One interesting aspect of observing changes in my experiences of any particular ‘state of being’, is the manner in which my cognitive behavior is able to modify these states in subtle ways that can slip right past me….

For instance, I have recently realized that if I’m in a state of ignorance about something (and I would also go so far as to claim that this state of ignorance also contributed to my physical state – that is, to my present material orientation towards my objective reality in some fundamental way)… and I realize that I am in this state of ignorance; then although I might now still actually know nothing more about the subject in question, I no longer experience this state of ignorance in the same way that I experienced it before I realized that I was ignorant  …. ….. And even though I still don’t know any more about the subject in question (this absence of understanding here being due to this ignorance of mine)…. I also experience this subject  in a different way   … Which I think is really, really, weird.

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)

The illusion that having mental limitations places us under…
is one of having no mental limitations. 

NOTE: I use the word ‘idea’ to refer to that cognitive component of a particular ‘form/function’ I’m Working with…. That is, when I’m just ’having a think’ about it.

I use the word ‘concept’ to refer to that cognitive component of the ‘form/function’ of an experiential situation I have embarked upon. That is, something I’m actually doing (or I’ve decided I’m going to do) and that might contain any number of related ideas.

So, I’m liable to say things like: “But it’s only a bit of an idea at the moment,” or; “I really believed I had a great concept going there, but I just couldn’t seem to get it to work.”

… And I’ll sometimes use ‘idea’ and ‘concept’ in the same sentence.

 

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The main purpose of this blog is to provide an account of my interaction with a number of Eugene Halliday’s ideas that are contained in the many audio and text files – freely available for you to download here from the Eugene Halliday archive

To help you with your own investigations into this material, I would suggest that you visit Josh Hennesey’s excellent site here. This contains an ever-increasing number of transcripts of Eugene Halliday’s audio and text files, and, more importantly, all these files are ‘searchable’… Simply click on the word SEARCH – located in the Menu bar at the top of each page of Josh’s site – and then type in the word or phrase that you’re looking for in the space provided…[Typing in the word ‘feeling’, for instance, will – at the present time – provide you with about 67 detailed examples of Eugene Halliday’s use of this word].

Anyway … back to the topic in hand…

The subject of ‘feeling’ is, for me, an extremely complex one. Not least of all because of the common usage that many of the words I involve here signify to others.

Fortunately, the idea of Eugene Halliday’s that, ‘If you change the form [of something] you change the function’ – which I first came across in the mid-late 1970’s – became of real assistance to me in any Work that I was attempting to engage in here … And I began to take as much care as I could in constructing the particular pattern of words I would use to Work on embodying any ideas that I believed were really important to me where it concerned this subject of ‘feeling’ …

This was far trickier to pull-off than I first imagined, not because the ideas that began to form in me were that hard to accept, but because – of all the subjects I had ever taken an interest in Working with – this has been the one were the vocabulary involved has been the most troublesome…

My attempts at discussing the ideas of others here only tended to irritate the hell out of most of them. Because I would keep interrupting them, and insisting that they told me what it was that they ‘meant’ when they used certain words – as I realized that I didn’t really understand what they were talking about (and more importantly, I had an overwhelming suspicion that they didn’t either)…

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NOTE:  What is written below has come about as a consequence of investigations into my own integument, and my subsequent observations of the behavior of others.  … So, while I can tell you that this perspective ‘works for me’, I cannot of course say anything about it ‘working for you’…

And – once again – if you are going to contact me about these ideas, please do not simply tell me what your opinion is here.

… What I am interested in reading about are accounts of your own approach to this subject of feeling. Particularly if it differs significantly from mine, and also, provided that you supply a (sketchy will do) first-hand account of the subsequent experiential consequences of this approach of yours…

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To continue … This attempt at discussions with others about this subject of feeling had a very interesting side affect. In that I came to realize that, while I could eventually come to ‘see’ an idea that I had been working on – and could even write a short essay on it if I had to – when it came to explaining this idea to others, the ‘pace’ at which I was able to resurrect it slowed down considerably, altering my natural speech patterns so much so that I would begin to stammer… But, even so, whatever these ‘side-affects’ of Working were for me, I now measured my progress with any particular group of ideas – be they Eugene Halliday’s, or whoever – by the words that I believed I had now clarified and, to some extent at least, could include in my ‘active language’ vocabulary.

I was not really able to appreciate what was going on here until I began to teach professionally in the mid 1990’s … With the result that I am now quite certain that ‘holding forth’ on any particular subject has absolutely nothing to do with, say, ‘getting in touch with’, or ‘being in’, the ‘field’…. A commonly held view as to what it was that Eugene Halliday was doing when he gave one of his talks, by those who fancy they are ‘in the know’ here… Although, apart from saying something to effect that he was, “In touch with the field,” there seemed to be an almost total lack of any other information here from the overwhelming majority of those who maintained that this was the case (other than to accompanying this statement with some variety or other of ‘knowing look’ – presumably intended to indicate that something unfathomable was going on here … Which, I would tend to agree, was – but on their part, and not Eugene Halliday’s)… Having said that, I am a big fan of ‘being inspired’ … a state that I believe Eugene Halliday certainly was in, from time to time …But I see that as a completely different process…

