentally – in that ‘real’ teachers will select their pupils…. And it can often be the case that someone you need to listen to (or relate to, might be better) will present themselves as somewhat ‘undesirable’ – as this will effectively filter out those ‘seekers after truth’ who are merely looking for a diversion, or a social situation that is ‘enjoyable’ …. Important also to bear in mind here, in my opinion, is that you can ‘mistake the messenger for the message’ very, very easily.

 

Coda.

If we spoke only from our ‘meaning’, most of us would say a lot less….

When I hear speech that I believe is emanating from meaning – in the sense that I have tried to illustrate in the above post – I experience what I call ’empathy’: a ‘standing with, or ‘next to’…And, in my case at least, this is nothing like my experience of ‘compassion’…

Ne marche pas derrière moi, je ne te guiderai peut-être pas.
Ne marche pas devant moi, je ne suivrai peut-être pas.
Marche juste à côté de moi et sois mon ami.”

“Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead.
Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow.
Just walk beside me and be my friend.”
                                                           Albert Camus

Zugabe

This post could need quite a bit of proofing and some editing – which I try to get to as I can  … This is because I’m globe-trotting at the moment – and will be moving about somewhat for the next five or six weeks… So apologies in advance if the material here seems to ramble about even more than usual…

 

To be continued …

 

Bob Hardy

28th February  2013

 

… “All the world’s a stage” then? …. Is that what you think? …. Well, it might seem that way to you – but it doesn’t to me!… ….

… I have to admit though … I like the Bard’s take on things a whole lot better than that Greek story about the cave … and the fire … and the shadows on the wall….  and  how what was really going on (including all the good stuff), was going on ‘behind your back’ … And to top it all, how you were chained to a wall so that you couldn’t just turn around and take a peep! …(He moves towards the middle of the room, pushes up his jacket sleeves, holds his hands up with an exaggerated flourish towards the light-bulb hanging from the ceiling, and produces, in rapid succession on the far wall, the shadow of a dog’s head, followed by a duck, then a rabbit, and finally a man with a cigarette in his mouth) … Makes you all out to be a bunch of second rate ‘Peeping Toms’ … if you ask me! ….. (He pauses and looks thoughtful for a moment) … But like they say, “If the cap fits,” … I suppose! (He looks over, smiles thinly, and shrugs).

And that whole ‘cave’ bit … Don’t you find that it’s got a really depressing ‘we are not worthy’ feel about it?  .. 

But then, a lot of you down here really do enjoy going in for all that ‘humble pie’ stuff, don’t you?… Or, at least, you like to pretend you do! …. … I just cannot, for the life of me, understand why you believe it does you any good! … Personally, I find all that ‘diverse cringing and groveling’ you go in for – your ‘religious practices’, as you like to call them – intensely irritating … (He scowls, and stares ahead vacantly for a moment with a solemn  expression on his face as if lost in his own thoughts, before suddenly jerking his head up and smiling broadly)… But I digress!.. …

I’d say – if you’re the least bit interested -that I see the way things are down here as being much more like one of your ‘Blockbuster Movies’! … The ‘Big Picture’!… Or ‘The Main Feature’!  (He laughs loudly)

… Although, now I come to think of it, ‘Multi-Part Serial cum B-Movie’ would probably be more like it …

You know the sort of thing! …  “Don’t miss our ‘three-score and ten’, thrilling, fun-packed, all-action, cliff-hanging, episodes! ….  … Will our hero escape certain death at the hands of the evil villain? … Will he rescue our beautiful heroine? … Will he have time to save the world before dinner? … … Don’t miss our next exciting thrill-packed episode!!!… Coming shortly to a cinema near you!”….

(He stops suddenly, before carrying on in a slightly less enthusiastic manner)… Although of course, ‘thrill-packed’ – for the majority of you taking part down here at least – is probably stretching it a bit!… (He folds his arms and, looking reflective, puts a finger to his lips, and pauses for a moment, before muttering almost to himself) … … A bunch of extras in a third-rate ‘soap’ would probably be a lot more accurate …(He stops again for a moment before suddenly exclaiming) …Whatever! … ….Anyway …looking at things in this way highlights, very nicely, one of those little pranks that so many of you are fond of getting up to, from time to time,  down here,  …  

You see … although, most of the time, you can’t be bothered to ‘get it together’  anyway, and you don’t usually begin taking notice of anything at all until well after it’s half-way through – you still just can’t resist clobbering together your own prequel … Your very own seamless version of events! … Something that pads-out your ideas about all the earlier stuff you missed out on … That you just didn’t ‘get’, the first time round …

Not content with that, this fabrication of yours – which you quickly convince yourself is completely accurate down to the smallest detail – is then foisted upon anyone unfortunate enough to ask you your views on what it is that you think ‘life and everything’ is all about …. You, of course, can’t wait to tell them that you know … because you’ve convinced yourself that you’ve seen it all clearly!

More often than not though, these ‘theories’ of yours are usually just a poorly clobbered together, largely erroneous, personally biased, series of pseudo-events and half-truths that you have deluded yourself into believing now constitute an accurate chronicle of events – even though you have only just (that is, very recently) made most of it up! (He laughs and gestures disbelievingly, shaking his head slowly) ….

You then compound this problem, by insisting on referring to this cock-eyed version of events of yours, as your ‘sincere beliefs’ … Mainly because you imagine that this label somehow confers some kind of automatic, additional, authenticating kudos, on both you and your ideas….

But even you will have to admit that this belief of yours has been produced with at least some – what we might call here – ‘hind-sight’ on your part … (He laughs) Which brings us back – in a manner of speaking – to our ‘Greek cave’ story! … Regrettably though, this ‘hind-sight’ of yours does not constitute a particular instance of you having  ‘looked behind you’ to see ‘what was really going on’, but is, instead, yet another example of you ‘seeing what it was that you wanted to see’! … … What we like to refer to as a ‘projection’ – and which, of course, makes you the ‘projector’ here! ….

Luckily for you though, this ‘belief’ of yours can also be quickly discarded when you get tired of it (or more usually, when it becomes unfashionable) by simply exclaiming (using the appropriate tone of voice), “Oh dear me, no! … I don’t believe that now! … I know that I used to … But I don’t any more!” …. Which of course now clears the decks for you to present ‘one and all’ with your very latest – but unfortunately for you, equally batty – brand new set of  beliefs ….

…. But, credit where its due! …I have to say that I find all your antics here incredibly entertaining! … And particularly so, if you managed to convince others of your ‘beliefs’ …

And if you really do manage to get your ideas across… That is, if somehow they prove to have real ‘mass-appeal’ … Well! You might even hit the jackpot, and get to start a new World Movement….  You know!… A new religion … or even a new World War! … Which in my book should certainly get you nominated for an Oscar – at the very least! (He puts his hands behind his back and begins to pace up and down, gesticulating in an enthusiastic manner).

… Get lots of the ‘right people’ on board to begin with! … That’s the thing! …  What you need to start with is an ‘exclusive’! … Divide people up into an ‘us and them’ … You can just invent the ‘them’ if you like – but do remember to keep the plot reasonably simple… You don’t want to give people too much thinking to do! … ‘Believers and non-believers’ – that’s it! … Tell people that what your doing ‘isn’t for everybody’ …. Give all the believers badges, secret names, and various positions! …Make them feel special! … Create a hierarchy!…(He laughs suddenly). Hey! Even I’ve got one of those! …. Give it all a touch of  ‘je ne sais quoi’! … Then it will be relatively easy for you to get your ‘little flock’ to make all kinds of value judgments about all those ‘others’ who, you maintain, disagree with ‘our’ version of events …That’ll serve to make ‘us’ all feel so much more worthy and important! …(He begins to shout) .. Onward and upward! … Storm the ‘Pearly Gates’! … (He stops abruptly and becomes motionless, speaking quietly to himself) … Ooops! … Steady on now! … Calm down! … (He moves to the chair and sits down, rests his elbows on his thighs, and clasps his hands together, before continued in a normal voice)

And having a story about the the ‘why and wherefore’ of everything is such a comfort isn’t it? ….

On the other hand though, it can be an incredible ‘downer’ … I know!  … Because you might  all now end up believing that everything has been ‘written down’ from the beginning- it’s all been decided from the year ‘dot’ … And so now there’s just no escaping one’s fate  …. But at least  now you ‘believers’ do have a kind of ‘cosmic purpose’ – in some sense at least, I imagine  … Don’t you? … (He smiles encouragingly)

At the very least, you and your fellow believers can now all claim to be ‘going’ somewhere – even if now it’s only for what seems, on reflection, to be a rather short, micro-managed, somewhat pointless, stroll! … and at least take some comfort in the idea that ‘someone up there’ is ‘minding the store’ so to speak, which does serve to give all this some kind of meaning…If you like that sort of thing….

And this has the advantage that you now have someone who can tell you all what to do; a ‘Director’ – as it were… Who already knows every single thing that’s going to happen to you … Including all the possible ‘why’s and wherefore’s’ … the complete deck-of-cards … the whole shebang …. before it all happens! …. So – it makes life easy – now you just have to ‘do as you’re told’, and ‘no excuses’! …

But Hey! Don’t let’s knock that! … For many of you, I know that this is a far more preferable  story than what you imagine would be the sheer, stark terror of ‘no purpose at all’, … or  … it’s all ‘just for the fun of it’ … as it were! …..

Whatever is really going on down here though … for my part – full credit where it’s due! … … Your antics make for such wonderfully entertaining viewing … even though I say it myself! … I wouldn’t have missed a single moment for the whole world!! … Indeed, I’m proud to say that I don’t believe I’ve missed a solitary second now for  …. (He smiles to himself) ….sometimes it seems like … …. simply ages and ages!

If it’s like a movie, then who gets to write all the stuff? … Well! You’d probably accuse me of trying to ‘mess with your head’ if I told you that, actually, it was you …. So I won’t say ‘you’ then… I’ll just say ‘It’ … instead ….

And you can call ‘It’ almost any thing you like …. (He begins walking away slowly) … “A rose by any other name” ..  … (He stops suddenly in mid-step) … Now who wrote that? …. …

 From ‘Field-notes for Armageddon’ by Bob Hardy

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Setting The Scene – ‘Parklands’ and ISHVAL (Prologue).

This particular period – the one immediately before going to Parklands for the first time – has been really difficult for me to put together here.

I could simply have related an account of my first visit to Parklands when I went to listen to Eugene Halliday give one of his ISHVAL talks, adding my impressions as I went along. But I don’t think that would be of much use here. So instead, I’ve divided this post into two parts.

In ‘Part 1’, I have attempted to recall what I thought about ISHVAL before I actually visited ‘Parklands’; and in ‘Part 2’ I’ve described, in part, an outline of my method, and also my perspective on, those ‘Rules of membership for ISHVAL’ written by Eugene Halliday, that I first saw as important for me at that time, and which I have worked with ever since – together with a number of subsequent ‘thoughts arising’.

Part 1.

One of the real problems I had throughout the period when I attended ISHVAL meetings (from late 1979 until early 1984) – and even later, when I began working on the archive in 2004 – was that I never really  understood what it was that ISHVAL was about!

As I knew that ISHVAL had been registered as a charity since 1966, I imagine that you might find my lack of understanding here surprising, particularly as I attended many of ISHVAL’s monthly talks, and also took part in one of its particular activities for a number of years.

So I am going to attempt to explain the ‘why and wherefore’ of this before continuing with an actual account(s) of my attendances.

I’ll begin by answering the following question, “Up until late 1979, when I first stepped foot in ‘Parklands’, what did I know about, and think of, ISHVAL?”

Well, to tell the truth, I hadn’t much thought about it at all at that time! .. I knew that the word ISHVAL was an acronym for ‘The Institute for the Study of Hierological Values’: I was a bit vague about the word ‘Hierological’; I had been told that Eugene Halliday gave regular monthly ‘talks’ there; and that ISHVAL had a membership (but I did not know, back then in 1979, how to join – and, in fact, I have never been able to find out since).

I also assumed that, as ISHVAL contained the word ‘Institute’ – and as that word enjoys a somewhat restricted legal, official use as a title – then the law relating to the use of the word ‘Institute’ would clearly apply here, as my understanding was that ISHVAL was, in fact, an ‘official body’. I made some notes on this use of the word ‘Institute’ in this context some time ago, and  I’ve included them here.

ISHVAL’S use of the title ‘INSTITUTE’

Far more significantly at that time though, I discovered that a number of Rules had been provided for the membership of ISHVAL by Eugene Halliday. Although the ‘recommendation’ after the last rule (number eight) was rather disconcerting – at least as far as I was concerned…

How did I know about these rules before I had ever been to ISHVAL? … Well, Ken Ratcliffe provided me with a copy of them before I actually went there. …. Here they are:

RULES OF THE INSTITUTE FOR THE STUDY OF HIEROLOGICAL VALUES.

 1. Each member shall, according to his capacity, make clear to himself the purpose of ISHVAL, that is, the study of hierological values.

 2. Each member shall, with due regard to ISHVAL’S purpose, and according to his capacity, undertake to convert his passive vocabulary into an active one, firstly by dictionary research into the etymology of his existing vocabulary, subsequently by extending this vocabulary as far as possible.

 3. Each member shall, according to his capacity, modify his procedures of thought, feeling, will and action, in conformity with the new understanding arising from the conversion of his passive vocabulary into ever wider fields of significance.

 4. Each member shall periodically offer to his fellow members the fruits of his studies and be prepared on request of the Chief Officers to précis these studies for the general benefit of members, and to lecture upon or discuss his findings and, conclusions.

 5. Each member shall contribute, according to his capacity, to the general extension of the Institute’s work in whatever field it may find an application.

 6. Each member, according to his capacity, shall study the basic scriptures of world religions, and the major writings of philosophers and scientists and artists, and recognise the value of making précis of these.

 7. Each member shall aim to coordinate and harmonise the results of his studies with those of all other members, and to see in every other member another expression and vehicle of ISHVAL’S purpose.

 8. All members shall, according to their capacity, undertake to cooperate on special study projects which by their nature be beyond the powers of any single member of sub-group of members.

 Thes rules were formulated and agreed upon at a meeting of members held on 29th. January 1967. The meeting decided that the rules should be accompanied by this recommendation – “These rules are not obligatory but are recommendations for preferences.”

I thought at the time that these rules of membership were reasonably clear, and as a consequence I made a number of – what I still consider to be – innocent, and reasonable, assumptions. Notably, that anyone claiming to be a member of ISHVAL would obviously be extremely familiar with these rules, and that they would also – so I also reasonably believed – be attempting to carry them out.

