“A particular offensive variant of the trickster shadow .. occurs when the man casts himself as the woman’s initiator, whereas in fact she is initiating him.”

Nathan Schwartz-Salant

Faust: “So still I seek the force, the reason governing life’s flow; and not just its external show.”

Devil:  “The governing force? The reason? Some things cannot be known; they are beyond your reach even when shown.”

Faust:  “Why should that be so?”

Devil:  “They lie outside the boundaries that words can address; and man can only know those thoughts which language can express.”

Faust: “What? Do you mean that words are greater yet than man?”

Devil: “Indeed they are.”

Faust: “Then what of longing, affection, pain or grief. I can’t describe these, yet I know they are in my breast. What are they?”

Devil: “Without substance, as mist is.”

Faust: “In that case man is only air as well.  [reads] What has made me thirst then to be instructed in those things that are more than thirst allows?”

Devil: “Your thirst is artificial, fostered by the arrogance in you. So look no further than all your human brothers do: sleep, eat, drink, and let that be sufficient.”

Faust: “Liar and foul traitor, where are the pulse and core of nature you promised to reveal? Where?”

Devil: “Faustus you lack the wit to see them in every blade of grass.”

From the script of the English translation of the 20th century
Czechoslovakian puppeteer-film animator Jan Svankmeyer’s
adaptation of the German play ‘Faust’, by Goethe….which
was a reworking of Christopher Marlowe’s English version
of a popular 16th century Central-European puppet-play .. !



What on earth have we all been up to?

For many Brits, from the late 1800’s of the fin-de-siècle and, I would say, up until the beginning of the Second World War at least, a belief in either vulgar ‘spiritualism’ (if you were a member of the lower orders and attended the odd seance or tarot reading for ‘a bit of a giggle’); or in a more refined ‘mysticism’, or the ‘occult’ (if you were higher up the pecking order and so might be a member of one of those ‘select orders’ such as ‘The Golden Dawn’), was (almost) mandatory.

Indeed, for much of this time, the ‘West’ – a culture that prided itself on being well into the ‘Enlightened’ phase of its development (the odd World War and occasional financial disaster not withstanding) – was a place where the imagination of its citizens could still indulge itself by day-dreaming about romantic fictions, like the ‘lost’ ancient mythical kingdoms of Atlantis and Lemuria, that were being promoted by self-styled ‘experts’ such as the American clairvoyant, Edgar Case; as well as roaming across large areas of a world that were still home to ‘primitive’, or ‘natural’, cultures – the inhabitants of which were apparently – according to those ‘in the know’ at least – still in touch with the ‘world beyond’.

These geographical areas included: ‘Darkest Africa’, with its ‘nature spirits’, malaria, ‘lost cities’, and cannibalism; Tibet, a country whose male citizens (at least) all appeared to be, either members of ‘The Himalayan Mountaineering Club’, or of some gigantic, mysterious, priest-hood – and let’s not forget the ‘Yeti’; the Australian outback, with its unique and exotic wild-life, its Aborigines with their unintelligible mythological ‘dream-time’, and later, Rolf Harris’s wobble-board; the desert of the nomadic Beduin, home to all things Ancient Egyptian, and of equally ancient sexually transmitted diseases;  the American ‘Untamed, West’ of the Red Indian, whose deceased tribal chiefs and powerful Medicine Men were employed by the ‘spiritual mediums’ of early-mid twentieth century Britain as ‘guides’ (with names like ‘White Cloud’), who apparently had ‘crossed over’, and so were now able to function as intermediaries  … (“Knock twice for Auntie Mabel.”) … I often wonder what eventually became of these unfortunate Native Americans. Did they all move on to ‘prairies new’ in order to hunt the celestial buffalo perhaps? … Or was it that they had simply become an embarrassment, or (heaven forbid) merely unfashionable?