… Like I say, it’s complicated…

Anyway, as a consequence – after some 35 years or of Working on various ideas and concepts in an attempt to further my understanding of ‘feeling’, I have come to appreciate that many words are commonly substituted for each other here in some way (particularly in common speech) such as, for instance: ‘awareness’; ‘sentience’; ‘feeling’; ‘consciousness’; ‘perception’; ‘sensation’; ‘emotion’; ‘reaction’, etc. etc. But that, in a Working situation, if these words are separated out and considered individually, they are capable of supplying a great deal of clarity (at least to me) where it concerns the need for a basic understanding of (what I believe is an approach by Eugene Halliday to) the problem of ‘being’ itself… However, if I’m just having a chat with someone, I do find myself sliding into ‘common usage’ very easily, and this does tend to complicate matters somewhat …

This account of mine here is not meant to (necessarily) tell you ‘exactly where I’m at’ at the present time with ‘feeling’… (And I certainly hope you haven’t gained that impression from my previous posts with regards to my present position on ‘active language’), and so what I will attempt to do now is tell you what my ‘starting position’ was with respect to my understanding of ‘feeling’, back in the late 1970’s, and then attempt to move forward slowly from there if I can…

However, I’m reasonably sure already that I won’t be able to make it to the present day, because I can already see that some understanding, and sooner rather than later, of what I believe is another of Eugene Halliday’s most important concepts – and that’s  ‘Sentient Power’ – will be required here ….

But back to ‘feeling’ … I first became interested in the theoretical ideas of C G Jung’s Analytical (or Depth) Psychology sometime during the late 1960’s (when I was in my late 20’s), so much so that I had read his Collected Works by the time that I first went to Tan-Y-Garth in the mid-late 1970’s… Consequently, I was well used to viewing things from the perspective of many of the concepts contained in Jung’s typological and topographical schemes… These would include a view of the psyche that included the physical body; the two ‘attitudes’ – ‘introversion’ and ‘extrovertion’; and the four functions of ‘thinking’ and ‘feeling’ (rational), ‘sensation’ and ‘intuition’ (irrational)…and – although not so important here, at least for the moment – Jung’s concept of ‘The Archetypes’ …. [If you want to know more about all this in a general sense by the way, then I suggest that you get hold of a copy of ‘Lectures on Jung’s Typology’ by Marie-Louise von Franz and James Hillman; and ‘Complex/Archetype/Symbol by Jolande Jacobi.)

So I will just say a little here about feelings being ‘rational’ (because this view seems to trouble the most people) … and what that meant to me back in the late 1970’s ….. and – to a large extent – still does.

Essentially, the ‘feeling’ function is the evaluative function.

States of being – such as anger; happiness; sadness, frustration; etc – are not ‘feelings’, – they are ‘emotions’ … (‘feeling’ and ‘emotion’ are two different words, with two [obviously] different forms, and that therefore properly perform two different functions)…

Simply put, ‘emotions’ (in the only situation where I would maintain that they have any ‘meaning’ to an experiencing subject, and that is, where they arise in human beings) require the mediation of language (and thus cognition) to ‘come to be’…. So that your own personally experienced list of emotions are the labels (in the form of words) that you use in naming (and perhaps also describing – either vaguely, or in some considerable detail) these various feeling ‘states’ of yours that you have, to some degree at least, become aware of, or have experienced.  To make this a little clearer, I’m not saying that our animal chums cannot act nervously or be fearful etc. etc.; what I’m saying is they cannot do so in any ‘meaningful’ way; and that further, because animals are not reflexive, they are not capable in principle of doing any Work … …. But then I don’t happen to believe that the overwhelming majority of people can be bothered to do any either … 😀

Having experienced various emotional states, we can all, potentially at least, subsequently describe the content(s) of these states to each other. Including perhaps the reasons why we are in them (“I’m very angry with you because you ….etc.”)… and eventually even develop our own complex aesthetic here… Such that we can indicate in speech – sometimes to a remarkable degree – exactly how happy, or sad, or angry, etc. we are, and why… even poetically, in a way that is denied the warthog; albatross; haddock; dug-beetle; Antirrhinum; etc et al… Although I have to admit that there is nothing more cringe-provoking for me than reading someone’s attempts at presenting their various ‘thoughts’ on the human condition in a way that seeks to seduce us into believing that these are derived from the author’s authentic experiences, although I am not saying that these accounts couldn’t be genuine, …. (Clue: ‘authentic’ and ‘genuine’ are two different words)…

Most importantly here, for me, then – emotions require cognitive input, but feelings don’t…

The degree to which we are happy, or sad, or angry etc. (that is, the ‘how much’ of the particular emotion) constitutes the feeling content of these states… And, crucial here, is that you are always immediately aware of your degree of feeling, without the mediation of either any mental or physical content …

If you are devoid of language, and consumed with rage, you are only able to express this emotional state of yours through your physical body – by making noises, facial expressions, body movements etc. – as any mother who is nursing a very hungry small baby will be able to tell you from first-hand experience; and also that dog owner, whose left leg – for some unaccountable reason – has become the center of a great deal of amorous activity on the part of Woofter, the family cocker-spaniel …A very interesting phenomena this latter one, as it can be used to illustrate the emergence of emotional states from instinctive states, and on up into the articulation of these states in language, from the relatively simple, and non-reflexive way in the case of lower primates etc., to the bewildering complexity of human speech … But my major point here is that there is no possibility of either the baby, or Woofter, reflecting on these states that they find themselves in, at least in the sense that beings who have acquired language skills are potentially able to… To repeat then – expressing an emotion other than through the body  – that is, with the cognitive function – requires ‘language’, or if you prefer, the production of texts, to do so…

Having once acquired language skills, it should be relatively easy for you to now appreciate why I maintain that you would never find yourself saying something like, “You know, I judged myself to be (or thought I was) in a state of profound melancholy last night, but actually I was ecstatically happy! … Silly me!” Or, “I was very, very, angry with you, but actually I found out later on that I wasn’t … I was only mildly angry with you.” … (Although you could say something like, “You thought I was very angry before! … Well you were wrong! … Because this is me when I am very angry!!!”… [Sound of crockery being smashed])…

So, your pronouncements about your emotional state – that is, the words you use to describe, or justify, or condemn, etc. it, has nothing to do with the certainty of your immediate actual experience of the intensity (value) of it….