These rules were, I understood, composed by Eugene himself, and I have included here a copy of what I believe to be the first completed draft – together with what also appears to be an earlier copy, one that includes a number of hand-written alterations. I have also included a copy of Gerhard Noahkes’ notes taken at a talk given at ISHVAL on the 29th January 1967, which appears to have included a presentation (given, I assume, by Eugene Halliday himself) of these rules.

Rules of Ishval (scans)

During the 32 years since I first set foot in Parklands (1979), I have never heard these ‘rules’ being discussed, or even mentioned, by others … Which, I feel, is surely unusual?

Indeed, when I brought the matter of ‘The Rules of Ishval’ up at a ‘Friends of Ishval Meeting’ some time after 2004 it seemed to me that most of those present had never even seen, or heard, of them (I provided photocopies of these rules).  Although one enterprising person present at this meeting was very quick to point out the part where it states that, “These rules are not obligatory but are recommendations for preferences.” ….  …!

Presenting my impressions re the attitude of others here – that is, where it concerns recommendations made in writing by Eugene Halliday for those who attended ISHVAL – is not one of the purposes of this blog. So I will simply state here that, in my view, no amount of obsequious sycophantism can make up for actually doing some real ‘Work’ …  and I will leave it at that..

My own involvement with ISHVAL as a charity? Well, I did not in 1979, and still do not now in 2012, understand either the ‘Aims’ or ‘Purpose’ of Ishval’  … Although I did attempt some understanding here, and put together one or two notes on the subject for that purpose.

Aims and Purpose of Ishval – some notes

I would like to add that I was also particularly drawn to a paragraph in a Covenant made by Freemans Ltd to ISHVAL, and dated December 1966, which reads:

“Hierogical means pertaining to the values contained in the traditions of all peoples: in art, religion, philosophy, and science. Ishval is primarily concerned in studying the orientation of these traditions towards Christian values. (Italics mine)

You can make of that what you will!

Anyway, I simply did what I always do in situations like this. I worked with what I could use.

The rules that captured my attention?  They would be: a slightly amended rule number 2; rule number 3; and number 6.

2. Each member shall (………) according to his capacity, undertake to convert his passive vocabulary into an active one, firstly by dictionary research into the etymology of his existing vocabulary, subsequently by extending this vocabulary as far as possible.

3. Each member shall, according to his capacity, modify his procedures of thought, feeling, will and action, in conformity with the new understanding arising from the conversion of his passive vocabulary into ever wider fields of significance.

6. Each member, according to his capacity, shall study the basic scriptures of world religions, and the major writings of philosophers and scientists and artists, and recognise the value of making précis of these.

These three ‘pieces of ‘personal advice’ from Eugene Halliday’ (because this is how I soon came to view them) have proved to be immensely valuable to me, in providing a methodology for much that I have attempted to understand here since. And I cannot stress how important the concept of Working to convert one’s passive language into an active language, has become to me.

I think it is also important to point out that Eugene Halliday did give a couple of talks at ISHVAL meetings that relate to the question of what ISHVAL is. These include:

        • Hierology
        • On Ishval

You can get freely downloadable copies of these from the The Eugene Halliday Archive and freely downloadable transcripts of these two talks from Eugene Halliday – Transcripts of Talks

Part 2. (Some thoughts on ‘Active Language’)

As my purpose in writing this blog is primarily an attempt on my part to help others who are interested in working with the material contained in Eugene Halliday’s archive material, I have taken this opportunity, to provide below, some information regarding my approach to, and thoughts on, his concept of an ‘active language’.

Let me say right away that the the concept of an ‘active’ and ‘passive’ form of language includes a (admittedly, rather obvious) dynamic, in that, when being used by two people in a discussion involving any one particular subject, your ‘active language’ here, may be ‘passive’ to my ‘active language’ here. Or – to put it another way – if this is the case. then I know more (or appear to know more) about the particular subject under discussion than you do. Although this might not always, in and of itself, be what others would consider the ‘correct’ outcome here, as there might be a number of other important factors at work. Including, for example, the fact that I may hold a superior social position to you, or that I might simply be your boss at work. In which case it might appear to others, on the surface at least, that my vocabulary is more ‘active’ than yours’- or, to put it another way,  my utterances might ‘carry more (cultural or social) weight’ than yours here, and so ‘win the day’.

It might also be useful to you here, to also consider expletives from the point of view of ‘active’ and ‘passive’ language use. Because these are used, by and large. to add ‘power’ to what is being said. I would also add here, that as most expletives are sexual in nature, I am sure you can work out for yourselves how this aspect of power can be appropriated through the medium of the sign or symbol (in this case language), and put to other uses ‘elsewhere’.

I fully appreciate that obtaining consensus as to the definition(s) of any word(s) is obviously important. This, after all, is why we have the OED. This consensus demonstrates, not only that it is possible for words to possess such universally agreed upon definitions, but it also demonstrates ‘the arbitrariness of the sign’ (a concept in Semiotics that is well worth investigating here). The etymology of a word on the other hand, is also of importance, in that it provides a historical trajectory of a particular word’s usage, and also how that word’s collective and cultural meaning can morph, evolve, and sometimes (more alarmingly) devolve, over time.

Work on familiarizing yourself with Eugene Halliday’s approach to the formulation of his various ideas and concepts, by listening to his talks, and focussing – not only on the subject of any particular talk – but also on trying to develop a feel for his particular use of language.

This approach, I believe, will eventually give you a real understanding of what he means by ‘active language’ – which, contrary to what others here might tell you, is not acquired simply by looking up the definition of various words in a dictionary, and doing some research into their etymology.

When you feel that Eugene Halliday is ‘speaking’ to you, even though he is talking to a number of people at the time, you are experiencing his ‘active language’. Try to focus on this experience of yours simply as an experience, and try to figure out what it is that is going on ‘in you’, rather than in what the words ‘mean out there’.

You can obviously research what these words ‘mean out there’, by simply looking into their definitions and etymology yourself. And I would imagine that you might be prompted to do this by saying something to yourself along the lines of, “What did he say there? I don’t know what that word means.” (which is the usual way of saying, “I don’t know what the dictionary definition of this word is.”).

But begin to appreciate that this ‘looking up’ of words is, by and large, just a form of intellectual activity – and represents only one component in any understanding here.

I should also mention that the experience of hearing anyone making use of their particular ‘active language’ is essentially the same for all listeners. And I would describe this experience as an overwhelming sense of ‘truthfulness’ in what is being said. However, be warned that this ‘truthfulness’ is by no means guaranteed!

I have also observed what I believe are a number of stereotypical responses by a variety of people (who I will now refer to as ‘listeners’, or ‘the listener’, here) when coming into contact with someone who makes deliberate use of an ‘active language’, and I will now attempt to describe one or two of these responses below.

Unfortunately, a quite common result here is that the listener becomes addicted to the ‘active language’ of one particular person, with the result that this person can assume some sort of ‘supreme authority’ over the listener’s life, and, as a consequence, it becomes possible that this person will also be viewed by the listener as possessing extraordinary (or even magical) powers. Eventually this person may even assume almost total control, or, willing or not – be made responsible for the manner in which the listener functions, particularly the way in which the listener now believes that they ‘think’ – although, interestingly enough, the listener may be completely unaware that this has happened!

‘Special’ these people might well be – and the listener might well find themselves to be truly inspired by them, and that’s OK.

But, whatever else it is that the listener believes this person can do, what this person certainly cannot do is initiate some sort of ‘magical transfer of understanding’ from them to the listener, without any expenditure of  effort on the listener’s part.

This burst of ‘inspiration’ that the listener feels, and which I believe can be very real and extremely valuable, will, regrettably, certainly fade – and sooner rather than later! Which can result in the listener now requiring another ‘fix’ here.

This habit of ‘listening’ can become so important to the listeners life, that they may now attempt to move from being reasonably satisfied with listening to recordings, or from hearing the person speak ‘live’, to attempting to manufacture a situation where they can gain ‘private access’ to that person, usually by presenting themselves as ‘having specific problems, or really pertinent questions’ that require ‘special answers and/or individual consideration’. And if the person ‘in charge’ encourages this kind of behavior?  Then let the listener here be wary!

This is my (short-hand) take on the essential dynamics here, “A person with an ‘active language’ has done some ‘Work’ – a person with a ‘passive language hasn’t.”

This situation will not change, no matter what the person with the ‘active language’ does. It will only ever change when the listener decides, by an act of free will, that it is going to change. Unfortunately, this will involve the listener in a monumental amount of painstaking ‘Work’ – a requirement from them that they will have often already intuited is required, and that, as a consequence, now leads them to construct various scenarios in which they ‘decide’ that the situation as it now stands is, for the moment at least, fine – and that they will ‘really’ get round to ‘doing something positive here’ at a later date.

Tragically though, it is quite often only after a great deal of time has elapsed (sometimes even decades) that the penny might really drop. Usually though, in this case, there is now so much inertia present in the situation that there is no longer enough free energy available to affect any release here. It feels to the listener, that doing so will somehow negate the whole meaning of their lives. This is not true, but real help will now be needed here if anything positive is going to be done.

If the listener is not very careful here then, not only will they find themselves going one step forward, quickly followed by two steps back, but they will also find it increasingly difficult to extradite themselves from this situation, because they now believe that they have invested  so much of their ‘valuable’ time, and what they imagine is ‘real’ effort here….and this serves to keep them endlessly ‘in the loop’.

But, lets face it, if it is the case that they haven’t done any ‘Work’ here, then they can’t really claim to have ‘invested’ anything, can they? What has really been happening to them is that they have been superbly entertained, and as a consequence of this they became addicted to the ‘program’, and are merely ardant ‘fan'(-atic)s.

It might be prudent here to bear in mind another piece of excellent advice that Eugene Halliday was very fond of  – “Nothing for nothing, and very little for a half-penny.”

You might like get some further background on this phenomena by doing some research into  ‘Transference’ and ‘Counter-Transference’ – an extremely common, and well understood, part of the psychotherapeutic process.

Tragically, my experience in talking to others who have ‘fallen under the influence’ of Eugene Halliday’s ‘active language’ is that, although they seem to me to clearly understand very little of what he said, they somehow believe that, even if they don’t, that this is all somehow fine! … And as long as they were able to ‘bask in the sunshine’ of his presence, this was ‘surely’ sufficient, and so they seemed to be content! … I would like to make it very clear here, that I view this sort of relationship as distinctly unwholesome, and also extremely dangerous!

My own understanding, which has come from a great deal of study and reflection on what Eugene Halliday has to say about language and its use, is that it is personal meaning, and personal meaning alone, that constitutes the active component of any word you use. If you do not know what you mean by a word (although you might have memorized its definition, and researched its etymology), then that word is merely a passive component of your speech – that is, it carries little, or no power, or conviction. So, it is essential that you, first of all, know what it is that you mean when using a particular word – and it is not at all essential, at this stage at least, to know what Eugene Halliday means when he uses the same word.

I also maintain that it is futile to attempt to ‘learn’ Eugene Halliday’s ‘active language’, which I believe constitutes part of his ‘essential self’ and is something that he ‘Worked’ on to refine, continuously, throughout his life. And i firmly believe that it cannot, in principle, be somehow appropriated, such that it could become your ‘active language’ too.

In my experience, you must only attempt any understanding of beings like Eugene Halliday through your own understanding, otherwise you are in real danger of becoming swamped. There is absolutely no substitute for ‘Working’ to generate your own ‘active language’.

It was Eugene Halliday’s command of an ‘active’ language that, in my view, was the reason why so many people felt – even when they didn’t really understand what it was that he was saying – that he was speaking directly to them ‘from the heart’…. …  And, you know, you really need to think about that.

To be continued ………..

Bob  Hardy

June, 2012

 

NOTE: The short piece below is taken from the Appendix of ‘Field-notes for Armageddon’, where it serves as a plain English guide to assist the actor portraying the character ‘Trish. [In the actual performance itself, ‘Trish  speaks with a pronounced North-West English accent, and employs local  idiosyncratic patterns of speech]. 

(Scene: An office space. ‘Trish is working alone, inside a small office booth. She is sitting in front of a computer, and is wearing a headset, complete with microphone. On her desk is a flask of coffee, and a packet of sandwiches. Her handbag is on the floor, and in it we can just see the top half of two knitting needles protruding from some unfinished knitting. From the general background noise, we can infer that she is surrounded by a number of similar booths). 

(‘Trish begins speaking in a hushed, theatrical, whisper, her voice returning to normal in a moment or two) Marg! … Marg! … It’s me! ….’Trish! ….. ‘Hello stranger’ yourself! … … … … No! … I don’t think much of us working on different shifts either…

Anyway … there’s no calls logged-in at the minute… Not much happening tonight… All my regulars must be down at the pub! (She gives a short shrill laugh)… So I thought I’d give you all my news  … It feels like we haven’t had a good gab for ages! …. Must be two months or so – at least!….. (There’s a longish pause while ‘Trish listens to Marg. As she does so, she opens her pack of sandwiches, and pours herself a drink from her coffee flask)

 Yes I am! ….. Oh it’s really fab!….  It’s one of those Senior Citizen’s Courses down at the college…. Yeah, that’s right, it’s free if you’re a pensioner….. And I really love it! … It’s one of the few thing about being over 60 that I can really say I like!  … …. ….

 Anyhow, the course I’m doing is called, ‘Religions Of The World’ … … You know how I’m always saying I should go back to church! … … I haven’t been to confession now for years … Sometimes I feel real guilty! …. …  And I quite like this new Pope ….. …. …. What? … …. …

No. … It’s only twelve weeks long, and at the end of it you have to write something about what Gerad, our teacher, has been telling us all about… Then he marks it for you, and gives you a grade …. ….. Hopefully it’ll be a good one! (She giggles) ….

Gerad? …It’s German I think ….No he isn’t!… You cheeky thing! …. …Well … … He is nice I suppose! … … … In his 40’s I’d say…

What am I going to write about? …. …. Well I’m not sure a hundred percent yet … ….. But I’m going to call it ‘Journeys’, I think.

My idea is that Jesus …. Buddha ….. Mohammed  …. In my opinion they all started their life somewhere nice and safe, and ended up in the middle of loads of trouble … ….

Jesus was from a small village called Nazareth … … and he ended up in the middle of  Jerusalem – which hadn’t long been conquered by the Romans, and was full of hairy soldiers …. He went there just to try to get people to behave better … and he goes and gets himself crucified! ….

Buddha … … Well he was born a prince, and he lived in a palace with everything he wanted …. and one day he just upped and left … Ended up walking round India. … No money … Nothing – except the clothes he stood up in … and a begging bowl … Imagine that! … After being a prince! …Giving it all up just to try to help people understand their lives…

And Mohammed … Well, when he was a young man he was married to a rich widow much older than himself. I think they bought and sold carpets  … Anyway … he gave all that up to make all the Arab tribes stop worshipping stone idols … And when he’d done that, he took them all off on a holy war to spread the word … and nearly conquered the flipping world! …. Very dangerous … and he could so easily have got himself killed for his trouble… ….

