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.

 

 

(Scene: We see him, conventionally dressed, standing in front of a large presentation-screen. Onto this screen, from time to time – and with the aid of a remote control that he is holding in his right hand – he projects files from his laptop, which we can see on a small table situated to the left of the screen. When he wishes to change the file, he gesticulates extravagantly with his right hand. He addresses his audience through a modern wireless microphone, the end of which we can just make out to the side of his mouth. To the right of the screen is a large comfortable looking armchair that looks completely out of place, on which we can see a large book. As he talks to his ‘audience’ he walks continually from stage left to stage right. He makes use of both his hands and arms a great deal during his presentation, but his movements are clumsy. He turns to face the audience and begins speaking).

I find it interesting so many of you believe that the oldest commodity in the world is ‘sex’. … (He pauses and looks around)

So, you must obviously then – as a consequence – believe the oldest profession in the world is that of the ‘prostitute’… (He pauses once again) and that the oldest …. ‘professional ….positions’ – if I might call them that (He smiles) – must be that of the ‘pimp’ and the ‘whore’ … (He clicks his computer remote, and on the screen we see the image of a provocatively dressed young woman, standing next to a gaudily dressed older man. He is sporting a pencil-thin mustache, sideburns, and greased, combed-back, straight, black hair. They are both standing in an ornate doorway, which is bathed in red light. Raunchy music quickly fades up, and then down again. He continues speaking).

If … ‘hooking’ (He smiles to himself) isn’t the world’s oldest profession, and ‘sex’ isn’t the oldest commodity … Then, “What is?” You might ask…

Well that would have to be … and ‘be’, rather obviously in my experience … ‘knowledge’,

Thus, the ‘oldest profession’ is not that of the ‘prostitute’, but is rather, that of the ”Facilitator of Knowledge’ … And your earliest professionals were not the ‘pimp’ and the ‘whore’, but the ”wise-man’ and ‘high priestess’;  the ‘wizard’ and the ‘witch’; the ‘shaman’ and the ‘sorceress’ … the ‘teacher’, ‘trainer’, ‘adviser’, ‘tutor’, ‘guide’, ‘expert’, ‘coach’, ‘mentor’ …  (He clicks his switch and we see the photo of an old-fashioned English public-school teacher, holding a cane, and wearing a mortar-board and gown, standing in front of a black-board on which he is writing with a piece of white chalk. We hear the sound of English choral music, which fades as he continues)….

Which is, I suppose, the profession in which I would have to include myself  …. (He smiles reassuringly, and gives a bow)…And … you know … I’m really quite happy with that … label. … (He smiles again, but rather condescendingly).

Indeed, you might be interested to hear that not only have I read, but I have also completely (He pauses, and looks upwards, searching for the word) … ‘digested’ … the contents of every single book that has ever been written! …(He pauses, and nods energetically, and enthusiastically, before moving downstage to address the actual theater audience in a confidential manner)

… And also the contents of every single book that has yet to be written! … But I won’t telling them that (He nods his head towards his invisible lecture-hall audience) …We don’t want to scare them! …Yet! …. Do we? … (He turns to address his ‘lecture audience’ once more)

You might also be surprised to learn that you can turn just about anything at all into a commodity! … If you think about it in the ‘right terms’, that is! ….

And it is surely fairly obvious that ‘sex’ can be turned into a commodity! … If only because one of the major problems in life – at least for an army of hapless males ‘out there’ – has been in trying to figure out ways of how to ‘get themselves some’!..

Further, I would also suggest that this particular problem provides as good a reason as any to kick-start the beginnings of – what we are now pleased to call – the human attributes of, ‘thinking’, or of ‘being clever’, or even, of being ‘creative’ …

Because, in order to ‘get some’, you had to figure out a means of knowing ‘how to’! …Even if the only methodologies you could come up with – way back when – were what we would now consider to be somewhat …. inappropriate … Such as kidnapping, or rape, for instance.

So … anyway … here you are, with this pressing need to know just how to go about ‘knowing how’..

I should tell you right now, that this little difficulty of yours was tremendously important ‘down here’. In fact you could say that it was responsible for getting the whole … ‘ball rolling’ …Because your query, “Tell me please. How do I get some?” not only gave rise to a ‘questioner’ – that is, in this case, to ‘you’. … But also, simultaneously, gave rise to beings, who now appear – in your eyes at least – to function as ‘answerers’, or ‘experts in this field’ …

And these ‘liberators’? … Well, they were only too happy to release you from your ‘prison of ignorance’ here, by ...(He stops still for a moment and rubs his chin as if searching for the right words, looks up with a start, knowingly, and then continues) … By bringing ‘light to bear’ on the subject ‘in hand’ (He grins at the audience) and so provide you with exactly what it is that you need to know, that is – with ‘inform-ation’… ….

For a ‘small consideration’ of course! … Which might take the form of a request for something as simple as permission to be allowed to wear a special hat; or to be furnished with three free square meals per day; or to be a provided with a suitable ‘companion’ of one’s choice, to help ‘warm up’ those cold nights!…

This was, I maintain – fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you look at these things – also the start of a damned sight more here … But I won’t be going into that right now…

Our first ‘mentor’ here then, would have been the first being to realize that ‘Knowledge is Power’, and that power over others can be acquired by ‘letting it be known’ how this knowledge can be had.

The means of providing this ‘knowledge’ can take many forms, and the manner of its ‘delivery’ – so to speak – provides an important part of, what you must admit, is a very neat little trick. …  “Read this very expensive and obscure, ancient book, written in an extinct language, that needs to be interpreted by ‘one who knows'”… “Travel to the dwelling place of this very special person, who lives in this place that is very difficult to get to, and be sure to formulate your questions as precisely as you can” … “Perform this special magic Yantra, using this very secret – and expensive – Mantra,” etc.etc. …

My particular, special, all -time favorite method here? … … “Hey babe! … Yes, you! … Fancy a bite of this apple?” ……

But if you do succumb to these …. enticements … these little …. temptations …. What do you think happens to you then? Do you imagine that, after taking a small bite of the metaphorical apple, you immediately, as a consequence, now ‘know’ how to tie every single knot in the ‘Scouts Handbook’? … Or, that after availing yourself of a larger helping, there has now, somehow or other, been downloaded into your ‘mind’, the entire contents of Wikipedia … Or that, if you grit your teeth and ‘swallow the lot’, as they say – including the core – you will now, somehow, completely understand your ‘significant other’ … (He looks at the audience quizzically) … Eh? (He looks irritated and somewhat exasperated). ….No! Not at all, ‘my lovelies’! …That’s not what happens!

What happens, is that you become simultaneously acutely aware of what this ‘knowing’ is about, and so now you’re filled with terror – not only because you  dimly realize that there are an infinity of ‘things that can be known’ – if I could put it like that for now…but also, the probable extent of your complete lack in this department…. Which all serves to fill you with despair.

You will now either: attempt to dull this realization with ‘riotous living’; or you will become filled with an insatiable desire to acquire even more ‘knowledge’, and so ‘fill the gap’.

Consequently there is now a real danger that, depending on your appetite for this ‘knowledge’, you can be persuaded to do almost anything to get it! ….

Something else you might like to ponder here … Once you ‘know’ what you want – ‘getting laid’ for instance – this ‘want’ of yours – ‘desire’ would be a better word here really – can now clearly be seen in your eyes by someone who is already ‘in the know’ here – at least where it concerns this ‘particular want’ of yours…. Call this a ‘gift’ that ‘goes with the job’ if you like….

With the result that there is now the distinct possibility that you will ‘conveniently’ find yourself in any number of situations where: a ‘deal’ can clearly be struck’; a ‘pact’ can readily be made; or a ‘bargain’ can be suitably ‘sniffed out’ (He clicks his remote and we see a Gustave Dore print from Goethe’s ‘Faust’, of Mephistopheles talking Faust into committing himself to the infernal pact. Sombre Orchestral music by Gounod is playing in the background. He continues talking).

In fact, it appears that the clearer you are about what it is you want to know, the easier it is for some ‘supplier’ to close the deal. ….

The medium of exchange? …Well that depends…. But whatever this medium of exchange happens to be, it’s only real purpose here is to bear concrete witness to the fact that a movement – or flow, if you prefer – of power has taken place.

Because the only consequences that are of any real importance here are – as a contemporary student of the Philosophy of Language might put it – ‘the conditions of satisfaction’ and ‘the direction of fit’…..Or, to put it in less technical language – ‘did you get what you believed you wanted’, and ‘was the ‘supplier’ paid in full’? … … And, most importantly, which one of you was it that actually made the profit here! (He clicks his remote and we see the video-clip of a finger pushing the ‘total’ button on an old-fashioned till, the till opening with the ring of a bell, and then the sound of coins jingling together as the hand withdraws both  coins and notes from the till, and subsequently handing them over the counter. He continues). 

A commodity can often be acquired just by performing a simple ritual – rituals are only regimented forms of investment anyway – such as, for example, pronouncing the following words – in the right setting of course – “With this ring I thee wed.”… ….