I am not saying here that you cannot inhibit your emotional state, and indeed this can be a consequence of many things – your morality for instance; or your ability to engage in various fancied ‘spiritual techniques’. But any pronouncements here are still structured components of your ‘thinking’ (rational, logical, ‘spiritual’, fashionable, or otherwise) and play no part in any awareness of it, in the sense that you do not need this self-definition of your emotional state before you become aware of the intensity (or quality) of it.

Feeling does not require the mediation of language… That is, it does not require a cognitive component in order to ‘be’. You are aware of your feeling state immediately, and you are never wrong as to its value. But ‘value’ here only means ‘amount’ (or, as I prefer, ‘degree’). And this degree is situated somewhere along the axis from total rejection to total acceptance… Many ‘followers’ of Eugene Halliday I have spoken with about this appear to me to confuse this ‘positioning of feeling’ with what they believe he meant by “Yes-ing” and “No-ing” (In case you hadn’t noticed, ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ are two words by the way, and are thus components of your mentation, and not of your feeling) …

Animals clearly have ‘feelings’ (degree of response) but an Italian dog will not say, “Bellissimo!” to itself if you give it a chocolate biscuit, any more than a Rochdale Lurcher will say, “Ta very much Chuck!” in the same circumstance …. They will however ‘feel about’ the situation….  (But whether your pet slug, Ambrose, does, I’m not so sure….Although it can display reactive behavior)

And, as with any group of words used to elaborate upon a central concept (emotion) in order to, say, produce some kind of aesthetic, these concepts can easily become confused…. But please note that your ‘feeling states’ (or for that matter your ‘emotions’) are never, in themselves, confused, and they are thus rational – although emotions can become conflated if a particular situation results in you experiencing rapid swings from, say, ‘pleasure’ to ‘disgust’ during a relatively incrementally short period of time… I’ll leave it to you [and your relationship with Woofter] to come up with your own examples here.

This situation is further complicated when using common speech, as in sentences such as, “I felt really angry,” which implies that ‘anger’ is a ‘feeling state’…. It’s not… It’s an ‘emotional’ state…

So let me try now to explain how you might move forward here … Ask yourself the following question (and I’m not suggesting at all that your views here should be the same as mine)…., “Are my feelings rational or irrational?” … If you’ve thought about this at all, then you should be able to answer this question at some length without becoming hopelessly confused (and again, your approach here might be totally different from mine) … Now ask yourself, “Are my emotions rational or irrational?” and if your answer seems to be the same as your answer to the first question, then I hope you can see that you don’t in fact know the answer to either of these questions – because you do not understand that they are fundamentally different …

But recognize here also, that anyone can rattle on about a subject that they ‘know something about’, often at some length, from material that they have gleaned from others. And this can include, not only esoteric material, but material  (the subject matter of which would come under the general heading of ‘Psychology’) such as feelings and emotions. And this can often leave you believing that these people are, at the very least, knowledgeable here. But Working on those two questions I gave you above has very little to do with being smart, or trotting out something you’ve appropriated from someone else, or quoting the Bible etc…. and everything to do with your attempt to ‘know yourself’ – a pursuit which I have come to believe almost no one I have ever met attempts in their whole lives…. But then maybe I’ve always hung around with the wrong people … Capisce?….

Try to devise ways of attempting to perceive if those you engage in conversation with about these subjects speak from their own experiences (or ‘centers’) … If you decide that they don’t, then all you are going to get at very best is (yet more) information (which may or may not be useful)… But you will get no material which comes from them actually Working – as this material is qualitatively different … And if I can assure you of anything, it’s that, if you Work on yourself, at some point in all this it becomes relatively easily to spot when someone else is … How you handle your relationships when you can do so is, of course, your business… I will tell you though that dealing with those who imagine they are Working is very difficult  for me … but that I try to use this situation to do some Work myself … If that helps.

Cognitive effort, where it concerns Working then, is about developing concepts that mirror – if only for that part of the journey you are struggling with at the present time – your internal states… These attempts at description might not be as accurate as they could be, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that they are vaguer, or weaker… It simply means that, in this particular instance, you’ve missed the mark (clue there 🙂 ..)

 And finally, you can study as many religious, scientific, artistic, philosophical subjects as you like – but if your motive for doing so is anything other than ‘knowing yourself’, then –  as I see it – you’re (still) ‘going nowhere’ …

In closing, here’s an example from one of my notebooks of a methodology I make use of when attempting to remember stuff – and that’s humor… More often than not in the form of ‘blue’ jokes… This is because I find I can remember it easier [and so, I believe, could Woofter, if he possessed language] – so be warned … Here’s a relatively mild one anyway from one of my notebooks that nailed, very nicely for me, one of the uses of the word ‘feeling’ in common speech.. The word is used here to describe sense data…

You can try and create a version of this joke by using words such as ‘I had a sensation of’ in place of ‘felt like’ … I don’t think that being more accurate with the words used here works as well… But that only gives me some ideas about the inertial properties of common speech… But don’t let me stop you trying…

…. Give it a go and ‘See how you feel’…

Two Welsh women, Mrs Jones and Mrs Williams were having a heated argument about Mrs Jones’ husband.