Anyway, these three started off by living somewhere safe … Something strange happened to them … and they decided to get into something … somewhere else … that was very dangerous…..Do you see what I mean Marg? … …

Gerad says that the ‘strange thing’ that happened to these three … was that they all had a ‘special’ experience …and that Gerad says is called ‘transformative’.

And he says you can get some idea of what this ‘transforming’ is about, if you imagine what it was like for human beings the first time that they tasted meat that had accidentally fallen into a fire…. They got something that tasted completely different from the taste that they were used to .. And it was much better … not like raw meat at all! … And that they could never have imagined – just in their minds like –  that it was going to taste like it did … just because it had been in the fire ….  … To them, it was like something had actually come into the meat from outside it  … 

They probably explained it to themselves though, by saying that this new taste came from the fire like magic – from ‘the spirit of the fire’ maybe…  … Or something like that ….. Anyway!! … …’Transformation’ is sort of like that….

On the other side … there’s lots of people today who are trying to be religious, or want to be holy. … They either join some group or other; or dress up in fancy clothes; or get into something foreign and ‘mysterious’.  But it seems to me that all they really want to do is be different, and just get away from all the trouble that they tell everybody is going on … The wars, and the climate, and the population, and everything… Which, most of the time, isn’t really trouble at all for them particularly. … But these people still want to run away from it all … It’s like they don’t want to deal with what’s really going on now – even though they’re responsible – like all the rest of us – for the mess we’re all in…. It’s like they’re running away … Traveling in the wrong direction, y’know? … It’s like they’re trying to get away from it all … ….To hide …

What Marg? … ….

…..Well, one of the things we call these places is ‘Retreats’. … Isn’t it Marg?… … …

Anyway, Gerad says that these people who are running away, and all that, might well be having experiences… …And so, OK then! …And this means that they might well have changed a little bit. …But Gerad says that being changed isn’t at all the same thing as being transformed!

Seeds change into plants, but plants were already there …In the seed … So like … seeds just sort of turn into what it is that they’re supposed to turn into under the circumstances.   Gerad called that ‘linear change’ …  

So if they’re a seed that has plenty of sun and water, then they grow; but if they’re in a very dry, dark, place then they don’t do very well at all! . …But whatever they do, they can still only change into what they’re supposed to be .. …. Like, whatever else happens to them, apple seeds don’t suddenly turn into pear trees ….Do you see what he means Marg? ….

And also … In the year, when your birthday comes round on the same day, you’re changing just because you’re getting older, and that’s like what Gerad calls ‘cyclic change’…. The Seasons, and all like that.

Anyway…Gerad says everybody and everything changes anyway, whether they like it or not  … We grow older, and lose our teeth  …but very few of us are transformed  … I know what he means …. but I can’t really put it into words yet … …

Anyway, I think some people are going in completely the wrong direction, when they’ve convinced themselves that they’re going in the right direction – just because there’s been a change! …. That’s my idea anyway! …

Oh hell! … Sorry Marg! … Must dash … There’s an incoming call … It’s a client, and I’d better answer quick!… I’ll have to try and keep him on the line for more than the usual two or three minutes as well … I’m way behind with my score for this shift… … Oh hell! … Here’s the friggin’ supervisor now … I’ll have to get off quick… I’ll try to call you back later …. …Bye! …Love you too-oo!

(‘Trish quickly switches through to her client, and begins to speak with an affected ‘girlie’ voice) …. ….. …..Hi there! …. This is “Naughty Schoolgirls On-Line’!…. My name’s Tabitha! (she giggles). … And what would you like to talk about … You naughty boy!  … … … “

 From ‘Field-notes for Armageddon’ by Bob Hardy

Setting The Scene – Part 3 

This post covers the remaining period (from the mid-1970’s until sometime in late 1979) during which my wife Jean, our friend Martin, and myself would travel, once a week, from Merseyside, to Tan-Y-Garth Hall in North Wales.

Our purpose here was to take part in an informal discussion group that was hosted by Ken Ratcliffe. The major purpose of these weekly sessions (which did not follow one another in any systematic way) was to examine various ideas of Eugene Halliday’s. Thus, I had reached a point where I was now discussing a number of Eugene Halliday’s ideas with other interested parties….

However, it seemed to me that none of those involved here really understood these ideas in any integrated way. And our discussions appeared to always remain strictly at the level of intellectual inquiry – usually focusing on what ‘such-and-such a contemporary scenario’ might look like from the point of view of ‘such and such an idea’ of Eugene’s.

Even so, being presented with the opportunity to structure my own thoughts here was an extremely valuable experience for me. Because, by talking over various concepts of Eugene’s with others (such as those contained in the ‘The Four-Part Man, or ‘The Tacit Conspiracy’ for example), I had the opportunity to verbalize my own reactions and organize my own thoughts here.  And as a direct result of  (what I like to think of anyway) as this progress, there were now a few areas of Eugene’s material where I thought I was beginning to discern some sort of vague, over-all, cohesive structure – but this feeling was really far more like a strong ‘hunch’ …

I realize now that what I was also searching for was, more or less, a ‘point of entry’ … “How was one to get started here with all this material? …Where, and what, was  ‘Chapter One’, or the ‘Introduction’, here? … And if ‘this’, or ‘that’, was the place to begin … Why was it?”…

My recollection of these discussion sessions is reasonably clear to me, even now. However, if I simply attempt to relate what took place there to you, I don’t think this would really clarify things. But perhaps if did so allegorically, you might get a better sense of the over-all picture. …

Discussing Eugene’s ideas at these meetings was like being presented with a big ball of string, which we would all, collectively, attempt to examine, by first taking hold of the end that happened to be sticking out, and then carefully unravelling it, while attempting to describe it. Only to discover that, after a few feet or so, this piece suddenly came to an end. … But, “No problem!”,  …. Because we could see that there was now a new end sticking out, and so we took hold of that, and off we went again…. Only to find that the same thing kept happening repeatedly… (Think Zen here …. and “How long is a piece of string?”).

It was relatively simple to examine (or study in detail) the individual pieces of string themselves, and they were usually very interesting, but I did not seem to be able to connect them together in any satisfactory way. ….

However, I felt strongly, even then, that all these separate pieces were somehow joined together in some fundamental sense, but I couldn’t yet see how …

So, for the moment then, these ideas were all separate. But at least they had all been collected together into one place (into this one big ball of string as it were) – which was something ….

These ‘discussion sessions’ normally took up the major part of our mid-week evening’s activities. But during the time that was left (for what you might call then, the ‘second half’ of the evening) we would all head upstairs, to the ‘Meditation Room’, in order to do a spot of, what Ken referred to, as ‘Yoga’.

Please bear in mind that my sole purpose in traveling to Tan-Y-Garth was to take advantage of the opportunity being offered there by Ken Ratcliffe to discuss these ideas, and so I wasn’t interested in anything that did not, to me, have a clear connection to either Eugene Halliday’s talks, or to his writings.

First though, and in an effort to shed some light here on my view of ‘Yoga’ in general, and also to provide some background material (at least for this post) I will recount here one of the many ‘experiences’ that I had been indulging in, some good few years before my involvement with Ken et al at Tan-Y-Garth…..

…… It’s the early 1970’s, and it’s a mid-Sunday afternoon. I’m at home, lying down on my bed, on my side, and staring at the edge of my copy of Cervantes’ ‘Don Quixote’ (illustrations by Picasso) which just happened to be lying on the top of my bed-side cabinet.

I am staring at the edge of this book (the longer edge directly opposite the spine) which was colored with small green and red blobs – rather like an old fashioned ledger book.

As I stared at these dots, they suddenly ‘lined up’, and presented me with a colored, pixilated, frieze of Don Quixote on horseback, complete with lance – somewhat similar to Picasso’s famous black and white cartoon illustrations of this figure.

To make matters even weirder, this freeze then began to move slowly along the side of the edge of the book  – each individual figure of Don Quixote (plus horse and lance) slowly disappearing around the edge at the right end of the book, just as another identical figure came around the left end of the edge of the book to take its place!

This was all fine with me, because I knew exactly what was happening… I was hallucinating…

About half an hour previously I had ‘dropped’ a tab of ‘acid’ (LSD), and – in the vernacular of that time – I was now embarking on a ‘trip’.

I will not describe any of my ‘tripping’ episodes in any detail here, as there is already enough available literature on the subject, and my experience(s) were, I would say, typical.

I ‘tripped’ quite a few times during this period, I always ‘tripped’ alone, and I always found the experience to be unique and extraordinary. But after about a year or so, I suddenly stopped ‘dropping acid’ regularly, and, in fact, I very rarely used psychedelics at all after that period. …. The last time was well over 25 years ago  …. Why did I stop? …. Well I couldn’t really say, and indeed, it’s something that I have often wondered about from time to time since, myself! …

Why am I relating all this to you here? …. Because my own experiences of ‘altered states of conscious’ would obviously inform my evaluation of other people’s claims to have experienced ‘altered states of consciousness’.

As far as I am concerned here, I had no doubt at all, even at that time, that whatever it was that I was experiencing was as a direct consequence of my ingesting Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD), and that this radical change in my own particular ‘perception of reality’ was a consequence of the physical state of my organism during that time, and was not some (quasi) mystical ‘stand-alone’ ‘transcendental’ experience.

Thus, I did not view these ‘trips’ of mine as ‘opening a doorway to other realities’; or believe that I had miraculously ‘travelled to another realm’; or that I was  ‘accessing hitherto un-accessed ‘centers’ in my body’, or that I was ‘flying about outside of my body’, or anything remotely like that (although these are some of the states I imagined I was experiencing under the influence of LSD) … I was – even when ‘tripping’ (except for one notably extremely negative experience I had) – always aware that I was deluded, and that I was under the influence of a drug. … Nonetheless, I have to say that I enjoyed these ‘experiences’ of mine immensely, and I would even go as far as to say that they were …’groovy’.

More importantly, although these experiences did provide ‘research material’ about what ‘I was’, they did not – in and of themselves – answer any of those damned questions of mine (see previous post) in any fundamental way. Nor did I discover that I could now, for instance, suddenly speak fluent Chinese; or that I had grown a couple of inches overnight; or that I could now play the trombone without prior practice; or that I now knew the name of that winning horse at Lingfield in the 2.30 race tomorrow; or that I knew who I was; or what I was; or where I was; etc. etc. Any more than that sentimental drunk who, after hanging their arm around your shoulder, and slobbering loudly and incoherently in your ear about how much they have always, “really liked you”, has suddenly become permanently transformed into a more empathetic human being, simply as a consequence of downing ten pints of Guinness.

These experiences, however, did go a long way to structure my understanding of any claims that were being made for any ‘altered states of consciousness’ by others, be these ‘altered states’ the result of taking various ‘drugs’, or ‘self-induced’ in other ways – and at that time particularly, these ‘others’ seemed to include almost ‘everyone and his dog’.

So then, I had no problem admitting, in one of these states at least, that it was easy to hold the belief, “We’re all connected, man”. And that this connectedness was, “The way it really was, all the time, if only we could always experience it like this.” That is, presumably, even when we inevitably returned to our everyday (and for the present at least) wretched, and miserable state, when we ‘came down’ – as we liked to call it.

Interesting though (and conclusively for me), those I have spoken to about their use of LSD (and there’s been quite a few over the intervening years) , and who have experienced a near-psychotic ‘bad’ ‘trip’ (and yes, I’ve had one of those too) have never claimed that this ‘bad trip’ was actually ‘the way it really was’… Indeed they all seemed absolutely certain (and grateful) that, as far as it concerns this one particular ‘journey’ of theirs anyway, it definitely was not ‘the way it really was’!  …..

But – and speaking again from my own experience – surely the major reason that these ‘bad trips’ were so ‘bad’, is precisely because, at the time you are experiencing them at least, you really do believe that they’re real, and this nightmare you’re in is, in fact, ‘the way it really is’…. And that this is, surely, the only reason why the experience of a ‘bad trip’ is so terrifying! ….

The point I’m attempting to make here? ….. Well, if you maintain that your ‘bad’ experience was one that you claimed later was actually ‘not real’. Why would you claim, or believe, that any other ‘altered state of consciousness’ was real? … Well, the answer here is surely simple and obvious enough – it’s because you liked it…. it made you feel good …

In my opinion though, it is those negative experiences, and not all the ‘nice’ ones, that need to be focussed on here in order to provide any real explanation for this whole business of ‘altered states’ …..

 By the way, people in the grip of these negative states for long periods, or in some cases permanently, are the ones that society, more often than not, labels ‘insane’ – because what these people claim that they are actually experiencing, the rest of us are very sure is, in reality, a ‘delusion’ …

In some non-Western cultures, however, these people are still often seen as ‘being possessed’ by spirits – indeed you can often read various contemporary accounts, in your daily newspapers, of this taking place in locations such as ‘Darkest London’,   … And we also, in our recent historical past, also used to believe that this was the case – and so we would do stuff to these people … like burning them alive……. ….  It’s a funny old world, isn’t it? …

By the way, if you’re interested further in this subject, and you fancy reading up on a some contemporary background information here, I can recommend these two (reasonably recent) excellent anthropological studies:

  • In Sorcery’s Shadow – by Paul Stoller and Cheryl Olkes. 1987 (It’s about sorcerers in the Republic of Niger)
  • Net of Magic. Wonders and Deceptions in India – by Lee Siegel. 1991 (It’s about magicians, and other various charlatans, in India)

As far as I’m concerned then, any ‘altered states’ of consciousness, whatever their nature (‘good’ or ‘bad’) – induced by any method of altering the physical state of the body – are delusions. … And I certainly do not hold the view that ‘trippers’ or ‘meditators’ experience some variety or other of a ‘transcendental vision’. …

More importantly, on the practical side, I did not experience the inducing of any ‘altered state’ here as assisting me towards any real understanding of what I believed was the complex inter-weaving, by Eugene Halliday, of those concepts that were contained in his recordings and essays …Although I had no trouble seeing that some ‘altered state’ or other could delude me into feeling OK about not understanding them! … But that was not what I wanted …

But to get back to events at Tan-Y-Garth for a moment … And to those meditations sessions that the discussion group were engaged in during the second part of the evening..

What we did essentially, was to sit with our legs crossed in the darkened room while Ken spoke to us, using his ‘yoga-teacher-speak’ voice. He would ask us to calm our breathing by counting (I think it was up to six, but I couldn’t be certain) while drawing an ‘in-breath’ (through the nose), hold this breath (while counting six) and then let out our ‘out-breath’ (through the mouth) while counting six again. The idea being, if I understood  all this correctly, that doing this would eventually calm our minds – essentially because we were not now following any of our thoughts, (“Just let them all go”).