The payment here? … Well, let me see, “First there’s the engagement ring … Then there’s the wedding ring … And finally, there’s the suffer … ring!” (He roars with laughter) ….

The significant point here, is that you wouldn’t be able to ‘cut’ any deal at all, if you were unable to formulate what it was that you wanted. …. So you, first of all, need to possess the ability to construct these formulations. (He clicks the remote and we see a short clip of an old fashioned mechanical calculator with its many cog-wheels turning. We hear ‘program music’ fade up and down in the background. He continues)

And for that you need ‘rules’ that can produce results, or, as I prefer to hear them called, ‘Laws’ …..  As one of you down here so succinctly put it … “First ‘The Law’…. and then ‘Sin’.” (He roars with laughter again, almost choking)

Oh dear! … Am I starting to get too serious here? … Too near the mark for your liking? … Tell you what! … How about a story then? … Eh? (He moves over to the right of the screen, and sits down on the armchair).

Are you sitting comfortably… Then I’ll begin …

First of all, can I say that it fairly obvious to me that there are a lot of clever people here … I’d go even further … I see that many of you display ‘above-average intelligence’…. And I imagine that a few of you, at least, would be very interesting to talk to …

Indeed, I’d say the amount of knowledge that you have all managed to collect over the centuries, and that you now have made available to ‘one and all’, world-wide, today, is truly staggering! …. (He sits back in his chair as if considering his next remark, and then leans forward).

But would I say that, as a consequence of all this ‘hoarding’, you were …. ‘wise’? …(He roars with laughter, repeatedly bending backwards and forwards on the armchair as he does so, before struggling to speak). Dear me! … Oh, dear me! No! … …Wise? … … …

Being ‘wise’ isn’t having a treasure-trove of knowledge ‘in your head’, which you can subsequently dispense to others, in order, say, to ‘help’ them’ …  It is, rather, a word that is properly used to describe a relationship that you have …

‘Wisdom’ is ‘Sophia’ and she is not ‘something in your mind’… She is ‘something else’ altogether! … (He sits still, as we begin to hear the sound of a solo piano fading-up in the background).

There’s a very old story about this young lady that might help me to describe all this to you in a clearer light ….

Are we sitting comfortably? (He looks around) … Then I’ll begin! (He sits back, and begins to read from the large book, the title of which we can now clearly see,is ‘Monthly Chats’. The piano music fades).

Once upon a time, long ago, there was a young beautiful young girl. This beautiful young girl’s name was Sophia.

Sophia did something very naughty, and because she didn’t want to be found out she ran away from home.

Eventually she found herself stranded in Ancient Egypt. (He clicks the remote at his laptop, and on the screen we can now see the figure of a young woman, wearing a Greek toga, surrounded by desert, in front of an Egyptian pyramid, and standing next to a camel. In the background we can see a number of suspicious-looking men),

She is abducted, and, as a result, becomes the property of a group of unscrupulous men, who, after ravishing her, force her into prostitution….

And so now, here she is, working out of an unsavory down-town Alexandrian bar and forced to ‘turn tricks’ – as we like to call it today. (He turns to his laptop and gestures with his remote. The screen changes to show the same young lady, standing in the same door-way that we saw in a previous picture. Only now, over this door-way, a sign is hanging, on which is written the words ‘Thoth’s Tavern’ together with the painting of the figure of a man with the head of an Ibis. Our young lady is standing in the door-way, dressed in a skimpy, see-through, short toga, next to the same gaudily dressed young man, with the same pencil-thin mustache, sideburns, and greased, combed-back, straight, black hair, but who now has the head of dog-faced baboon).

In her despair, she cries out for help …

Enter our young hero, who has been sent down to earth to rescue Sophia, (He clicks the remote once again, and we now see a conventional, contemporary, messianic figure, with arms outstretched, hovering just above the ground. This figure has long, blond, wavy hair, a neatly trimmed full beard, piercing blue eyes, and is wearing a white robe).

However, our erstwhile hero is having a hard time, because, as a consequence of drinking buckets of Egyptian home-brew, he is now suffering from amnesia … And not only has he forgotten that he’s supposed to be a hero, but he’s also forgotten who it is that he’s supposed to rescue….

So, for the moment at least, here he is, still indulging himself in heavy drinking, fooling around, engaging in drunken brawling, and all that other good stuff. …

Anyway, one night he happens to stumble into ‘Thoth’s Tavern’, whereupon he sees Sophia in her wretched state, and immediately falls in love with her. The result of this is that, in a flash, he recalls who, and what, he is.

Our hero immediately tears into Sophia’s oppressors, and completely demolishes them –  so freeing her. (He clicks the remote and we see a video clip of the famous Charlie Chaplin ‘Custard-pie fight-cum-brawl’ – complete with frantic piano music. He continues) ….

They make good their escape, and ascend once more back to where they originally  came from. (He clicks the remote again, and we now see a clip from a 1930’s Flash Gordon movie, showing Flash’s space-ship heading up through the clouds. At the same time we hear very scratchy accompanying music) ….

To keep this short, I’ll just add that they get married, and live happily ever after…..(He clicks the remote again and we see a clip of the bride and groom staring into each others eyes and smiling, to the sound of triumphant wedding music. As we hear the final chord the video clip does a slow fade).

Look….I’ve cut a few corners in this story, and changed it a little here and there to suit the modern palate, but I think you all get the idea. …(He gets up from the chair and puts the book back down).

First of all … before I tell you the point of this ‘story’, you must appreciate that you can only ever possess, at best, what you’re prepared to pay for …Most of the time you won’t even get that….

And one of the biggest mistakes you can ever make is to claim that you, or someone you know, ‘possesses’ … Wisdom.

You can’t do that!… You can’t ‘possess’ Wisdom! ….

I’ll repeat that … it’s very, very, very,  important. … You can never ‘possess’ Wisdom’ … … (He moves downstage to the footlights before saying, very clearly) … You can only ever  ‘Love Wisdom’. ….

‘Wisdom’ is freely given, and it is cherished by those who become, as a consequence of receiving this gift, ‘wise’. …

Thus, if you come to be ‘wise’….It will only be because you were truly ‘loving’….

If you ‘believe’ – that is, if you ‘live your life as if it were true’ – that you actually ‘possess’ wisdom, then what you are guilty of doing is turning Sophia into a whore. … into an object, like any other object – such as an idea, or a concept – that you can now attempt to trade for as many of those other things that you happen to desire … That you wish to possess…. For instance: for notoriety; for celebrity; for wealth; for political power; to be seen as ‘doing good’; etc etc. 

And what does doing that make you? …. It makes you a ‘pimp’ … or a ‘madam’! …

And because Wisdom is always freely given, this means that, at any moment, there is always the nagging possibility that ‘Facilitators of Knowledge’, like you and me could find ourselves redundant …. ‘Out of business!’ ……’On the dole!’ …”Hovering around the letter-box waiting for our ‘welfare cheque’ to arrive’! … ….What a bummer! ….(He clicks his remote, and we now see a black and white still of Vladimir and Estrogen, the two tramps from ‘Waiting for Godot’, standing next to the tree, on which is hanging a large red apple. They are both smiling).

On the bright side though …. We’ll probably be waiting for that to happen to us for a very, very, long time…

I, for one, can’t ever see it happening!….. (He stands completely still for a long pause).

Well? Shall we go? ….

Yes, let’s go. …. (He remains completely still on stage during a very prolonged  fade to blackout – except for a small solo spotlight which continues to illuminate the red apple on the screen)

From ‘Field-notes for Armageddon’ by Bob Hardy.

Eugene Halliday ‘In the flesh’ (continued). 

 The first time I saw Eugene Halliday speak ‘in person’ was in Parkland’s ‘theater space’  at one of the regular monthly Sunday-night meetings of Ishval. I turned around in my seat just in time to see him coming through the entrance doorway, descend the flight of stairs – that went past the seated audience – onto the floor space immediately in front of the stage, then up onto the  raised stage itself, before finally sitting down.

During this ‘entrance’, Eugene Halliday was physically supported by David Mahlowe, whose help was obviously needed  here.

At that time, I knew nothing at all of the fact that Eugene Halliday suffered from a physical disability, or (obviously) of the  cause, or extent, of this disability.

But, from a number of individual accounts I have heard since, I would say that, at some time during his early teens, Eugene Halliday contracted, what I believe to have been, poliomyelitis,  which left him with extensive damage to the whole of the left side of his body. Such that, not only had he completely lost the use of his left arm and leg, but he had also sustained a speach impediment which, although it was barely noticeable in those recordings made of his talks in the 1960’s,  can be clearly heard in subsequent recordings made during the mid 1980’s, up until his death in 1987.