Mrs Jones:  “Mrs Williams! … I’ve got a bone to pick with you! I hear in the village that you’ve been going round telling all the girls that my husband, David, has got a wart on his ‘John Thomas’!”

Mrs Williams: “Mrs Jones!! … I said no such thing!! … … I did not say that your husband David had a wart on his ‘John Thomas’.  …. ….. I said it felt like a wart! ”

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)

Woof!! Woof!!

To be continued ……

Bob Hardy

March 31st 2013

  3 Responses to “13. Feelings … or, ‘Meetings With Remarkable Women’ …”

  1. Bob, I have a couple of responses to blog 13, to which I would be most interested in your reaction.

    I agree with you that “feeling’ is ‘rational’ because it is an immediate, evaluative discernment (as to degree, intensity etc). My actual ‘feeling capability’, or sentience, which as it were, stands in readiness for the assault or embrace of packets of energy (or turmoil), otherwise called e-motion, is the ‘I’ which somehow, is beyond the concepts of rational and irrational. Could we call it ‘a-rational’?

    To put it another way, because feeling is rational, it is ‘us’ in the sense that EH used when he emphasised the description of man as ‘evaluator’ or counter. Man, the conferrer of value. It then becomes apparent that ultimately, no-thing (including mental content) can be truly irrational. What is experienced as irrational will have sub-rational causes about which we have insufficient information. Irrationality ‘per se’ is illusory, raising awareness, or working to become reflexively self-conscious, seems to be the answer to the question, what is the meaning of life? Incidentally, as an after thought, Love would seem to be the exception that proves the rule concerning irrationality and emotion, however given our famous definition of love as working for the development of the potentialities of being, then even this fundamental ’emotion’ is in no sense irrational. The very Creation we are told is Logos, hence cannot contain illogicality, it is man who differentiates, and perhaps sons of God who have unraveled irrationality and reversed the Fall?

    How do you feel about this sort of language? You said that you had problems with ‘eternity’ and ‘absolutes’.

    Carol

    • Carol,

      First off …Many thanks for your comment.

      Here’s my various ‘reactions (in the main) uncut’… …So they might appear to be disjointed. But this is how I always start when I’m writing…. I throw stuff down, and then I edit, and do the dot joining, as I go along.. This might mean throwing stuff out; adding stuff; changing important words; and of course tarting-up the punctuation and spelling … For instance, I’m quite fond of substituting the American ‘z’ for the British ‘s’ – because I know this practice irritates a few people, whose chains I enjoy yanking…

      My initial reaction here – which is also my usual one in these circumstances – is to try and clarify my own particular viewpoint where it concerns Eugene Halliday’s stuff… How I experience ‘Matters Halliday’, you might say

      … So here’s that bit …

      This viewpoint of mine does not center so much upon any of Eugene Halliday’s (what others might call) ‘major concepts’, such as the acquisition of Reflexive Self-Consciousness; the concept of the Three (or Four) Part Man; the existence of various Tacit Conspiracies; considerations as to the nature of ‘Prima Materia’ as, for example, in his use of his term Sentient Power. Although I fancy that I am more than a little familiar with all these ideas of his… Or in the ‘use value’ that any of these ideas might confer on the enquirer here – such as ‘for the better enjoyment of my life’ (not a particular favorite of mine, that one, I’m afraid)…

      My particular viewpoint centers upon my interpretation of what I believe it was that Eugene Halliday was doing – which I maintain was his attempt to ‘Work’ .. A word that I use, in large part, in the same way that he does in his definition of ‘love. The details of this Work of his I then try to distil from his various talks and writings, and then attempted to ‘personalize’….

      Importantly, I don’t believe he ‘just did it’(this Work, that is), but that it took all his Will(ingness) to do so, … And also, that at the center of all this is his idea of ‘being-here-now’- which I refer to as ‘knowing yourself’ …

      So, attempting to get to why it is that I want to do the things I do (like writing this reply to you for instance): and of being consciously aware of what it is that is happening to me – in the moment – when I am doing it; and then coming up with various ideas, in order to explain to myself how all this might be happening (amongst other things) is what I refer to as ‘Work’…It is not then, triving to become Gandalf (or indeed to become Witchee-Poo)….

      Finally – this task of Working is very, very, very, very, simple to engage in. But it isn’t easy….At all!…. In fact it is very, very, very hard… In my experience, that is…☺

      This approach of mine also saves me the trouble of first looking for a more attractive ‘starting line’ … Like, say, embracing the Aztec religion)…. Because I realized early on that anyone can do this Work, anywhere, and at any time they chose to do so … And that they always have the freedom so to chose … to ‘in-the-moment’ know themselves’ …up until their very last breath….

      This is where I’m ‘coming from’ then… And so now, onto your comment …

      I see that we agree then, that this ‘feeling function’ (as it is experienced by you and me at least) is ‘rational’. …

      As to the rest of your first paragraph though,…. ☺

      My actual ‘feeling capability’, or sentience, which as it were, stands in readiness for the assault or embrace of packets of energy (or turmoil), otherwise called e-motion, is the ‘I’ which somehow, is beyond the concepts of rational and irrational. Could we call it ‘a-rational’?

      If you are saying something like – this feeling capacity I have, constitutes one aspect of this ‘Sentient Power that I am’, then I’m OK with that….