Unsurprisingly, or so I thought, after ten minutes or so of doing this, we had all, indeed, ‘calmed down’ somewhat…. So much so, that one young man, who was always present at these sessions (at least when I was there) would almost invariably ‘nod off’ and begin to snore quietly … before eventually gently keeling over.

After calming us all down, Ken might then ask us to, say, imagine we had placed all our negative ideas and attitudes in a ball, and then picture ourselves throwing this ball to the other end of the universe (or something, essentially incomprehensible, like that).

I found it impossible to take any of this seriously. And I certainly didn’t experience what we were doing here as, in any way, ‘yoking’ or ‘joining back’ to the ‘supreme spirit’, or whatever else anyone here told me that the word ‘Yoga’, was ‘supposed’ to mean. …. But that’s not to say that others didn’t believe that this is what they were experiencing, I am just saying that it just didn’t do anything like that for me ….

More importantly, as I say, I could not see what on earth any of this ‘meditating’ had to do, at all, with what I had heard Eugene Halliday talking about in his recordings, or had written about in his essays.

I must once again also stress here that my only interest in going to Tan-Y-Garth was to network with anyone at all who maintained that they were working with Eugene Halliday ideas, and that I had no interest whatsoever in ‘Yoga’ per se.

… To make matters even more confusing, Ken Ratcliffe didn’t even attempt to connect what he was ‘leading’ the discussion group through in his Meditation Room to anything involving Eugene Halliday’s ‘Work’ – other than to vaguely suggest that, in some way, this ‘calming ourselves’ we were engaging in upstairs, would somehow assist us in our understanding of those rather difficult ideas we were struggling with downstairs.

However, my view of the subject of ‘Yoga’ was now about to change somewhat. …

I discovered that Eugene Halliday had written some very interesting things on the subject of  ‘meditation’ (and more particularly – as far as I was concerned – on ‘contemplation’)…. And that he also wrote about the subject  from a perspective that I had no difficulty in appreciating, as it was completely in line with both my cultural, and religious, backgrounds (I was born in Liverpool, UK, in 1943, and I was christened ‘Church of England’). …

A pamphlet, written by Eugene Halliday, (and that was, I believe, the first one produced by the IHS) some 20 or so years earlier, contained – along with an essay giving a brief outline of the IHS’s purpose, and a list of future pamphlets that the society was planning to publish (printed on the last page) – a set of meditation exercises that were written especially for the IHS by Eugene Halliday himself, at the request of Ken Ratcliffe. …

Anyway, here’s the pamphlet – it’s a largish file, so it might take a minute or two to open on your computer.

IHS Pamphlet – Brief Resume of IHS purpose plus Meditations + Appendices

I was surprised to discover that none of the exercises contained in this pamphlet were being used by Ken in  those ‘meditation session’s’ that he conducted with our discussion group. … Although there were pamphlets available at the Hall during that time, in which Ken had reproduced one or two of these exercises … So why, I wondered weren’t we doing them?…. I’ve given my own opinion about this, later on in this post …

Even more significantly in my opinion, in mid-1973 (which is a few years after Ken moved from Liverpool to Tan-Y-Garth) I discovered that Eugene Halliday had written a series of fourteen essays for the St Michael’s Parish Magazine, Manchester, the title of every essay being  ‘Christian Yoga’ (followed by ‘Part 1’, and continuing, in monthly installments, up to ‘Part’ 14). ….And here it is …

Christian Yoga by Eugene Halliday

These ‘Christian Yoga’ essays were collected together and published as part of an IHS book, the title of which was ‘Yoga’. This book was in three parts. The first part was a reprint of Eugene Halliday’s essay, ‘Reflexive Self-Consciousness’ which Ken writes of, in his introduction to this book, as “deal(ing) with the rationale of the purpose of yoga”; the second, “a number of exercises for application”, which are described as “the Eight Stages of Hindu Yoga”; and the third is the complete ‘Christian Yoga’, about which Ken writes, “shows a very close parallel between Hindu and Christian Yoga” (really?), and which (for reasons which he does not clarify here) he changes the title of, to “Yoga in the Western Tradition”. … !!… ?

Here it is anyway…

YOGA (IHS)

Today, it is the ideas that are contained in two publications of Eugene Halliday’s (above) that inform any understanding I would claim to have regarding what it is that ‘Yoga’, as praxis, was – at least as far as Eugene Halliday was concerned. And I also see these ideas here as fitting in with many of his other major ideas that were contained in  his essays.

I am fully aware that Eugene Halliday has commented upon, or elaborated upon (sometimes in some detail) any number of diverse subjects, including various forms of ‘Yoga’ practice, but I do that believe at all, that it follows he recommends we engage in,  or even that he necessarily endorsed, these practices.

My main point in what follows, is that, in order to claim that you are influenced by Eugene Halliday – where it concerns your own practice of what you might, for some reason or other, wish to refer to as ‘Yoga’ – then the meditations, and also the contemplation exercises, contained in these two publications of his, are the ones that you would (very obviously in my opinion)  surely be practicing.

NOTE: In my view, it is important, at least when attempting to discuss the ideas and concepts of people such as Eugene Halliday, that you first pay them the courtesy of distinguishing between those comments (even detailed ones) that they are liable to make (and indeed often do so) on any number of subjects; and their rigorous attempts to express a far more complex, carefully considered, perspective of theirs on a particular subject – and which they have taken the trouble to make available to other interested parties, in the form of a detailed essay. 

To continue here. A cursory glance through these two publications should show, what I see at least is, the very clear position that Eugene Halliday takes with regard to ‘Yoga’ as a form of praxis.

Amongst the many topics contained in these two publications are:

  • The meaning of the word ‘Yoga’
  • The central importance of the teacher Jesus Christ
  • Introspection
  • God
  • Will
  • Love
  • What ‘meditation’ is
  • What ‘contemplation’ is
  • The ‘four-fold’ nature of the universe
  • Meditation on the circle and the cross
  • Meditation on the ‘Holy Trinity’
  • Meditation on the ‘six-pointed’ star
  • Breathing, posture, and ‘Creative Imagination’
  • The world, and holding a world view
  • The cosmic view
  • Identification
  • Understanding
  • The ‘Great Identification’ – becoming one with Jesus Christ
  • etc; etc; etc.

There is a great deal more in these two publications, but I believe that I’ve made my point here.

Thus – and I believe that this is surely blatantly obvious – anyone claiming to teach Yoga as a form of praxis from the perspective of Eugene Halliday’s ideas; or claiming to have ‘sat at the foot of Eugene Halliday’ and thus, by inference, having some intimate personal connection both with the man, and his ideas here  (and this would obviously include Ken Ratcliffe) , must obviously then, be fully conversant with both the ideas, and also the exercises, contained in these two, not very large, or difficult to understand, publications – at the very least. … And that these would, of necessity, surely inform, and thus subsequently come to structure, the central teachings of what it was that these ‘Yoga followers of Eugene Halliday’ claimed they were now, as a consequence were ‘passing on’ …… (Because, if this is not what they are ‘passing on, what then is the substance of what these ‘followers of Eugene Halliday  maintain that they  are ‘passing on’).

However, if all that these ‘yoga teachers’ wanted to do was the ‘keep fit’ stuff, or the ‘feel good’ stuff, or promote some hybrid, do-it-yourself, method that they had somehow clobbered together themselves, then obviously this would not apply…. …. But, if that were the case, why then would they take the trouble to claim that what they were doing ‘came’ from Eugene Halliday’s teachings? … Well, I think the answer to that is also obvious. … There is an impressive body of work that Eugene Halliday has produced which would serve to valorize these ‘teachers’ own claims here …… Any students of these ‘teachers’ (who probably know next to nothing about esoteric subjects anyway) , could then be easily seduced into believing the following – “Eugene Halliday obviously knows an awful lot about esoteric subjects; our ‘yoga teacher’ claims to have ‘sat at Eugene Halliday’s feet’; therefore our ‘yoga teacher’ must also know an awful lot about esoteric subjects.” ………

In addition, I would also fully expect that anyone claiming to be a teacher here (as opposed to say an ‘expert’ – that is, someone who contents themselves with gathering together a potpourri of Eugene Hallidy’s ideas, simply in order to regurgitate them at some later date as ‘information’, in order to show us all how smart they are) would, at the very least, be able to discuss, and describe in detail, personal accounts of the success or failure of their own particular attempts to embody these particular exercises of Eugene Halliday’s.  And finally, that their (future) students would be in no doubt that the ‘Yoga’ that they were being taught had a pronouned Christian bias…..And I believe that all this is blindingly obvious …

You should perhaps also consider here, that inducing internal states by the process of  contemplating various symbols is always a dodgy business – particularly if you have surrendered your autonomy regarding the interpretation of these symbols to someone else. …  Symbols, by their very nature, are not signs, and so do not have any fixed definitions …. Interpreting them by oneself (in my experience at least) can often be exhausting work…. But relying on someone else’s explanation or meaning here, regarding what it is that these symbols represent, can be even more dodgy. … Because the process of believing what you are being told by others here is far more connected to that ‘sniffing out’, which goes to make up a significant component of your intuitive process (your ‘gut feeling’ about that person), than with any rational decision-making process.

… Be that as it may, as far as I was concerned at least, at this stage of the game in late 1970, I was going with my intuition. And  it informed me that attempting to absorb Eugene Halliday’s ideas here was the ‘way to go’. Hence my willingness to accept his interpretation(s) of the symbols contained in these two publications.

But, as a word of warning here, I should also add that anyone who is really like me (that is, who does rely a great deal upon their intuition) quickly learns that what it is that one ‘intuites’ is often polluted by self-will, greed, and downright laziness.

Thus, just because things ‘come to me’, does not mean that they are always ‘Good’ or ‘True’…. It’s not that simple at all …. It’s often the case that I would also be inclined to go along with my ‘intuition’ (by first, perhaps, ‘tweaking it’ a little) if it simply happened to suit me at the time, or because I quite fancied going to where I imagined it was going to take me …

You should also factor in here that any number of prolonged physical activities will invariably, quite normally, induce changes in cognitive and/or feeling states (try ‘sexual activity’ here for instance). These states are obviously internal to the experiencer, and essentially this experiencer is the only being that is really able to authenticate any description of these states (that is, answer questions such as’ “How was that then?”). … But, if the experiencer allows someone else to introduce these states into them, and subsequently allows this person to then also define these states, they have allowed this person to assume real power over them. ….. For the ladies, this will almost invariably means that, sooner or later, if the person concerned is a male, they will attempt to avail themselves of the contents of your refrigerator … or even get you to wash and iron their underwear …  …..

Crucially for me, my own early experimenting with ‘altered states of consciousness’ had made me realize, with something of a shock, that what I was actually experiencing in the normal day-to-day world, from moment to moment, was a continually altering state of consciousness!  … And that this was a rather obvious fact when  I bothered to think about it …. Most of the time though, these changes of state were subtle, (thus even more  ‘normal’)…. But even if this change was sudden (as when I was, say, startled by a loud bang) I found that I almost invariably immediately identified with it, and so ‘didn’t notice’ that my conscious state had altered – it was ‘just me’ and it was ‘just the way it was’…. I also realized that (when I thought about all this from time to time) although I could see that other’s were also clearly ‘jumping around’ from state to state, and moment to moment also, that they couldn’t experience themselves in this way either …. They couldn’t see themselves ‘doing it’ … it was just ‘them’ … being ‘them’…

It vaguely occurred to me that something was ‘stuck’ to this ever-changing consciousness from moment to moment, which raised the delicious possibility that perhaps it was possible to become ‘unstuck’…. Did this then have anything to do with one of my ‘questions’ viz., “What am I … really?” ….. I viewed this realization, for me, as real progress here, and it also helped me later on in my understanding of what ‘Work’ might be about, and what Eugene’s meant (perhaps) by the word ‘identification’…. But I couldn’t put this concept to any productive use for decades yet …. although I was able to gab about it, with the best of them, to anyone who was interested; and also to realize it is some vague, non-practical, way just before sleeping, say  …

Clearly though, I still had far to much ‘housekeeping’ to do here, before I retired to practice contemplating my naval . … …And anyway, at that time, all this ‘feel good’ stuff smelt far to much to me like a vaguely unwholesome addiction … (something else I also knew a teeny bit about) …..

To be fair though… (What!) ….. What I did observe, was that many people did definitely change as a result of practicing these various ‘yogic’ exercises –  that is, they often now had, as a result, better ‘coping skills’.

So that, if say, they were inclined to panic at the thought of flying. By concentrating on their breathing after strapping on their safety belt, they could now control this panic (like a sort of ‘damage limitation control’).

However, underneath this calm exterior, they were still actually, irrationally, really, terrified of flying, but this was not now being expressed. So, although I would say that they had ‘changed’ – in that they had worked on themselves to realize an already existing potential within themselves, and thus now had some control here, they had not been ‘transformed’  – that is, they had not become someone (like me, say) who ‘just didn’t’ experience unreasonable panic that could manifest itself simply at the very thought of flying …. This process I now see as the balancing of a ‘negative latent disposition’ (which I would now say is a state that is always waiting for an opportunity ‘to come to be’) by the process of mastering techniques that control this latent disposition  …

… And this very idea … the fact that this ‘negative latent disposition’ was somehow always ‘there’ (even if not expressed) was another important ‘find’ for me…. Much later on, this idea became very useful in understanding a number of other significant concepts contained in Eugene Halliday’s material … and also in Jacob Boehme’s (who?) writings as well…. even.

So, for myself then, while I can see the value of ‘yoga’ as a therapeutic tool, I was (and still am) only interested in attempting to discover how ‘transforming’ could be accomplished, as I am already OK with the ‘changing’ thing … And, I actually don’t think it’s all that difficult to do …but that does rather depend of course – to some extent at least – on what it is you want to change ….

… But to get back to things at Tan-Y-Garth the 1970’s …..and my view of what was now going on there – where it concerned Ken’s attempts to keep the place going …

I should mention here (if I haven’t already) that the major business of Tan-Y-Garth, introduced by Ken not long after he moved there, was the provision of a suitable ‘meeting place’ (or ‘retreat’ if you like; or even ‘Ashram’ if you prefer) at weekends, for what I would loosely call ‘Yoga groups’, drawn from all over the UK. And that these ‘week-ends’ obviously had a significantly larger attendance than our small mid-week discussion group.

