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

Christopher Hitchens

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

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WT…..?

by Bob Hardy

God has never
God does not
And God will never

Do requests

 

God has never
God does not
And God will never

Demand that you do stuff

 

God does not want

Any of your money

 

God does not require

Elected morsels of your flesh

 

But if
However

From time to time
You believe that you must

                      (And if you enjoy talking to yourself)

Then the occasional
Heart-felt “Thank you!”

Is more than sufficient here

 

You see

God just is

 

Further
More

And simply put

Everything happening

That really matters
In all of this

Is actually
Up to you

All of the time

 

And that’s how bad
Things really are

Down here

I’m afraid.

 

Have a nice day.

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

If it helps

         …..think of this post

                      ……something likebob-urobrous

this …….                        .

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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OK then… Here we go …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

……… Dither …… dither.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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To move on here …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“.. ‘Snakey Stuff’!! 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Snakey Stuff”!!! 

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

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

From ‘Field-notes for Armageddon’ by Bob Hardy

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

1).  A ‘Governing Concept’.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2).  A ‘Scheme of Inquiry’:

I would claim that this is also after Eugene Halliday.

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

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

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

3). A ‘Conceptual Framework’:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4). A ‘Mode of Presentation’:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Précis – Eugene Halliday – Hierarchy

Précis – Eugene Halliday – Islam

Précis – Eugene Halliday – Karlfried Von Durkheim

Précis – Eugene Halliday – Modern Physics

Précis – Eugene Halliday – Pseudo-Denys

Précis – Eugene Halliday – Sorcery

Précis – Eugene Halliday – Soul

Précis – Eugene Halliday – The Basics of Judaism

Précis – Eugene Halliday – The Body

Précis – Eugene Halliday – Zen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The next thing that I attempt to sort out?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To be continued …

December 2016

Portland, Oregon.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Not really … but thanks!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Here’s a bit more about these two words.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To be Continued ….

Bob Hardy
Portland, Oregon, USA

20th December, 2016.

 

 

This was intended to be the final blog-post in which I would be attempting to provide information regarding my various attempts to ‘Work’ with what I believe to be one or two of the major concepts that are contained in Eugene Halliday’s various talks and writings – the majority of which are freely available for downloading from the Eugene Halliday Archiveand also here, at Eugene Halliday Texts and Transcripts 

And this is, indeed, my ‘final post’… However it has become so ridiculously long – and it has also proved to be such a lengthy process to both write and edit, that I have now decided to divide it into at least a couple of more easier to manage ‘chunks’… otherwise I’m never going to get it posted…

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The previous posts in this blog contain very little biographical information about me – indeed, many of what I like to believe are major factors here are not even mentioned. For example: by the time I was 20 years-old I had already ‘been round the world’ (as we used to say in the Merchant Navy); that my wife and I have been together now for 58 years (since we were fifteen years old). It tells you nothing about our children, or our grandchildren; or give any details of where in the world we have lived at various times – or for how long; it tells you next to nothing about what my formal qualifications are; or how it was that I made a living; … etc… etc…

And I’d say that you’d have to be really unaware, if you’ve failed to consider just how much we are all shaped by our actual ‘being in the world’ (as Heidegger might have put it). Our physicality: big; small; fat; thin; spotty; ugly; bum too big; etc. etc. etc. Our intelligence: from those impressive academic qualifications we might have earned ourselves, to the trouble we might have experienced in our attempts to master the art of ‘joined-up’ writing, etc. Our emotional make-up: Having a good cry at the end of our 10th viewing of ‘The Sound Of Music’, to being indifferent to the goings-on of others in the guise of ‘minding our own business or ‘don’t like to pry’, etc.etc. Our relationships; our geographical location(s); our day-to-day experiences etc…

In fact, after trying to deal with all the ‘day-to-day’ stuff, I would guess that the location of most folk’s (so to speak) ‘spiritual dimension’ will almost certainly be ephemeral here – at least when it comes to the actual living out of their real lives. And will, at very best, be positioned somewhere near the border of all the rest of that stuff going on in there – if they were to be really honest about themselves that is…

And here’s an easy question for you, so that you can check out if ‘this might mean you’ … : “In what areas of your life are you absolutely certain that you placed your ‘spiritual’ well-being before any other consideration?”… …  I know! … I can already hear you saying, “Well exactly how long have you got!” … and, “Where would you like me to start!” …

But, by the way..  if you imagine your answer here should necessarily contain any details at all of how it was that you went about attempting to bring some peace and order into your life… Well – from my perspective at least – you’d be dead wrong.

And my decision not to go into any in-depth autobiographical detail in this blog should be taken by you as an indication that I have deliberately chosen to present the material here (that is, the details of my interaction with Eugene Halliday’s material) in the very particular way that I, in fact, have…

However, let me stress that I am certainly of the opinion that one can far more quickly learn about the affect on the lives of people who claim that they have been profoundly influenced by some body of ideas or other (particularly if they claim that these ideas are of a strong ethical bent) by simply observing how it is that they manage their relationships; where they decided to live; the way in which they run their ‘everyday lives’; and how it is that they manage both themselves, and the person that they are intent on presenting to the world – that’s the one that they would like us all to believe they really are. 🙂 …  But, as I say, I’ve just not provided any in-depth information like this about me here in this blog unless I believed it was absolutely necessary.

And as you obviously can’t do any of this ‘observing’ of me, even if you wanted to – you might well be tempted to ask, “So what exactly is this ‘particular way’ of mine, that I mention above?” .. Well – to put it bluntly – that’s for you to figure out … But, in this particular post at least, I could claim that whatever it is, here it is concerned with the way in which I construct, and Work, with what I refer to as a ‘system(s)’.

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Eugene Halliday maintained that ‘A system is [only ever] a saviour for a time’..

Most people that I have discussed this definition of his with, appear to have focused on that word ‘Saviour’ here (for reasons that were never very clear to me) .. In my case though, it was that subordinate clause, ‘for a time’, that I very quickly came to focus upon … Initially, I suppose, because – although systems are so necessary to me – I am continuously aware of the imposition(s) that they place upon me …

But, from the valuable perspective that I did manage to gain from this definition of Eugene Halliday’s, I came to experience any particular system that I chose to interact with as being (necessarily) bounded by the time-process   … Which is to say, I became aware that there was a definite point in the future when it was possible that I would be freed from it… This being the point at which I had done enough Work with it ..

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In order to have any hope of being successful at Working with any particular system, I also believe it is important that you must commit beforehand to what Eugene Halliday refers to as a  ‘governing concept’ (such as, ‘All that there is, is Sentient Power.’).. which should not be confused with a ‘motto’ or a ‘slogan’…

Why commit to a ‘governing concept’? Well you will then have a way of ‘quality controlling’ the consequences of your decisions here.. It functions rather like a compass (at least it does in my little corner of the world) and is the best way that I have discovered for sticking with the ‘correct context’. Particularly as the viewpoint I am striving to maintain there is always in danger of slipping about uncontrollably the minute that I lose concentration…

And it’s also OK to make use of different governing concepts for different systems – just as long as you stick to the one that you have chosen, once you’ve chosen it. …

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This idea of Eugene Halliday’s of a ‘Governing Concept’ … It can be a very tricky thing, and in my experience great care must be exercised in formulating them…

Take ‘God is Love.’ for example … Very nice and all that … But if this is a governing concept that you have decided to use, it is important to bear in mind (‘crucial to bear in mind’ might be better) that this short sentence has an entirely different meaning from, ‘Love is God.’  …

To believe that they are ‘the same thing’ is to misunderstand that the word ‘is’ here signifies equivalence, as opposed to it being deterministic…

So, in the case of understanding the word ‘is’ here as signifying an equivalence, it would obviously not matter then which way round you put the first and last words here, because this sentence will mean the same thing either way (‘God is love’ would mean exactly the same thing as ‘Love is God’); rather than seeing that the word ‘is’ here as a determinant – in which case ‘love’ is merely one of God’s characteristics, and thus ‘love’ and ‘God’ do not mean the same thing here…

So it is important to remember, that if you don’t take the trouble initially, to be absolutely sure as to what it is that your ‘governing concept’ means to you,  you can soon land yourself in all sorts of trouble.

As in fact can be seen here in this (surely) not very complex three-word sentence.

 

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

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This last post of mine does ‘go on quite a bit’ though I’m afraid – even more than the others. But as it is also far more ‘fragmented’ than usual I can tell you that this is actually a lot more like the ‘real’ me. That is, it’s the one you would both ‘observe’ out there in the world, and also ‘in here’ in the privacy of ‘my mind’ – particularly when it comes to the manner in which I go about attempting to process ideas and formulate concepts …

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I have never experienced any of my attempts at formulating even a relatively simple concept that I believed, or intuited, was going to be really important to me, as merely some sort of ‘stroll in the park’ .. Actually, these attempts of mine have always seemed to me to have been far more like trying to collect together the scattered pieces of a jig-saw puzzle; intuitively deciding that I have subsequently managed to find them all (or most of them – at least to be going on with): and then attempting to construct the meaningful picture that I just knew was there in the first place…. without the help of the picture on the lid…

Regrettably though, I am often prone to picking up the same piece time after time. And as a direct consequence of doing so, I – more often than not – will eventually become far too frustrated for my own good – because I just can’t seem to figure out where it’s supposed to go! …

The relatively lengthy process of preparing all the posts for this blog has been something of a similar experience for me… But I should also quickly add, that doing so has provided me with a (yet another) valuable exercise.…

And if you also manage to get something useful out of all this? … Well, that’s entirely your affair..

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And whether others who have decided to engage in solving their own puzzle down here are doing so by for example (and making use of the same metaphor): ‘Thinking’ – that is, by examining each piece very carefully, and then deciding, after much deliberation and careful consideration, that it goes ‘there’; ‘Sensation’ this is, that this piece is, or is not, the same color as that one, or that it is, or is not, the right shape to fit in there; ‘Intuition’ – that is, “I just know that piece goes there,”  etc. etc.  is not really all that interesting to me – at least in any hierarchical sense… That is, I don’t view any particular method (or deliberated approach) as being necessarily ‘superior’ to any other here – although I am inclined to examine other methods in search of useful tips.   …So it’s ‘horses for courses’ for me then, you might say.

And thus, I don’t value one method over another then.. “If it Works, it Works” …

And how it is that you freely chose to arrive at your ‘destination’ is primarily your affair I would say… Indeed, you might find the metaphor of ‘a journey’ of absolutely no use to you here whatsoever..

The only thing I would add here is that, however you chose to go about Working, ‘Time is of the essence’ – no matter how you decide to go about things..

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Over the past couple of years I have come to privately view this blog of mine as a sort of ‘Pata-Blog’ .

“And what is that exactly?” you might ask… Well it means that this blog is an account of sorts, of some of my imaginary solutions to some of my  imaginary problems (particularly the intellectual ones).

Or – another way that I might put it – It’s my attempt to elaborate upon the metaphysics of what I believe are a number of personally experienced synchronicities.

NOTE: The founder of Pataphysics, a Frenchman by the name of Alfred Jarry, claimed that “Pataphysics is ‘The science of the particular’…(A)nd so it does not, therefore, study the rules governing the general recurrence of a periodic incident (the expected case), so much as study the games governing the special occurrence of a sporadic accident (the unexpected case)… Pataphysics is then, above all, the science of the particular – despite the common opinion that the only science is that of the general.” …

And if all that hasn’t put you off entirely ….

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“The power of self deception is great in the case of all men, but I incline to think that it is greatest in the case of a popular official such as a Bishop, who never hears anything but his own voice, and the sycophantic acclamations which it evokes.”

Herbert Henry Henson
From ‘Retrospective On An  Unimportant Life”

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What did I keep on doing when I found myself face-to-face – yet again – with one of those fundamental personal problems of mine that I didn’t ever seem able to quite get a handle on?  

Well, I came to see (at the point when I realized what was going on here) that I had very carefully constructed my life such that, when this situation did arise (and I came to realize that it did so very frequently), then l was very quickly able to put myself in the position of ‘discovering’ yet ‘another’, (that is to say a ‘different’) problem – and one that was not necessarily trivial either! …

But importantly, this ‘other’ problem was one that I believed I could get a handle on …

And so I could then keep on telling myself that I was … justifiably … “Simply far too busy at the moment doing really important stuff”… but that, “I would get right onto that other big problem, the very next time that it reared its ugly head.” … … (Repeat endlessly)…

Did this realization re my fallen state mean that I was now in a position to finally, once and for all, put a stop to all this self-deception? … Of course it didn’t!!! 


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

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“What will they tell you is really going on? … ‘In the now’… Right this minute? … Well!… That would be whatever they happen to believe is going on right now.. Which of course they are liable to completely deny was going on in the very next moment… Now claiming – just as fervently – that they find that they no longer believe it! …

However! … Don’t mistake these changes in belief to be an indication that they have necessarily become more insightful…Regrettably all that this change usually means, is that they have simply discarded one dimly understood view, or fashionable facile ideology, for yet another.”