During the period immediately following the Second World War (a period known as the ‘Cold War’) we witnessed the emergence of a belief in ‘superior evolved beings’ – usually sexless, and benign, or malevolent, take your pick – from other worlds. Most of them seemed to have been, from ‘first-hand accounts’ extremely ‘evolved mentally’ – which unfortunately, from the descriptions given, make them all look as if they were suffering simultaneously from, dwarfism; hydrocephalus; and a very bad case of ‘shrivel-dick’… Why it was assumed that advanced evolution would result in beings who eventually all looking like Daleks is beyond me ….    Along with this extra-terrestial stuff came the inevitable partner in this crime, ‘the UFO phenomena’, that thankfully, since the mass ownership of video cameras and smart phones, have all but disappeared…. On the other hand, at precisely the same time, our sworn enemies on the other side of the Iron-Curtain were desperately attempting to develop the psionic abilities of hapless members of its proletariat, and (of course) place these ‘abilities’ on a firm materialistic footing… None of all that Western, degenerate, esoteric rubbish – foisted on the helpless masses by a degenerate, running-dog, capitalistic elite – for the Politburo!

In the 1950’s a young man by the name of Cyril Henry Hoskins, from Plymton, Devon, UK – known to one and all as Lobsang Rampa – selected Tibet as his mise-en-scene and wrote a number of best selling paper-backs – with titles such as ‘The Third Eye’ –  containing various ‘accounts’ of Astral travel and of other ‘occult powers, possessed by the mysterious priests who inhabited those monasteries referred to somewhere in the above paragraphs .. His last book in this series, he claims, was dictated to him by his cat … Which, if nothing else, illustrates the distinct advantage over our feline friends that natural selection gave us. Human beings with hands that featured opposable thumbs allowing us to hold a pen, and so actually write the damn thing ..

This was followed in the 1960’s by, for example, the writings of Peruvian-born Carlos Castaneda, who, while still a student at UCLA, used his various accounts of the American South-West (notably Arizona) together with his notes on the ‘teachings’ of a Yaqui shaman by the name of Don Juan (a man who really seems to have known how to ‘role a joint’) to write a number of best sellers… Castaneda eventually received his PhD in Anthropology (no less) for these efforts.

The early 1970’s saw the wider UK  public embracing all things ‘martially artistic’ with the arrival in 1972 of Kung Fu, an American TV series that was imported into the UK, and starred David Carradine as the Shaolin monk Kwai Chang Caine, a kung Fu expert who was tutored by blind ‘Master Po’ (I was forever referring to him as ‘Blind Pew’ – which shows you where my head was at). The commencment of this series also coincided, roughly, with Bruce Lee’s arrival as a major player on the international movie scene – it was Lee incidentally who appears to have been the one who originally pitched the story outline for Kung Fu  to American TV executives before he hit the big-time …  

And while the ‘Martial Arts’, in and of themselves, are clearly not ‘spiritual’ (try getting your head round the fact that many Chinese Emperors preferred to employ Buddhist monks as their ‘heavies’, or ‘Imperial Guards’)  they did eventually get lumbered with some pretty weird stuff, particularly in the West – such as a way to become ‘non-violent’.. which always seemed a somewhat roundabout, and profoundly suspicious way, of going about this to me…i would have thought taking up knitting, or sky-diving would have been more appropriate here …. I will also mention that this was also the period when Richard Hittleman’s ‘Yoga’ series also hit the big time in the UK (but I’ve covered that in an earlier post).

And what about the rash of ‘alien abduction’ accounts we were subjected to – most of which included an extremely absorbing, micro-detailed, account of ‘anal probing’? … Accounts that seemed to proliferate rapidly via what I like to refer to as the, “I know somebody, who met somebody, who’s mother overheard somebody claiming etc. method”… This version of ‘mysterious happenings’ was very popular in the late 1980’s (and on into the 1990’s)…. Around about the same time that movies such as ‘Close Encounters..’, and TV series like ‘The X Files’ were extremely popular …and let’s not forget ‘Roswell’…or those mysterious ‘crop circles’ …

If we move forward into the second millennium, we can still find masses of this material being produced – from the accounts of ‘Indigo Children’; to the seemingly endless pseudo-science plagues we have been the victims of for the past few decades – many based upon a profound (and for jaded individuals like me – unintentionally hilarious) mis-representation of Quantum Mechanics. (“Yes, but how do you know there isn’t ‘somewhere’ where two plus two doesn’t equal four?” … … Ooooooh!)