But where did this sudden demand for ‘Yoga teachers’ come from, back then in the late 1960’s, or early 1970’s, you might ask? Why this sudden stampede by myriads of people who were more than willing to part with their hard earned cash, in order to engage in stuff like sitting in a room somewhere, breathing, and counting from one to six (or whatever) etc. for hours? …

‘Yoga’ was a pursuit, or activity if you prefer, that had started to become increasingly popular in the UK with the public at large (especially those of student age) around 1965 – which is when the Beatles began their flirtation with ‘Transcendental Meditation’; but, more particularly, since the broadcasting in 1970 on UK ITV, of Richard Hittleman’s ‘Yoga For Health’ – which is when, I would argue, that the ‘Yoga’ business really started to pick up steam.

‘Yoga For Health’, was an American TV show that had been imported into the UK sometime during the year of 1970, when it immediately became a huge hit with the ‘young mums’ of that time …. I should also add that it was also quite popular with any number of ‘young lads’ also, who enjoyed watching a couple of Mr Hittleman’s very attractive nubile young female ‘assistants’, dressed in leotards, demonstrating various ‘yogic positions’ (or ‘asanas, as they like to call them in the Yoga business)… out there in sunny California … in the sun … under the palm trees … next to the swimming pool.

It was often referred to as ‘keep fit yoga’, and sometimes as ‘Hatha Yoga’ – the latter label conveniently serving to give it a somewhat pseudo-spiritual flavor (for gullible Westerners) by ‘yoking’ it to some (largely imagined) form of exotic, vaguely erotic, Indian, ‘spiritual’ practice. …. It has, since that time, in fact become an extremely lucrative, nation-wide, low initial-outlay, business: and also an extremely popular (and therefore academically interesting to me) aspect of ‘popular culture’. … As Frank Zappa might have put it, “What do you need to do to be a Yoga teacher? … You just need to say, “I’m a Yoga teacher.” … “!

By the time we get to the 1970’s then, the whole business of ‘Yoga’ had become a paradise for ‘do-it-yourself, self-appointed, spiritual experts’, the overwhelming majority of whom had never even heard of Eugene Halliday (so mentioning his name would not have done any good here, anyway).

Ideally though, what you needed to do though in order to authentically validate your ‘yoga teacher’ status, was to claim that some ‘Guru’ from India had taught you all the tricks…. That, and perhaps the ability to sprinkle your ‘lessons’ with the odd Sanskrit word (in order to suggest to your punters that you might perhaps ‘speak the language’) is also a very useful card to play in this game…. (Yet another excruciatingly irritating affectation, as far as I’m concerned)…

It would seem to me though, the only subjects that many of these ‘authentic Indian ‘Guru’s’ appeared to have any real interest in was: possessing a Swiss bank account; owning a fleet of Rolls Royce cars; real estate; and, what my New Orleans musician colleagues covertly referred to as, ‘poontang’.

Even so, somehow (and this was mind-boggling) these con-men still managed to amass huge numbers of ‘followers’ – which, somehow, always seemed to include an endless supply of adoring ladies. … Like a sort of  ‘spiritual’ version of Barry Manilow  ….

But then, also during that time, large numbers of people in the UK believed that some guy from Israel, who went by the name of Uri Geller, could bend forks and spoons with his mind ….So I suppose that the events here are really not all that surprising…

The most significant component here in all this for me however, was that Ken had also by that time discovered the recordings of social scientist, Richard Alpert. Alpert, a one time Harvard professor, had, in the company of Timothy Leary and Ralph Metzner, consumed copious amounts of LSD back then in the late 1960’s- early 1970’s. These three gentlemen had even written a book together on the subject called, ‘The Psychedelic Experience: A Manuel Based On The Tibetan Book of the Dead’. And, “Yes,” I have read it (in fact I still have a copy). Anyway, Richard Alpert subsequently went off to India, met his own guru, apparently suddenly stopped dropping acid, returned to the USA, changed his name to Baba Ram Dass, and, in 1971, solo-authored a hippy best-seller  (which I also still have a copy of) – the title of which was, ‘Remember, Be Here Now’ …….. (By the way, does that phrase ‘Be Here Now’ sound kind of familiar to anyone here?)… Ram Dass then put out various long-playing recordings, and it is these that Ken subsequently got hold of.

To me, Ram Dass’s approach (and you’ll have to do your own research here if you want to know what that is) definitely wasn’t Eugene Halliday’s approach. But I do believe it was the model for Ken’s, now predominantly, ‘Yogic’ activities, during these weekend ‘retreats’. And this also explained, as far as I was concerned, his approach to those ‘meditation exercises’ with our discussion group.

But, to get back to those ‘week-ends’ at Tan-Y-Garth. … When Jean and I attended them, we viewed them as a reasonably priced, if somewhat austere, form of restful break. Separate dormitories for the sexes were the rule, (How all my gay chums would have loved that!). However, I suppose you could argue that sexual abstinence would make this whole weekend mini-experience ‘more spiritual’. But from my jaded, worldly, negative, point of view, this rule was probably a consequence of the fact that the Hall only had a few double rooms (or bathrooms for that matter) and that using two great big rooms was a good way of getting round the problem … and are much easier to look after  … But that’s just me ….

Anyway, when we did occasionally attend the odd week-end at Tan-Y-Garth (usually to show our support, and make up the numbers), as it was impossible for us to spend any quality time together in bed (see para immediately above), I, instead, spent most of the time talking with Ken, or Richard, or hanging around in the kitchen with Bar, drinking tea, and smoking cigarettes. I would, sooner or later though, invariably spot Ken, complete with beard and pony-tail, wandering about the Hall and grounds, often wearing a long, monk-like, robe.

The major task of those living at Tan-Y-Garth Hall then, in my book, was really – whether Ken liked to admit it or not  – the problem of producing enough of a cash-flow to pay the overheads on the place, and so keep it ticking over.

A great deal of hard work was put into making these week-end meetings at Tan-Y-Garth the success that they became. The overwhelming bulk of this work being carried out by Ken’s wife, Barbara, who, along with their daughter, Janet, and son-in-law, Richard Milligan, were to be kept fully employed for 20 or so years, in the distinctly non-yogic tasks of cooking, washing the bed linen, and housekeeping etc. for their week-end visitors.

On those week-ends where folks would be invited to come out to what those at the Hall still like to refer to as, a ‘working week-end’ (which was essentially how they got volunteers to clean up the place, do a spot of ‘gardening’, or, if they were handy, do some renovating) I never once saw Ken with a brush in his hand, or with his fingers in the rich Welsh earth ….. and funnily enough, neither has anyone else I have asked who was there around that time … …

… I don’t think I would be stretching it here, if I said that during these week-ends, Ken was more than happy to play at being a ‘guru’…. Regrettably, many people fell for it as well ….

Leaving events at Tan-Y-Garth aside for the moment, how did my own experiences here of ‘altered states’ inform my view of the outbreak of ‘Yoga Clubs’ all over the UK. The numbers of which have been steadily growing since the end of the 1960’s/beginning of the 1970’s.

Well, and more antagonistically (which shouldn’t surprised you by now) my perspective on self-induced changes in conscious states, whether through the act of taking drugs or by using a more natural approach by, say, regulating the breathing, informs most of my attitude to what most folks are pleased to call ‘Yoga’. … To put it as straightforwardly as I can – I do not believe that, as a consequence here, these devotees are ‘yoking’ or ‘joining back’ to what they are pleased to imagine is the ‘supreme spirit’ (or something like that), but that they are victims of their own delusions, and are also usually encouraged in this belief of theirs by their ‘guru’….. To quote a Liverpool maxim here, which might help, ‘Once a mug, always a mug’.

You might like to conduct a little independent research on the subject of ‘False Gurus and Siddhis’ here. Here’s a sample quote on the subject, selected at random, from the KathaVarta.com blog:

“The Universe is full of false preceptors. Overtly clever, they surround themselves with selfish pleasures and bestow their ‘grandiose’ teachings upon the unwary. Prematurely publicizing themselves, intent upon reaching some spiritual climax, they constantly sacrifice the Truth and deviate from the real spiritual path. What they really offer the Universe is their own confusion.”

However, regarding ‘contemplation’ (and not ‘meditation’) as Eugene Halliday describes the practice at least. As this has always been a strictly solitary pursuit for me – I can confidently assert that it definitely does not qualify as a week-end social activity. So I never really ‘came under the influence of anyone’, or ‘sat at the feet of anyone’ here. I simply focused on attempting to understand Eugene Halliday’s ideas, rather than just attempting to remember them verbatim … and I stayed with any methodology that appeared to help me here.

It might be pertinent here to also point out that, certainly up until 1966 (when he had reached his mid-50’s) Eugene Halliday spoke, in the main, to relatively small groups of people, and his ‘overheads’ (if in fact there were any worth talking about) were negligible. Thus, this was all very easily managed by him. …. I now view these opportunities of his to speak to others as being seen by him simply as different situations in which to ‘Work’, and not as an opportunity for him to indulge in anything else …. And far more significantly, I have been unable to uncover any single instance where Eugene Halliday conducted a ‘Yoga’ session … And that includes testimony from someone who lived in the same house as the man for over twenty-five years … (More of this in a late post)….

This ‘Work’, I came to see much later, was the real task that Eugene Halliday was recommending that we all freely and willingly engage in – as much as we were able. But it is extremely demanding, and requires the participation of the whole being. … Unfortunately, results cannot be achieved here by simply just moving to a different geographical location; or by changing one’s name; or by wearing any special set of clothing; or by growing a beard; or by letting ones hair grow; or by following a special diet; or ‘studying’ for a ‘yoga diploma’  – none of which is really all that difficult, is it? …

I believe that the whole idea is to eventually be able to ‘Work’ (as one is able) anywhere that one finds oneself,  in the ‘here and now’. And if you’re wondering how difficult that might be, think, “Downtown Kabul, Saturday night, after the pubs let out,” – and not after you climb into whatever uniform it is that you’ve decide to wear; or run your comb through whatever body-hair style(s) you’ve decided to adopt; or handed out your business card to inform everyone what it is that you’ve now decided to call yourself; or had a large helping of whatever ‘special’ diet you’ve decided to follow, before finally, waving your ‘certificate of authentication’ about, for interested parties to peruse at their leisure.

As Zero Mahlowe so succinctly put it to me, some twenty-five or so years later, “No matter where Eugene found himself, Eugene simply did … what Eugene always did!”

… Anyway, it was now 1979 … I felt that it was time to move on … So, I’ll now try to sum up here  …. ….

The purpose of joining the discussion group was to assist me in my attempt to clarify and ‘connect together’ (by grasping their governing concepts) various ideas of Eugene Halliday’s, in such a way that these formed a homogenous body of ideas. (Much later … after asking, “So what?”…  the significance of ’embodying’ these ideas would become the over-riding, dominant, concern here for me).

Regarding those ‘meditating sessions’ of Ken’s? … Well, he seemed to me, to be purposefully advancing the idea that we should somehow all be attempting to deliberately empty our mind of any ‘thoughts’, in order to produce states of ‘calm’ (or whatever). And having done so, we should then introduce some ‘image’ or other into our ‘minds’ in order to produce some form of ‘positive’ emotional state. I saw him, eventually, as attempting to turn himself into ‘The UK’s answer to Ram Dass’ … And I felt that this approach was inappropriate here,  in that it did not help me in my attempts to relate to, and so understand, Eugene Halliday’s material.

Ken certainly did not seem to be encouraging any ‘actively dynamic’ approach here to me…. And as I intuited that the presence of an ‘active dynamic’ was the only necessary, fundamental, essential  ingredient here at this time, perhaps you can now understand why I was so sure that these ‘meditation’ exercises of his would not help me….Definitely not at this stage anyway. …

Indeed, I did not believe that they helped Ken Ratcliffe to further his understanding of these ideas of Eugene’s either…. And I saw him as someone who was, at that time, still obviously trying desperately to integrate these ideas into his being –  some 25 plus years after he had met the man. ….To be blunt, in my opinion, these ‘meditations’ of Ken’s were actually counter-productive to this aim here. ….

So, for my part at least, this ‘meditation’ was a big ‘No-No’ … at least until I had completed this very necessary stage in my life that I was at …. And I am, now, actually thankful for all my angst, turmoil, surprise, and sometimes, incredible frustration, back then, because without them, I would have had nothing at my disposal to help me here….

… I wouldn’t say then, that this prolonged experience (‘process’ might be a better word) that I was going through  was at all a ‘stroll in the park’ for me, and that I was having a particularly pleasant experience back then…Worthwhile? … … Perhaps … … Rewarding? … Yes … But for a lot of the time at least  (and it did go on for a very long time after I had left Tan-Y-Garth) … not pleasant at all. …

… You might simply like to view all this then, as a necessary component of  my ‘Nigredo’ (if I might go all mysterious on you for a moment) … But you’d have to know a lot about other stuff here to appreciate what that actually means … Anyway I’ve ‘put it out there’ for those of you who might ‘get it’, as it summarizes things quite nicely here …

A word of caution … This process is definitely not something that I would recommend to those of you who are looking to engage in some pursuit or other that ‘increases your enjoyment of life’ … or anyrhing like that …

… On the positive side, after discussing Eugene Halliday ideas with Ken and others,  I could now put ‘bits and pieces’ of these ideas to practical use. That is, I could ‘read’ the world through a couple of these ideas … from time to time. …  And when it came to those one or two subjects that I had a definite interest in, I was delighted to find that I could now put a number of Eugene Halliday’s ideas to a great deal of practical use here. …. But I felt that I still hadn’t really any real grasp of how to ‘Work’. … And I felt that there was still a great deal of confusion here for me, that I must clear up before I could move forward. ….

I will once again stress that Ken was of real help to me here, and that I enjoyed his company very much. But I also believed that the necessity of holding on to Tan-Y-Garth was taking him in the wrong direction … So  I decided that I must move on if I was to get any further here in what it was, I imagined at that time, I was attempting to accomplish.

Did Eugene Halliday create any more exercises to assist in the process of learning to ‘Work’? … Yes, he certainly did …  But I’ll be posting detailed information about what that was, and how to do it, in a later post … as I didn’t find out about it myself until sometime after attended Ishval meetings at Parklands.

I’ll just say here that this exercise of his was extremely dynamic in nature, and that it involved a group activity, and that those taking part had to be totally committed for it to work effectively. … I was to work with it myself for some time … But I have kept quiet about it until now, because, in my opinion, there’s been so much rubbish talked about it by any number of people who also claimed to have tried it, that I felt it was pointless for me to become involved, as this would only serve to complicate the subject further….

I have been told that this particular important exercise of Eugene Halliday’s has been banned at Tan-Y-Garth by the person now controlling things there. But that’s hardly surprising, as I also understand that she has not had any experience of practicing this exercise herself. (I understand that she was, formally, yet another one of those ‘yoga’ teachers)…. But – as to practicing this exercise … far more interestingly … neither had Ken Ratcliffe. ….