Eugene Halliday’s disability is central to my understanding of him as a human being. As I maintain that, as a consequence of this disability, it became a matter of necessity for him to establish, and subsequently maintain, a continuous, conscious, dialogue with his own body, in order to exercise the degree of control it had become necessary for him to employ, simply in order to function here. And as a direct consequence of this, he also acquired a unique, experiential, understanding of its inter-function, and complex interrelation with, both his ‘feeling’ and ‘thinking’. His subsequent ability to co-ordinate these functions to the extraordinary degree that he was able to so, is obvious – to me at least. So I won’t be wasting any of my time here by elaborating on it … Only to stress that it informs my opinion as to the legitimacy of any claim regarding the valorizing of any one person’s favorite physical pursuit as being something that Eugene Halliday specifically recommend we should all do  … I would recommend that instead, you follow his example, but caution that, “It aint what you do, it’s the way that you do it’.

This ‘first hand’ experience, that I believe Eugene Halliday went through, I see as informing much of his earlier writings; and it also explains to me his connection with the ‘Healing Ministry’ during the 1950’s, a period in his life when he also produced a number of significant ideas. it also explains to me his uncanny ability to empathize – that is, he was, as a result of working on his own internal states, able to ‘see others’, and so put himself in their place.

Why would all this have to be of such importance to me? Well … Because once I was able to focus on Eugene Halliday as a typical human being, it was very relatively easy for me to filter out all the mystical jumbo-jumbo that was (regretably), and still is, floating around ‘out there’ about the man. Instead I appreciated – where I was able – what a truly remarkable man he had ‘made himself to be’ despite his initial obvious initial, severe, disadvantages. …. Which served to give me some encouragement here, as it put me in the position where any claim by me that I was ‘having a hard time with all this’ made me sound like a spineless, whinging, wimp.

I’m going to leave this now…But here are (some of) my notes on one particular aspect of this subject – if you’re interested. Process: knowledge + understanding; describe + explain

“We tried to talk it over, but the words got in the way.”

(It’s all in the words … But then again, maybe it isn’t).

 I have mentioned, in a number of earlier posts, Eugene Halliday’s ‘suggestion’ from his Rules of Ishval, concerning the converting of one’s ‘passive’ language into an ‘active’ language.

This recommendation of Eugene Halliday’s constitutes, for me, the most important piece of advice that he gave, as it provided me with a methodology for arriving at some understanding, at least, of the concepts contained in his various writings and  talks.

Thus, the contemplation of my own language, and the subsequent attempts by me to activate as much of it as I have been able, has governed entirely (I now see) my degree of success (or failure) here.

According to Eugene’s recommendations in the original ‘Rules of Ishval’ it might appear that, by the judicious use of a dictionary, together with an etymological reference book, we can convert something he refers to as our ‘passive language’ into our ‘active language’. Please note, that he does not go into any specific details here as to what a ‘passive’ or ‘active’ language might consist in.

I could add here that this recommendation of his sounds simple enough, in fact, what could be easier? But the trouble is – that as it stands – it doesn’t work! …. Not for me anyway.

Having said that, I believe that almost anyone would still be better off as a result of trying out this exercise, even if they do not succeed in converting their ‘passive language’ into an ‘active’ one. And I would also add that, if you have tried out these particular rules as an exercise yourself, you will likely come to appreciate that there is indeed, a great deal more involved here.

Perhaps the most important aspect of these rules is the suggestion that this ‘active language’ is to be subsequently employed in the task of précis·ing major writings on the subjects of art; science; religion; etc etc. But I believe that, if you attempt to do so, this ‘definition-cum-etymological’ approach to language will soon land you in the following, paradoxical, situation.

After doing the required ‘definition/etymology’ background research for any particular word of our choice, you soon find that you have created another, far more complex problem regarding the definitions and etymologies of those words that have gone into making up this definition…. That is, how are you now going to proceed with those words that are contained in this (required) definition that are also ( still) components of your ‘passive’ language?”

In trying to figure a way out of this problem, I thought it might be a good idea to adopt some form of ‘reductionist’ or ‘minimalist’ approach here. Such that I should not first attempt to ‘activate’ words that might have merely captured my attention – such as, ‘form’; ‘antelope’; ‘function’; ‘fornicate’; ‘lawnmower’; ‘truth’; ‘truss’; ‘sawdust; ‘beauty’; ‘marmite’, for instance – but instead, I should seek out words that – for the sake of quickly describing them here – are  ‘sort of’ simpler, or ‘more basic’ – almost ‘proto-words’, if you like …. The serious problem I now had though – and had for a considerable length of time afterwards – was that of coming up with (even) one of these ‘proto-words’..

From the late 1970’s, until the late 1980’s then, I was aware that this was a huge barrier for me here. But I ‘kept at it’ because I didn’t see how I could really get any further until I’d cleared this up.

My feeling here was that there was something about all this that I still wasn’t ‘getting’ … although I suspected that what it was that I wasn’t ‘getting’ was right there under my nose; and that somehow I already knew all that I needed to know here to move forward. But that this information was in some other ‘area’, and I just couldn’t ‘see it’ from the point of view of my attempt at activating my own language skills. But this belief that I would find it, served to keep me searching for ways out of this dilemma, and this problem was always hovering there at the edge of my consciousness.

I suppose I could put a positive slant on this ‘little hiccup of mine’ and claim that perhaps I was simply learning to acquire ‘patience’  …. But it would be more correct, probably, to come right out with it, and admit that, in the main, I was just stumbling about …

Anyway, I did eventually get that break-through …but I have to admit that it did seem to come my way quite by chance…

Sometime during the late 80’s-early ‘90’s when I was working in Vienna – a city I was reasonably familiar with – my wife, Jean, and I took the opportunity to visit an exhibition that featured the work of the German Artist, Joseph Beuys.

One of the exhibits on display, was what Beuys referred to as, an ‘Audio Sculptutial’. This work was recorded by him in 1968, and consisted of almost sixty-five minutes of him speaking the words, “Ja, Ja, ja, Ne, Ne, Ne.” ..

The setting for this ‘Audio Sculptutial’ work, was a small, empty, room, in the corner of which was a medium-sized commercial audio-tape player (rather like a Ghetto Blaster).

Jean and I stood in the open doorway of the room and listened to the recording.

[NOTE: Regarding these two words ‘Yes’ and ‘No’. To save you the trouble of looking up their dictionary definition, and also their etymological roots, I have reproduced  this information here. It is taken from the ‘Oxford English Dictionary’  and ‘Origins’ by Eric Partridge .

YES . Definition: A word used to express an affirmative reply to a question, statement, command, etc. Etymology: Yea archaic for yes, comes, through ME ye or ya. Etc..

NO. Definition: word used to express a negative reply to a question, request, etc., or to introduce a correction of an erroneous opinion or assumption on the part of another person. Etymology: ME derives from OE .]

Not to labour the point, there doesn’t seem to be that much to either the definitions, or the etymologies, of  these ‘two little words’. …

Anyway … To get on with the tale …

As I listened to this ‘Audio Sculptutial’ of Beuys’, it hit me that what I was hearing was an example of that proto ‘active language’ that I had been searching for. Something was happening to me as I listened to the recording, that was a direct consequence of attending to Beuys’ voice …. I was being manipulated by his use of the words ‘Ja’ and ‘Ne’… But I was simultaneously immediately aware also, that the information contained in the actual words themselves – devoid of their mode of utterance that is – was next to nothing.

The central idea regarding ‘active language’ that I was to initially ‘work’ on for a considerable time afterwards, revolved around the experience that hearing ‘active’ language invoked in me…. I suddenly realized that there was a component in language that could be completely divorced from any particular semantic content, and (very much later) it also dawned on me that this component was contained only in the spoken form..

To illuminate this idea with an obvious example here – It is possible to be emotionally affected by listening to someone speak in a foreign language, even if you have no idea what the words themselves signify … Obviously you could get the ‘meaning’ completely wrong, but that is not the point I’m making here  – which is that you can be ‘passive’ (even in this instance) in your ‘reception’ anyway. …. That is, you can be manipulated emotionally.

I fully appreciate, by the way, that this is rather obvious. But, for me, so were many of the profound things that Eugene Halliday spoke of….  The trouble is that, even if they are ‘obvious’ ,  these ‘obvious’ ideas still have to be present in your consciousness before you can claim that they are ‘obvious’ … And as you can only ‘work’ with these ‘obvious’ contents of consciousness when you focus on them, they have to be there at the ‘opportune moment’. …

Which is why being ‘reactive’ never works here. Saying, “I already know that!” or “That’s obvious!” only serves to ‘switch the light off’, with the result that there is now no possibility of going further here at this time, and also that this idea has now already been in some real way ‘minimized’ as unimportant, or rather trivial, with the probable outcome that it will never be worked upon …

‘It’s all in the timing’ you might say.

Of course, I was later to shift my ‘working’ perspective here, as I contemplated this event in my life over the coming … well, decade or so actually … and I will elaborate on this later in the next post. But before continuing …. why don’t you have a listen to the recording yourself?

The important thing to focus on here is to be continuously aware of how your interior state is changing during the course of listening to the playback of this recording.