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“… Most of them here are vain to the point of absurdity….(He pauses to listen)  What is ‘vanity’? … It’s a word we use to describe their ability to live almost continually in some imaginary future or other… A future in which they picture themselves as being somehow indispensable!”

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(A)nd this ‘humanity’ of theirs, that some of them are so fond of going on about? … Well the degree to which they possess any – and most of them don’t – can of course only be gauged by their interaction with others… By their ‘relationships’, as they call them…

And the interesting part about these relationships of theirs is the way that they will, initially, spent most of their time and energy clawing their way up that ladder to make damn sure that they are ‘in the right profession’ or ‘living in the right area’… and so ‘Meeting the right people .. people like me’ then. So that they can enjoy ‘proper’ relationships …(He pauses an snorts with laughter) …  With cardboard mirror images of themselves! 

Many of those who have a desire to live, what they and interested members of the audience like to fantasize, is a ‘spiritual life’ will scurry off to some ‘retreat’ as they like to call these places, usually located in some rural backwater or other, in order to, “Live very, very, simply … somewhere nice, with others of like mind.” Often dressing up in some sort of ‘simple’ uniform or other, or entirely in white  …With the result that, in no time at all, they will be wandering around convinced that the world, “Isn’t such a bad place after all,” and that other people, “Aren’t really that bad once you get to really know them.”

But their conclusions here … their subsequent behavior here … is hardly surprising is it? (He pauses to listen).. And it can be really irritating… Particularly when it then comes to the manner in which they presume to then dish out advice to ‘needy others’ down here…. And there are literally hundreds of millions of those, who are for example, starving in East Africa; or who live in a war-zone in the Middle-East; or find themselves at the wrong end of things, simply by being born into a slave-state such as India …

But then, most ‘civilized beings’ here are brim-full with all sorts of ‘helpful advice’ for those who are ‘less fortunate’ than themselves out there… Provided of course that their toilets are still flushing; they have clean water coming out of their taps; the car is full of petrol; and there is plenty of food available in the shops…(He pauses to listen)

Well… And if it does all suddenly – for one reason or another – start to ‘Go South’, as they might put it down here? … Then almost all of them will – overnight, and almost certainly – ‘simply’ revert to type…”

Fragment(s) from “Field Notes for Armageddon” by Bob Hardy

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If you were to ask me to summarize my various attempts at engaging with specific concepts of  Eugene Halliday’s, or anyone else’s, for that matter… (An activity by the way, that I would only ever attempt to engage in if I believed that it would help me to answer those questions that seem to have been with me for as long as I can remember)… I would tell you that, in order to answer you satisfactorily, I would have to elaborate upon my various attempts at Working.. But – in my case at least – this is an activity that doesn’t really lend itself to “summarizing”.   .…

However, if you continued to press me here then I would say, that at the very least, my approach has always been most definitely, ‘heuristic’…. That is to say, I tend to sketch out a ‘course of action’ – which I then refer to as a ‘system’…

And it was only ever my subsequent belief in the practicality of any one of these particular ‘systems’ (in Eugene Halliday’s sense of the word) that would induce me to at least attempt to then go on to make use of it …

So there is no simple ‘blind-faith’ for me here, either in the construction of, or in the decision to make use of, one these systems then.

I should also add here that this somewhat pedantic and cautious approach of mine here has come about, because I believe the process of deliberating about any system that I do decide to implement is such an essential initial component of Working, that I want to be as clear as I believe I possibly can be, before I commit myself to it ..

So I certainly would never take on board a concept simply because the person relaying it to me had a reputation with others for trotting out ‘important truths’ – whoever they were, and whatever it was… As Pontius Pilate so eloquently put it, “Who gives a f**k about ‘the nature of truth’? … I’m trying to manage a particularly unruly, smelly, disgusting, backward, and relatively minor Roman province here!”

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But the fact that my initial approach to any system that I make use of is always ‘heuristic’, doesn’t really tell you anything about the ‘actual matter’ of any of these systems of mine… Like, for example, the ‘how’, or the ‘why’ here… Or anything about ‘the background’ …Does it?

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And, to further complicate matters here,  I would also have to tell you that whether it were possible for some hypothetical system or other – be that one which attempts to make practical use of Eugene Halliday’s concepts (or anyone else’s for that matter) – to function as some sort of ‘panacea’. Which is to say it would be a system that claimed it could ‘do the business’ in all instances, by maintaining  – for example, that ‘We’re all living in a Matrix-like virtual-reality simulacrum’ or ‘All you need is love’, or something else that will conveniently fit onto a car-bumper sticker, or that will make a really fetching tattoo  – is not something I’ve really given all that much serious thought to… At least not since the mid-1980’s.

Also, the research that I conducted during the latter half of the first decade of the present millennium into a number of those who claimed to have spent a major part of their lives intent on discovering such a system (one that they claimed involved Eugene Halliday’s concepts) has led me firmly to the conclusion that they clearly never managed to find it.. And that if they did claim they had, then – at least from my perspective – they were at best, merely deluding themselves… Although perhaps I should very quickly add here that a very small number of them here who did appear to be able to regurgitate a great deal of Eugene Halliday’s material with reasonable accuracy… But to what actual purpose these efforts served them, when it came to them living out their own lives, was something that I was never satisfactorily able to discover… Clue: “All the world’s a stage…”

And I would also have to add here that – importantly for me at least –  I don’t happen to believe in concepts such as ‘The philosophers stone’, or ‘The diamond body’, or even ‘My eternal soul’ – because these concepts don’t make that much sense to me at all (I have never been able to realistically ‘ground’  any of the explanations on offer here)… Although I will admit that I have found the elaboration of concepts such as these to have been intensely interesting, at various times in my life….

By the way, this view of mine also applies to important concepts of Eugene Halliday’s, such as  ‘All that there is, is sentient power’, or that ‘Love’ is ‘working for the development of the potential in all being’… Which is to say that – in my opinion – these concepts are all well and good … But only up to a point…

Thus, it is in the areas of ‘inquiry’ and ‘explanation’, rather than those of ‘definitive’ and ‘conclusive’, that I tend to situate most of Eugene Halliday’s concepts..

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So – for me at least –  it’s any system that is serving my purpose for the time being then  …. And “When it no longer ‘does the business,” you might be tempted to ask? .. Well, then I ditch it…

And if I subsequently discovered that I was going in the wrong direction as a direct result of one of my decisions here? … Well, primarily – and most importantly I believe – I’m more than happy with the idea that this would be my sole responsibility, as I was clearly the one who had initially freely chosen to take it on board…

But I would also claim the good news here is that, as a direct consequence of my behavior (as a direct consequence of my pursuit of this particular course of action, that is) I will now have in my possession a pattern of embodied experiences that could provide the substance of a really valuable lesson… One that I could now reflect upon… and one that has the real possibility of revealing something really useful about myself, to myself… Should I have the courage (or be bothered) to do so, that is…

 So I now also have to reveal to you then, that from my point of view, engaging in Work – even if it’s the ‘wrong’ Work – will always be potentially capable of producing a positive result… And thus, that any attempt to Work – at least as far as I’m concerned – is capable of producing … in actual fact … and  in reality …  a ‘win-win’ scenario! …

…. Magic!

But this perspective of mine here re Work, I would agree, could possibly – at least initially – be very confusing to others .. And this I believe, is because Work is nearly always imagined to be a process wherein one is attempting to ‘do’ something (“We ‘do’ our ‘Encounter Group’ session on Monday evenings.”; “I do my Yoga exercises every day.”; I always read a passage from the Bible before I go to sleep.”: “I practice the banjo every morning for at least half-an-hour,” etc.) – the end result (the essential motive here) nearly always seems to me to something like, “Aren’t I wonderful! … Clever me! … I know lots about this … I am doing that now!”; These activities constitute the accomplishment of tasks in my world (“Well done me!”), and are not examples of Working then, which is a process whereby one is attempting to ‘become’ something…  A different aim entirely … 🙂 …

I would say then that the only thing I’m really interested in, or the only criteria I will use here in any attempt to evaluate others re their claims to be Working (which is a situation that I have very, very, rarely ever got to with others) is just how able they are becoming at … ‘doing’ …. themselves..

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And why is it that I attempt to Work? … Well it provides a definitive proof for me that I have ‘purpose’ … Ergo, “There is ‘purpose’ in the Universe.” … … …  But, please note, I’m not claiming here that, “The Universe has (a) purpose,” because I have no idea what that might mean. Only that, “I have a purpose.” … … “Sufficient onto the day,” and all that …  🙂 ..

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But anyway, to repeat once again, “(T)he fact that my initial approach to any system that I make use of is always ‘heuristic’, doesn’t really tell you anything about the ‘actual matter’ of any of these systems of mine. Like, for example, the ‘how’, or the ‘why’ here… Or anything about ‘the background’ …Does it?

So now, here’s a something about that…. After the commercial break.

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Eugene Halliday had a very neat way of defining ‘stupid’ behavior, which was to the effect that, “For the stupid, everything is dictated to solely by  circumstance (sic).”

So he obviously isn’t claiming that everything stupid people do will necessarily appear to others as stupid. But rather that, as there is no reflexive decision-making process actually taking place here (but only ever a reaction) the perceived consequences (as far as any observer would judge them that is) could in fact ‘go either way’.

That is … then … that any behavior (together with the consequent result of that behavior) … that is itself under consideration, might come to be viewed – from the point of view of an external observer at least – as either dumb, or smart.

And although any particular consequence of behaving stupidly (from this perspective at least) might appear to some observer or other to be, in fact, ‘really’ intelligent…That judgment is only ever ‘The luck of the draw’, as it were… Which is weird when you try to get your head round it. 

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

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What sorts of things have to be in place before I’m satisfied that a particular system is worth using? … Do I have a definite way of going about discovering/constructing systems, that is? …  …  Well the short answer to that is, “Yes, I do.”  But even so, I do always find it a very difficult thing to do – in fact it can take me years.

It’s rather like trying to formulate that ‘right question’. A task that – no matter how long it takes – I, thankfully, seem to be relentlessly able to stick to.

And, as a consequence, I have come to believe that if I am successful in my formulation(s) here, then the answer that I seek will, quite often now, be ‘just around the corner’… Or, at very least, this question of mine that I have struggled to formulate will be experienced by me as a ‘light in the darkness’ that I can now use to move forward here, should I choose to do so.

So it isn’t so much that I go about constructing a system in order to do something; but more like clarifying to myself what it is that has to be done.

To put that a little more mysteriously perhaps. One of the major purposes of Working for me is that it will reveal to me those particular questions that have, up to now, been obscured by all my previous answers..  

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Anyway, the first bit of my system building is – I would say – relatively simple, and I could argue that it is also the most important to grasp… So if you’re remotely interested in what I maintain it is that I’m trying to accomplish, here’s something a little more concrete about that.

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Initially at least, I tend to ‘dither’ (See below) because I don’t have any hard-and-fast concrete methodology for formulating systems… I like to keep my options open, you might say..

What I definitely ‘do’ though, is to worry  away at something particular (and this could go on for years) until I get to ‘see where it is’ – that is, where it is appearing in my life. ..

I will then take the odd peep at it – sometimes by recalling one of these ‘appearances’, but more often now as time goes on, by ‘catching myself’ in one of these situations, either ‘part of the way through’ (“Hey, you’re doing that again!”), or as I ‘incline’ into it. Catching this ‘inclination’ at the moment that it arises in me now becomes the ‘tipping point’ here. That is, it is the point where it is now possible for me to experience these occurrences ‘in the now’ (that is reflexively), and so I can move onto the next stage..

Importantly though, I can become so pleased with myself at this point, that I will now fall back into a reactive state, and then attempt to move on here too quickly. And as a direct result of doing so, I am almost certain to miss, or disregard, important features… … Failed again then!

And also, at some point after this, if things are going well in that I can maintain that reflexive state a bit more frequently, I now experience a change of pace in my desire to increase the frequency of my attempts to Work here… And I will start to obsess about it, such that it will now begin to consume a great deal of my time – even interfering (and sometimes radically) with other aspects of my day-to-day life … Another trip-up that has to be avoided then.

