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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A¹: The Meaning of Objects.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anyway, to continue on here…..

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

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

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

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

“Shut that door!”…

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

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

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

(He continues)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From ‘Fieldnotes for Armageddon’ by Bob Hardy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Seven Spirits Of Jacob Boehme – David Mahlowe

The Four Complexions of Jacob Boehme – David Mahlowe

Jacob Boehme’s Election of Grace – Donald Lord

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

Eugene Halliday – Boehme Seven Properties

Eugene Halliday – Boehme Centre and Circumference


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Ribbit … Ribbit…”

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

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

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

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

An outcome that I view as extremely cool….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A³: Tell Me a Story

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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


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


To be continued …


Bob Hardy

28th February  2013

  One Response to “12. Words – ‘Encore’ …(Intro-A¹-A²-B-A³-Coda)”

  1. Response to 12. Words – ‘Encore’

    Antitheitical (Ant-i•thet•i•cal) …… Ant I the IT cal-culator

    1. Directly opposed or contrasted; mutually incompatible.
    2. Connected with, containing, or using the rhetorical device of antithesis.

    Encore is a 1951 anthology film composed of adaptations of short stories by W. Somerset Maugham: incl:- “The Ant and the Grasshopper”

    “from entries in the many and various notebooks that I have somehow managed to accumulate over the years – and I really do have lots of them”
    – the simple solution to this problem is to buy a few big black executive leather folders to put the scrappy notebooks in. That way everyone will be impressed and nobody will ever know – (he said looking down at the three leather conference folders on the desk in front of him holding the contents of 14 A4 lined refill notepads from Wilco with various mad scrawlings over them. The key is not what is in them but the process of ‘getting it down’, but you never know in a few hundred years it may be worth a fortune, its all down to marketing.

    The EH relationship you mention is a bit like when you Join an office, or have a handover from a manager, you get his views and ideas, you may not see things the way he sees them or understand his perspective, but that was built up over time, where things are, and using what he knew at the time, and you then add to that modifying the way it works using new ideas and concepts. Look at the work that was done in the past, and what errors were made and why. Look at the techniques that were used and why it was so hard and what tricks you can use to carry on with the work. Like a stepping stone you move on from there and build otherwise you just go into an empty office from scratch, which after all is where it started originally.

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

    Yes that works exceptionally well and it brilliant, like being guided along a journey, which works well as with PKD you learn so fast and work out things so quickly, up to a point, when you realise that the thing guiding you along this path doesn’t actually have a clue either, its just getting you to where it got up to, and its still down to you at the end to step back and work the next bit out.

    ‘but if no ‘virtual highlighting’ appears, then I can find this to be an excruciatingly uncomfortable experience …..Weird…hey?..’.
    Surprisingly familiar actually, like you are being manipulated, and rewarded for doing what you should and punished for doing the wrong thing, (I think this sort of subconscious behaviour has been going on for quite some time), ‘bullying is not acceptable behaviour’. Just because it has limited control over it’s subconscious doesn’t make it ‘ok’.

    ‘recycling of the sort of sentimental stuff that you find scripted on the inside of birthday greetings, and Christmas cards’
    Like things children would write for children. Your religion ‘doesn’t really float my boat, make any sense, child placation, sheep management, holier than thou’ view, is very much the same as mine when I was growing up, that ‘seeing it for what it was’ and ‘you guys don’t really know do you’ perspective. But is it just an astute mind or refined psyche or something manipulating things.

    ‘Thus, it follows from this that I too am, in some sense (which I will go into in a later post) Sentient Power… As indeed are you … and also that steaming dog turd just outside your front door…’
    Yes agree with the sentient power perception but not quite on the last bit of the above sentence I don’t believe sentient power extends to non living things … umm well I suppose its going to be made up with DNA etc and cells sort of, maybe just a bad example. I suppose its more how you distinguish between power and capacity (like comparing knowledge to information/memory).

    ‘Sentient Power themselves – because that’s all there ‘is”,
    Not quite, it also exists (I believe) within a framework of rules, and direction of force (the rasping bit that PKD was on about but couldn’t define), a sort or ‘raison-d’etre’ – purpose. Of which ‘labor for the development of the potentialities of being’ is part of that, in stages of development and evolvement cell, body, god, God, GOD – all the while ‘we are it and it is us’ unless of course you are them and lose, like the dodo, the dinosaurs, lizardmen, and the crab people of planet XL5.