Those of you who can  sit for hours attending to your breathing, will obviously find this exercise ‘a walk in the park’. Here’s the link to this recording anyway:     Ja Ja Ja, Ne Ne Ne.

I have not been able to find any word(s) that have helped me to understand Eugene Halliday’s concept of an ‘active/passive’ language  that are more ‘basic’ to the whole field of ‘language’ than ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ ..

Some input from me here. …It wasn’t that my mind wasn’t ‘wandering’ when I listened to this recording – because it did! What was far more interesting to me here was that, although there was no obvious way I could connect these two words ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ to the thoughts that would arise as I listened to them, I realized that the emotive tone used by Beuys here was directly responsible for their appearance …… Deep, eh?

But, over and above anything else here, the most important aspect of this experience, by far, was that I found it relatively easy to reflect on this whole process as it was happening to me in ‘the here and now’, in such a way that the Ram Das phrase ‘Be Here Now’ took on a completely different – and more importantly – clear, experiential, element, which served to authenticate this whole process for me.

I could clearly perceive the part played by the artist in his use of active language; his control of my passive involvement as a consequence of my listening (of my ‘attending’, if you prefer); and the fact that unbidden thoughts were appearing (I was not ‘thinking’ about anything while I was listening).

The way in which his tone of voice  affected my positive and negative states was also reasonably easy to qualify and evaluate.

I believed that, where it concerned active and passive forms of language, I was, at last, onto something here, . The problem now, was to formulate, or systematize, this experience of mine into some mode of praxis, so that I could take all this further.

I was really excited by this discovery of mine … I believed it had (finally) opened a door for me, and that I could now develop an experiential position with respect to both the ‘affect’ and ‘effect’ of my vocabulary, and thus with the development of that ‘active’ language … At last! …..

…..And they all lived happily ever after…

Well now ….The above account of mine is the nice, tidy, lovey, censored, chummy-chummy, version of my interaction with this ‘revelation’ that I had in Vienna, over the following couple of decades – and so in one sense, at least, I could claim that it is ‘true’…. And anyway, the above account does, I hope, make that experience of mine somewhat easier to grasp.

But, actually, what did actually happen afterwards was nowhere near as tidy as that. Because, of course, in reality – come the next day … in downtown Vienna -. I had all but forgotten about my momentous revelation of the previous day. … And had gotten right back to having fun, playing’ the blues … and being in my more usual frame of mind at that time – which resembled a kind of  ‘selective amnesia’ ….

Such was my propensity for self-delusion though, that I believed I was now really, truly ‘on the way’ here … although I had in fact – so to speak – only just managed to open the door  … and had then. almost immediately, managed to trip up on the front step  …(Is it just me, or is that metaphor slightly better than my other efforts),..

So, where it concerned my discovery of the previous day, it was still, for the overwhelming majority of the time afterwards, simply ‘business as usual’ …In fact, for all the good that this ‘revelatory experience’ did me at the time, I might just as well have woken up the next day with no memory of anything … suffering from a hangover … in  Ancient Egypt!…

But at least now, I was finally ‘in the right area’… …And on reflection, unlike those ‘switched on’ episodes of a second or two that I had occasionally experienced after listening to one to Eugene Halliday’s talks ‘in person’ back in the early 1980’s. … ‘Down the line’ here in the early 1990’s, I was now experiencing ‘being awake’ for …Oh, I don’t know … maybe ten seconds at a time …. (Perhaps a little less, if  I were to be strictly honest with myself, though) …

So these ‘awake’ periods were, although marginally more frequent, still few and far between … But I was completely under the delusion that they were lasting much longer than they actually were, and that I was having for more of them than I actually was ….which, you can understand, complicated things ..

… Oh! What a angled web …. etc ….

I will carry on with this ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ thing in the next post …

Gripping stuff, hey? …

To be continued ……..  

Bob Hardy

August, 2012


 

(The stage is blacked-out. We hear a man singing and humming the chorus of a late-1960’s pop song. The lights fade-up to reveal the interior of an office. The singer is seated, center stage, at a over-sized desk-cum-lectern, the top of which is empty, except for an ornate. square, glass ink-well full of black ink, in front of which is a very large, old fashioned, quill penHe is wearing pince-nez spectacles, black-and-white oxford-style shoes, an old-fashioned, Dickensian black suit, a white shirt with an exaggerated stiff wing-collar, underneath which is a slightly over-sized, black, floppy bow-tie.)

But where do you go to my lovely
When you’re  mm .. mm in mm .. mm

(He looks up, as if seeing the sudience for the first time, before continuing on in a slightly louder voice)

Tell me the thoughts that surround you
I want to look inside your head …

(From time to time he writes in a large and expensive looking leather-bound book. As the scene opens he is holding this book up in front of his face, as if reading it. On the front cover we can clearly see, in bold, capital, letters, the words, ‘MONTHLY CHATS’. He puts the book down and picks up the quill-pen, which he will  from now on, when he writes in this book, frequently, and aggressively, dip into the ink-well.

All his movements are exaggerated, and in-between short periods of writing frantically, he stops to look up and begins talking loudly to himself – as if working out verbally what it is that he will write next. We can hear him clearly. 

Paragraph breaks in the script indicate that he has resumed his writing for the moment – unless stage directions indicate otherwise. 

He begins to speak, in a slightly condescending tone of voice).

I do so love some of those old ’60’s songs! … Don’t you?  …. I mean they’re so . . . . pretentious! … …. A bit like the ’60’s themselves really…But, to be fair, there did seem to be so much more going on back then, didn’t there? … So much more … happening! … And the future — it looked so-o … rosy! …Didn’t it? (He begins singing and humming to himself again, and briefly resumes writing)

But where do you go to my lovely
When you’re alone in your bed

M mmm mmm mm ……..”

And just where do you go to my lovely? … … Or I should say, “My lovelies?” (He laughs)…. Well, of course, you don’t ever go anywhere … really … do you? … It just  seems ..to you .. that you do! (He taps the desk with his pen) 

Because, actually … you are, in fact, permanently … … that is to say ‘only ever ‘… right here ‘under your own noses’  – so to speak … Aren’t you?… Or perhaps it would be pertinent – in this case at least – to say, ‘OVER your own noses!’ (He laughs, suddenly, very loudly, and almost loses his spectacles).

And that makes for yet another one of those really scary ideas that it doesn’t do for you to ponder over for too long. Doesn’t it? …One that’s inclined to make you fidget nervously, and mutter things like, “Well … Er… … Anyway!….,” – before doing your best to forget about the whole thing as quickly as possible … … Until the next time – that is!

I seem to remember it was a Greek fellow ….What was his name now? …. ‘Gorgeous’ Gorgias! .. Ye-es!…. That’s it! …. He came up with this same idea about two and half thousand years ago. … What did he call it now? …(He puts his finger to his mouth and looks upwards as if concentrating) … ‘Solipsism’!! …That was it! … You’re locked-up, all alone, inside what you believe is your head, and there’s no way to prove that you aren’t just ‘imagining’ all the stuff, including all the people, that are ‘out there’ …

And I can assure you, that no one ‘way-back then’ liked discussing this idea either!  … But to be fair, I do have to admit that – as an idea – it is definitely something of a ‘show stopper’!… ….

That’s because, in one sense … deep down … you already suspect that there isn’t anywhere ‘to go to my lovelies’ …. Not really! …Is there? .. You’re stuck where you are, so to speak! … And that makes you very nervous …  Because you might now have to start admitting to yourself that wherever ‘it‘ actually is … you’ve already … arrived …You’re already ‘there‘! …. … Or … if it’s the case that you’re not sure at all where ‘there‘ actually is, you’re quite sure you are … definitely … at least … ‘somewhere … or other’. … And, wherever else you might be,  it’s  certainly  not ‘out there‘! … … … Eh?

You’re even inclined to agree that you might be some kind of prisoner in fact – ‘locked-up inside your own head’ … wouldn’t you?  …. (He stares ahead vacantly for a moment, before quickly resuming in his agitated, exaggerated, manner)

And if you start to think about all this business too much …. you might find yourself becoming so traumatized by the whole idea, that it starts to become unbearable, and consequently you find that – like it or not – you’re just going to have to try to do something about it, and make ‘in here’ a suitable place ‘to be’.… And sooner, rather than later! …

So you now attempt to improve your situation ‘in here’ by – if I can put this metaphorically for you … ‘Organizing the attic’… or ‘Throwing away the trash’ … ‘Cleaning the den up a bit’ … or perhaps ‘Tickling up the spare room’ and ‘Rattling those pots and pans’; … or maybe ‘Trimming down the library’ …. and even ‘Weeding the garden’, before deciding that you really must ‘Re-vamp the basement!’…… (He pauses for a moment, as if out of breath). Yes indeed! … If you start to look at your situation  this way, then it definitely is ‘in here‘ that’s your real problem … isn’t it? …  And not ‘out there‘ at all! ….So come on then! …. For heaven’s sake! …Let’s ‘go to it’, ‘get at it’ … and start to ‘sort the place out’! … … That’s the spirit! …(He leans forward and pretends to frantically dust and polish the surface of his desk for a moment or two, before flinging himself across it and almost losing his spectacles again. He lies completely still for a moment, as if completely exhausted, eventually looking up again, before continuing).