And, as I say, I don’t experience these later stages of Working as impositions necessarily, often they make me feel like flying. But, again, this is a state in which I am also in danger of missing important features – because I’m now ‘enjoying myself’ so much.. Us musical types call this state ‘the rush’ … 🙂 .. And this is another illusion here – or another ‘temptation’ for me if you like

But here’s the important bit. At some point during this process (and I have various ways of attempting to move it along here)  I will start to realize that a particular word, or group of words, is of really major importance to me here…And I will subsequently  begin to examine this word (or these words) from every angle…

One of the ways that I do this – and I think it’s possibly the most important aspect of what I do here initially – is that I will attempt to incorporate this word(s) into my everyday speech; into my various descriptions to myself and my attitudes, my emotions, and my social behavior, etc, until I feel I have obtained a substantial meaning for this word(s) that I now experience as belonging to me… A meaning that I can now instantly – and with little effort – relate to. And if I subsequently bring up this word in consciousness, it will now have a rich ‘bank’ of associations that I can easily ‘see’ with very little effort, and that I can now use to create patterns that can potentially bring me to places that I want to go to, and that will then go on to become richer and richer in their useful detail….This is actually what a ‘spell’ is by the way…

(It’s OK if you don’t agree with me about that … but – take it from me – that’s what a ‘Spell’ actually is. And it is why, if you don’t keep on top of them, by making use of them continually, you can very quickly get rusty) …

Then I can move back to that initial ‘worry’ of mine and I can now see it from the perspective of this word(s) with a great deal more (and with an increasing) clarity.

The metaphor I use for this process is that of a ‘journey’. And my task is one of attempting to move forward… But what I’m doing isn’t really a ‘journey’ – like, say, going to the Isle of Man for my summer holidays… It’s sort of like the same way that alchemists knew that there wasn’t really a two-headed green lion; or a couple of ravens; or the odd member of royalty, etc. etc. hanging around in that old jam-jar that they were using to conduct their various experiments in. (But you might be surprised to discover just how many modern ‘New-Age’ chumps actually think there really were ‘things going on in there’) … These symbolic images (as opposed to, say, chemical signs) were simply useful metaphors, and so, regrettably perhaps, there were no real dragons etc. in there – even if you base your views here on such authoritative texts as ‘Lord of The Rings’ ‘or the ‘Harry Potter’ books: even if you’ve gone to all the trouble of having an Orc tattoo placed around your bicep … … (As an aside here though, I for one would be over the moon if there really were dragons, and all that other stuff!) … So … anyway … I have to continually bear in mind that really I’m not going anywhere, but that (ideally if I can manage it) I’m only ever ‘Here: Now’ ….

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But, to get on with it.. The ‘initial important word’ for me here – at least where it concerns the explanation that I want to present in this post concerning my approach to formulating a system, is one that I have to experience with an ‘in the now’ definitive state of a positive quality or (if it makes it easier to understand) the experiencing of a very positive state of “Yes!” ‘…

And that word is ‘invest’

I will first of all sketchily map out a dialectical base-line … Because this approach gives me a definite direction to go in; a definite experience of being orientated, that is..

And this line then, in this particular case, is bounded at one end, by the word ‘invest’ …

And I now begin to examine the degree to which I experience myself ‘investing’ here, up until the point where I begin to experience a state where I want to  ‘divest’…which first appears as a vague state of ‘No!’ that will get stronger, until it results in action on my part.

The limit of the application of the term ‘System” then (in Eugene Halliday’s sense of this term) but only from this one perspective, is bounded dialectically here by the meaning (note – not ‘the definition of’ or ‘the etymological root’ or ‘phonic definitions of the various sounds that I might claim are connected to the English spelling of these words) that I give to these two words.

And so (and I think obviously) you should now be able to see clearly that you cannot use any part of this system of mine yourself, until you do the necessary Work here.. And simply telling yourself and others that, “I understand this stuff you know,” (which is actually a misuse of the term ‘understand’) or any other such sterile clap-trap, will actually not help you here at all!..In fact it will probably prevent you from going anywhere … And not God, not Jesus, not Mohammad, not Buddha etc et al , can take this step for you … Because … well… where would the fun be in that for them? … Only you are able to initiate a process, and then subsequently involve yourself in it, such that it will give your life any meaning down here.. And no one, or no thing, can force you to do so…. Interesting though, you can appear to convincingly ‘fake it’ as far as others (and more interestingly perhaps, yourself) are concerned  .. And you might be surprised to learn that I have met a goodly few who actually do just that…. And, even more mysterious here, some of these don’t have the faintest idea that this is what they are really up to.

Anyway – having satisfied myself that I am now in the right starting place here – from this particular perspective at least – I tell myself that “I’ve managed to nail it at last!”..  and will then immediately take the next Sunday off.

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‘To dither’ (OED – To vacillate, to act indecisively, to waver between different opinions or courses of action). What a wonderfully appropriate verb to use in describing so much of what goes on down here.. ‘dithering’…

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

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Here’s a personal metaphor of mine that I use to further understand what ‘the limits of the application of the term ‘system’ (in Eugene Halliday’s sense of that term) might mean for me….

An old fashioned treadle sewing machine can be viewed as a Dynamic System. In that you can take it all apart, and reasonably figure out how it all works. So much so, that you can even become a sewing machine repair man, and know ‘everything that there is to know about mechanical sewing machines’… Going on to confidently claim that you can totally predict their behavior; and that you’ve never been stumped by any of your repair jobs….

‘The Weather’ is also a dynamic system. However it is more properly referred to as  an Emergent System, which means that you can’t take it apart bit by bit (you can’t take a thunder-storm apart). But you can become a meteorologist and so collect data (i.e. Various dynamic parameters concerning a particular weather pattern – such as humidity, wind velocity, etc).

And even if you weren’t a meteorologist, if I pointed to an isolated cloud in an almost cloudless sky, and then asked you to point to were you think it’s going to be in ten seconds time, you could do so with reasonable accuracy.. In this case you are what is referred to as an ‘idiot’ – which is Latin for someone who is a member of ‘the rank and file’ and not really ‘in the know’ like ‘the experts’ here.. But you are capable of ‘getting a vague idea of the big picture’.

However a weather system is chaotic, which means (non-technically) that you can’t predict with anything approaching certainty what it’s going to be like in a couple of days (or even a couple of hours in many cases), no matter how much information (data) you have been able to collect…. Even though, the day after today, you could confidently tell us all with almost total certainty, why it was that we had that sudden rainstorm yesterday… A rainstorm that for some reason or other you somehow failed to predict the week before, or even the day before …

IMPORTANT NOTE HERE: By the way, for folks like me – if you’re interested – I view an academic field such as  ‘Economics’  as a particular form of emergent system. And to me it also has a great deal in common with ‘Astrology’ – which I refer to particularly as a ‘pseudo-emergent system’… So ‘Economics’ is not an emergent system like ‘The Weather’ to me then, it’s more like a ‘pseudo-emergent system’… That is, even though, as in the case of Astrology, a great deal of extremely accurate geometrical calculation is required; and in the case of Economics an in-depth understanding of both statistical analysis and calculus is required; nevertheless they are both, at best, only ever ‘sort of” good at telling us all why something turned out the way it did, after the event. And even different ‘experts” (or ‘schools’, as those who have invested a great deal here are fond of calling them)  in either field will often violently disagree as to the cause of some major feature or other (which I always thought would send a great big alarm-bell off in everyone’s head, just like it does in mine); and they also will invariably miss really big things that are going to happen in their futures – such as atomic bombs going off (in the case of Astrologers); or world financial melt-downs (in the case of Economists)… None the less, many people will still cling to their various ‘predictions’ as if they were gospel. … (And again that should tell us all something basic about people … 🙂 …) … …. Although, to make things really complicated here, rabid fans of both of these ‘disciplines’ that claim some ability to be able to predict the future, will always insist that someone in their gang did predict lots of this stuff – but that they were subsequently ignored or mis-understood… Reminding me of those soccer fans who can always explain why it was that their favorite team lost 25-nil in terms that seem to suggest that they were actually, far and away, the better team ‘really’..

FURTHER NOTE HERE: If you are unlucky though, or you persist in hanging about with the wrong crowd, you will invariably get some witchy-poo, or wizard, or other shaman type, who will claim something here along the lines of, “What about that prediction of  Nostradamus’s  where he says there will be “A great big bang over there”; or (even worse) some sacred scripture that says, “I am come! The destroyer of worlds.” … And in these cases, you will have to make your own mind up about the particular appropriateness in any particular instance of this ‘evidence’… But from my perspective, if your decision here is to ‘sit on the fence’, this is going to tell me far more about how your head works, than it does about the accuracy of what you consider to be the ‘evidence’.

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Anyway… to carry on about my decision-making process here…. As a direct consequence of the above way of viewing systems (a perspective that I don’t believe Eugene Halliday particularly appreciated by the way) I have to first of all decide what the system is for.

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So I will now – to show you what I mean here –  imagine that I have constructed two systems. One that is designed to:
a). Improve my chess skills
b). Help me to develop my musical improvisational skills….

I will now attempt to describe why viewing systems that I am imagining here (that I am going  to attempt to Work with) as ‘Dynamic’ or ‘Emergent’ provides another means to me of situating them in some sort of ‘space’. That is, not on some ‘dialectical base-line’ – as was the case with the two words Invest/Divest.

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LIVERPOOL JOKE

Punter One: “I hear you’re only losing half the money on the horses that you used to … Punter Two (enthusiastically) : “Yes! … And that’s because I’m using a new system!”

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System a)  To improve my chess skills. 

NOTE: I would also, importantly, initially refer to this system a) here, as ‘ritualistic’… A word that constitutes yet another dialectical pole of a pair of designators that I usually make use of in order to further identify – and thus give meaning to – the particular characteristics that serve to structure any system that I am in the process of constructing… Characteristics that I will almost always be attempting to clarify to myself before I attempt to begin Working here…  However, I will not be supplying any further details about this word here, because it is not really essential to this present explanation of mine.

To soldier on then… This system a) is constructed primarily of a couple of rather rigid ‘rules’ – thus making it a bounded (or constricted) system for me. Meaning that I will view it as almost completely mechanical – and therefore ‘deterministic’

To supply some particular detail here, the first thing that I would do is memorize  the ‘rules governing the game of chess’. And the second thing that I would do is study these rules ‘in act’ – by analyzing sequences of moves that have been used successfully by Chess Masters in previous major tournaments…

Nothing remarkable at all about this approach then.

But it is important for you to bear in mind here that this system is being used by me only to ‘improve’ my chess skills, and not to become, say, a future Grand Master, or anything ridiculous like that. 

This difference however, does show you that the way in which you initially ‘label’ any system you intend to use (the words that you chose to involve in the title you give it – as with my use of the word ‘improve’ here)  is also of immense importance… And you really do need to exercise a great deal of care in doing so, because if you are sloppy at this point, and you haven’t exercised enough care when laying down your foundation, you can very soon get yourself tied up in all sorts of knots, which will result in you almost certainly marching off in the wrong direction.

So this system is ‘dynamic’ for me then…  But do you see that it’s entirely possible that if I were to relate all this to someone else, they would claim that I am stretching the meaning  of ‘dynamic’ here – at least as far as they are concerned? … For instance, they might say, “Whatever you do, you will never really know what move your opponent is actually going to make next.” To which I would reply, “That is a trivial objection. My opponent will always be confined to a finite set of rules – which is the reason why any Grand Master can now be beaten by a machine that can run the appropriate computer program… And anyway, you have misunderstood the whole point of my system here – I am not trying to predict my opponents moves. Rather, I am attempting to make my ‘return move’ wholly deterministic – a different aim entirely!”   …

But however anyone else wants to view any particular system that I am making use of is normally OK with me anyway, because – in practical terms -Working has an essential major (though not entirely)  hermeneutical component… And it is so full of risks anyway, that any approach to it has to be completely the responsibility – both in its conception and the subsequent engagement in – of the person freely committing themselves to it… The level to which I would actually formulate a text to explain my choice of system to others is my own private concern – and I am not in the habit of investing any more effort in this direction than my aim warrants… If I Work with a system by, in part, using my intuition, and so not necessarily engaging in thinking, or verbalizing, then this is what I will do. And I will very rarely go ‘back to check’ because I don’t have to. My intuitive function works fine for me, and I have grown to trust it… Although it obviously does let me down from time to time – particularly if my actions are conditioned by, say, too much ambition – but these occasions are not frequent enough for me to lose faith in it.

So then, if any particular person prefers to only engage in endless debates about the merits (or perceived lack of merits) of any particular system, then that’s their business as far as I’m concerned. But it’s not an activity that I have much use for… I am only interested in the ‘use value’ of any system. Particularly as I already understand that it is always possible for some observer or other to point out the (rather obvious) limits of any deterministic system anyway. And actually I am more than capable of doing that for myself, thank you..  What is important though is why they would chose do so. And in my experience that’s usually so they can show me what a ‘smart-arse’ they are…

But – on the bright side here – if I do decide to make use of a particular system (even if I have constructed it so that it appears to be completely deterministic) … then, even so, it’s me that gets to have all the fun here.

System b). Help me to develop my musical improvisational skills….

This system I would view as an ’emergent’ ….