And this is merely scratching the surface …

For me, it is psychological forces, rather than supernatural forces (which in my opinion are an archaic fiction) that are the prime movers here. But this doesn’t mean that I have accepted an all-the-way-down-rationalist-scientific epistemology that claims to refer to some ‘objective reality out there’, and that can, in principle, be ‘known’ by a subject, who, by ‘logical reasoning’ can express this reality simply by using words, which they have subsequently structured in order to provide themselves with the ontological basis that subsequently informs their epistemic beliefs… even if the words they use form the vocabulary of an extremely, difficult to acquire, specialized language, such as mathematics.

 So, as I say then …. I am not a ‘hard objectivist’ ….

What I see the scientific community doing, is positing their own version of an ‘objective reality’ as a form of dogmatic ‘certainty’ … because they have discovered that viewing existence in this way confers a high degree of predictability over those material events that they, as a consequence, now insist really, truly, truly, exist ‘out there’.

Such that … if I ‘buy into’ this particular scenario, that is … even though I now appear to have the advantage of being democratically perceived as one of the experiencing subjects here (which, I do admit, in principle at least, appears to have gotten rid of those problems that the authoritarian-hierarchical-religious/class-system approach we have all suffered under in the West for the past millennium or so, brought with it) – none the less still leaves me with my original problem … The problem that – although this is now ‘all very nice’ – regrettably I still do not experience myself as (at long last) having finally ‘arrived’ anywhere, or of being at the ‘foundation’ of anything … at least in the way that those pushing this stuff on me insist I now should be – although I do think it’s a great idea! ….

Rather, I experience myself as being even more firmly the prisoner of language, and of living in – an admittedly benign version of – Orwell’s ‘1984’ … So that I now, more than ever, ‘suspect’ that it is this language, of itself, that has produced this illusion (a subject very dear to my heart) that there is a stable, central identity (me) ‘in here’ which functions as a receptacle – a ‘finishing post’ if you will – for the accumulation of all this scientific ‘knowledge’ that it is claimed is quite definitely discoverable ‘out there’, through the  imposition on me, of a disciplined, subjective, systematized ‘representation’ by me, of this ‘objective reality’…. A wonderful example of DIY.

And that it is only by way of me blindly accepting that this process is able – in principle at least so I’m told – to construct the ‘Absolute Truth’ … (which actually … even if this were the case … is something I am certain that I am not personally equipped to deal with) which gives me this experience of any relative ‘certainty’ here, along the way… (By the way – a free word of advice – using words like ‘certainty’ nearly always turns out to be a lousy idea.)….

 … As one great Irishman was won’t to put it then, you could say that, “It’s the way I tell ’em!” – whoever this authoritative ‘I’ happens to be, at any one particular moment.

The actual view that I have of myself must admit then, that even though there are forces emanating from ‘out there’ (culture, customs, language etc.) that are pivotal to the construction of this ‘me’, these ‘forces’ do not appear (to ‘me’) to constitute any ‘universal truth(s)’…. But they are, rather, ‘simply’ relative truths …. More usefully viewed by me as power relationships … And that these are acting upon me as the ‘subject’ in all this.

So that then, a further component in the ever-present problem of ‘Working’ – as far as I can see, from this perspective at least – involves resisting, or reaffirming, or denying, or transforming, these relationships, through the exercise of (what I am pleased to refer to as) my free will.

Further, I seriously doubt that life would be bearable without some small area (at the very least) of ‘no-man’s land’ … an area that ‘comes to be’ as a direct consequence of this experience of ‘being’ that I have… An experience that is patched together from my very own pot-puree of relative truths, and which then constitutes my own personal side of the border of this ‘no-man’s land’ – this unresolved ‘distance’ between what it is that constitutes ‘the real’, and my experiences of it….