On the other hand though – sadly – it’s just as easy to convince yourself that you really do have lots of things that you ‘simply must do’ ….but that you definitely have to do them ‘out there‘ instead … and not ‘in here’ at all!…

And let’s admit right away that ‘doing stuff’ out there’ has the advantage that it can be so much more …diverting! …. It can also add a great deal of ‘real enjoyment’ to your life, can’t it? …. All that moving around! …. Peering at things! … Indeed, these are the sorts of activities that seem to make life ‘worthwhile’ … almost … aren’t they? …

But the problem is that, in order to try to be a ‘go-getter’ in the big wide world ‘out there‘ … in the attempt, it’s more than likely that you’ll become a slave to those never-ending, interminable, meetings and discussions that never seem to ever really go anywhere …And you’ll also find yourself involved in the forging and breaking of innumerable alliances and relationships that you somehow continually keep drifting into … And what about those same monotonous day to day worries, over, and over, and over again! … Grinding you down! …

(He puts on an exagerated sad expression). Oh dear, oh dear … poor you! ….

On the plus side though, getting involved ‘out there’ … ‘Getting your hands dirty’, as you like to call it – can also sometimes turn out to be useful…. Because if you do attempt to apply yourself to all those tasks ‘out there’, then you quite often have to learn mountains of ‘useful’ stuff – and so it’s possible … perhaps … that you might even end up remembering some of it! … Such that you become ‘a person to take notice of’… Somebody with ‘an armory of facts and figures at their fingertips’, that can subsequently be ‘trotted out’ at will, to impress the neighbors with …

And if you really ‘apply yourself’? … Well, the sky’s the limit isn’t it? … Indeed, it’s entirely possible that you might even be invited to assume the mantle of the ‘local expert’ … The ‘know-it-all’! …. Our very own ‘wise-man’!…(He moves out from the desk and begins to pace up and down)

You know the sort of person I’m talking about, I’m sure! … He has a ‘bit of a reputation’ …He’s everyone’s favorite ‘Ale-House Lawyer’ … He’s the ‘ever-ready, willing, and able’, benevolent dispenser of ‘good advice’ and ‘sound common sense’. …and reckoned to be a ‘true friend’ to ‘one and all’ … Forever telling everybody and anybody, what it is that they should all be doing ‘out there’!….

I can hear him now … “Go on then! …. Of you go and you get stuck in!…Make a name for yourself! …I don’t mind … Really! ….  I’ll just stay here and hold your coat!” ……. 

Be the ‘expert’ … That’s it! …  … It’s so much more rewarding! … And when it becomes obvious, – even to you – that it’s well past the time for you to get up off your behind and do some actual work on yourself for a change, you can stick your chest out and say, “I know! …I really should ….  But as you all surely must have noticed by now, I have sacrificed all my time down here for the selfless task of ‘administering to you – my flock … My precious ‘charges’.'” …..(He grins, and looks directly out, addressing the audience)  …  

Sorry to say … but that’s not going to ‘cut the mustard’ for you at all! (He looks over his left shoulder and shouts)…. Next!!  (He sits down again and sticks the end of the pen in his mouth for a moment, then dips it in the ink, before holding it over the book while he  resumes talking).

And working the other side of the fence ‘out here’, by placing yourself at the receiving end of someone else’s  ‘good advice…Putting your faith and your future in the hands of another? … Well my lovelies! …(He pretends to take a deep breath, and continues to speak without pausing). I’m sorry to have to inform you, that this approach is no automatic guarantee of success here either! … Even if this ‘guru’ – that you imagine it’s been your blessed good fortune to ‘happened upon’ – did come ‘highly recommended’, and on ‘the best authority’. And that your success at ingratiating yourself here involved you in a great deal of effort to somehow wangle yourself a ‘special invite’, which, as a result, led you to believe that you had, at last, become the deserving member of some enlightened band of worthies – ‘The Elect’. The defining characteristic of which was that they had all somehow deluded themselves into believing that they possessed exclusive access to what they were pleased to label – ‘The Truth’…(He falls forward, as if out of breath, almost banging his head on the desk and losing his spectacles in the process, before continuing at a more normal pace).

Because  you soon discover that you can also easily delay things here, by simply continuing to come up with an endless series of ‘reasonable objections’ or ‘sincere questions’, whenever you start to feel that you might actually be required to do something….And, of course, you’ve still always got that ‘ace up your sleeve’ – the option to simply ‘blame the messenger’! So that it will always seem, to the casual observer at least, that your failure to ‘move on’ here is always someone else’s fault; and this, you protest, is really the only reason why you haven’t got off your behind yet. … “Honestly!:”   … 

But this lack of real progress on your part is hardly surprising, is it?  Particularly as you’ve been investing most of your energy into figuring out ways of  blaming other people … or faulting the treatment … Or – if you’re really good at all this –  of eating vast quantities of ‘humble pie’ by ‘admitting’ your inability to understand what’s going on here (“I’m so ‘not worthy’!…But I’m really trying!”) …In the vain hope that you will somehow be given a ‘free pass’ …because of your humility and  ‘sincere faith’ here.

But interestingly, however ‘badly’ you’re faring, you somehow always manage to ‘land on your feet’ ….. Now .. I wonder how on earth you manage to pull that little trick off? ….Let me guess (He pretends to answer his own question) “Who? … Little ol’ me? … I’m just lucky, I guess!” (He leers at the audience)

I know! … I know! … I do appreciate that you do so mean to get started! … But you want to be absolutely sure that you know what to do before you do it, don’t you?. …. “Hey! … That’s reasonable isn’t it?”… None of that ‘leap of faith’ business for you … “Just gimme the facts!” …

And then …..Tut, tut! …. “Oh dear! … It’s too late! …Never mind! … I did so want to get started here, but it just wasn’t to be!… Although, you must agree, I did … sincerely … try my very best! ” (He grins, and looks directly out, addressing the audience) ….. Sorry! .. …  That won’t work either! …(He looks over his left shoulder and shouts) Next!! 

What shall we do then? … What to do! … What to do! … Oh! What shall we do?  …(He stands up) …..

Well … I do have to admit that it appears you were only presented with a very limited choice of options here….. So if I could give you, perhaps, a flavor of how I see, and hear, all this …. It might help you to understand your situation somewhat.  …… …. Perhaps! (He grins) …. But please appreciate that it’s one thing for me to describe something like this to someone like you, and another thing entirely to explain it! … … That being understood, nonetheless we shall try … … My lovelies! (He moves out to the side of his desk)

 First things first! … In order for beings like you to become involved in anything at all, whatever it is you decide to do, you need to be convinced that – if you ‘apply yourself properly’ – you will realize a profit of some kind …. For our purposes here, it doesn’t matter what particular form this profit might take. It only matters here you understand that you will only ever attempt to do anything at all if it will secure you an apparent gain of some sort ….Like. for instance… (He gesticulates wildly as if searching for something to say)….Like a place in heaven! (He roars with laughter’ almost choking himself, and struggling once again to keep his spectacles in place)…. But whatever form this gain might take, it will obviously be an ‘increase in power’ for you … of some kind at least.

So …. Off you go! …Your options for moving forward here are, you believe – for the moment – that you can acquire this power either by ‘sorting yourself out’ ‘in here‘; or by absorbing information ‘out there‘ in such a way that you eventually ‘sincerely understand all things’ and thus will be ‘illuminated’; or alternatively, by dishing out your own brand of ‘special illumination’ ‘out there’ that you have ‘selflessly acquired for the benefit of  others, in the fond belief that this will turn you into some sort of ‘Spiritual Aid’ (or whatever) and this will thus garnish you with a significant number of ‘bonus points’  …

The trouble is, as you’ve discovered, you soon find that whichever of these alternatives you pursue … and however diligently  … you never seem to manage to get very far!… …(He wrings his hands and paces a little).

And in fact, your suspect that, not only have your actions here not seen you realize that profit you were striving so desperately to acquire, but rather instead, they appear (on the surface at least) to  have resulted in a considerable loss on your part …. In that you find you have squandered a great deal of your precious time for almost nothing … And this baffles you, because, when you began, you were so sure that you were committing your limited resources to realize – what you were so certain at the time was going to result in – an apparent gain…. (He peers out at the audience with a theatrically sad expression on his face, draws a large polka-dotted handkerchief from his trouser pocket, and blows his nose loudly, almost losing his spectacles again in the process) … 

Would you like me to tell you what’s going on here? … What  the direct cause of this ‘loss’ of yours is? ….What it is that is really going on?…(He pauses dramatically for affect, standing still, and then says, suddenly) 

All this is quite simply a direct consequences of  your greed …. And nothing else! … ‘Greed’ being simply this inability of yours to profit from, what you believed at the time would certainly constitute, your apparent gain!