There are however, any number of deterministic dynamic parameters contained in it that might be worthwhile for you to ponder…. These would include, for example: The way that you twiddle your fingers when you play – that is, your ‘lousy; reasonable; or excellent technique’; Your degree of understanding re ‘Music Theory’ – “I’m extremely fluent in the use of ‘chromatic substitution’…”: Your preference for a ‘melodic’, over a strictly ‘chord/scale’ based line here; etc. etc…

However, in my book at least, there must always be a profound sense in which there will often be places when you will be ‘improvising’, where you have no idea what the next musical phrase that you play is going to be …

And also it is important to realize that any system which claims to aid improvisational technique will always contain suggestions such as, ‘play with a hard swing feel’ or ‘play with a ‘blues feel’..’ – which any competent musician will interpret in their own particular unique way.. … A way that, even to a particular listener here who is familiar with this particular musician’s ‘style’, will have no way of predicting… But very soon after our musician begins to play, our listener here will be liable to say, “Oh! That’s so-and-so … I can tell by the way that she ……..(Fill in blank)..”

If I claim that this system is ’emergent’, does that mean then that I am claiming you can, sort-of ‘improvise infinitely’ then? … Well, no I’m not, because one of the parameters of creative playing is ‘style’… That is, the better that you become at improvising, the more that you will come to ‘sound only like yourself’ …

And as you gain some skill in making use of this system, so you will be conscious that you are having definite practical results here…

You will also find that there are two dialectical poles that you will can situate yourself between in order to Work as you move forward  ..

At one end you will be bound by an approach where you are mechanically just ‘running the changes’ – the point at which you are merely playing up and down appropriate scales that you have simply memorized – usually accompanied by you pursing your lips, or wearing a rather constipated look on your face to indicate (you imagine) that you possess some sort of ‘sensitivity’ here; and at the other end you will be attempting to ‘play free’ – often accompanying this attempt of yours with diverse body twitchings, which you imagine will demonstrate that you are now ‘out of it’ and thus ‘free of it’… …  I will just mention here that ‘playing free’ demands far more self-discipline than most people (including myself) are capable of mustering, and it isn’t at all about playing just anything that you ‘like’ or ‘want to’ or ‘feel’… which any competent musician can fake for half a minute or so. Playing ‘free’ is far more complex than that, and depends on an in-depth ‘in-the-now’ …’grasp’ (notice that’s a ‘not-free’ word 🙂 … ) of what it is that you are attempting to be ‘free’ from.

So then, as regards the ‘matter’ of any emergent system…. There must be some essential characteristic to its aim that is indefinable linguistically then… And that (using this particular example of an emergent system here) can only be demonstrated musically, in ‘itself’ – in act. That is, in the doing ….. experientially …such that it is only after it is played that the attempt can be made to analyze it, or pondered over it, by others… Which then allows teachers like me to answer questions such as, “What did she do then at the beginning of that next chorus?” … And to which I might reply by saying something along the lines of, “Well, you see, if you wind the tape back to the beginning of that chorus, you can now clearly hear that she played ‘outside’ for two bars; continued on modally, up until the point that she modulated up that minor third…” etc. etc… But there was no way that I could ever have predicted, actually, what she was going to do there, even if I had been present at the actual performance… However, you should be able to appreciate that my subsequent analysis is completely ‘deterministic’ anyway (And also has something importantly to do with ‘abstracting’ – another important word in all this – but, like that word ‘ritualistic’, not one I will be going to go into here right now either 🙂 …)

NOTE: I tend to think of those techniques which might aid me in my  attempt to understand the ‘What’ of a system, as rather like weapons that aid me to ‘fight the good fight’ … That is, very handy to have around – but still only ever an aid that I must still actively engage with; and so not some sort of ‘automatic solution to everything’.

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A further analogy of mine now re Emergent Systems, that might help throw some more light on things for the non-musical buffs … That of dancing.

Although there are rules: perhaps a special way of dressing; perhaps a particular piece, or a special form of music must be played; perhaps you do (or don’t) have to dance with a partner; perhaps, initially at least, you must memorize (internalize) an intricate set of dance steps, by committing them to ‘muscle memory’….etc

Even if you do manage all of the above (and maybe even more), none of what you do is going to necessarily guarantee that you will ever turn out to be a good dancer. … Although you will probably become extremely competent.

However, in the event that you do turn out to be a good dancer, then it could be claimed of you, by others, that when you dance you are merely doing all those things that you were taught, or that you have taught yourself.

However you could also now maintain that, ” I don’t really use any of that stuff now… At least not ‘like that’ anyway.”

… And if anyone were to insist that you tell them what exactly it is you are doing by asking you’, “Just what were you doing just then?” You would certainly be justified in replying – and would also be providing them with a complete answer – if you replied, “I don’t really know… To tell you the truth… I was …  just … dancing.”

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To claim that you do make use of a system, means to me that you can at least attempt explain what it is that you might mean here by grounding any explanation you give in a number of  uniquely personal anecdotes..

Attempting to construct personal texts (written or verbal) here then, usually by making (obvious) use of ‘language’..

However, you can also do so by, for example, using some form of graphic medium – say a drawing or painting… In which case the importance of ‘interpretation’ here becomes a lot clearer… As does the question of whether or not any observer here is merely ‘reacting to’ as opposed to ‘reflecting upon’ your efforts.

Ultimately this means (at least as far as I’m concerned) that there  are no ‘Universal meanings’; no ‘one size fits all’ then.. And so attempts at exhaustively explaining a concept such as ‘Working with this system’ are doomed to failure – because there will always (thankfully) be something left out; or some perspective illuminated by this explanation that is somehow distorted… etc. etc. … Which is the reason why poets are never satisfied with their creations… If you’re interested.

However if you are Working, and you meet someone else who is also Working .. You always instantly know.

Useful to always bear in mind here – the meaning Eugene Halliday’s gives to that term ‘stupid’…

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

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“So – when they’re busy telling me what they think it’s really going on down here? …What it is the substance of what they actually tell me, do you mean? …..(He pauses to listen). Well, in the main, they are attempting to describing observations that arise from a system that they’ve clobbered together from their own extremely limited experiences together with their contemplations of … their whimsical musings over … various ‘News Items’ from the popular press that have managed to take their fancy… (He pauses to listen)… Well the first question I would ask myself re these various ‘explanations’ of theirs is, “Does this person actually believe that they really know what’s going on ‘all the way down’ here.  That is, do they imagine … or sincerely believe… that they ‘have an answer for everything’… Is their system ‘dynamic’ then… Which would then of course make them materialists… Which is something that they might probably be the first to deny… And in which case – in my view – I would say that they would be deluding themselves… …  Or do they see this system of theirs as ’emergent’ – in which case what use do they think it is to them? … How do they factor the consequences of this view of theirs into their journey through life? Are they happy with this lack of absolute certainty…. Or am I, once again, listening to yet another loud-mouthed plonker.” …(He pauses to laugh).

Fragment from “Field Notes for Armageddon” by Bob Hardy

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I don’t want to complicate things in this first part unnecessarily, but I should tell you that if you are  Working with ANY system, then you are engaging in ACT OF ABSTRACTION … In that you have chosen to treat part of the emergent system that I believe we all really are (our ‘life’ if you like) as a dynamic system…You are behaving towards it as if it were composed of parts.

But I would also add that I would be sympathetic to the idea here that the situation you have chosen to Work with must be very important to you, otherwise you wouldn’t have felt the need to abstract it, in order to examine it, and to perhaps change it…

The only word of advice I would perhaps add from my own experiences here, is that you should watch out for any hubris flying about… Because it might be that this really important problem, that you obviously believe you do have is only important to you. And that someone else might view a problem like this in their lives as trivial…  …

And it’s important for your authentic self to understand that this problem you are now intent on probing here, might not be a consequence of this hurricane that you like to believe you have now innocently found yourself  to be in the middle of; but could also be the result of you simply hanging about inertically in the same place for far too long – until this problem of yours has automatically (deterministically) manifested itself… But actually it really started with that butterfly flapping its wings in China… At which point it would have been far easier for you to tackle… But you couldn’t be bothered at the time could you? … Or you will tell everyone that you have been far too busy with some other ‘important problem’ of yours.

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And by the way, that problem which is so important to you – and that you now find has to abstracted from your life and systematized by you, in order for you to properly examine it… or at least to make some attempt at dealing with it … Be sure to remember to put it back where it properly belongs when you’ve finished making use of it…. 🙂

End of Part One

 

To (hopefully) be continued… Soon  🙂

Bob Hardy

11th July 2016

Portland, Oregon, USA

 

 

 

Man is the only creature who can refuse to be who he is.

Albert Camus.

The contents of this post consist entirely of my attempts to respond in more detail to the question, “Who is doing the Work?” – posted in the ‘comments’ section, at the bottom of my previous post.

(NOTE: To go to my previous post and the associated comments thread, click (here). Scrolling to the bottom of this post will take you to the ‘Comments’).

Even though I do have a number of ideas about what I mean when I say that I am ‘Working’, I realize that I have never clarified any of my views on this subject – or how it was that I arrived at them – to anyone else, at least not in any detail…And although the post below is rather long, I have still only managed to provide a brief sketch. Be that as it may, here then are a ‘variety of my views’ on the subject of ‘Work’.

Before going into the ‘Who’ however, there is another question – ‘What is Work?’ – that, in my view, must come first; because I find that I can’t say anything in any really meaningful way about this ‘Who’, until I can place it in very particular situations.

But, if I were pushed into answering this question right now – from the point of view of my own cultural background (which is Judaic/Christian) – then my (one-word) answer here, at least in the sense that I understand the word ‘Work’, would be, “Jesus.”

But, for the moment at least, that answer might appear to be almost ‘flippant’ … …  Almost…

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For me, the major defining characteristic of ‘Working’ is that it is a process, and not a ‘thing’ or an ‘idea’ (a ‘think’)… So it cannot then, by it’s very nature, be defined – except in the broadest of terms…

Rather – Working can possess any number of meanings. Each of which is dependent upon which section of the ‘task at hand’, you happen to be Working on, in the moment …

This meaning of Work is also, rather obviously I believe, intimately connected with the psychological make-up of the ‘who’ that is attempting to do this Work.

So from my perspective then, Working can only ‘actually’ be described, at, or from, ‘point–to-point’… If, indeed, ‘described’ is the correct word to be used here… And this also applies to any attempt at coming up with the ‘who’… In fact, I find it helpful to use a variety of labels for ‘who’ here. .. such as: ‘Naughty Bob’… ‘Happy Bob’ … ‘Introspective Bob’ … “I’m really going to give it my best shot this time Bob’ … ‘Look – this time I’m serious here – Bob’ … ‘No – honestly – this time I am really, really, serious about this – Bob’ … ‘BoH-bee-zZzz -K’… etc. … which all helps me in dismantling any notion I might harbor that ‘at the end’ there will be a ‘who’ that is going to eventually emerge from all this… A sort of ‘unchanging, all-knowing, eternal, smiley, super-Bob’ who – just like all the other members of the elect here who have somehow managed to ‘make it’ – is now eternally united with Margaret Thatcher, The Queen Mother, Winston Churchill, and Karl Marx…

Not my favorite idea at all, I’m afraid…

So – as I also maintain that ‘the name of the game’ here is the introduction of ‘change’ (or better – ‘transformation’) to ‘being’ – the question as to who exactly this ‘Who’ is then, now clearly becomes far more complicated to answer than we would all, perhaps, have liked…

But, if it’s any comfort here, examining these resistances, or difficulties, to providing any (evolving) description of what takes place to beings when they do actually get round to doing a bit of Work produces great steaming mounds of personally produced ‘raw material’, that can eventually – amongst all sorts of other useful things that it can do here – provide an extremely clear account of what it was that Eugene Halliday meant by his use of the term ‘engram’…

This might – for the moment perhaps – appear to be another subject entirely to that of Working… But I believe that this reaction to Eugene Halliday’s material – which is to say that the difficulty almost everyone I have come across has had, in applying their subsequent understanding of Eugene Halliday’s concepts, such as ‘engrams’, to their own situation – is crucial to any understanding here, of this ‘Work process’…

And even though the individual pieces themselves… those talks and essays etc. that Eugene Halliday was almost continually, ‘putting out there’ … are invariably (reasonably) clear to ‘see’ (rather like the individual pieces of a jig-saw puzzle). Getting an appreciation of the whole picture is another matter entirely. Particularly as – before you start attempting to join the pieces together – you discover that you have not been provided with a box that has a nice copy of the ‘finished picture’ on the lid (There goes another of my cheesy metaphors! :-)).

But I believe that it is always at least possible here, to come to some personal evaluation of the ‘situation as it now stands’ (by, say, answering a question to yourself such as, “How did that last bit go?”) … And then – having arrived at one answer or another here – of being aware that this immediately opens up the possibility of being able to ask the next question.. Which is of course – “OK then! … I got that bit … I think…  So far, so good!… What is am I supposed to do now? … Next?”

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Attempts can be made at ‘explaining’ Work from any number of viewpoints – but these will only ever be little more than lifeless theories unless they are rooted in actual experiences – no matter how cunningly contrived these ‘explanations’ happen to be…

But, that said, I can also see that it is possible to have a belief about the possible reasons for Working in the form of a sort of overview of it, … For example – if you like – ‘We Work, because doing so will (eventually) set us free.’ … (But in this particular case though, I would caution, “Don’t hold your breath!”)…

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Viewed as a process though, it becomes much easier to see that ‘the who’; ‘the what’; ‘the how’; and ‘the where’ of Working, are all so intimately related that it becomes almost impossible to explore the answer to one, without simultaneously taking into account all of the others.