While I had been attending sessions at Tan-Y-Garth, Eugene Halliday had been delivering his monthly talks (on and off) at ‘Parklands’ since about 1966. These talks formed part of the regular ‘goings on’ of ISHVAL. This vaguely mysteriously sounding word was in fact an acronym for (yet another) registered charity – ‘The Institute for the Study of Hierological Values’ – of which Eugene was its Chairman.

‘Parklands’ had been purchased. and subsequently immediately placed at the disposal of ISHVAL, by Mr and Mrs Fred and Yvonne Freeman, through their Freeman Family Trust. I should also add here that Fred Freeman was ISHVAL’S President from its inception in 1966; and also that Eugene Halliday would have been 55 years old, or there abouts, at that time.

Martin decided to write to Eugene to ask if we might attend his Ishval talks at Parklands. Ken was fine with the idea, and said that the next time he went to Ishval, he would give us a ‘recommend’.

Letter to Martin from Eugene (1979)

Soon after, Jean and I, and Martin, were to attend our first ‘in the flesh’ Eugene Halliday talk’…

So things now seemed to be moving along again. … But nothing that had happened up until now was sufficient to prepare me for ‘Ishval’ and ‘Parklands’ …. and to say that I was somewhat unprepared, would be putting it mildly … …. To say the least!

Postscript. 

Martin and I last visited Tan-Y-Garth some twelve years later, in 1991…. This was the year before Ken Ratcliffe died. He had, by this time, suffered a couple of strokes, and he seemed confused and tired to me. His wife, Barbara had died of cancer some time earlier, as had his eldest daughter Janet…. His son-in-law Richard had ‘been let go’ by those who were now clearly intent on taking over things at the Hall … … … … It was all very sad …

To be continued ……..

Bob Hardy

May, 2012

 

 

 

 

 
  • ” … You are so right! …

(He moves forward and stops with his legs slightly apart, raises both his arms, and moves his hands forward, as if to emphasize his agreement. His tone is warm and confident). Clearly, you do have to take this essential ‘first step’, now that you have decided, finally, that it really is time for you to venture forth upon this all-important ‘Journey of a 1,000 miles’ of yours.

(He lowers his arms to his sides and leans forward slightly. He smiles, and speaks quietly). But understand  … there are no guarantees at all that you’ll be heading off in the right direction!

(His smile quickly turns to a frown. He looks quizzical, and begins to pace, slowly at first, becoming more and more animated) Your decision to embark on, what you imagine, is  this crucial and life-changing journey of yours, is an exciting thing to do…As far as you’re concerned anyway! 

And the more you day-dream about it …. You know! … Making all those meticulous preparations in your head!… All that (He gestures and pokes the air with his finger)planning! … Then the greater your expectations are going to be. … And all this will only serve to make this whole enterprise of yours even more important to you – and even more thrilling!

But see … all that you’re really doing here is providing yourself with a focus – an object if you will – for your desire … You’re just ‘getting high’ in other words…

(He looks over with a wry expression on his face) Sorry! ….

(His voice becomes serious, and he speaks with a slightly more authoritative tone). Your desire seeks only the thrill of more desire, and will move itself indiscriminately towards anything you come up with that might keep it in being. … Consequently, every time that you eventually do ‘arrive’, although you might get what you believed it was that you wanted – you’ll find that, in fact, you’ve somehow lost what it was that you already had! …(He shrugs his shoulders). Which – even though you might not have realized it as such – was merely the thrill and excitement you felt from all of that hot, sticky, desire you were wallowing in! …

And … even more alarming! – Upon your ‘arrival’, you will very quickly discover that you have lost interest in what you imagined was the whole damned purpose of this ‘trip’ of yours in the first place! …

By the way, ‘loss of interest’ here just means that you’ve now run out of energy … and so of course, ‘down you plummet!’…(He looks around, and continues in an inquiring manner) I believe this condition is what you refer to here sometimes, as ‘being depressed’…

Anyway! … Let’s simply say that you will now find yourself in a position where you just ‘can’t get it up’ anymore, (He gets up from the chair) and so you now desperately start to look around for some new diversion to stimulate you. (He looks around frantically, this way and that, as if searching for something. He stops still, and stares intently into the the corner of the room. grins delightedly, and rushes over towards the corner)  Only to repeat this cycle! … Over … and over … and over … and over … again!…. Until! … … (He starts to stagger and quickly falls to his knees) …Eventually! … (He lies on his back shuddering) … You die! (He lifts his legs up, holds them there for a moment, and drops them to the ground with a loud bang)….  … Ta-ta-ta-rah!!!… … (He lies on his back and pretends to be blowing a trumpet)

(He rises to his feet, dusts himself quickly down, and leans on the side of the chair) So my friend, can you now appreciate … like me … that experiencing this ‘thrill of desiring’ was all that you were really after in the first place… and you continually deceived yourself into believing that you were actually searching for something else … Something …. ‘Precious’, or perhaps, … ‘Meaningful’? (He laughs, and sits down). …

 All those possibilitiesout there that you haven’t experienced yet! ….. It’s all so … very exciting isn’t it? …Which is why it’s relatively easy to get all of you down here to go dashing about, all over the place, time and time again!

(He leans forward, and whispers) I’ll let you into a little secret my friend. Your ‘life’ down here isn’t one damn thing after another. It’s far worse than that! (Louder) Your life down here is the same damn thing, over and over again! (He roars with laughter).

(He wipes his eyes) But hey! There’s no need for you to get all upset  … Because now that you do know how it all works here, obviously you don’t have to actually take any more of those ‘first steps’ ever again!  …. (He stares at the floor for a moment, then jerks upright and smiles broadly) … No more of all that frantic dashing around! ….. (He begins to march this way and that, with an exaggerated Nazi ‘goose-step’)  … You can just imagine yourself taking those journeys instead! …. ‘Do it all yourself’ – ‘in the privacy of your own head’ – as it were! … It’ll be just as exciting! ….

And hey!  No one else is really all that interested anyway. So they won’t even notice! They’re all far too busy down here trying to find new ways of fanning the flames of their own desire ….

(He stops suddenly and looks thoughtful for a moment. A faint grin appears on his face, and he speaks to himself quietly) …. Mmm! .. I like that …’fanning the flames’ ….. I must remember to keep it in … …..

(He smiles warmly again and continues speaking normally) So … don’t worry! … I promise you! … In the end, no one will know if you had any real intention of ever actually going anywhere.  … …

(He walks off, and says softly) …Not even you!

(He pauses, and repeats quietly to himself, in a  slow , deliberate, voice, before moving on) …Not .. even .. you! 

From, ‘Field-notes For Armageddon’, by Bob Hardy

 

Setting The Scene – Part 2

One of the problems I’m having here already, is ‘telling it the way it really was’ thirty-five plus years ago, because my account is being continually influenced by my present viewpoint. But, for the time being at least, I am just going to have to be ‘ok with that’ (and so will you) otherwise I’m not going to get any further here. I should also add that – looking at those past events now – it is obvious to me that I didn’t really know what I was doing back then.  But at that time, I really thought I did ..

What sorts of people, in my opinion at least, become interested in the things that Eugene Halliday spoke and wrote about? Well, I see them falling into two major groups. The first group has an interest in subjects such as: psi phenomena – telepathy, etc; psychic phenomena – contacting the dead, etc.; ‘matters esoteric’ – astral travel, etc; and ‘things that can’t be explained by science generally’; and I would also include here those who have a morbid fear of death. And although I don’t belong to this group, I do appreciate how they come to listen to, and read, Eugene Halliday’s material, because I have always had an interest in these subjects myself. To give you just a few brief examples, as a teenager I was fascinated by the writings of Charles Forte and his skepticism re ‘the scientific method’ (I still have my copy of ‘The Books of Charles Forte’); I was an avid reader of Science Fiction from the age of about 14 (and had one of the biggest collections in the UK by 1970, with many first editions (Oh, how I wish I had them now!). As a teenager I read many ‘non-mainstream’ books at that time, such as ‘An Experiment With Time’ by J. W. Dunn and ‘Flying Saucers Have Landed; by George Adamski. During my late teens I bought my own copy of the Condon Report (‘The Blue Book’), published in the early 1950’s – the infamous American Air Force report on UFO’s; I read semi-academic stuff by authors such as Carlos Castaneda; I have had a forty plus year interest in C G Jung’s ‘Analytical’ or ‘Depth’ Psychology, which first prompted my continuing interest in Gnosticism and Alchemy; etc. etc. And, in case you think I might now have left all this stuff behind me, my last Kindle purchase (in March of 2012) was Phillip K Dick’s ‘Exegesis’ …. So yeah! It isn’t like I don’t know what it’s like to have these interests. But understand that I do view all of this material skeptically – but that’s how I view almost everything else! And I should also add that I am acutely aware of the power and control that self-styled experts in these areas (particularly where it concerns the more esoteric subjects here) can so easily assume over the more gullible and vulnerable members of society – often with tragic results.

But having these interests myself, to some degree at least, was not at all why I was (and still am) interested in the ‘Work’ of Eugene Halliday!

So I’m in ‘The Other Group’ then, and that’s not so easy to describe. But I will try, by attempting to tell you here how this all started for me …

For as long as I can remember, a number of really pressing questions have always been uppermost in my mind. However, it’s not like these questions initially presented themselves to me as politely articulated inquiries, or that they emerged gradually. Rather, they have always seemed to me to have been muttering away autonomously ‘in the back of my mind’ there, and I experienced them as being all connected thematically.

Broadly speaking, they are “What am I?; What am I doing here?; Where am I?”; “Who are all these other people?”, and are accompanied by a vague feeling that, “This has all been some sort of dreadful mistake.”

There is one other question however, that you could add to those above, and it’s the one I believe that all of us are presented with – all the time – voiced or unvoiced. And that’s, “What is going on right now, and what should I do about it?”.

The attempt to provide the answer to this particular question can involve on the one hand, delving into subjects such as Religion and Metaphysics, and on the other, Science and Engineering (to say nothing of the Arts), and is exquisitely formulated to get us caught up in anything that takes our fancy that happens to be going on ‘out there’ from Word Wars and Global Politics, to problems involving attempts to lose weight, or to tackle premature baldness… It is – if you will – the one question we are all continuously being presented with, whether we are consciously aware of it as a particular formulated enquiry or not… And so events – which you can believe are either sent ‘from above’, or are merely the consequences of Darwinian evolution – do appear to have conspired to place human beings at least, in a position to explore their own existential search for ‘meaning’ from moment to moment.

How these questions – and my responses to them – have ‘evolved’ over the years would be extremely difficult for me to describe right now. But to give you some idea, a question such as, “What is ‘in-ness’, and ‘out-ness’?”  evolved quite naturally, in my case, from ‘Where am I?” In that it was not asked of me by anyone else, but was formulated from ‘out of myself’ – it simply ‘rose up’ in me if you like. And I also experienced it as ‘coming to me at the right time’ such that, along with its appearance, I also had the distinct impression that it was also now possible for me to come up with some kind of answer to it….

++++++++++

If I happen to meet a ‘fellow enquirer’ in the same situation as me, we seem to be able to recognize each other almost immediately; and we also know when someone else is ‘faking’ these questions. I mean here that, although many might say that they find these questions ‘really interesting’, they are clearly only of passing interest here – a diversion in the moment, and nothing more than that.

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The urgency of requiring some sort of answers to these pressing questions did appear to diminish later in life somewhat, as I become more and more embroiled in the ‘game of life’. So much so, in fact, that I sometimes forgot about them entirely for short periods.  But, sooner, rather than later, they would come back to haunt me again.

However, there is a kind of ‘upside’ to this, in that this relentless existential ‘prodding’ seemed to come with an abundance of free energy that I could use to help me here. Some saw this in me as an unseemly ‘manic enthusiasm’, and would find it extremely unsettling when I ‘turned up the wick’ from time to time, although others appeared to enjoy the spectacle.

A ‘downside’ to all this (which I also experienced very early on) was that if I did attempt to ‘avoid the quest’, then the ‘free energy’ I was blessed with would very soon tangle me up in all sorts of trouble.

By the way, please don’t imagine that I believe all this makes me somehow superior. It’s just the way it is, and I’m simply pointing out here that you either do have these questions gnawing away at you, or you don’t – which is rather obvious if you care to think about it for a moment 🙂 ….  And also, I hope I haven’t given you the impression that in earnestly seeking answers to these questions, I’ve necessarily discovered any!

The reason why some of us do, or don’t, have these questions in us in this way, is another matter entirely …. And, yes, I am well aware that the answer here could simply be that we’re insane!

By the way, if you don’t have these questions ‘in you’, or, to put that another way, if you are not, in some fundamental sense, these questions themselves, then the few paragraphs I’ve written above here won’t really have made that much sense to you…

….Finally, I feel I should also tell you that there are also a number of other things that happen to me that other people might find odd. But, for the moment at least, I don’t have any intention of writing about them here..

That being said … On with the tale. …

I first heard of Eugene Halliday sometime during the mid-1970’s, when Martin Mathieson, a close friend of mine, gave me a number of audio-cassette of Eugene’s talks that were recorded sometime between the late 1950’s and the mid 1960’s, at meetings of the ‘The International Hermeneutic Society’ (IHS) which were held at the Liverpool home of Ken (he changed the spelling to Khen) and Barbara (she changed the spelling to Bhar) Ratcliffe. Eugene Halliday was, at that time, the IHS President, and Ken Ratcliffe was the IHS Secretary.

Shortly after giving me these cassettes, Martin took me and my wife, Jean, to ‘Tan-Y-Garth Hall’, a large house in North Wales. This Hall was the new home of the IHS, which, since October of 1971, had become an officially registered charity.

By this time, Eugene Halliday appears to have severed his official connection to the IHS, and also, interestingly enough, sometime during this early period, the IHS had morphed into the IHS(V) or IHS(VAL) – ‘The International Hermeneutic Society (Validations)’. It is also important to point out that, from the time that Tan-Y-Garth became the ‘headquarters’ of the IHS in 1971, until his death in 1987 (some 15 years later), Eugene Halliday never stepped foot in the place, although he could have done so at any time – a state of affairs that I still, to this day, find interesting.

I have no idea where the (V) here came from by the way – but during the next decade or so, I could not help but notice that these same letters kept cropping up elsewhere: IHS(V) or IHS(VAL); and ISHVAL; closely followed by the very mysterious SIHVAL – The Society for the Investigation of Human Values – registered as a charity in September of 1972, and more commonly referred to by folks ‘in the know’ (who lived in South Cheshire, UK, and made use of it) as ‘Toft Hall’, and which seems to have been, bye and large, what was known at that time as a (local) ‘convalescent home’. (More of that in a later post. perhaps).