Try to appreciate that you can have a greed for not being greedy, and that you can even develop a greed for acting generously … Feel youreself doing that …. Because everything that you apparently ‘acquire’…. That is, everything you are attracted to – even down to your ‘significant other’ ….. you seek to acquire simply in order to empower you! … And the fact that these ‘gains’ don’t empower you, just means that you’ve been greedy!

And there are so many of these … things … that you want! … Aren’t there? …..Material objects; various physical skills; aesthetic sensibilities; knowledge; relationships; control of other people’s time and energy; to be useful to others … The list just goes on and on! …

When you can see, and hear, all this as I do, there’s a possibility – but not a certainty, by any means – that you can at least appreciate what it is that you have actually been indulging in for so long …

And then you might come to view your behavior as possessing a sort of  ….cosmic humor . …. as being somewhat ridiculous … Mightn’t you? …You might come to see yourself as rather stupid in fact!

And you can then appreciate that this greed of yours is in fact a consequence of your stupidity … But – and this is where it becomes really mysterious – you can also appreciate that you are stupid solely because of your greed! . …And that’s a bit of a bummer, isn’t it? ….

But don’t worry my lovelies, at least  you’ve reached the point now where you might, at last, begin to realize, that what you are doing for most of your time down here, is going around, and around, and around ….. as if you had your head stuck up your own ass! … (He almost chokes with  laughter, nearly dislodging his  spectacles again)…. 

Your greedy because you’re stupid, and you’re stupid because you’re greedy! … …. Magic!(He sits down again and picks up his pen once more and becomes very serious)

But don’t imagine for one moment that just because you can now see yourself behaving stupidly … because of your appetite for these particular interests of yours … that these interests in themselves were necessarily intended only for stupid people! ….

I am trying to show you all this because I know that you see and hear the same things that I see and hear… The contents of consciousness are essentially the same for all reflexive beings … for the sane and the insane alike. …But also understand that everything that happens here,  in this game that we play ….whatever it is we do … depends entirely upon the attitude and strength of that consciousness – for each and every being involved! (He puts down his pen)

So, if I might presume to give you a word of advice. … (He puts his hand to the side of his mouth, as if talking to the audience in secret) Not a problem for me .. because I’m almost certain that you won’t act upon it ….

Commit yourself totally to looking and listening first, before you decide what course of action to take  … Then acquire definite ‘attitudes’ … Your own particular way of looking at things. …Develop some ‘character’  …Build yourself a backbone ….

Work on acquiring the biggest ego that you can. So that when you finally surrender … (and, if you only but knew, that’s really the whole purpose of all this) … you will actually have something of your own to ‘bring to the table’ here.  … A real profit of some kind; something that might even generate a little interest ….Something valuable to you … for you to ‘give up’ … For you to sacrifice! … (He picks up his pen and pauses, before speaking once more) … ….

(He pauses and cocks a hand to his ear) What’s that you say? …”Is this, then, what you might call, ‘Self-knowledge'”… … Do I hear you ask? …. ….. 

No, no, no! …Not at all! … That … is a completely different animal, my lovely! ….. (He looks over his left shoulder and shouts)… Next!

(He puts down the pen, stands up, and starts to sing again, while moving slowly towards the footlights at the front and center of the stage)

“I know where you go to my lovely
When you’re alone in your bed …”

(He stands still. He seems to have suddenly become very tired. His shoulders droop and he lowers his head. When he looks up, his whole demeanor is now much calmer, and he begins to speak again, using a slightly more reassuring tone).  You know, whenever I gaze upon the images of the faces you conjure up in your mind of those people that you revere  … (Slightly louder) ….It really is amazing .. But they always seem to look like me! … Or, if not like me, then like a very close relative of mine! (His voice goes suddenly quiet)….And you know … I have never been able to decide whether I find that flattering (He pauses)…. or intensely offensive! (He laughs, and then suddenly stands up very straight, spreads his arms wide, lifts up his head , and sings  the last two lines of the song with gusto) 

“I know the thoughts that surround yoo – ooo – ooo – ooo!..”

(He clicks his heels together, bows stiffly to the audience, and sings the last line – staccato) 

“CAUSE.. I.. CAN.. LOOK.. INSIDE.. YOUR.. HEAD!”

( Stage – Immediate  full black-out)

SONG: Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)
Words and music by Peter Sarstedt © EMI Music Publishing 1969 

From ‘Field-notes for Armageddon’ by Bob Hardy

Prologue 

 “For the stupid, everything depends upon circumstances” – Eugene Halliday.

I’m going to start here by fast-forwarding to the mid-1990’s, which was round about when I decided that it was about time to come off the road, stop enjoying myself so much, and attempt to get myself a proper job.

To that end I embarked upon a few years of, what is laughingly referred to as, ‘re-training,’ and in the process got myself a teaching degree (amongst other things) – a task that involved a great deal of reading up on, and pondering over, the teaching process – and particularly, in my case at least, where this process concerns, what is referred to in the profession as, the ‘needs’ of  the ‘Adult Learner’…

One of the more common situations that teachers of ‘Further and Adult Education’ very often come across, arises as a direct consequence of the uninformed opinion that prospective learners somehow clobber together regarding their particular ‘subject of interest’, and into which they are now about to (hopefully) invest both their hard-earned cash, together with a significant portion of their valuable leisure time.

The learner’s understanding of the contents of this prospective ‘subject of interest’ (an interest that quite often borders on an obsession)  is then, regrettably – at least initially, and for the most part – almost entirely imaginary.

Also, the realization of the degree of difficulty that will actually be involved in attempting to assimilate the real contents of this ‘subject of interest’, will be deliberately minimized. And our learner will, more often than not – at least initially – tend to override any vague misgivings, or even serious doubts, that they might have here, by simultaneously attempting to maintain an unbridled, over-enthousiastic, and clearly unsustainable interest, while all the time insisting that they do possess ‘what it takes’ to see them safely through to completion. ….

Well – as our learner here has largely imagined that they ‘sort-of know’ the over-all contents of their subject of choice before they start; and also, incidentally, that they have, as a simple matter of course, understood the respective roles and motives of both themselves and their teacher in this enterprise, their confidence is hardly surprising…. Is it?

Another fairly common obstacle the learner might also have to face when they begin applying themselves to their ‘studies’, and which they are, more often than not, particularly vulnerable to, is that of being mesmerized by (what is referred to in the teaching profession as) a ‘charismatic teacher’.

This mode of subject delivery (charismatic teaching) more often than not produces a distinctly unhealthy learning environment, in which the  personality of the ‘teacher’ rapidly achieves more significance in our learner’s scheme of things than the ideas and concepts contained in the actual subject material itself.

Indeed, when this is the case, often the most trivial, half-understood, fragments of some idea or other, will magically be transformed into ‘informed opinion’, to be trotted out at every available opportunity by the hapless learner in an attempt by them to convince others (and, more tragically, themselves) that they ‘really understand what’s going on here’. Usually by prefacing whatever it is that they feel compelled to say with the name of the teacher, followed by the words, ‘”said to me,” followed by some kind of – usually mangled, but thankfully extremely short – homily.

Further, more often than not, even though this somewhat unseemly stampede to join the ranks of ‘those in the know’ here is never quite realized by the learner, both parties involved (learner and teacher that is) somehow manage to simultaneously, and instinctively, develop the necessary skills required for avoiding anyone and anything that might ‘rock the boat’ here in this regard….. By the way, in my opinion this relationship is a wonderful, and somewhat exotic, example of  what Eugene Halliday referred to as, ‘The Tacit Conspiracy’.

And as, in the field of ‘Adult Learning (or, as it is sometimes referred to, ‘Learning for Life (!)’) the system that has been put in place here is structured in such a way that neither the facilitator of the subject content (the teacher) or the recipient (the learner) is under any real requirement to complete the process satisfactorily … things here can plod on endlessly … sometimes, even longer…..

This was, in retrospect (in part at least) the situation I now see that I was in when I first went to Parklands in 1979. Although, at the time, I had no idea that this was the case…. But that’s no excuse, is it?

I believed then, in fact, that I was ‘doing the right thing’, and was ‘moving forward here’; that I was ‘traveling in the right direction’, as it were. ….

Well it was obvious that I was  …. Wasn’t I?…

Well actually, no.

If I had been able to take stock of my position at that time, and able to focus on what Eugene Halliday was continually suggesting had to be done, then I would have realized that I had, in fact, absorbed next to nothing of the material of his that I already had in my possession! I had at least a dozen or so of his essays, together with a significant number of his recordings from his Liverpool talks. So why didn’t I work with them, before I went off to gather more – if it really was my expressed purpose to realize, what I perceived to be, an obvious ‘apparent gain’? …

My maternal grandmother could have told me. She would simply have said, “Your eyes are bigger than your belly!”

But I don’t believe that my actions here can be put down exclusively to greed. …and I would have to admit that there was also a good deal of my own stupidity involved here!