      But I’m not OK with something that’s very similar, which is – ‘this rational function I call ‘feeling’, I can also call ‘sentience’’…. I do not agree that they are the same thing, and so you can simply substitute one word here for the other… In fact I make this point at some length in this very post I seem to remember – because this practice is at the root of most of the problems here, and I believe that devising ways to address it constitutes the first step … In other words, for me it’s fundamental to any understanding of Eugene Halliday … And so although this ’switching words’ here is not 100% implicit in what you write, I would say that it is the first obvious interpretation of what you write… To be clear then, for me, ‘feeling’ and ‘sentience’ are not the same thing … at all..

      Moving on … I don’t experience myself as ‘standing in readiness’; or that the reception of various stimuli by me are experienced as ‘assaults or embraces’ .. (Interestingly though, I have just caught myself viewing these two words – in this context at least – as having a distinctly ‘girlie’ aspect to them – but as you clearly are one, maybe that’s OK…dunno)..

      In my vocabulary, the words ‘assaults’ and ‘embraces’ are quite sophisticated, qualitative, words (not quantitative) and so I certainly wouldn’t apply them to every state…. So, although I have experienced ‘standing in readiness’ from time to time; and I have also experienced ‘assaults’ and ‘embraces’ from time to time, this is not how I would describe my ‘everyday’ state of reception to stimuli, and I definitely would never do so where it concerns my feeling function… Degrees of ‘yes’ and ‘no’ will do fine for me here…

      And your contextual ‘turmoil’ here, isn’t a normal one for me either… although having been involved in any number of ‘hairy’ situations over the years… I would use the word ‘turmoil’ in those situations..

      Further illumination from you here would be helpful…

      is the ‘I’ which somehow, is beyond the concepts of rational and irrational. Could we call it ‘a-rational’?

      Re this ‘I’ – If I understand you here correctly (and I’m not at all sure that I do) I would have to say that I have never experienced myself as ever being (in any way) in what I take to be a sort of ‘fundamental’ state here. (I have never experienced myself as some sort of ‘ basic I’ or ‘basic sentience’ onto which has been bolted on the functions of thinking, feeling, doing, and willing, and which is then layered-over with ‘received stimuli’ or ‘life experiences’… and so then it would be a good idea if I got rid of all this junk, and got back to who I ‘really am’) … So this idea of yours has no ground for me, in me… It’s a nice idea though, because it produces a pleasurable state if I don’t think about it too deeply… And interestingly enough, if I became addicted to this (idea) of this calm center, then I can see that I actually might experience feeling as having the quality of assaulting me or embracing me, and as being somewhat tumultuous…

      So obviously then, I have ever experienced myself (if this is what you mean by by ‘I’) as being ‘beyond anything’ either… So I don’t really know what you mean here, experientially

      I have experienced some very interesting states under various drugs though …Even that ‘mystic feeling’ of ‘togetherness’ with the Aardvark, the Antirrhinum, and Anthracite etc. – that ‘mystics, and advanced yogis speak of’… And it was all ‘very real’ …At the time … And I can still remember it quite vividly…

      For me it’s about – I’m here, and I’m experiencing… (I can’t tell you about those times when I’m ‘not here’ though – for what I hope are obvious reasons) … So the idea that everything could ever be at some sort of ‘at the starting line’ and then someone or something shouts ‘Go’ and then we all begin to be subjected to stimuli of various orders which we subsequently evaluate, isn’t really how I ‘get it’…. It’s always been like it is for me – and I love it, I must say… I would maintain that I just go from state to state – because I would say, “That’s what I am…. being.”….

      So, no nameless ‘Wonder-Proto-I’ for me then … I’ve always been ‘Robert’ or ‘Bob’ or ‘Alan’ or ‘Ardy’ or ‘Hey, you!!’ (but never ‘Doris’ or ‘Fido’ )…. Although I do follow the arguments here – (“Well if I cut your skimpson off, would YOU disappear? .. No you wouldn’t, you say?… Well ‘therefore’ you can’t be your skimpson” Etc. etc.)

      And I don’t now what ‘beyond concepts of rational and irrational’ means either (it sounds suspiciously like ‘yoga-speak’ to me)…

      As to your ‘a-rational’ … In my case, I’m sure that at least some of my choices in life would definitely be described in that way by others…

      The concept of this ‘disembodied ‘I’’ provides me with an excellent example of what Eugene Halliday advises are the dangers of ‘abstraction’ … Which is to the affect that, at a certain level, this practice of ‘abstraction’ ceases to be of any use – because what is being scrutinized has now become so wrenched out of context that it is devoid of meaning … Thus, in the case of this idea of the ‘I’ – it would appear, in practice, to have become another example of that dualistic ‘ghost in the machine’ to me – and disappears into just ‘word soup’ …

      So could you ground this bit in a practically experienced example of yours for me … please?

      For myself (and I really mean this) I make a lot more progress here in understanding what we are all ‘about’ when I ponder over the material produced by writers such as Roy Hargreaves’ in his ‘Mr Men and Little Miss’ series (which has the added huge advantage of being almost completely devoid of hubris). …

      To put it another way, because feeling is rational, it is ‘us’ in the sense that EH used when he emphasised the description of man as ‘evaluator’ or counter. Man, the conferrer of value.

      I disagree here – I experience evaluating, counting, and conferring as predominantly cognitive acts – and not always necessarily ‘rational’ either … (I tend to cheat – but immediately tell myself it’s OK – if, say, I’m dishing out the strawberries ‘equally’ to me and the grandchildren, for example).