    ‘It’s about ‘balance’ …. If it has to be about anything, that is. …’
    Yes absolutely ! get as much from life as it gets out of you. But watch out its very tricky you may think you are having a life but you really have to stop and check sometimes to make sure, it could be just making you think you are 🙂

    ‘Because – as I might have mentioned before – I am not that interested in hearing about ‘just’ your ideas … I want to know how you arrived at these ideas experientially.. and how you subsequently ‘balanced’ yourself …’
    Ok this morning I received a ‘wondrous’ revelation on BBC breakfast (along with a couple of others) that there is a guy from the US championing a new way of learning maths in schools whereby you can see the answers to maths questions if they are written backwards rather than having to work them out. (won’t go into the details here). But that linked in to what you are writing here and created a concept in my head (bear with me), it also linked in to my ‘cc experience’ and that of PKD where he was very interested in the way he saw things going backwards or time going backwards, which was just its interpretation or way it was recorded. This also links in with the way kinesiology works (series of questions and answers into the collective records rather than an explanation (meaning, definition and understanding). Which also links in to why it is so bloody difficult to work out what is going on, why, how, and trying to define it. So pieces together forming a picture.
    Simply that the data we generate individually is recorded forwards (as in a program loading an array, or like recording a dream) but the way it is represented and stored centrally from a collective perspective is backwards (like traversing a dream backwards). Hence the communication issues. Ie when something gets written into the collective subconscious (Akashi records, collective knowledge base or whatever) it is correlated and processed in that order, ie backwards from a parallel collective point of view. Our psyche acts as a sort of translation mechanism, the records get written and reinforced along with all the memories and out of body imagination stuff, which is fine, but say if we were part of a super organism (God/IT/whatever) it would perceive that subconsciously and more recently consciously backwards (looking at it from a cross sectional correlated/coordinated learning perspective, and confused, or see us as autistic or we see it as autistic in nature. Nothing wrong with that its just the way it is, and works (way its supposed to be I guess)(just as we do with our cells, their meaning definition and understanding is different to ours, communication mechanisms are different). This is all just one concept that makes perfect sense at the time and works and is clear but I CANT BLOODY EXPLAIN IT very well and it seems mad when you write it down in a few paragraphs, and it doesn’t work unless you explain everything all in one go, and all the concepts and all the things linked together in your head at once from what you have already worked out, read, and know already …. as you so your ‘war and peace’ exegisis.

    I balance myself by dwelling on it briefly, ‘confirming I have ‘got it’ scribbling what I can down before taking the kids to school, and moving on to the next ‘message’. Knowing that over time it is building into a very detailed post-it film or screenplay which explains it all from our perspective translated from It’s perspective, like a cave with post-it notes all over it (not that I have a cave you understand).
    But I can’t watch a film backwards I just have to cope with the stills and glue them together in my context to make a film that makes sense to me starting from the beginning rather than the end, or in parallel.

    So what this guy was trying to do was to ‘cheat’ to use a trick to get around the system, to learn in a different way, use what is there, like kinesiology but with maths, yah one up for our side. Trouble is if everyone did it, it would flip-flop, outsmart us and it would work the other way or not at all.

    WORKING WITH AUTISM – ‘meaning’; ‘definition’; and ‘understanding’ all in one flashcard, just need lots of flashcards (post-its). Add the pack to the toolset to get around the communication and perception issues. (Autism, MMR, heavy metal point – mercury , PKD)…….
    Perhaps that’s all we need to do is see ourselves as cells of the mind of an autistic (from our perspective) child, you (Bob) are working on an active language means of communication.
    And that’s how it goes, all the concepts and links and knowledge and understanding come in at once and you try to get it down as best you can to build on what is already there, what work has been done, but then later its gone and/or onto something else. Day after day.

    Active Language
    Its interesting that a lot of the active language terminology is similar to that of Artificial Intelligence programming language terminology (most of which is based on biological/neural representation), and the subsequent modelling and data/knowledge management thereof, or was in my day. Not that its relevant in this case but more the way it attempts to simulate or translate from one context to another, interpret and ‘work’ with common structure rules and meaning into another form. Same with sentient power – power is a term that in physics has rules applied to it ….

    ‘bizarre strain of what I can only describe as ‘lycanthropy’ –’
    like I used to be a werewolf but I’m ok Noooooowwwwww……

    I am going to leave the tie thing for another time (next week) if that’s ok, I have very specific views and that side of things and how meaning, belief, symbols, etc cause effect, and, storage and retention if that’s ok

    ‘Just walk beside me and be my friend’. – I think I always have

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