I was, at that time, in the habit of collecting, and subsequently working through, what many might consider massive amounts of ‘relevant material’ simply in order to clarify one small point that I was obsessing over in some particular subject or other that had ‘taken my fancy’, and which usually had precious little to do with any aspect of my personal development. So even here, in 1979, if I was to claim that I was being ‘positive’ or ‘engaged’ by going to Ishval, this ‘being positive’ would only concern my sincere attempts to gather information’. which – as I realized (but only a long time later) was not the purpose of all this at all!

Regrettably though, I would say that, at that time, I believed I was, “quite happy with the way I was progressing, thank you!” …although you might get me to admit that, “I might need a little adjustment ‘here and there’ perhaps… A spot of ‘fine tuning’ maybe,” … But, as I say, in the main……. I was  just fine!

How do I now picture what I believe was going on then? ……Read on!

Here was I in that ‘Garden of Eden’ busy tending to ‘in here’, completely unaware that it was also home to any number of other ‘inhabitants’ (some of whom were distinctly shady) who were only too pleased to let me ‘get on with it’, and have as many ‘meaningful experiences’ as I wished…. That is, they were happy to ‘keep shtum’ and doze away in the sunshine,  always providing of course, that ‘I’ didn’t attempt to ‘rock the boat’ …

(I suspect that the last paragraph here might be a bit too metaphorical – but it will have to do, for the time being at least)

Luckily though, by 1979 (when I was about 36) I had already realized that I wasn’t getting to where I wanted to be in other areas of my life, and as a consequence I had already begun a serious examination of my ‘learning techniques’ – which I was being forced to realize were just not ‘doing the business’ for me.

I was, in fact, becoming quite desperate, and had reached the stage where I was prepared to pay almost any price in order to ‘make headway’. Luckily for me, this natural single-mindedness of mine was to be a tremendous help  in providing a ‘center’ for a great deal of material – a significant proportion of which (but not all by any means) came from Eugene Halliday. And I was at last beginning an instinctive attempt to construct various primitive systems to assist me here, which provided boundaries inside which I could begin to formulate some minimal forms of praxis.

The situation that I would be launching myself deliberately into by mid-1983 (which involved the next 12 years of living abroad) also provided me with a much more efficient way of handling the compulsion to acquire information. As the self-imposed restriction to only collect information in order to assist me  in acquiring a particular technique, or to help structure a social praxis, meant that, without actually realizing it, I was acquiring as an extremely focused way of gathering, controlling, and monitoring my ‘gains’ – both apparent or authentic. …Or, in a nutshell, I was beginning to ‘Cut out the crap’, and become far more efficient – marginally at least ….But. on reflection, I would have to admit that this whole process was agonizingly slow …’Turgid’ might be better ….

So … Not so much greed here as before (glad to say) … but still plenty of stupidity.

I also quickly discovered that there was no ‘deferred payment scheme’ available, if I was to be serious about going forward here. Every single, solitary, minute gain had to be paid for, ‘up front’ .. immediately.

Luckily for me, and with no real effort on my part, I found that I seemed to have enough energy to spend on all of this… The problem was that this energy seemed to be shaded with a somewhat primitive purpose of its own, with the result that I had a great deal of difficulty controlling it! … Which is putting it mildly!!!  And as a consequence I would (as I like to call it) ‘leak’ all over the place…. … …  Surprise, surprise!!

So I would have to say that my attempts to control things here (to develop that center in myself) would, during the subsequent 15 years or so, prove to be an extremely rocky ride, as various other beings ‘in the building’ (which is another overall term I like to use to describe this state of being of mine) took exception to my ‘cutting them out of the picture’ and would lie in wait to ambush me – in an attempt to commander all the energy flying about –  and ‘twist my arm’, by tormenting me with ideas of how to indulge myself in all sorts of goodies …What a life!

That’s my excuse anyway …

Working with Eugene Halliday’s material then would only start to make some, intermittent, kind of sense to me after more than a decade – which would be around 1989…. But during all this the time leading up to this I had no sense that I wasn’t making much progress at all. It wasn’t like I was hanging round holding my head in my hands and feeling suicidal. Far from it!… But I would say that, where it concerned my ability to ‘Work’, I had, at best, simply been ‘marking time’.

But to get back to Eugene Halliday and my attendance at his talks at Parklands.  What on earth was it that I imagined I was going to get from seeing him ‘in person’? … Would ‘it’ (whatever ‘it’ was) all somehow be ‘easier’? … Would I experience some sort of magic, in the flesh, resonance, where it concerned my assimilation of his ideas? … Would there be some magical transfer of ‘the truth’ by occult osmosis? … A ‘touch the hem of his garment’ sort of thing?. ….

As I have never believed that anything like this was ever possible, or that in the future could be possible, the answer to these questions is a definite negative.  …. But that begs the question still … Which is, “So what then did I expect?”

As I hadn’t formulated that question at the time (that is, I didn’t interrogate myself as to my reasons for attending Ishval) the answer, I’m afraid, is going to be a bit woolly. But I would say that I went to Parklands in 1979 because it wasn’t apparent to me what Eugene Halliday was ‘doing’ when I heard him speaking on those recordings of his talks…. (I didn’t have the same problem with his writings, by the way).  It did not seem to me that these talks were ‘prepared’, but I did not believe that they ‘just came out of thin air’ either….. So I wanted to see what it was that he ‘did’… I wanted to see him ‘in action’ ….

I thought that doing so would make a ‘difference’ I suppose. … And I now believe that what in fact I had to learn was that it didn’t … That there was no magic trick …  That it was the ‘same old, same old’ in fact …And that Eugene Halliday was not handing out ‘free lunches’, and suggesting ‘short cuts’  here, although many of those who I spoke to about his ‘Work’ clearly believed he was.

The attitude of others to Eugene Halliday’s material, by the way, was a big problem for me – at least when it came to my attendance at Ishval – and it would be the major reason why I eventually stopped going … Because I decided that if I was serious about my intention to move forward, I would have to do something else…far more radical than simply engaging in what were, in reality, pseudo-social activities that the participants had somehow persuaded themselves were ‘meaningful’, ‘mysterious’, and ‘mystical’.

My appreciation of just what it was that Eugene Halliday was ‘doing’, was first of all that he was doing it right in front of my eyes. But what that was is very difficult for me to try to explain to others.. However, in case you think I’m just blagging you about this – I’ll have a go.. …

What is it that I would now say, in part, that he was doing? … I would say that he was attempting to make a monumental task appear to be a little more palatable to anyone who professed an interest in taking it on. And that he was also fully aware that his success rate here would be very near to zero …And that this was OK with him because he really knew that this is the way it really is. … …. That’s some of how I see it, anyway.

I could say, I suppose, that as far as I was concerned back then, going to Parklands was ‘harmless enough’, and that there were certainly ‘activities’ I engaged in there which proved to be of genuine use to me, but I was only able to see why much later on – an definitely not at that time.

But that’s how complete and seductive my illusion was at that time that I was somehow ‘Working’. … My illusion that I was ‘doing something substantial’ … When – and only decades later – it became clear to me that I’d been doing very little at all! … Because I simply wasn’t able to do anything at that time!… And I have only been able to come to terms with these ‘wasted years of mine’ here, by eventually seeing all this as a part of a necessary process for me. Something essential that I had to go through, if I was serious at all about my own … ‘evolution’ – shall we call it.

This ‘Parklands’ period constituted for me then – but not at all in the way I had expected – an extremely valuable experience. One that would later be of tremendous use to me – but only at the right time.

The ‘remedy’ here was, as it invariably always was, ‘simple, but (definitely) not easy’. … All the pieces necessary for  me to begin ‘working’ were already in place. These were: my desire for power; my greed; and my stupidity. … Or, to put it another way, this was my very own personal mountain of crap …And all I had to do was begin digging …(Oh, these dreadful metaphors!)

And what essential skills did I need to acquire in order to move me on here?  …Just the ability to watch, and to listen, properly.  A piece of advice that my wife, Jean, had already given me … a long time before I’d even heard of Eugene Halliday …. But that’s real love for you!

Anyway … On with the tale!

Going Nowhere Fast – Parklands and Ishval

At the time of my first visit to Parklands I knew next to nothing about the ‘set-up’ there (or, if anyone had told me what it was, I hadn’t taken any notice, or I had simply forgotten). I only knew that ‘Parklands’ was the name of house somewhere near Manchester, and that Eugene gave monthly talks for the regularly organized monthly meeting of the ISHVAL membership, and this usually took place on the last Sunday of each month (at that time I thought that Eugene was the speaker at all of these Sunday meetings, which in fact wasn’t the case).

I learnt later (because I asked a number of people) that sometime around 1966, Eugene Halliday, together with his second wife Margret (who I understood from Ken was an invalid) had moved into Parklands, together with David and Zero Mahlowe, who had agreed to help them both. But I can’t remember exactly who told me this, or when. Although I was working with David Mahlowe  by 1980, so I must surely have known by then that he, at least, lived at Parklands.