      And anyway, in my little corner of the world, conferring (or better – ‘experiencing’) value is not what the feeling function ‘does’… ‘Experiencing value’ is rather, what it ‘is’… Not the same thing for me. ..

      I believe this conclusion that you’ve reached has come about from your very first statement where you have ‘feeling’ and ‘sentience’ as being somehow identical.

      It is surely fairly obvious that people’s actions and thinking processes are not always rational – particularly when these actions and processes arise as a consequence of emotions… Your description of an emotional state can surely be irrational – as can your actions arising from it. .. Your feeling though, is NEVER wrong …

      It then becomes apparent that ultimately, no-thing (including mental content) can be truly irrational.

      This read’s suspiciously like a cop-out to me… It smacks of Eugene’s, “… and if you try very, very, hard etc. etc. ” (which is code for ‘impossible’ in my view) …

      We only ever, in practice, have ‘part of the picture’; but I can tentatively agree that if only ‘we had instant access to everything at once’ then we could proceed on perfectly’… …. Don’t like this idea though… It sounds very like something that might come up in your head if you want on a walk-about in the nearest desert for five and half weeks or so …To be avoided then

      Perhaps it would be better if I admitted that what you write in this bit here doesn’t really make any sense to me … Can you unpack it please?

      … But now … If I were being really mischievous here, I would say that this is just an idea you have – which has come about from your state of misunderstanding where it concerns the term ‘ultimately’ – and that you are imagining that you have had some sort of experience of this (because you then make use of an ‘appeal’ by using the words – ‘becomes apparent’ … which is a subtle way of suggesting that it’s so obvious that it’s not really necessary to experience it – because we’ll both agree that if we don’t we’ll pretend that we actually have, because it doesn’t matter if we do) in order to make this further statement re ‘irrational’ …

      What is experienced as irrational will have sub-rational causes about which we have insufficient information.

      Is this the same as, ‘If we knew the ultimate form of reality then we would experience absolute truth …? (A sort of Hallidayian ‘Laplace’s Demon’)…Even Christ kept his mouth shut about this one!

      Irrationality ‘per se’ is illusory, raising awareness, or working to become reflexively self-conscious, seems to be the answer to the question, what is the meaning of life?

      Unless you’ve actually experienced your life in this way – this is (yet another) conclusion that you are drawing from ideas that you believe you understand somehow – without having experience them… That is, these are patterns of words (which ‘order power’ – to quote the man) that you have willingly imported into yourself, because, I would suggest, you ‘find the pattern that they make pleasurable…

      And by the way, being Reflexively Self-Conscious doesn’t change anything … except you.

      ….And I would also add here that I’m reflexively self-conscious ….but not all the time…And, even so – that if I got run over by a steamroller it would still hurt like mad.. And being Reflexively Self-Conscious didn’t make any difference to EH’s left leg …

      There is a great deal of junk talked about this ability, particularly in South Cheshire (and also Australia I believe)… My advice … Get over it … It’s over-rated … You still have to pay the rent… Practice dealing with things as they are, not as you’d like them to be …

      If you want a really simple and effective (guaranteed) way to be Reflexively Self-Conscious – and you have a decent appreciation of Eugene Halliday’s approach to Working – then the only exercise that I believe you need to practice here, is to tell the truth to yourself, about yourself, as much of the time as you are able to… And this viewpoint has the added advantage that you no longer have to worry about having to listen to all the pseudo-magic-mumbo-jumbo that various others trot out about the subject

      … You come to just ‘know’ and then you also realize how impossible it is to describe this state to someone else who is determined not to ‘have a go’ here (and notice that I didn’t write ‘can’t’ here) … Although they might sincerely believe that they do in fact ‘know something’ about it (which is very often in my experience and which is also very weird) and that if they waffle on about it for hours, it’s going to magically ‘happen’ to them… Trust me … It definitely won’t

      I think the picture Eugene drew of the guy with three eyes has paralyzed a lot of people here – as they seem to me to believe that this reflexive self-consciousness is somehow a ‘goal’ to attain, or some state to ‘evolve to’, and involves things like giving up chocolate, or something… It isn’t – it must be practiced, that’s all – It’s a bit like promising yourself you will tell the truth all the time… Anyone can do it, but most prefer not to. They’d rather not know what it is that they’re actually doing most of the time, and so devote most of their energy to doing precisely the opposite – not knowing themselves (which is surprisingly much easier) … As I say it’s very simple really … but getting to where you need to be to do it has a very narrow entrance gate.. and most people never feel inclined to go through it, although everyone can find it – if they bother to look …

      Incidentally, as an after thought, Love would seem to be the exception that proves the rule concerning irrationality and emotion, however given our famous definition of love as working for the development of the potentialities of being, then even this fundamental ’emotion’ is in no sense irrational.

      I wouldn’t call the state of Working for the development of the potentialities of being (which isn’t quite what you wrote by the way – can you spot the difference?) or indeed ‘Love’, an emotion…

      The very Creation we are told is Logos,

      What does this ‘told’ here mean to you?…

      hence cannot contain illogicality, it is man who differentiates, and perhaps sons of God who have unraveled irrationality and reversed the Fall?

      I sense that you use this term “We are told” all the time .. I believe it’s a cop-out … And it results in you drawing conclusions based on some opinion, or supposed account or other, that you have about the experience of ‘what the experience of the ‘All’ must be’, as opposed to your description of what the experience of one of the ‘bits’ down here is

      How do you feel about this sort of language?