So – from this perspective then – this ‘Who’ that we are interested in revealing to ourselves, depends very largely upon ‘what’ it is that needs to be done in that moment..

Indeed, this fact – that I am faced with a choice of what to do at every moment – is one of the major reasons why I believe that there needs to be any ‘who’ here at all… In the first place… for anyone to wonder (wander) about!..

Because, if there were no choice here; that is, that any Work that needed to be done could only ever be done in one way – then there would only ever be a need for one ‘who’ here; or there could be lots of ‘who’s’, but they’d all be doing this identical, one, same thing…. Which seems rather pointless to me… Although, I suppose, we could all be doing ‘the-same-but-different’ thing … But if that were the case, then we’d all have to be Irish, because they’re the only ones who can understand what things like this mean – and we’re not.

Because we are all finite – and so we are all, in one sense then, incomplete – it can easily be seen that in identical circumstances, I will be required to do something quite different from you (you may have to ‘stoop under’; while I may have to ‘jump over’, for instance)…

This ‘who’ and ‘what’ for me, both depend intimately then, upon what point it is along the journey (the ‘where’) that the ‘who’ here, happens to be at.

The ‘upside’ to this perspective on things for me, is that questions and comments, such as, ‘What have you stopped for?; ‘You’ve missed a part out!”; and “That’s the wrong way!” etc. all become much more immediately obvious – and so much simpler – to appreciate.

So now, in my case, the original question of ‘Who is Working’ (as I begin to focus on it then) quickly becomes for me, far more complex; taking the form of – “Who is it here that is ‘becoming’?”; “Who is it, specifically, that is now involving themselves – here and now – in this particular part of this process?”… And this allows me to factor in, not only this ‘who’, as an evolving ‘who’ – but also situate this ‘who’ in the ever-changing background of a ‘what’ (located at a specific place); and at a ‘where’ (at some point in the time-process)…

Which all serves to give me a much greater ‘purchase’ on the original question…’Who is Working’…Believe it or not!

All this also means that – not only stating exactly ‘Who’ is Working’ has suddenly become difficult, except in general terms – but also that ‘a set of instructions’ as to ‘how to Work’ cannot now be given – in any practical detail – by any ‘teacher’ – or they can only be given in the broadest of terms.

Because, in the actual, practical, matter of Working (which, in my view, is the same thing as the actual, practical, matter of living) this will be incredibly complex, and uniquely different for each individual – particularly where it concerns the quality of these experiences; and also that the ‘task at hand’ changes – both in its form and function, and from from moment to moment – to a degree that is dependent entirely upon the ‘position along their evolutionary path’ that the being attempting to Work happens to find themselves at in that particular moment…

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It is possible, from time to time, to recognize someone else who has actually been Working, by the way in which they relate any of their experiences of the process involved to you. And, in these instances, it is possible to have a little rest and a chat with them – before moving on.

I can sense when others are ‘recalling their own personal journey’ and so are relaying their own actual, lived, experiences to me … There is an emotional engagement with the recounting which I believe is almost impossible to fake – at least not for very long.

However, a complete lack of embarrassment on the part of those relaying these experiences, or a sense that they are being guided in some way by my reactions to their tale, will almost certainly mean that – no matter how convincing they might sound – they are almost certainly lying, or that they are self-deluded, and are ‘acting’ … or at the very least, embellishing most of this account of theirs, in order to make it more ‘interesting’, ‘mysterious’, or even ‘sexy’…

Thus – the only one, really essential, requirement here when ‘listening in’ to all this  –  is a sense of humor.

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

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So, its more for me then, that ‘Working is a process that – freely interacting with – will result in the further development of an evolving ‘Who’; rather than a sort of static ‘Who’… who  just ‘beavers away’ at stuff … getting older by the minute.

Interestingly – in my own case, back when I was first introduced to Eugene Halliday’s material by Ken Ratcliffe in the mid 1970’s – the very first word that I felt impelled to work with, was process… This word was not suggested to me by anyone else… It seemed to just ‘come to me out of the blue, as it were… And I have never been able to quite figure out why… Not back then, or now… And I’ve often wondered about this since… (I still have the notes that I made back then, as well)……

…But it has just dawned on me  – as to possibly – why…

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I will also say that I am ‘on board’ with much of the content of that posted comment … I agree that Working can be intensely irritating – but that this is exactly what you need in order to Work… And it is your intuition here that will provide the inspiration for you to Work. i.e. “Although I know this is going to take a great deal of effort I really believe that I will achieve this goal,” or, “I have a strong sense that I must do this.” etc. … You shoulder your particular problem, and attempt to move forward – as you are able. Your intuition will provide some ‘light’ for you here, and give you a guide as to whether or not you are moving in the right direction.

I would also agree that Work can seem to be carrying on ‘without you’ … and so there is always the problem here of one’s ever-present, ‘inertic self’…

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But – re the part of this comment that reads – ‘An intelligence that transcends my personal egotism’…  I’m not really sure what is meant here… This seems to be implying that (say in my case) it wouldn’t actually be me who would be doing this Work … And that’s the opposite of what I do believe … Because central to any claim by me that I have actually done any of this ‘Work’, is my active experience of having done it! …

I have never had this sense of ‘otherness’; this ‘intelligence that transcends my personal egotism’ – in this way.

Whatever state(s) I do experience, it’s always me that’s having these experiences – although this state may sometimes seem ‘better’ than others (say one of resolute calmness, or focus – as opposed to experiencing depression, or irritation); and those accounts, by others, who claim that ‘something or someone else’ is having these experiences instead, just don’t ‘add up’ at all, for me..

In my case then, I’m either having an experience, or I’m not; if someone else (or some ‘thing’) is claiming to have the experience instead (but, ultimately, in situations like this, how would I really know if they were?), then I’m OK with that; and I have no problem with sharing experiences… But when it comes to ‘doing’ – I’m either the one ‘doing the doing’, or I’m not… Of course I can also ‘hold your coat’ and watch you ‘do it’ – but then my experience in this particular case would be one of ‘holding your coat and watching you’.

I couldn’t really see me maintaining the view that I do – that Working is the only thing we are really here to accomplish – if I thought Working was just ‘a really good idea’, or ‘an interesting, sound, metaphysical concept’: or ‘the nectar of the Gods’; or of ‘being touched’ by somethin(g/k) ‘else’; or ‘a code of behavior that it would be ‘really good’ to live by’ – when I can manage it; or when I’m in the mood to; or when I get around to actually doing so; or something like that…

And although some of the states I do experience seem to me to be ‘far more together’ than others, and the degree (or force) with which I can experience them, ranges from ‘hardly noticeable’ to ‘overwhelming’, I have never had the experience of being ‘occupied’ by ‘another’…. (Although two of my past friends did develop paranoid schizophrenia later in life, and it clearly seemed – to them at least – that they were ‘occupied’)  … So – as far as I’m concerned then – it has to be me that does this Work.

But then I suppose a great deal would also depend on what is meant here by the term ‘ego’…

I use this word in a very specific way, and I don’t really understand it most of the time when others use it… Eugene Halliday use of the term seemed somewhat ambiguous, or even contradictory at times, to me – So I tend to ‘screen it out’…

And where I hear it used in common speech? … Well, it seems to be able to be applied to almost anything, and anybody, indiscriminately – and this makes it almost pointless for me to attempt to use it as a meaningful term, when I’m speaking to others   …

From my own understanding, it seems to me that when others use this term they are almost invariably referring to their self-constructed ‘social mask’ – or, as I prefer it (and using the term in its Jungian sense) ‘Persona’… This persona is, for me: ‘Who it is that that beings are presently invested in presenting themselves as – both to themselves and to others’… And this is not, for me, the ‘ego’…

So I would need more background here before I could comment further – at least on this bit.

That said … whether or not any other part of this response is what it is that you had in mind Richard, is another matter entirely!  🙂

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To continue on then …

This is (obviously, I believe) a very ‘deep’ subject for me. But I do appreciate that the way in which I view some aspects of it (and fret over others) might seem odd to someone else… Especially, when I add here, that I don’t believe it’s necessary to understand the ‘who’, ‘how’, ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘were’, and ‘why’ of Working, in order to Work… In the same way that I don’t believe it’s necessary to know how a watch works, in order to be able to use it to tell the time… And so I can appreciate that there are those out there who might wonder, “What’s the problem here? … What is there to know?… Why can’t you just get on with it?”…

So then, if others don’t chose to nit-pick away at this subject to the same extent that I do, I’m OK with that…

But – in my particular case – I find that understanding something of the ‘who’, ‘how’, ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘were’, and ‘why’ of Working, helps me to keep ‘having a go’ here, at least.

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All these questions re ‘Working’ were difficult for me to get a handle at the beginning, However, I eventually came up with a variety of ways of approaching them … and some of these approaches were reasonably straightforward.

For instance, where it concerns, “Where do I start Working? … I now have an allegory that takes me immediately ‘straight to the starting line’ – if I can remember it in time (and at the time) that is!

(A) doctor doesn’t start with a book of cures, and then go hunting for a disease. He starts with somebody who has got something wrong with them; he diagnoses the disease; and then he looks for a cure.

Alex Elmsley.

The ‘somebody’ here, is me; and the ‘something’ here, is what it is that I must Work on…

This allegory also made it much easier for me to focus on Working primarily on myself; and at the same time to tone-down my attempts at ‘offering good advice in this area’ to others… Such as (using a cheerful, confident, tone of voice) – Quote, “Just ‘be here now’ – That’s all there is to the whole business really!” Unquote… etc. et al.).

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I’ve tried, in this post, to cover the important aspects of my response to this comment from as many angles as I could. But I would first like to remind readers of this blog that  – almost from the very beginning here, some eighteen months or so ago – I pointed out that arriving at a position where I could even structure questions re ‘Working’ correctly, was one of the major reasons for my continued interest – for at least the first few years – in studying Eugene Halliday’s material – because I didn’t really ‘get it’…

Almost at the beginning of my first post here then, in March, 2012, I was attempting to describe my introduction to, what was, at the time for me – some 35 years ago, this vague idea of ‘Working’ … And I wrote:–

What is the essential nature of this ’Work’? … Well that, for the moment at least anyway, is the ‘Million Dollar Question’..

But I have always believed that if you can frame any question correctly, then you’re already over halfway to your answer. So that was my approach… I was attempting to clarify what it was that I was striving to get an answer to …

Much of the content of my initial posts were concerned with describing how I attempted to move from a purely intellectual interest in Eugene Halliday’s ideas, to the dawning realization that they were all really a load of useless waffle – at worst a psychological toxin and at best a load of time-wasting hot-air – if I failed to involve these ideas essentially in my actual life, as I was living it moment to moment, as often and as well as I was able…

So uncovering the ‘essential matter’ of these questions for me (that is, the ‘what’; the ‘who’; the ‘how’ and the ‘why’, of this ‘Work’ and ‘Working’) – and as a consequence, making the attempt to embody my own limits to the applications of these terms in my actual situation (or, if you prefer – the meaning of these terms for me in the ‘here and now’) – became the real name of the game for me..

As a result (but I don’t think this will really help right now) I have come to the conclusion that my (current) response to the question ‘Who is working?’ would be that, “Everybody is working.” …. Although I would also claim, “Not everybody is Working.”

I’ve introduced this (rather short) answer, immediately above, here, because I believe it allows me to immediately bring into play two other important ancillary questions early on – “Working for whom; and Working for what purpose, exactly?” … Pondering over these two questions does, in my experience, also throw some valuable light on ‘Who is Working?’

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When I first started writing this post I did so by attempting to supply a direct answer to this question (but not the answer I’ve given just above) However I soon realized that I would be assuming anyone reading, and so hopefully, subsequently understanding this post, would need to have shared a great deal of the same background here as my own.

So – as to a bit of this background of mine then…

My present position here is a result of – not only my own extended reflexions upon ‘What is this ‘Working’ thing all about?’ – but also (obviously I believe) incorporates elements of what I take to be Eugene Halliday’s position (and a number of others – including Gurdjieff) on the subject.  So here’s a ‘rough sketch’ of some of this material…

Any understanding that I arrived at initially where it concerned Working, followed from my early decision to work on acquiring an ‘active language’; and to foreground two of Eugene Halliday’s concepts. These were:

  1. All that there is ‘Sentient Power’ … (a term I do not substitute the word ‘God’ for by the way – because I can’t get it to fit; and I find that attempting to do so only confuses things hopelessly for me)
  2. This Sentient Power can Work for the development of the potential in all being (but I don’t refer to all that it ‘does’ as  ‘loving’).