Ken Ratcliffe presided over an informal mid-week discussion group at Tan-Y-Garth, the major purpose of which (during the time I attended at least) was to discuss some of Eugene (or Gene – as Ken called him) Halliday’s concepts.

Ken made it very clear during the time I attended these talks that what he was doing here was simply attempting to work with Eugene Halliday’s ideas. And he certainly was not claiming that he had, in some way, already absorbed them – quite the opposite in fact.

There were never more than half-a-dozen or so people maximum attending this mid-week group, and although it appeared to me that one or two of them were clearly ‘traveling on the other coach’, this didn’t seem to matter too much (but telling you this here should dispel any suspicion you might harbor that I imagined we were all engaged in some sort of ‘Brains of Britain’ thing).

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Attempting any discussion of Eugene Halliday’s ideas, as I see it, would reasonably  suppose that those doing so had some sort of ‘passing acquaintance’ with them at least, which in my case was a consequence of listening to recordings of his talks, and also reading some of his essays. Indeed this form of ‘studying’ was the approach that Ken appeared to me to be using at Tan-Y-Garth – in that he listened to the tapes, read the essays, and tried to remember the stuff.

So, during the time that I attended these meeting, in my opinion, Ken wasn’t ‘bringing up these ideas from himself’. In fact, often he was clearly having just as much difficulty getting them ‘straight, in his head’, as everyone else. And although he had a great deal more information available (from his close personal connection with Eugene Halliday for 20 years or so, and also his continuous striving to remember this material), it was obvious that these ideas and concepts that we were discussing were not his – and that what he was doing, at these group meetings at least, was musing over them out loud, and using the rest of us as a sounding-board, as it were.

That was fine with me, as I did have a good memory then, and remembering this stuff wasn’t that difficult for me. So I did spend  a few years here just discussing Eugene’s concepts with both Ken and the group, and I consider this time to have been extremely formative and important to any understanding I imagine I now have of this material.

I had not yet focused on the idea of embodying these ideas at this time – because I would not have had the faintest inkling of what that might have meant. And It was only after listening to Ken’s accounts of Eugene’s advice to him it began to dawn on me, that without this practical (embodying) side, no real progress was ever going to be made. But, as I say, this was not at all obvious to me in the beginning – that is, when I first began listening to the tapes, and reading the essays.

Although this situation, by and large, was to continue for the next decade or so, at the time though (luckily for me) none of this mattered, and I was (and still am) simply grateful to Ken for the opportunity to have been able to discuss these ideas in some depth with anybody at all. I should also perhaps make it clear that I believe I benefited from my visits to Tan-Y-Garth and taking part in these discussions, far more than my later visits to ‘Parklands’ – where I had many opportunities to listen to Eugene talking in person, and to do other stuff as well.

So, to recap briefly. As far as my impressions at this time were concerned, after listening to a number of Eugene Halliday’s recorded talks, and having read a few of his essays, I had become very interested at the way in which he explained: who we were; what we were doing here; how we got here; who these other people were; etc. I was now talking about these ideas with others who also claimed to be interested in them (but, unfortunately, not for the same reasons that I believed I was).

I must admit that my attitude to what it was that others were doing here did irritate me at the time. As it did seem fairly obvious to me that many of them were desperately looking for ‘someone’ in their lives – someone to ‘follow’ as it were – and who, in the main, also favored the current, trendy, emerging ‘New Age-ish’, approach to life. I, on the other hand, wasn’t looking for ‘anyone’ particularly; or any group of people to socially interact with.

This perspective of mine on what it was these people were ‘up to’, set the pattern for any further discussions I was to have with almost everyone else involved here for the next five or six years – and was ultimately the main reason why I had no problem ‘moving on’ in 1984.

But let me make it absolutely clear here that I had no sense at all Eugene Halliday himself was promoting ideas and concepts that endorsed, or were even sympathetic to, current, trendy, ‘spiritual’ enquiries involving ‘mysterious’ topics such as: ufo’s; crop circles; spirit beings from another planet; previous lives; Yaqui Indian sorcerers; astral travel; divination; transcendental meditation/contemporary ‘yoga’; quack medicine; ‘special’ diets; mysterious oriental practices; etc. etc. Quite the reverse in fact.

Indeed I was relieved to find someone who clearly wasn’t resorting to all that fashionable nonsense. But who, rather, seemed to believe (as I did) that the very fact of ‘being’ itself was ‘magical’ enough and worth investigating – without the introduction of any smoke and mirrors, or trickery and mumbo-jumbo, to ‘spice it up a bit’; and who was presenting an interesting, helpful, and self-affirming area of study and contemplation.

Eugene Halliday did, of course, use contemporary metaphors and mise-en-scènes to illustrate his ideas, and I’m fine with that – because I don’t see how else you could get these ideas across, unless perhaps you produce them in an exclusively academic setting – which would defeat his whole purpose here, in my view.

So I  vacillated between being really grateful that I had come across this material, and being intensely irritated with many of those that I was having to come in contact with!

It was fortunate for me though that I stuck with it, because this aspect of group relationships, and the dynamics it produced began to fascinate me, eventually more so even than just thinking about Eugene Halliday’s concepts themselves. And I would say that the study of the behavior of various disparate social groups, ‘read through’  Eugene Halliday’s concepts, would eventually provide me with far more material about the nature of the human condition (vis-a-vis those ‘questions’ of mine) than simply the contemplation of Eugene Halliday’s concepts ‘in abstraction’, as it were. But this was all to come about at some considerable time in the future.

To continue here though …. I was also lucky enough to have a number of lengthy private conversations with Ken during the few years that I was regularly attending Tan-Y-Garth. Perhaps this was because I had spent a few years at sea, but I couldn’t really say for sure. Anyway, I always felt that he was ‘on the level’ with me, and I agree with those others I have spoken with who knew him from his time in Liverpool, that he was definitely a ‘man’s man’, who also appreciated a ‘well-turned ankle’.

I also soon found out that, luckily for Ken, his son-in-law, Richard, (who had married his daughter, Janet) was professionally qualified to restore, and archive, the many recordings of Eugene Halliday’s talks that had taken place at Ken and Barbara’s home in Liverpool, and which were, at that time, in a real mess, as Ken (so Richard told me) had never bothered to give them titles, or ever attempted to rewind any of the tapes he had listened to (they were quarter-inch reel-to-reel) And I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever (as I was also qualified in this area) that without Richard’s dedicated work (which took him decades by the way) this material would never have been preserved.

As well as I can recall it, Ken told me that he had met Eugene Halliday just after the war, when he was living in Manchester.  As he was about to marry his wife-to-be, Barbara (called ‘Bar’ by one and all) at the registry office, he discovered that he needed a ‘Best-Man-cum-witness’ for their wedding. He asked Gene, who he told me lived in a flat in the same house, if he would do the job. Gene agreed, and they subsequently became friends.

Ken had served in WWII – in the Fleet Air Arm I think – and he told me that he was wounded at Dunkirk – strafed by machine gun fire from a German fighter plane while attempting to sail a dingy across the English Channel.

As a consequence he was sent to South Africa to recuperate, and he told me that this was when he first became interested in Yoga.

He also told me that the first book he ever read on the subject of Yoga was this one (I’ve provided a link to it here if you’re interested) – The Hindu-Yogi Science Of Breath by Yogi Ramacharaka 

I don’t know when he actually read it, but significantly though, his copy (which I now have in my possession) was pressed in 1960, so obviously he read this particular edition after this date. The author’s name ‘Yogi Ramacharaka’ is a pseudonym for William Walker Atkinson who, as you’ve probably guessed, was neither a ‘Yogi’ (whatever that actually might be) or Indian – he was American.

I also understood from Ken, that even before the war, he had been interested in Charles Atlas’s system of Dynamic Tension, and in Body Culture in general.

It is clear that Ken and Gene were close friends after the war, so much so, that Ken and Bar’s two daughters, Janet, and Shelagh Ratcliffe (who, when representing England as a swimmer, won silver and bronze medals at the 1970 Commonwealth Games) also referred to Eugene Halliday as ‘(Uncle) Gene’.

Indeed, Eugene appeared to be known as Gene to one-and-all at this time, including his second wife, Margret. The habit of referring to him as (the more formal) ‘Eugene’ apparently began quite late in his life; and I understood, from Zero Mahlowe, that she was the first person to regularly call him Eugene – because she said that she didn’t really like the name ‘Gene’!

Ken also told me that he and Gene would go over on the ferry to the Isle of Man during the summer season, where they would sell casts of miniature painted models that Gene had carved in soft stone, using a filed-down, sharpened, six inch nail. From this original model, a rubber mold would be made, then plaster copies would be cast. Friends of theirs, who I understood lived in (or perhaps near) the large house where Eugene lived in Manchester would paint them. During this period, Ken and Gene would also both head up to Blackpool, where they would also sell these figures on the famous ‘Golden Mile’. Ken also told me that Gene was also in the habit of  giving ‘talks’ to groups of people ‘on the beach’ at the IOM.

I’ve videoed a short clip of four of Eugene’s models that I have in my possession – here it is. Eugene Halliday – Models I have no idea how many he actually produced. Personally, I find them valuable, as they provide me with a glimpse of  the ‘flesh and blood’ Eugene Halliday.

Ken said that, when gathering a crowd at these British North-English holiday resorts  he would also do some card tricks to entertain them, and on one occasion, at a ‘Tan-Y-Garth weekend I attended, he demonstrated a few ‘passes’ to me using a standard deck of cards. And although he was clearly a bit rusty, he obviously knew what he was doing.

Ken made no secret of the fact that he was continually studying Eugene’s material (that is, the written and recorded material). And because, I believe, of their close association for what was a significant length of time, this must surely have allowed Ken to ask Eugene for any amount of practical advice. Thus I believe that the advice Ken passed on to me (and almost certainly to others) about how to interact with some of Eugene’s ideas, came originally from the man himself. Here are a few early examples of exercises that  Ken gave me:

  1. Concerning words. Attempt to introduce new words into your vocabulary. First select a word and then research it’s definition and etymology. Use this word in as many different situations as you can during the coming week and then come back to the group and present some sort of account.
  2. Concerning general awareness. Attempt to remain aware of parts of your body while engaged in conversation. For instance, no matter how stimulated you become, try to remain aware of the soles of your feet against the floor, or if you’re sitting down, of your back against the chair.
  3. Also concerning general awareness. Upon retiring to bed, make yourself aware of your body. Start with the soles of the feet and move up to the crown of your head. After a few weeks or so of practicing this, you should find you are able to ‘traverse’ the length of your body and heighten your awareness of it very quickly, at any time, and anywhere.
  4. When walking down any road, try to retain as much information regarding the interiors of the houses you are passing – particularly if you are engaged in conversation with someone at the time.

Ken gave me quite a few more of these practical exercises later, and this ‘grounding approach’ (if I can put it that way) to working with Eugene’s ideas was to became an essential part of all this to me. And everything I have attempted in this area since, has had a physical component.

Of all the people I ever came across who claimed to be working with Eugene Halliday’s ideas, Ken’s approach here was the most convincing – to me at least.

Making this experiential, practical, aspect of Eugene Halliday’s ‘Work’ an essential component for yourself is also an efficient way of discovering if someone else who claims an interest in Eugene’s ideas is doing anything more than just trying to impress you with little bits and pieces of his stuff that they have managed to remember. You can, very quickly, ‘cut through all the rubbish’ though by simply asking, “So what were the practical, experiential, consequences of your understanding of this concept of Eugene Halliday’s, that you claim is so important to you?”  This question can often save you being the victim of hours of interminable sermonizing; pointless half-baked exterpolizing; or being forced to listen to endless de-contextualized ‘aphorisms’ (my particular ‘pet hate’). Just ask the question’ “So what?”, as soon as you can.

The significant writings that Ken would center his discussions on, during the time I was going to Tan-Y-Garth at least, were (I have provided links to this material here) Truth   The Four-Part Man   The Tacit Conspiracy (Eugene’s ‘take’ on the sexes).   Reflexive Self-Consciousness , and ideas that centered around ‘Sentient Power’.  The Pursuit of Power  is a good introduction to his thoughts on ‘power’ itself.

Ken also recorded a reading of what was, in my opinion, one of Eugene’s most important introductory writings, and is a great place to start any consideration of his ‘take on things’. Here’s the text –  Five Things To Do  and here’s the reading – Five Things To Do (audio). You can hear Ken acknowledging his debt to his friend Gene as he reads – what he refers to as – ‘an introduction to Hermenuitics’.

Amongst the many recorded talks that I found most relevant, where it concerned ‘power’ at least, was ‘Energy’, which is a reasonable first tape to listen to. Here’s the audio file and transcript of that talk Energy   Energy (transcript) . [I’ll be going over my own interaction with any linked material I post here in more detail later on by the way].

However, even then, my perception of Eugene Halliday’s ‘work’ was that there was an over-all ‘shape’ to it: that it all seemed to emanate from the same place. Such that, if you could get there yourself, you could view all this ‘stuff’ in one go, as it were. So, instead of wanting to ‘do a Eugene Halliday’, by absorbing as much of his tapes and writings verbatim somehow (which, even then, I believed was a silly thing to attempt; impossible to do in principle, and so, doomed from the outset), I wanted to, somehow, get to ‘that place’ myself, and then ‘all would be revealed’… …

Simple, hey? …. But I had no idea how to get there at that time… And also, as someone here famously said, “Simple does not mean easy!”…

On the down side during this time, Ken – along with a significant number of other folk I spoke with who claimed to know Eugene at that time  – told me that Eugene had predicted something really nasty would be going on by 1984, which, ‘those in the know’ here, interpreted as being a major conflict – along the lines of  World War III.

1984 was almost ten year in the future at that time, and this ‘bad vibe’ was, I believe (as did others I have spoken to about this), a significant component in Ken’s decision to move away from (Swinging) Liverpool … bury himself in the middle of nowhere, in North Wales … and take up residence in a very large house … with a very large vegetable garden … and very large, thick, stone walls.

As someone who never bought into the whole ‘Ban the Bomb’ thing, or ever believed, back with others in the 1960′ and 70’s, that we were all on the brink of a nuclear armageddon  – I viewed these negative ‘vibes’ with some skepticism. (Although Everton did manage to win the FA cup in 1984 – but I don’t suppose Eugene meant that). …

The only dissenting personal voice I ever came across, regarding this whole 1984 thing, was Zero Mahlowe’s, who told me, when I asked her about it in 2006, that Eugene did not specifically say that there would be a Third Word War in 1984 – only that the world would be (as she put it) “Significantly out of balance.” But she offered me no extended perspective on what she thought Eugene might have meant here.