      I like to study translations of alchemical texts (it’s a bit of a hobby of mine)… So the language here doesn’t bother me…. In fact, I’m probably more used to dealing with it than most, if the truth’s known … It’s only what the language is used for that ever bothers me.

      You said that you had problems with ‘eternity’ and ‘absolutes’.

      … Yes…. And could I also add the word ‘Ultimate’ here please?

      My overall impression of your comment here is that you are, a great deal of the time, re-presenting information that you have accumulated.. Probably because you’re fascinated by it … But you will have almost certainly decontextualized, or interpreted it intellectually, before you attempted to fit it into a particular context- a bit like rotating those bits of that jigsaw you happen to be working on to see if they might fit…. So it’s reactive then… If it’s any comfort though, I don’t know of any other technique that is as effective … So it just seems that we must accept the fact that our perm will almost certainly get all messed up whenever we attempt to move forward

      The only modification I would make here to this reactive approach is the one suggested by Martin Mathieson.. By all means react, react, react, and throw as much down on the page as you can…. But then go away and leave it… Try to forget it … Until you can’t quite remember ‘how you were’ when you wrote it, or what it was that you wrote … Then read your stuff again, and things will jump out at you that you can see aren’t clear, or that you didn’t mean in quite that way, or that you don’t want out there at all… etc. …

      My blog posts are usually finished after about ten days of concentrated work at the beginning of the month – I then spend the next three weeks or so revising what it is that I have written (and I revise it a great deal, believe me!)… As if the original draft were to get out, I’d probably be sued!

      (As you can see I’ve done very little re-editing to this reply – but you did ask for my ‘reaction’…And so I’ve tried to oblige … but I could go on here for hours … …

      BTW … There’s also a completely different, and far more important, exercise here, I believe. Which is to focus on attempting to recall your initial state(s) when preparing this original comment of yours – and reliving them now; and then attempt to observe the process of the original arising or appearance in you of these states if you can…

      However, I must tell you that sometimes I have found this to be quite a painful experience – so be careful if you try it…

      That’ll do for now I think… Now where did I put those biscuits…?

      Bob

  2. Hi Bob,

    I’ve finished chewing over this material for now and so will attempt a concise reply to your most welcome comments. I can’t do the ‘interleaved’ in red stuff, so its the usual fur ball I’m afraid!

    If we start with sentience, or Sentient Power, it is a statement of belief (on my part) that this is an all pervasive power which feels its own condition, and can also initiate. (Undoubtedly ‘it’ can do a lot more but I’ll leave it there for expediency!).
    To say that I am a sentient being is to claim that I partake of this sentience and can feel my own state, this provides me with an ‘I-ness’ as the feeler of the possibilities of being. In Through the Bible 2, p.11, EH writes “A whole human being has several properties or capacities for function. The most basic of these we call sensation, feeling, mentation, conceptual capacity, volition and comprehension of these”. To all intents and purposes then, in my experience, sentience, the ability to feel and I-ness can be conflated. The I-ness ‘feels’ like an anchor ‘in’ sentience, a point of reference (or EH’s ‘centre of precipitation’). Please don’t tell me that I don’t feel like a centre of precipitation in my lived experience because I often imagine that I do (but then, is imagination ‘real’ etc……)! On this concept, the words may be EH’s and retrieved from my memory banks, but before they were filed away in the memory I had already accepted their validity to ‘me’ as a concept which was helpful in understanding what we are. I’ve just realized that ‘memory’ is ‘the sea of me’!
    If I am present in a non-judgemental, be-here-now sort of mode, then I can be conscious of being conscious. This being conscious is the ‘I’ that I mean. This I, in this state as ‘feeling being’ must also be rational. This I is consciousness which can think, will and do, if it chooses, but cannot not feel. Thus consciousness, sentience and feeling are fundamental. (Incidentally, if “feeling and sentience are not the same thing ….at all…..” and feeling is rational, then what of sentience? Is that rational, irrational or neither?)
    As we agree that the ‘feeling function’ is rational, then, according to my analysis, ‘I’ am rational, as is sentience ‘itself’. However, because I believe that Sentient Power is all that there is, it must also accommodate the irrational (although I do doubt whether it is experienced as being irrational), as indeed do ‘I’, to the extent that I am full of unresolved contradictions! One aspect of this ‘irrational’ would be emotion, as far as we can tell, we experience the emotions not the other way around, so we ought to be able, in theory, to dispassionately observe a given emotion. Now, this I can do, i.e.. the observation, but I can’t stop myself having these emotions (and usually don’t want to!). Certain control, or ability to temper, is obviously desirable to stop them becoming overwhelming and potentially destructive.
    If you are aware of the state of your being, moment to moment and you experience calm, then in a sense you are ‘ready’ for that phone call which lurches you into anxiety, you feel sick to the stomach and nothing retains any importance, certainly not EH or religion or anything else of a rational nature. Meaning is lost until the crisis is over. The sensation is that order is dissolved and the ‘I’ wallows in irrationality. But at least you have established a potential platform for self-examination ‘in between’ emotional episodes as it were! The causes of an emotion may be cumulative and consequential, but the experience of it, and indulging in it, is very irrational! (Would this be ‘Identification’?) I do not imagine that Sentient Power (which is not ‘involved in the world’, see below) is subject to this ‘process’, which is why I conceived it as “somehow beyond the concepts of rational and irrational”.
    It seems to me that man decides what is rational and irrational e.g.. Star Trek’s Dr. Spock telling Jim he’s being irrational and illogical when acting on gut feelings (emotional intelligence?). In our agreed terminology Jim’s rational feeling assessment of an apparently irrational instinct, which is probably an unformulated ‘hunch’ based on previous experience and God knows what else at a subconscious level.
    This is not to suggest ‘dualism’, ‘ghosts in the machine’ etc. but merely the difference between created and uncreated, how Sentient Power behaves when its’ involved in the world as distinct from when its’ in a ‘free’ state.
    I realize that we are on very shaky ground here, and of course I can’t get my head around the concept of S.P. in a ‘free state’. If it’s beyond time and space then there can’t be bits of it involved and bits uninvolved in any meaningful sense, but that’s the limit of the linear mind. It can’t put Humpty together again, but I love metaphysics and so have to keep trying!
    So, (as you Americans like to put at the start of a sentence!), to briefly recap the ‘argument’ of “Post 13”,
    A. Feeling is never confused and is therefore rational.
    B. Emotion is a feeling state in need of cognitive input (for recognition and expression).
    Whilst happy with A, I can’t sign up to B, although on a post – comment re-reading of Post 13, I am moving closer to your position of emotion as irrational and not ‘a-rational’! It seems more accurate to envisage emotion as an experienced irrational ‘state’, to which feeling assesses, evaluates and affords cognition.
    To digress momentarily, what explanation can we give to such phenomena as ’emotionally charged atmospheres’ and ‘sense of unease’, ‘sense of mischievousness’ etc. These sensations also present as a rational evaluation of the irrational, in that feeling discerns the intensity of emotions and sensations, both of which are irrational in themselves but brought to expression by cognitive processes. I am going to suggest that feeling can be compared to the trace on a seismograph and emotion, sensation etc. to the earthquakes.