So, I would not claim then that, “God had ‘just entered the building’,” if I viewing something amazing in the natural world, but instead I would say, “This is an example of one of those amazing things that Sentient Power can become.” … And I would not, in the past, say things like, “That was done with love,” if – for instance – I felt I’d had a particularly good night on the piano..

So, let’s just say here, for the moment at least, that I’m very cautious indeed about substituting these terms (‘God’ and ‘Love’) when I’m mulling over something here with myself… However, I will use these terms when I’m talking with others about these concepts, if it can’t be avoided. But – if given the choice – I would prefer not to… Messy – and not very straightforward I know – but that’s how it is for me I’m afraid…

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‘To work’ is to ‘order power’. And for this ordering to take place, this power must be in motion.

We refer to our awareness of this ‘power-in-motion’ as ‘energy’.

So – if, say, you are presently ‘feeling frisky’, then this would not only be an example of your awareness of ‘sentient power as ‘energy’ – but also that you had qualified it to yourself by giving it the label ‘frisky’  … It is also crucial here to appreciate that there will also always be an evaluative component present of, “Yes!… ‘Feeling frisky’ is just what I need right now,” or of, ”Oh No! … Not now!… I’m trying to get some sleep!” – or of some evaluative component in-between.

You must also bring up this ‘energy’ in yourself (as it were), and it is you who must then direct it.

This energy ‘comes up’ in you either: as a result of you involving your Will here, in order to Work; or, as a consequence of your innate desire(s) ‘getting the better of you’… [This is a subject that constitutes a completely separate, and lengthy, topic on its own I’m afraid] …

So then, it is you (and not any other being – either immanent or transcendental) who has the responsibility for initiating this ‘getting things moving here’, in order for you to Work… And it is also you alone who must do all the Work here – with all your ‘warts and all’.

You cannot wait until you’re ‘suitably prepared’ – because there’s no such point in time when you will ever be ‘ready’ in this way; there is no ideally favorable ‘stars in the right position’ point at which it would be better for you to begin either – because there is no such place ‘out there’…. You cannot – by one means or another – enlist any celestial (or otherwise) ‘help’, because all that any other being can ever do for you here is point the way to the entrance door (which is all that I believe Eugene Halliday ever did) … And that door is going to stay closed until you yourself get up of your behind and onto your feet… And it is you who must then do the knocking at that door, in order to pass through …

Nothing here will ever be achieved by relating that you ‘knew, or sat at the foot of, Eugene Halliday’, or claiming that you ‘understand’ concepts such as ‘All there is, is sentient power’; or that ‘we’re all going to be reflexively self-conscious at the ‘end of evolution’… … None of that is Working… Because if it was, then there wouldn’t actually be anything to do…except to sit in your armchair – or (if you want to tart it up a bit) ‘adopting a yoga pose’ and ‘meditating’.

So here, I would say that, “All that Eugene Halliday ever tried to do for others was to attempt to get them to begin to Work.” … And would quickly add that – although an appropriate feeling of gratitude here would be just fine – the rest of it… the real part… the Working part … is entirely up to you … entirely up to you… ever last bit of it.

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You can only ever do any of this Work in the ‘here and now’, and you must do it purely from your own efforts.

And… Oh Yes … Eventually you will (inevitably) fail – no matter who you are, or how you go about all this … That cock is going to crow in your life (at least) three times whatever you do … And you must be ‘just fine’ with that before you even begin your attempts here… Just like you must be fine with the sure fact of your inevitable demise… This is something that you would be better coming to terms with, here… and now … and also sooner, rather than later… Because if all this is done as some sort of desperate attempt to ‘get something’, then it won’t Work…

One of the very few things that I try to do every day, is to contemplate my own death for a few minutes … and that seems to put things in some sort of perspective for me … it gets me looking at things in the right way… Often enough though, I will soon forget even this very quickly, and instead identify with the situation that I presently find myself in, and thus become dominated by it  … But, anyway, I appreciate that starting your day like this might not suit everyone…

‘Resignation’ then, is one of the (real) ‘names of the game’ here…

You must generate – within yourself – enough positivity to perform this Working… And you must do it for ‘doings sake’, and do it in the ‘now’… As opposed to, say, attempting to figure out ways of ‘banking it’ – ‘just in case you might need it later’…

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You will always experience resistance to your efforts at Working – because if you don’t  – then you’re not Working …

And where it concerns your awareness of this resistance?

Even the ‘brand new’ energy that you have initially acquired; that you have ‘called up’ from yourself in order to begin Working, will be ‘tinged’ with some element, or with some quality, or other..

Because, briefly, in order for it to be experienced by you as actually being available (“Where is it?” … “Oh there it is!”) it must possess some degree of ‘quality’…For you to experience this awareness. (To have this experience of it ‘being there’)…

Let us, for example, use the element – our ‘tinge’ – of violence or turbulence (very normal) here… This ‘quality’; this initial ‘adulteration’ of sentient power as ‘energy’, (which will probably not – for the moment at least – be focused by you on any particular object ‘out there’), will be continually attempting to influence your efforts to Work here … almost before you are ready to begin.

I make use of an allegory for Working, from my own cultural background here (‘European Judaic/Christian’) to get a sense for me of what all this entails…Which is that of willingly shouldering one’s own ‘cross’, and then attempting to move forward with it.

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My general impression is that Working – for the majority of human beings that I have come across anyway – is something ‘to be avoided at all costs’… Although laboring (‘going to work’) in order to ‘make some cash’, seems to be fine, at least now and again… Regrettably, for the majority of people though, this is, invariably, not the same thing, at all as Working (although it can be – but very rarely, in my experience).

Which is one of the reasons that I take as much care whenever I can, to differentiate between ‘work’ and ‘Work’.

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But luckily (you might say), for anyone taking all this on; in order for them to actually do any Working’ they must first affirm this choice of theirs to do so, within themselves; and so, of course, they can also chose to say “No,” to this Working…

I maintain then, that we all have a freely-willed choice here.

The attempts at avoiding Work; the legion of excuses; states of delusion, and of illusion, that are brought into the service of justifying this ‘No’ are – for me – quite magical to behold; and do (rather surprisingly, you might think) actually serve to reinforce my own view as to what it is that is really going on down here … With the result that I actually find myself further empowered in my own determination to Work … … Sometimes 🙂  ….

Which is a rather neat example – in my opinion – of something good (something that reinforces my ‘Yes’), coming out of that veritable legion of ‘No’s’ that I find ‘out there’.

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Here’s a pretty straightforward example of Working – and I would guess is a relatively simple situation that many people have found themselves in, at one time or another…

If you find yourself with a surplus, and you decide to give (some of) it away in order to help others, this is not, in my view, an example of Working… But if you have something that you have a strong desire to hang-on to; and you – none the less – still give it to someone else who you believe needs it more than you do – this I do see as an example of Working… Or, at the very least, I would see that this act as an example of ‘moving in the right direction’…

So I would maintain that Working is not necessarily some elaborate, involved scenario done on a special day of the week, under special circumstances, and requiring the wearing of a purple robe; or some grand celestial scheme, involving powerful Angelic or Demonic forces, or some other visitation from ‘outside’; or anything like that… But (thankfully) can, more often be any number of – to others – seemingly insignificant, or unimportant, activities..

And I don’t believe that what it is that you must do in order to Work, arises from being somehow presented with a finite number of ‘tasks’ or ‘tests’ (by some celestial being or other) that you are subsequently required to complete before you inevitably exit the world… Subsequently ‘going on’ to receive some sort of reward for your efforts here (or some suitable booby prize for your lack of it) either… As soon as you sort one thing out, very soon you will simply get another… But I am persuaded that you are only ever presented with one thing at a time to Work on. And although this could be taken as a contradiction to a great deal of what I have maintained here up to now – actually it isn’t … And you’d know this if you’d ever had a go at Working…

It’s more the case for me, that the more you can ‘see’ here, the more choices you have in your life – and so the more opportunities that you have to freely engage in Working… But that you can chose to do whatever it is that you are able to do …. or not….

Regrettably, there is a ‘determined ignorance’ here, that can easily be seen in the world – not only where it concerns the ignorant ‘impoverished masses’ but also in academically educated ‘folk of privilege and rank’ – in freely choosing whether or not to Work.

And I would claim that, although in reality, we are all in this – equally – together, the situation that others are in quite often seems to us to be more desirable than our own – in its presentation to us of ‘real’ opportunities for Working …

With the result that, rather than help someone a couple of hundred yards away ‘down the road’, which might see us becoming involved in something tacky, difficult, time-consuming, and with more than a comfortable element of real uncertainty – both as to the outcome, and how much of ‘our valuable time this is all going to consume’ – when it isn’t really convenient. We prefer, instead, to send our old shirts and socks to the local charity shop… That’s the one with the really appealing photograph of a starving child (or a kangaroo – but more usually a silver-backed gorilla) from the ‘third world’, in the window… and that the ‘Charitable Concern’ (and Co.) in question is very busily attempting to raise money for – minus administrative costs of course!

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People with my background – who are not only the heirs to a wealth of cultural history here, but who now also possess the means to easily access it via the internet (rather than, say, waltzing off to some remote and exotic corner of the world in order to ‘discover the real truth’) can quickly put ourselves in the position where we are really able to appreciate a view of the world in which we are continually being offered opportunities to Work. Because we possess so many inspiring accounts of others – from our historical past – who have devoted their life to doing so… And so we can freely decide to take part here also  –  by deciding (or ignoring, and so not deciding) that we will attempt to emulate them, if we are able.

And, in my particular experience here, I have also come to appreciate that this myth I chose to live by, has at its root the idea that if I freely chose to ignore these opportunities to Work when they are first presented to me, then they will be presented to me again and again throughout my life – but a little more insistently each time – until eventually (if I continue to ignore them) they will completely overwhelm me, and I will die without ever having accomplished anything Real during my limited time here; that I will have done no real Work; and that I never, in fact, ‘really’ existed – So there’s no ‘Hell’ then, in my scheme of things, because there would never be anything of any being to send there…. So it’s either ‘get somewhere as you are willing and able ’, or ‘ceased to exist completely’, for me I’m afraid…

And appearing – from the point of view of others – to have clearly achieved some measure of ‘success’ down here, isn’t really what it’s all about either, in my book…Although I would quickly add that success is by no means an automatic obstacle to Working – it’s just that it’s probably the most common form of (easily observable) engramic identification.

Even so – on a lighter note for a second here – surely all this makes you a deliciously exciting place to ‘hang out in’ for a lifetime  doesn’t it? … It can even be a bit of a real adventure – if you want … 😀

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To repeat again – most importantly for me then, is the idea that Working is something that only you can do. You must chose to do it, and you must take the full responsibility for it…

So not God, not Jesus, not The Buddha etc. al. not any other agency whatsoever, can do any of this Work for you… You have to do it yourself. And only those who do this Work can ever gain the profit from doing so.

I believe that this Working is the only way I have of contributing here, of ‘giving anything back’ for the amazing experience I have had of actually having lived … And that these ‘fruits’, that this ‘harvest’, is actually required of you… And at the end you must bring to the table whatever it is you are able (‘it’s the thought that counts’)…

You can Work at any and every moment. So there is no such thing as ‘a time to Work’ then…. The only thing that you can do is to decide whether you will (or will not) Work now.

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What you have to Work with, initially at least, is your talent(s)… This talent will get you ‘a hand in the game’, and – if you’re lucky – can also get you into lots of interesting trouble, if you chose to ‘push the envelope’ here, rather than ‘play it safe’… 🙂 … And this is where I position the idea of ‘profit’ or ‘increase’ (again, my cultural background helps)… Because you can always practice your talent, and so – in theory at least – get better at it…

Thus, you can Work almost anywhere at anytime (and you certainly can do so if you are in a real relationship with someone); and you can also structure your time here so that your attempts at Working bear fruit in an area that you have an interest in cultivating (your ‘talent’)…. And so, in a strange way – your strength here is somehow your weakness – because it will automatically limit you to those particular endeavors required in exercising your talent… But from another perspective (and one that is mentioned in that ‘comment’) this could be seen as a ‘mercy’.

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But of course you are also continually ‘ordering power’ anyway – and usually for any number of purely selfish reasons… 🙂

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And who can work?  Well any sentient being can work… Animals and plants can work – because they can ‘order sentient power’ …. I’ll go even further here, and claim that every thing that is in motion provides an example that working is occurring in that place’ (So that I do – from this perspective at least – support a pan-psychic view of things) – because every ‘thing ‘that comes to be’, does so as a consequence of this ‘ordered motion of sentient power’.

Although every ‘thing that there is’ provides me with evidence of working, not every ‘thing’ is itself ‘Working’… Because ‘Working’ (which is what I claim all sentient beings can do) is not the same thing as ‘working’…

Working – by its very nature – involves both, reflexive self-consciousness, and the act of ‘free-willing’. Both attributes that are (as far as I am concerned) ones that only human beings possess.