This ‘no-man’s land’ is a place where what I refer to as, ‘the soft-focus that characterizes this critical area’, makes its appearance. … A place that thankfully serves to mediate the affects of experiencing more than I am able to handle of ‘what is really going on’, but that, even so, I still find myself struggling against, whenever I  try to shrink it’s ‘size’ down still further – in my attempts to discover ‘deeper, truths’ … An attempt by me that only ever sees me experiencing ‘reality’ as something that is actively resisting these efforts of mine to ‘perceive it’, or ‘to come to grips with’ it …

 … But this struggle of mine is far more bearable to me than having to deal with the various versions of ‘the true picture’ that so many others out there appear to be either completely obsessed with, or worse, are determined to shove down the throats of the rest of us ….A version of events they desperately insist (and often. in the historical  past, by employing violence to do so; but more recently  by what I am pleased to refer to as a ‘smiley slime-ball’ approach) they are all ‘so certain’ is actually ‘going on out there’… … 

…. Talk about a ‘Tacit Conspiracy’! …


‘Random Dribblings 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

… And Now It’s Your Turn … Again!

In my last posting, I suggested you might start with Eugene Halliday’s talk ‘Words’. This was recorded in Liverpool during the 1960’s, and I should mention here that the title of it – as with all the talks from that period – was not selected by Eugene Halliday.

The restoration of the source material that constitutes most of this section of the Archive  – which is available for free downloading from the Liverpool section of the Eugene Halliday archive –  was done by Ken Ratcliffe’s son-in-law, Richard Milligan, who, I understand, also selected the titles for many of these restored recordings.

Some 10 – 20 years later, at an ISHVAL meeting, Eugene gave the talk that I would like to suggest you listen to this month –   ‘Vocabulary’. I would add here that Eugene Halliday was almost certainly  involved in selecting this title, or at least of giving his approval to it.

On listening to this talk you might, for example, like to consider whether or not you find the that those major ideas which Eugene Halliday presents here, are consistent with those ideas that he presented in his early talk ‘Words’ .

As with the recording of ‘Words’ that I suggested you listen to in last month post, I will continue describing my own ‘interactions’ with this recording of ‘Vocabulary’, in the Forum section of this blog, sometime during December .


To be continued …..

Bob Hardy

November 2012

  One Response to “9. Words – Part 2 (.. “It’s the way I tell ’em!”)”

  1. What am I getting from this section and is it ‘working’ for me ?

    I read your notes, and they all make sense. I go through it and it sounds like you have a healthy level of scepticism, you are well read, you are wise, articulate, and have been diligent in your mission, and you have looked at others work objectively. You have learned lessons and built up your own pictures of what is and what isn’t.

    A month or so later I read it all again, and more things appear, connections are made anew. Linking to what my mind has been doing since then, what has been of interest to me, or things that I have been looking at in the mean time. With that suddenly I create new understanding and interest. For example ‘indigo children’ , I didn’t see that term before in your text, my mind skipped over it, I had not ever heard of the term, it did not register, it was passive, now it is active to me, I see a website in my mind with an image of a beautiful woman who is offering me things, a spiritual catalyst, I can visualise, I know.

    But your other words around ‘indigo children’ say something, protect me from it, tinged with scepticism, and I learn, and waste no more time. You have given direction. But wait, I did not consciously seek to find out what it meant, I had forgotten the term, in fact I did not even remember it, yet somehow between then and now I had stumbled (or was directed) to a website with one on, looking for something else. So now I know, amazing, what are the odds of that ?, or is there a process at work here, or even question if those words have now magically appeared where once they were not. I read on and it happens again and again. Of course the answer is the same given to Pinocchio “always let your consciousness be your guide”, and just go with the flow, whatever it is its working. It’s always a good idea to find some words from one who is still alive that way you can feel part of it. Gradually I get from where I was to where you are.

    So yes it’s working.

    Thats right, that’s how we learn, how we evolve, how we grow together, and on the shoulders of those gone before. Not like those old historical things like financial disasters, cults, wars, alien invasions. Besides in today’s terms and from our perspective the likes of Plato would be a very boring person to talk if he were here today, even if on a marble pedestal with Percil white robes. That is if we had the time to listen, in-between episodes of Horrible Histories.

    Aliens with ‘shrivel-dick’ it’s not a conspiracy, it’s just very cold in space !

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