    Moving on I’d just like to say ‘for the record’ that I totally agree with your explanation of what ‘Work’ is, what reflexive self-consciousness is and isn’t, and that the best approach to this condition is total self-honesty with ourselves. I felt that you assumed a difference (due to my lack of clarity) when there isn’t one. Self-understanding is the name of the game via experience of willing, thinking and feeling in ‘the human arena’, where I believe, intelligence trumps emotion, or rather emotion in itself is no good at all without a comprehending intelligence trying to work out what’s going on and why. Yes I know, it all works together ‘holistically’, but if the engine is broken, you have to take it apart in order to fix it. What a nice masculine metaphor, not a bit girlie! Talking of which…………your comment about my “assaults” and “embraces” made me smile, the language is probably more ‘Carolie’ than ‘girlie’ as some girls may like assaults and dislike embraces! Anyway, let’s say ‘like and dislike’ instead. A quick note about this, I sense that you will not be happy with ‘like and dislike’ either, but EH did seem to encourage this sort of thinking when he talked about the rate of incoming stimuli and its’ subsequent assimilability. If too fast then we can’t assimilate it and it is registered as dislike and vice versa. I suspect that this is another aspect to consider. Also I used the word ‘turmoil’ in the sense of churning energies before labeling them good or bad, waxed or hairy!

    Re man as ‘evaluator’, we each judge what we think or feel has value to us and prioritize accordingly. Life shows us that we do not know what is genuinely good or bad for us. Feeling does not experience value in my perception, but to be consistent with feeling as rational we should say that feeling evaluates value. The ‘situation’ being experienced is unmediated and may be rational, e.g. reading a timetable; irrational, e.g. hearing ghostly noises; or neither, e.g. creative activity?; or both e.g. sun-bathing! (Actually, I’m not sure about this bit, it’s surprisingly difficult to come up with actual examples of ‘rational activity’ etc).

    “….it then becomes apparent that ultimately, no-thing can be truly irrational….”
    I knew that you would challenge me on this statement! It doesn’t become apparent at all but I was struggling to formulate a perception and was hoping that you were somehow magically ‘on-board’! Sorry. I’ll try and do better.
    In Through the Bible 4, p.63, para 1, EH writes …….”Our worst motives we try to hide, even from ourselves. This is how we create the so-called unconscious realm of our mind. “……. In similar vein the irrational highlights the unexamined. If we aim to ‘know ourselves’ and emotions remain irrational or even sub rational, then what chance do we have? Can we ever really know ourselves in such circumstances? (Or am I confusing emotion and causes of emotion?).,
    From the human perspective animals are behaving perfectly rationally when they act from an emotional response as we tend to believe that they cannot reason. Rational behaviour for a baboon is not considered rational behaviour for a human being. As reason and understanding develop so irrationality either reduces or is controlled.
    I’m grasping at mental straws here, not because I’m aping the opinions of others, or jig-sawing ideas into fanciful pictures, and certainly not because its’ not a ‘real’ experience for me, but because it IS a real experience, albeit a mental one, at the limits of my language ability. I may call this, using passive words to describe an active concept, the best scenarios are when at least some of the actual words are ‘active’, then I can re-conceive what I experienced, but of course, that does not mean that someone else would be able to! Here is the source of all our difficulties!!
    I do however, put my hands up to being ‘fascinated’, I’m quite happy, for the time being at least, to be ‘tied or spell-bound’ to the search for meaning or Truth, (I know they don’t mean the same thing but hopefully one can be found through the other?) which is, I presume, self-knowledge.

    Finally, it’s good to have a conversation about all of this as we test and re-conceive ideas and challenge ourselves about what we think we know, our assumptions etc. So I am grateful to you Bob for making me feel and think at the same time, as well as ‘willing’ I guess, as I have to will to do this. If that’s not Work then I don’t know what is!

    Laters!
    Carol

    P.S. Not quite as succinct as I had hoped!

   
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