And, as my position here is not the same as others I have met who claim to be ‘followers’ of Eugene Halliday, let me – once again – make myself absolutely, unequivocally, clear here… We are already reflexively self-conscious (but most of us chose not to be, for most of the time) and we all possess free will (but most of us would rather deny that we do, because we can’t handle the response-ability of having it)…

You do not (and cannot) then, ‘practice acquiring reflexive self-consciousness’ somehow, until you can ‘do it’… (“Do you know darling, I think I had it there for a few seconds! … Oh Damn!… It’s gone again!…) …

But, if you like, what you can practice – anywhere and anytime – is ‘getting out of the way of it’.. 🙂

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Here now is a particular, and direct, example from me now, of, “Who is Working? … that can now, hopefully, be appreciated as having arising from the context that I have outlined above.

“I would say, for certain, that Eugene Halliday Worked as much as he was able.” …

Although I would quickly go on to add here that, in my opinion, his various talks, writings, and works of art, represent only one aspect of this Work of his… And that these do constitute – in part at least – the fruits of his Working; or, to put it another way, they ‘bear witness’ to the fact that he had Worked.

So, although I would claim that I have observed Eugene Halliday in his attempts to Work (by hearing him speak in person, say) I do not mean that the only time I believed he ever Worked, was during the odd Sunday evening, every month or so – when he spoke in front of a hundred and fifty people or so….

What I will add here though, is I believe that there would certainly have been periods when he wasn’t Working… Because – for any finite being – there needs to be time to quantify, and qualify, to gather, resistance; and this, then, needs to be ‘experienced in the now’ in order provide the ‘matter’ of Work … (And don’t forget here, “Nothing for nothing, and very little for a half-penny.”)….

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Although I believe then, that Eugene Halliday Worked a great deal, and that his attempts to devise accounts of ‘what it is that’s going on’ are – for me at least – extremely helpful in my own attempts. This does not mean I believe that how he Worked is the way that everyone else should Work … This is just how he Worked. .. And an understanding (or even a ‘vague appreciation’) of his ‘metaphysics’ and methodologies, is not at all necessary for anyone who decides that they will attempt to Work themselves.

And, in this sense, as to the contents of Eugene Halliday’s talks and essays – I would maintain that, just as the majority of what he had to say would have been incomprehensible, until the late eighteen hundreds, it will also become obsolete in the very near future … So sadly, not ‘eternally true’ for me either then, but – happily for me – fine for ‘here and now’.

Regrettably though – because Eugene Halliday did put his ideas ‘out there’, and because they were so powerful, those impressed by these ideas have subsequently invented all sorts of fantastic accounts of, not only what he was doing, but also what these attempts of his at Working made of him as a person… Which – as I have said on other previous occasions – tells you a great deal more about them, than it does about Mr Halliday

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Here, perhaps, is (another) one of those odd ideas of mine…

Until you have come to some understanding in all this – you can have no real way of knowing whether or not the person that you have just walked past who is sweeping the street, is Working more efficiently than Eugene Halliday ever was…

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)

It is almost always the case – in the ‘greater world out there at large’, that Working is an activity which is only ever ascribed to someone who can put words together impressively – and then proceed to make a career out of it almost, by trotting them out whenever the chance arises; or who ‘wears a big hat’ and is ensconced in ‘impressive surroundings’ – preferably an ancient, venerable building … (‘foreign’, and/or ‘exotic’, can also helps a great deal here)…

But I would caution here that, “It is only ever a dog’s world – and particularly so if you’re a dog.” … And that you are only ever going to experience here what it is you really are – which to a large extent will depend almost entirely on how much Work you have done; even though – no matter how much you do, you will never get to realize fully who your really are, any more than you can ever know what is really going on down here… Because that would mean you could stop Working then … Wouldn’t it?

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My primary interest in Eugene Halliday came about when I gradually realized that what he was ‘doing’ was ‘the thing to do’ for me (I’m afraid I can’t put it any clearer than that)

Most importantly though – this did not mean to me, that what I had to do was ‘get to know what Eugene Halliday knew’; or, ‘Do what Eugene Halliday did, the way that he did it’.

All this became much easier to appreciate when I realized that what Eugene Halliday was doing, was striving to Work as much as he was able… (As Zero Mahlowe – someone who lived with him for twenty-five years – put it to me, somewhat exasperatedly, a couple of years ago, “Eugene… just… Worked!”)…

And, incidentally, this view that I came to have of Eugene Halliday provided me with a much clearer example, and a practical understanding of, the ‘ego’: what it ‘is’; what it is ‘for’; and how it functions in all of this… [And also, how it was that a number of people came to imagine that Eugene Halliday didn’t have one… An ego, that is]….

Incidentally, until this idea of the ‘ego’ is ‘cleared up’ experientially by those ‘who quite like the idea of doing some Work’, no Work will be done by them… ever… Because anything they do manage to accomplish here will only ever be ‘snaffled’, by that part of them that wants to parade about in an attempt to impress other folks – who are, of course, doing exactly the same thing themselves … (The words to Work on here – by the way – are ‘worship’ … and ‘idol’ .. (and ‘idle’ perhaps – if you can see it)…).

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To continue …

I would say for certain then that, “Eugene Halliday was Working.” …

And as the title of this blog is ‘Inside the Eugene Halliday Archive’ – I think it might be a good idea if I now focused further on explaining – in a little more detail – just why I would say so .

I had decided a long time ago, to ground any attempt of mine to supply an answer(s) to topics like this as firmly as I could in my own experiences – rather than to just simply highjack someone else’s ideas…

As a consequence then, my own method of attempting to achieve some clarification in these ideas, is not just to focus upon ‘defining the term used here, and/or research its etymology’ (although I usually do include this approach in my initial ‘pass’ at any answer)… But has far more to do with investigating that particular group of terms (which would almost certainly be different for each different idea here) which inevitably, invariably, and immediately arises – as soon as I focus further on ‘this idea that has captured my attention’ in order to begin this attempt by me, to investigate its current meaning…

It is these terms, I believe, that constitute the initial intellectual component of my personal relationship to these terms – at any one particular time…

In justifying the meaning to my claim – that ‘Eugene Halliday was Working’ – as an answer to the question, “Who is doing the Work?” – I would have to say right away then, that this justification would depend upon what I ‘was after’ here at the time… As this would determine ‘where it was in the moment’ that I had decided to began looking for the answer…

This approach might sound a bit strange, but it’s how this all works for me… Different points of departure by me then, would result in me gaining different perspectives (although these different perspectives would hopefully – in the end – all prove to be intimately related to each other in any single topic)…

I don’t want to go into any more detail as to  ‘these points of departure’ of mine now, because my thoughts on this process have become very involved over the years… And I don’t see that my elaboration – on what has become, essentially, a hermeneutic technique of mine – would add that much here at the moment… So I’ll just stick with attempting to clarify my claim that, “Eugene Halliday was certainly Working.”…

I worried away endlessly at the question, “What was Eugene Halliday actually doing?’ for years… And, although it is obvious, from reading his essays and listening to his talks, that what he was doing was, in some sense at least, fairly self-evident … That is: answering questions; providing information re ‘matters esoteric’; introducing his own – in part – unique way of dealing with ‘meaning’; etc… That was not, at all, what I was after… I was after something more ‘basic’ here – and I needed a language – that came ‘from myself’ – that I could use to ‘center him’ on…

So I attempted to ‘see’ him from a number of perspectives … And in order to do so, I devices a methodology that made use of – what I have come to refer to as – ‘groups’; or ‘sets’; or ‘classes’ of terms in order to clarify matters here to myself… (If anyone is interested, there is an (obvious) ‘mathematical and philosophical connection’ to this method – but it’s not important that this be understood at the moment)

What I will do here then, is go through one of the early sets of those terms that I worked on, as an example… As I believe that this is relevant to what it is that I am trying to clarify at this point.

The particular set of terms that I began with – those I though would help me to, initially, gain some insight into ‘Eugene Halliday as a being who was Working’, were – ‘mysterious’; ‘mystical experience’; and ‘mystic’…

‘Mysterious’.

It is mysterious to me that my wife almost always knows when I have been embellishing ‘the facts’… And even if there is (in part at least) a rational (all the way down ‘biological’) answer to what it is that she does, nonetheless I still find this ability of hers to be a bit ‘mysterious’ – even ‘spooky’… But when I hear Eugene Halliday speak, or when I read something of his, (which I would claim provides me with concrete evidence that he was ‘Working’) I don’t find this material ‘mysterious’ at all…

Some of it I don’t perhaps understand at the time; or I might not be too familiar with the source material that he refers to; or it might all seem somewhat contrived to me, from time to time….  but I have never experienced it as ‘mysterious’ …

I would claim that I found almost all of Eugene Halliday’s material – at least the material that he actually ‘put out there’ himself – to be extremely clear. In fact I would describe this material as being – at times – almost too straightforward for me…

And so one yardstick that I would make use of, in order to determine whether or not I believe that someone is Working, is to assess the degree of clarity that the ‘fruits’ of – what I consider to be – their attempts at Working, have for me….

Which also means, of course, that there could be any number of people out there who are Working – and so producing material – that I am just not able to  ‘get’; and as a consequence then, I could go on to open my big mouth and maintain that these people were not Working – when others would believe that it was blatantly obvious that they are … … Somewhat tricky this, then! … (But fine by me, all the same… as it all adds to the fun down here).

‘Mysterious’ is a term I tend to reserve (if I’m being polite) for those who – for example –  like to talk about ‘seeing UFO’s’; or who claim that they enjoy the occasional ‘out-of-body’ experience… So it is a term then that is, in the main, definitely a ‘no-no’ ‘for me, at least where it concerns Working.,,, And I would be extremely reluctant to apply the term ‘mysterious’ to anyone that I believed was ‘Working’ – although I would be quite happy to apply it to any number of New Age ‘gurus’ out there.

So – if I can now use my favorite metaphors here of a ‘journey’ and a ‘place’ – the term ‘mysterious’ marks a ‘border-line’ for me. And it is one of the ‘limits’ of my understanding of just who is, and who is not, Working.

Which leaves me with the option here to allow that it just ‘might be the case’ that someone who, initially, appears to me to be ‘somewhat (suspiciously) mysterious’, could indeed later turn out to be – in my (now revised) opinion – in fact, Working…

Briefly (!) … The Material produced by those who I would maintain are Working then, has to have this ‘clarity’ for me… But that they just might be (perhaps) ‘a tad mysterious’ at the ‘border’ …

I will admit though, that ‘Mysterious’ can often be ‘intriguing’ for me …if I’m in the mood…   🙂

‘Mystical experience’.

This term is far more of a hornet’s nest for me than ‘mysterious’. As it appears to be used as a label to describe anything from Saul’s ‘Road to Damascus Experience’, to the claims of New Age Seekers-after-truth, such as Eckhart Tolle, and his (quote) ‘inner transformation’.

A vital component of these experiences, it seems to me – on the part of those who claim to have experienced them – is that they are almost impossible to pass on to others in the form of a coherent account.. And frequent use is made of words like ‘ineffable’ and ‘unutterable’  … which does have the added advantage here of discouraging plebs like me though, I suppose.

It is almost as if the rule here is, ‘If the experience could be described, then it wasn’t a mystical one’… A state of affairs that invariably results in the sound of a very loud (virtual) alarm-bell, going off inside my head.

These incomprehensible accounts are particularly beloved by – for example – the followers of people such as Madam Blavatsky etc. and indeed, seem to me, to constitute an essential component of their ‘leader’s’ allure…

In fact, I find that the more mixed together: cabala; astrology; tarot; vegetarianism; collective nude-bathing; anything with the word ‘Brahman’ in it; Native American spirit chiefs; numerology; yoga; sacred geometry; King Arthur and Avalon; Hobbits; Led Zeppelin; Ozzie Ozbourn; Egyptian mummies; Carlos Castaneda; Telepathy; the ‘after-life’; Psionics; and the odd martial art ‘killer-move’, the more likely those doing so will be considered to be ‘in the know here’, and so become – possibly – the recipient of ‘much funding’ or adulation … …  ‘Way to go!’ then.

Hysterics such as Aleister Crowley were famous for these ‘stream of consciousness’ accounts – many of which contained accounts of meetings with beings possessed of weird and exotic names, such as Choronzon…. (There never seems to have been a ‘George’ or a ‘Deirdre’ about in these accounts of ‘other worlds’ – unless, of course, the writer happened to be someone like James Joyce).

Established Western churches have been smart enough to refer to these ’experiences’ as ‘visions’ – which allows them the intellectual breathing space to decide whether or not they were beamed down to their various recipients by the ‘goodies’ (so allowing these hallowed institutions to lay some form of claim to them) or the ‘baddies’ (in which case… well …. just burn everyone involved here … ‘for their own good’, of course ) …All of which I think is ‘really smart’.