David’s wife, Zero, was to give me detailed information about this period, but this would have been a lot later – around 2006 .

My understanding up until the time that I first visited ‘Parklands’ in 1979 was that, before ISHVAL at least, Eugene Halliday had spoken predominantly  to small groups of people – perhaps 20 or  so (although I didn’t know it to be a matter of fact). That he began giving these talks at his home in Manchester to interested people – who, at that time I imagine, would have been referred to as ‘Bohemians’ – sometime during the beginning of the 1940’s (maybe even earlier). That he continued giving these talks through the late 1950’s and into the early 1960’s; that he took a summer break and went to the Isle of Man where he would also give talks on the beach. That this later period came to include (weekly?) visits to Liverpool in order to talk to a small regular group – the IHS – at the home(s) of Ken Ratcliffe, who recruited this IHS  membership, and also organized the meetings, and who had previously lived in Manchester, where Eugene lived; and from listening to recordings of these Liverpool meetings, that this small group, at least, enjoyed (importantly in my view), some degree, of a one-to-one interaction with Eugene himself – where it concerned the subject(s) under discussion at any one particular meeting.

This impression of mine came, by and large, from listening to the recording of those talks at Liverpool; from information supplied by Ken; and also from the manner in which I interpreted the approach Eugene had adopted in some of his writings, such as ‘The Hippy Love Philosophy’ (here’s a copy folks) Eugene Halliday – The Hippy Love Philosophy and ‘The Zodiascope’ (here ’tis) The Zodiascope – Eugene Halliday I felt that the general ambience at these meetings was, by and large, both sincere and ‘comfortable’, with an ‘austere warmth’ to the proceedings – although I  felt that there was a certain detatched authoritarian aura emanating from Eugene himself.

It was this impression of mine that is probably the main reason why I was so hugely disappointed with my visits to Parklands to hear Eugene give his ISHVAL talk. The ambience at Parklands was, for me, nothing at all like this. Instead it seemed to me to be overly formal, with many of those present in the audience not appearing, to me at least, to be really ‘getting it’.

I can still vividly remember my first impression of the interior of Parklands, with its Art Deco ‘fixtures and fittings’. But this was not because I was impressed by them (although I was), but for an entirely different, and far more personal, reason….

The decor at Parklands rekindled early childhood memories in me of visits to my maternal grandparents’ house in Liverpool, and of sitting in their living room, leafing through a large souvenir brochure from the late 1930’s, produced to commemorate the maiden voyage of one of Cunard White Star Line’s ‘Queens’ (I can’t remember now if it was the ‘Mary’ or the ‘Elizabeth’) that had been presented to my grandfather. Within this brochure’s heavily embossed golden covers were full-page photographs of the interior of this magnificent vessel, together with many fold-out smaller photos of the furnishings, which were crafted in that same Art Deco style.

I was fascinated by the images in this book as a small boy, and I must have poured over them for hours. Indeed now, even after some sixty years have passed, I can still experience an echo of the numinous feeling I experienced then, whenever I now examine the grain in a piece of walnut veneer; or the markings on a slab of green striped agate; or if I study the imagery contained in a Symbolist painting.

So my experience of attending an Ishval meeting at Parklands in 1979 – I realized even at the time – was colored somewhat by this childhood experience of mine.

The original architectural design of Parklands included a ballroom space, and when Eugene et all moved in, this had been converted (with the help of Alan Roberts, I understand) into an auditorium – complete with proscenium, mahogany stage, and lighting system.

As Parklands was some thirty five miles or so from where I lived I usually got a lift there, and as a consequence travelled with three other ‘chaps’ (although sometimes my wife, Jean, would come along also, if we could find a babysitter).

The conversations that took place in the car when we were returning home from these talks were interesting in that, although everyone was at pains to point out just how wonderful and illuminating the talk we had just attended was,  it became clear that very little of it had been actually remembered! And this was only an hour or so after the end of the talk!

The conversation would usually go something like this,……………..

“Hey! Wasn’t that great tonight?”

“Yes, I agree …. I don’t know how he does it!” ….”I felt he was talking directly to me!” … “He was answering questions for me that were there in my head!” …. etc.

“Do you remember what he talked about tonight?”

“Yes! He started of by [this would be a phrase or even a single word, delivered here with much confidence and enthusiasm] , and then went on to [This would more often than not, be a couple of sentences which would quickly peter out, becoming more and more disjointed in the process]——-“

Very quickly the excited chatter faded away, to be replaced by an uncomfortable silence, punctuated by ‘Umms’ and ‘Errs’, as we all strove to recall what it was that Eugene Halliday had actually talked about, and that we all clearly  were at great pains to claim was so revelatory and important to us….All except for one of us that is… He would rapidly go through all the major points of the hour-plus talk!

How did he do this? … Simple! ….He had taken notes, and was reading them out to the rest of us!

That this was slightly bizarre behavior did not seem to register with him at all! … And obviously it was impossible, in this particular circumstance, to know if he actually ‘knew’ anything … If you see what I mean.

So I decided to ‘ambush him’ during our jouney to next month’s talk. And to that end, I devised the following ‘little test’. I also wasn’t sure if there might not have been another process at work. A sort of ‘unconscious digestive process’ (an idea that I later discovered the Ishval crowd was particularly fond of – but alas has never really appealed to me), and that we might discover, say one month later, that the information contained in the previous month’s talk had in fact been duly processed ‘somewhere’, and was now freely available to us for regurgitation. (My advice here – file that idea in the same box that you file Father Christmas).

Anyway – back to my ‘little test’…

“Do you remember that last time we went?” (That’s me talking to the other three passengers – and trying to be as casual as possible).

“Yes.” (Chorus)

“Can you remember what the talk was about?” “

I would ‘join in’ here and contribute first – to get the ball rolling as it were. And we would subsequently all contribute a simple senctence or two in reply here, but that was it! … Then it was back to the ‘umming and arring’, I’m afraid!

…. But now the original three hapless nitwits were joined by a fourth – the one who had read the substance of the last talk from his notes …..

This practical, experiential situation, was a fundamental component in my understanding of any number of important words, including ‘memory’, ‘knowing’, ‘learning’ (for example). And on many occasions since  I was to contemplate this particular situation – and also, what I have since come to realize, were masses of similar, parallel, situations.

How were the rest of the 150 or so members of the audience at Parklands doing with this material, I began to wonder? ……….(No prizes for your  guess as to my answer to this question here, I’m afraid).

The central important issue here for me became not ‘what Eugene Halliday said’ or ‘how wonderful those who attended his talks maintained Eugene Halliday was’. It had become far simpler than that. The only issue to me, of any importance here had become, “What did the learner learn?”  Followed by, “What were we, the audience, supposed to do as a consequence?”; and ‘How to explain all this?” ….

Finally, in this post, “How were these talks ‘stage-managed’.” (I should point out here that – that by 1979 – I had accumulated a great deal of professional experience in this area, so I was more than able to spot a stage-managed ‘entrance’)) …

Well, the audience at these meetings would all be seated comfortably before the talk began, at which point Eugene would make his entrance from the back of the theater, down the steps of the central isle, passing the rows of seated audience members as he did so, onto the stage.

Here’s a photos of the entrance to the theater taken from the theater floor; and also one of the stage itself.

Parklands Theater – Entrance and Steps

Parklands Theater – Stage

Eugene Halliday had to lean very heavily on David Mahlowe’s right shoulder in order to do this because, I realized with a tremendous shock, he was quite severely disabled. .. And until I saw him ‘in the flesh’ this first time, I had no idea that this was the case! ..

Why I didn’t know about this disability before, I do not know – but it immediately cleared up a number of questions for me, including the fact that I always believed that I could detect a slight speech impediment.

Over the years I have heard any number of bizzare theories as to how this disability came about, the most common one circulating amongst the Ishval attendees was frankly downright creepy, as it seemed to me at least, to claim that it was a ‘supernatural’ event

In my opinion, after hearing various accounts of Eugene Halliday’s life that – it was claimed by those who told me – came originally from the man himself, concerning the period immediately following the onset of his disability (which I understand was sometime during his early teenage years) it sounds to me like he was the victim of a severe bout of Polio, a viral infectious disease. This was still quite common even when I was a young child in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s, and the sight, during that period, of children wearing leg-calipers was not unusual at all.

During the intervening three decades or so since I first saw Eugene Halliday, I have come to realize just how central to my particular understanding of him this dissability was…Particularly how I perceived the way that he completely understood there was a great deal of power to be acquired, simply from learning  to develop the ability to be acutely aware of our own processes (physical, mental, and feeling) – and which I believe began in Eugene Halliday with the practical imperative to develop conscious control of his own damaged body motor-functions.

In the next post I’d like to take a breather, and try to describe in a little more detail some ideas that I came to regarding: the acquisition of an ‘active’ vocabulary; and a little of how that informed my viewpoint of what Eugene Halliday was ‘doing’ when he gave a talk….and maybe a few other bits and bobs …’ Til then …

To be continued ……….

Bob Hardy

July, 2012

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