Be that as it may, I have no doubt that many others at that time thought Eugene Halliday was of the opinion –  from at least the late 1960’s – that in 1984, a traditional military ‘nasty event’ was ‘on the cards’ (to put it in the vernacular). Consider this final paragraph from SIHV’s brochure from the 1970’s (that mysterious ‘Society for the Investigation of Human Values’ that I mentioned above).

Should it be that World War III were not avoidable, then the salvation of Human Hearted Intelligence will be required. If such a conflict should develop it is probable that there would be pockets of people remaining and it is essential that these people relate Humanely and Intelligently with the recognition of Human Solidarity throughout the world.

I have nothing whatsoever against the sentiments here, but they do seem a little over the top for the brochure of an organization that was, essentially, running a convalescent home.

I’m not concerned here about this (assumed mistake) re Eugene Halliday’s supposed ‘predictive abilities’ either. But, I do happen to believe that divination is impossible, – in the sense that ‘occultists’ use the term anyway – and that the motives for claiming one can do so are often reprehensible in my opinion…If you don’t know what I mean here, think Jim Jones, Jonestown, Guyana, 1978, and ‘The People’s Temple’. …

The over-riding need for a sizable percentage of those who take an interest in Eugene Halliday’s ‘Work’ to ‘bolt on’ a supernatural element is something that I believe he was always clearly aware of, but could do little to prevent. I also believe he was equally aware that this perspective is freely chosen by those people who engage in this sort of thing; and that he saw it as something that these people had to ‘go through’ themselves, and not something he could, necessarily, simply persuade them about, one way or the other. Regrettably then, this aspect of Eugene Halliday’s ‘Work’ seems to ‘go with the territory’, and one just has to put up with it.

It’s not my intention here to deliberately extend this section even further, but I feel I should point out here that by 1984, the world was in the middle of a full-blown AIDS pandemic – and it has killed tens of millions of people since (after a peak of around 2,000,000 per-year in 2004, deaths by AIDS are still up there around 1.8 million-per-year mark) – and it still is.

Personally I would say that AIDS would qualify as something ‘really, really, really, really, nasty going on’. Far more so than those endless military conflicts that seem to have been doing the rounds since the time of Adam and Eve… … But a ‘plague’?…

In the ‘ Swinging 60’s and post-60’s ‘, with its endless, ‘Summers of Love’, a sexually transmitted disease was not at all the thing that its members – who were far too busy proclaiming that they had finally smashed the chains of their ‘Victorian misogynistic heritage’ – wanted to ponder over …  Anyway, most ‘doom merchants’ at that time were far too busy anxiously ‘watching the skies’ for nuclear missiles, to bother ‘glancing down’ and perhaps notice that things were starting to go amiss ‘below the belt’.  … But then, as the old Liverpool maxim would have it, ‘Never try to educate a mug’.

Essential components of any normal learning process are skepticism and disagreement, and anyone here should feel completely free to analyze and explore any misgivings they might have, and not be made to feel constrained, or that they’re ‘rocking the boat’ for others. Everyone makes mistakes, including Eugene Halliday. And a passively accepting, totally acquiescing, group of people, who have clustered around a person they have deluded themselves into believing is some sort of ‘all-knowing’ leader-cum-‘father figure’ is simply one more example of a pathetic cult – a variety of organization that, regrettably, has, and will always, be with us.

Anyway …. back to the story. …. I see now that I had become addicted to poking at those damned questions of mine (it was like having a pebble in my shoe all the time) and I was able to ‘pick-up’ stuff that contained pertinent material. But I wasn’t too interested in the ‘medium’ really – in that I didn’t really care who’s ideas they were – I was only interested in the ‘message’. And I was also confident  that, even if this ‘message’ was buried under a mountain of prima materia , I could dig it out.

At this stage of the game then, my impression of Eugene Halliday as a ‘flesh and blood human being’ was constructed almost entirely from my listening to him speaking on recordings of his talks, and my reading of his various essays (‘serialized’; short, and extended). Importantly, there were an awful lot of these talks and a significant number of essays.

It was also very obvious that the people I had met who had been ‘exposed’ to this material had obviously been very stimulated by it. However, it also seemed to me also that the overwhelming majority here did not appear to me to have any clear idea at all about any over-all structure to Eugene Halliday’s perception of things, or even about the major concepts contained in  this material.

The fact that Eugene Halliday gave talks in Liverpool, to what appeared to be a small group of people in Ken’s front room, also fleshed-in my mental portrait of him a little. And there was also that ‘background-sort-of-biographical-filling-in’ from Ken, that centered around trips to various sea-side resorts in order to ‘make a few bob’, that I also found interesting, etc.

I had no idea, at that time, that, even as early as the late 1940’s (or perhaps even earlier), Eugene Halliday had been giving talks to a group of people in the kitchen of his home in Manchester, or that he was extremely active in the (distinctly Christian) Healing Ministry of the Congregationalist Church during the late 1950’s, writing for both the Cavandish Review and the Healing Quarterly (which is when ‘The Four-Part Man’ and other important early essays of his were first published). Or that he was introducing his own methods of alleviating the mental problems afflicting many young men who had suffered CSR from their experiences during WWII (and also civilians suffering from depression who didn’t fancy having to take mountains of pills, or having their brains zapped by Electroconvulsive therapy) – and that he was doing this, essentially, by just talking with them!

Factoring in this material would take me a great deal of time later, in fact I did not start to attempt any understanding of this part of his life until fairly recently (around 2004).

As I say, looking back, I see I was far more interested in the ‘message’ here, than the ‘messenger’. And Eugene Halliday was, at that time to me,  somone who was very, very, smart and seemed to know a great deal about a lot of interesting subjects. This view of him would metamorphose considerably as I soldiered on, until eventually it became very clear to me that things were never what they seemed to be here.

The only thing I would add here re my thoughts at that time, was that Eugene/Gene sounded to me  as if he had a slight speech impediment, and this intrigued me, as no one else ever mentioned it to me, not, at least, at that time – so I didn’t either. And anyway, it was no ‘big deal’ to me ….. not then anyway. However, later on, it became of central importance to my personal view of Eugene Halliday’s own journey, even if, from the mid-seventies, up until the present day, I have never heard anyone else endorse this view-point of mine.

I came to view Eugene Halliday’s physicality as THE essential component to focus upon, at least if I were to  arrive at an (even facile) understanding of what it was that made him tick’…

To be continued …

Bob Hardy

April, 2012.

 

“… Look! (He pauses, and begins to smile)

If it’s just that you don’t know .. But you know that you don’t know .. Then that’s OK! …

Because, at the very worst, this means (as far as situations like these go at least) that you’re only an idiot … And … ‘worse case scenario’? … Well! … Some smart-ass might attempt to embarrass you  … But that’s all really …

And understand, there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with being an idiot … It’s just a Latin word that the Romans used for ‘the common man’; ‘the man in the street’, or ‘your average American’ … (He laughs, and flashes a broad smile – which quickly fades).

So then, what is the real problem … with what it is that you’ve been ‘up to’ during your time here? (Pause)

Well … I can tell you quite definitely that it was those various acts of yours … of deliberately lying to yourself … that separated you from reality in this particular way …. And as you can never be forced to lie to yourself, so then it’s you alone that has to take the full responsibility for any consequences that arose from those falsehoods that you freely chose to introduce into your life here … … (He pauses and then begins to frown)

And further, in this game, if you have deluded yourself into believing that you do actually know, and then you go around ‘putting it out there’, there’s a distinct possibility that some people here in this mad-house will start to believe that you really do know! … And that makes you stupid! …

And being stupid is not at all like being an idiot. …In fact, being stupid is a major problem … Because, in the wrong circumstances, behaving stupidly down here can be very, very, dangerous for all concerned … And, more to the point … especially for you! … …

But… if you have been ‘following me’ here at all in all this my friend, you should have figured out for yourself long before now that ‘the only real question in town’ you should be asking yourself is, “Just what is it … in this moment … right now … that I do need to know?” …(He pauses)

Now! … Surely that’s simple enough? … Even for you! …(He turns away, stares intently into the mirror and re-arranges his hair, before abruptly turning back and smiling broadly once again).

 … Eh?”

From, ‘Field-notes For Armageddon’, by Bob Hardy

Setting The Scene ….

Long before I had ever heard of Eugene Halliday, I was actively interested in many of the subjects that he wrote about in his numerous essays, or spoke of in the various recordings of his talks, and it will be from this perspective that I will be providing information in these postings (where necessary), about my relationship to Eugene Halliday’s archived material.

I consider this material to constitute the most important aspect of his creative output (or ‘body of work’), and I will be referring to it, throughout this blog, as his ‘Work’ …

What is the essential nature of this ‘Work’? … Well that, for the moment at least anyway, is the ‘Million Dollar Question’ …

In this first post, I will not be ‘starting at the beginning’ as it were, but rather at a point where I can write something immediately about my personal experiences vis-a-vis my interactions with this ‘Work’. In this particular instance, it will be my experience of listening, early on during the mid 1970’s, to one of his many recorded ‘talks’.

The first time that I attended one of Eugene Halliday’s talks ‘in person’ was sometime during the late 1970’s. This was at ‘Parklands’, a large, late nineteenth century house located in Bowden, a village that now forms part of the Greater Manchester area of South Cheshire. It is situated some thirty-five or so miles from Wallasey, Merseyside, which was where I was then living with my wife and two small children, having moved there a few years earlier from Liverpool (where I was born, in 1943) and had indeed lived for much of the first 30 or so years of my life.

My initial reaction to Eugene Halliday’s ideas – which I was introduced to in the form of copies of his essays, and recordings of his talks – took place a few years before I heard him actually speak ‘in the flesh’. And it was during this initial period that I quickly formed the distinct impression that here was someone who appeared to be attempting to provide answers to many of those questions that I was really interested in; to a significant number of questions that I had not yet clearly formulated; and also to questions that I’m sure I would never have ever thought of!

I trust you can see then, at least from the point of view of my experiences here, why I quickly came to the conclusion that Eugene Halliday was a truly remarkable human being, and indeed I still do believe this to be the case. But I must make it clear here, that I have never viewed him (or any other human being for that matter) as anything more than this.

So, what was I experiencing when I listened to a recording of one of Eugene Halliday’s talks during this initial period? Well, it wasn’t like I had magically found ‘the answers’ to all  of my questions, and that now all I had to do was, ‘glance over The Master’s shoulder’ while he waffled away, ticking the preferred ‘answer/idea-box’ of my choice at my leisure, as it were.

Rather, my experience when listening to one of these recorded talks was more like this:

“… Wow! … That’s great! … …. …. Oh! .. I didn’t really understand that bit – but never mind! … … Interesting! … … … My! I’d never have even thought of THAT (but it’s obvious now that he’s pointed it out and you look at it from this point of view)… …Mmm! – Now that’s good! … … Oh! I didn’t really understand that bit (so I’ll come back to it later)… Yes! … I like that! … … … Now I must try to remember THAT bit! … … … “

[Repeat some, or all, of these reactions – or something very like them – for the duration of the tape].

It took me a (very) long time to realize that I was passively experiencing a series of transient random emotional affects, ranging from delight to puzzlement, rather than being actively involved in the growth of any developmental concept(s) that resulted from working with some particular pattern of ideas that I had perceived were contained in these recordings. … To put it another way, most of the time during this initial period, I now see that I was being ‘excited’, rather than ‘informed’.

Having (eventually) realized what was going on here, I then had to attempt to distill any practical possibilities that I intuited were contained in these ideas; jettison all the fantasizing that had been going on (by admiting that much of what I intuited, while ‘true,’ as far as I could understand at least, was not for me – at that specific period of my life anyway); and then proceed to the far more difficult stage of actually doing some ‘Work’ here myself.

I should point out that this reaction of mine, even during this relatively early stage of attempting to engage with Eugene Halliday’s spoken material, was not at all like the reaction I experienced when studying his essays. Here, I was much more able to engage with the subject material, and indeed found it relatively easy to follow his ‘train of thought’. However, although it was somewhat easier to grasp ‘the bigger picture’ in this written format, I was, more often than not, simply overwhelmed! … And also, although practical involvement with any concepts that I took from these written ideas were, as a consequence, much easier to formulate per se, being invariably more complex, they were usually far too difficult to implement!

This situation, which was to continue by and large until 1984, was further complicated by the fact that the overwhelming majority of those others I was meeting with who claimed that they were ‘working with Eugene Halliday’s ideas’ (if I can put it that way), and who then went on to describe their various experiences here, did not appear to me to be having anything remotely like the experiences that I was having; and also, that the various accounts of any interpretation offered by them of these ideas during this time – while often fascinating to me (but not, I think, for the reasons they imagined) – were more often than not, essentially incomprehensible – as far as I was concerned at least.

From 1984 to 1995, I worked almost exclusively outside the UK, and as a consequence, my wife and I lived in Germany for the whole of this period. We returned to the UK (and our home in Wallasey) in early 1995.

This ten year period turned out to be something of a hiatus for me, as it provided me with an ideal ‘contemplative space’ to consider at length what the previous ten years or so might have been all about – particularly where it concerned my perception of myself, and what it was that I had been doing; my perception of others, and what it was that they had been doing; and my perception of what the true nature of ‘Work’ might be for me. Indeed, I began to realize during this period that it would only be possible for me to (finally) begin the task of actually ‘Working’ myself, after I had sorted these problems  out  …

To be continued…

Bob Hardy

March, 2012.

 

Please read the About page first!

 UPDATE: AUGUST 2016

I have posted to this blog at regular intervals on or around the last day of every month, from the period beginning March of 2012, up until October of 2013. And if these particular posts are read in sequence they should, hopefully, present the reader with a reasonably coherent narrative.

After October of 2013 I was not able to post here quite so regularly.

This is because – beginning towards the end of 2013 – I had started to engage in a number of far more detailed private exchanges with other interested parties here, regarding the consequences arising from the incorporating of particular concepts of Eugene Halliday’s into various forms of praxis – which is the only aspect of this material that I am really interested in, or that I believe to be of any importance. And in order to give these exchanges the attention that I believe they deserve, my own contribution to them is now taking up most of my available time here.

However I am still posting – if somewhat irregularly. My most recent post being in March of 2017.

If you’re new to this blog, then I would suggest that you start by reading my first post. You can do this by either clicking hereor by going to the ‘Recent Posts’ section of the blog – located to the right of this message (under the ‘Subscribe’ box) – and then clicking on ‘1. Setting the Scene‘.

If after reading this first post you’re still interested, then I suggest that you read through all the remaining posts in numerical sequence.

I am quite happy to conduct exchanges on the forum here; and will also reply to any comments, as necessary.

To visit the Forum section of this blog – click on the ‘Forum’ tag at the top of the page, or click here

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Remember though- before you start here – to please read the About page!

 

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