So I would say that this is an ‘area of experience’ which is saturated with the bogus claims of anyone – from your common-or-garden charlatan, to your ‘full-on’ hysteric… And thus … extreme caution is advised…

But this viewpoint of mine doesn’t mean that I don’t believe anyone ever had a ‘genuine mystical experience’ – quite the reverse… I can also appreciate why it is that those who have had a ‘genuine mystical experience’ might find it difficult to relay their accounts to others… Because it seems to me that many of these authentic experiences were ‘freebies’… That is – that they just ‘happened’ … and that no special preparation was necessarily required in order to experience them. ..(An ‘Act of Grace’ if you prefer).

So, from my perspective at least, it is hardly surprising then, that the overwhelming majority of those claiming to have had these experiences would find difficulty in describing them; as these recipients possessed no ‘active’ language to do so… And that if they wished to subsequently describe these experiences of theirs, then they first had to Work at developing their own active language ‘in the time process’ in order to do just that – like the rest of us down here would have to.. (The development of Boehme’s account of his experiences here is a fascinating case in point here for me. As, in my opinion, he starts off with the [privately printed, and publicly circulated without his permission] extremely confusing ‘Aurora’ and then goes on – becoming more and more lucid in his writings – as he gains more experience here.)….

Rather, then, usually these people were ‘victims’ of these experiences if you like, and so, more often than not, passive to them… And I imagine that they were really just as bewildered by what had happened to them, as those who were attempting to follow the various explanations/descriptions that they were attempting to provide.

The big ‘no-no’ of course, is that we are here firmly in the domain of the charlatan; the self-deluded; and the outright liar… Because, devising ways of making up these experiences in attractive language is relatively easy to do so, for those with the ‘gift of the gab’; and this also has the advantage that there are legions of mugs out there who are only too glad to, not only be simply entertained, and enthralled, by these accounts, but also to part with large sums of cash, in order to do belong to the corresponding, resultant, club (cult).

NOTE: This viewpoint of mine re ‘mystical experience’ puts me in the situation where the only way I would be happy to elaborate further here would be to launch into an extended explanation of – what I take to be – the difference between cases where ‘the ego has been assimilated by the ‘self’ (a quite different entity from the ‘Self’ for me); and ‘the ‘self’ has been assimilated by the ego’… Which I’m not going to do right now…(But if anyone’s interested – let me know)..

People who I would see as having had a genuine ‘mystical experience’ would include Jacob Boehme and William Blake… Those who I would view as not having had a mystical experience would include Dante, Goethe, Shakespeare, Milton, William Law … and Eugene Halliday…

‘Mystic’.

In short then, I don’t believe that Eugene Halliday ever had a ‘mystical experience’ … And in my view, of the three terms here, it’s the last one – ‘mystic’ – that comes closest to saying something useful about him for me… But in order to support this claim of mine, I would have to tell you what I mean by ‘mystic’ in this particular case – at least what it is that constitute my ‘limits of the application of this term’ here.

The mystic, for me, is someone who creates a state in others – usually by making use of language, (either in speech, or in writing) – of believing that there needs to be some supremely important redirection in their life activity… This affect is, primarily, due to the result of the listener or reader being inspired (with the associated, subsequent experience of a sudden flow of conscious ‘positive energy’) by the web of ideas created in them that the experience of listening or reading here, has induced in them.

There is also a definite sense for me, from listening or reading, that the ‘mystic’ is looking both inwardly and outwardly (or perhaps ‘panoramically’ would be better) almost simultaneously …. That they can ‘see’ …. That they are describing something.. And also, importantly, that they are only describing one part of ‘it all’ at any one time … These parts would, for example, constitute the various subjects of Eugene Halliday’s talks, or essays …. This effectively means that we only get a part – and not the whole – at any one talk, or in any one reading of his… But also, confusingly for us perhaps, we can also sense that each of these ‘parts’  form part of  this greater ‘whole’ here…

Another important aspect here for me, is that any impression of the production of – what might be called – ‘theology’, arises only out of what is being presented at the particular time of the talk or essay. There is then the absence, or minimum amount here, of ‘mysticism’ present… A subject, that – when all is said and done – is just another bag to hold yet more theories and dogmas … just another ‘ism’, if you like.

The ‘mystic’ then, is characterized by me as presenting material that arises from personal experience. It is a ‘seeing’ that, at the same time as this ‘seeing’, confers the necessary energy required for producing a clear description of what it is that is ‘seen’…. Hence this ability of his to ‘talk from scratch’ etc…

The Work that – as a consequence of this ‘seeing’ – is being done here, by Eugene Halliday, is in the tying down, by him, of what it is that he is ‘seeing’, and the resultant re-presenting of it in some form of cohesive structure (in Eugene Halliday’s case, this would be his active language)

In my experience, what is being described by Eugene Halliday is often not of any particular ‘religious importance’ (although I think it was blindingly obvious that his focal point was a decidedly Christian one) and neither did this ability of his to ‘see’ provide him – as far as I’m concerned – with any, so-called, ‘psychic powers’ (whatever they might be) – although many of his ‘followers’ that I have met, appeared to like playing around with inventing suggestions that ‘perhaps’ he did have the odd one or two; or, at least, seemed genuinely troubled (or puzzled) that he couldn’t, say, walk through walls, or read people’s minds…

Rather then, I will say that Eugene Halliday did produce in me this clear sense that an integrative process and a unification – together with a sense of purpose and a state of conviction and positivity – was taking place ‘in him’ …. And that’s as near to admitting the possibility of the existence of an ‘inner-human spirit’ that I’m prepared to go… At least in print … 🙂

Most importantly in my view – where it concerns anyone else’s attempts to Work – Eugene Halliday cannot give his ‘eyes that see’ to others here… He can only talk, or write, about what he can see; and his words will have little meaning for those who lack at least some rudimentary vision in this area.

However, I have come to realize that there are those, like me, who – while we have great difficulty in articulating what it is that we can see – are reasonably certain that what Eugene Halliday is clearly describing, is also ‘out there’ for us… Maybe it is dimly lit, or fragmented, in our case, but – none the less – his talks and writings serve to confirm that it is ‘the same place’..

I do not mean to imply here that we must all somehow be ‘mystics’ here, in order to appreciate Eugene Halliday’s Work (I am not implying then, that there needs be some experience of an ‘election of grace’ in this sense here)… Only that the ability ‘to see’ seemed to have been experienced by Eugene Halliday as the prerequisite to this process of integration and reconstruction that he, as a consequence, went on to share with others…

Neither do I mean to minimize -what I believe was – his own sense of indubitable certainty here; but rather to take some comfort from his ability to overcome any difficulty that he had in clarifying this experience of his.

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The richness of his consequent conception(s) here are, I believe, his true legacy to the rest of us … and these then constitute, for me, the ‘fruits of his labor’.

Preventing the appropriation, and commodification, of these ‘fruits’  of Eugene Halliday’s by others; and providing a way of rooting out any distortions and biases (including my own) that arise from others, is essentially what my attempts at providing an archive of Eugene Halliday’s original material has been all about for me.

Oh! … And by the way, creating this Archive wasn’t an example of ‘me Working’ (How I wish it was!)… But was just an example of ‘me working’… Something that almost anyone could do – if they could be bothered, that is…. Also, I should add here, that in my opinion – regrettably – neither is ‘giving a talk’ an example of Working… And I mean ‘giving a talk’ on any subject… Take your pick: The Old Testament; The New Testament; Egyptology; Yoga; Atlantis; Gnosticism; Tai-Chi; Art Classes; Acting, etc etc etc. Because … obviously … if it were – then every teacher and lecturer in the world would be Working … Wouldn’t they?…

And this can be a major problem – that Working has absolutely nothing whatsoever necessarily  do with anything … Indeed, for me, Working is only, ever, ‘It aint what you’re doing, now; it’s the way that you’re doing it’, now’ … you might say.

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You have the opportunity to appreciate that Eugene Halliday responded ‘in the now’ to many of the questions that were asked of him, at many of his recorded talks… Because you have access to hundreds of examples of him doing so in the Archive … So why not stop for a moment and try to let that sink in… And ask yourself if you could ever do something like that, as you ‘are’ now … and if not, why not…

And then, for a little exercise here, why don’t you listen to one of his talks, and keep saying to yourself – every 30 seconds or so – “All this is completely unprepared,” for the hour plus that the talk takes to listen to… … … And then see how you ‘feel’ about that…

I believe that this could help you … if you’re really serious about Working yourself – that is.

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There is no magic in words, though, it must be confessed, they often exercise a psychological influence so profound and far-reaching that they seem to possess a miracle-working efficacy. Some persons live all their lives under the suggestive spell of certain words…

Rufus M Jones

What was Eugene Halliday to me in the context of this particular post on the subject of ‘Work’ then? He was a rarity for me…. Someone that I could observe ‘at Work’.. And his method of inter-acting with others here was done in such a way that he was continually demonstrating to the members of his audience how Working was accomplished ‘in the now’… All that they had to do was ‘be there in the now to witness it’ with him… (Regrettably, in my view, also something of a rarity… 🙂  )

For me then, that primary, active word that I was looking for, – that defining characteristic of Work, as far as I’m concerned – is ‘clarity’… You could call this clarity ‘The ‘signature’ of Work’ for me then…

If I experience someone as Working, then what I experience of what it is they have done will be this striving for clarity. They will not appear ‘mysterious’, or ‘enlightened’, or ‘on a higher level of consciousness’, or ‘holy’, or ‘spiritual’, etc. … but simply – even though they may not be all that easily understood, perhaps – clear

The experience of mine – where it concerns this degree of clarity  for me – will reflect both the Work that has been done here, and also whether or not I am – in the moment – in the right place to see it….

By the way – there is, of course, always then the distinct possibility that what might be very obvious to someone else here might be completely opaque to me… (Keeping this in mind though, helps to keep all the hubris and arrogance in line quite nicely … 🙂 )

This clarity that I experience, and which comes about as a result of my attempts to engage actively with the Work of others (Eugene Halliday for me in this instance) successfully, illuminates what it is that that had been Worked on… But if I were only passively engaged at the time – if I were just there, say, for the entertainment value – then this illumination would rapidly fade for me in an hour or so…

But if I were attempting to Work with this material myself (because I had been inspired) then this light would provide a much longer illumination. Such that there would now be the distinct possibility that what I could perceive could, consequently, now be formulated by me in my own unique, active way …

Here then is a reason, not only for the multitude of beings about who are – potentially at least – capable of Working, but also something of the ultimate purpose for all this in the way that things really are… And also, incidentally, what friends really are, and what they are really for…

‘Work’ ‘per se’ is not the important thing for me then. That is, arriving at a definition of what Work might be exactly… But ‘Working’ is  –  that is, what is it that can be done?

And so, a more in-depth appreciation of what it is that might be meant by Eugene Halliday’s ‘The limits of the application of terms’, for anyone attempting to Work, becomes the crucial factor here for me… How much of the meaning of all this to me, can I articulate myself using active language?

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Finally: You might find that posing the following questions to yourself could also help here – “Why am I the way that I am at the moment? What are the pertinent factors that have contributed to – or are determining – why this ‘who’ that I am at the present time, is here… now?”.. and, “Is it possible that I might – perhaps – get to elbow some of the crap, that’s lying around here, out of my way in order to move forward a step or two – and so, possibly, improve a bit?” ….

To be continued……..

Bob Hardy

October 29th, 2013

 

Hello viewers…

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

Anyway, here the first bit.

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

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

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

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

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

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When you’re interested – God’s interested

                                                                                         Eugene Halliday

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s what I expected, anyway….

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

And I thought all this was really obvious….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What on earth was going on here? …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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How I manage to pull it off.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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And now … on to those ‘Emotions’…

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

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

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

To begin this part ‘proper’ then ….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 1.    ‘Emotions’ don’t exist.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2.  Emotions are distinct things – in and of themselves

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

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

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

6.    Emotions are ‘energy’.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And so on…..

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

8.  Emotions are ‘located in the brain’.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From ‘Field-notes for Armageddon’ by Bob Hardy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘À tout’ … … Then!

Bob Hardy

30th July, 2013

 

At the risk of repeating myself … …

The purpose of this blog is to provide an account of my own interactions with Eugene Halliday’s various talks and writings.

 So… This attempt by me is not an ‘explanation’ of what I think it was that Eugene Halliday meant, when he said ‘this’, or when he wrote of ‘that’ …. It is, rather, an attempt by me to clarify – as well as I am able  – how this material influenced my efforts to arrive (if only in part) at ‘satisfactory replies’ to a series of discrete ‘inquiries’ that were of major importance to me (and might not necessarily have been of importance to anyone else)…. And, subsequently, to incorporate anything I believed could be of use to me here, into both my ‘active language’, and in the formulation of various praxes…

For the next couple of posts at least then, I will continue on from my previous post (13. ‘Feelings’) and attempt to describe my interaction(s) with these talks and writings, by considering Eugene Halliday’s material as effect, and therefore – as a direct consequence then – of its subsequent affect upon me.

… Although Eugene Halliday’s various talks and writings obviously contained ideas and information that were of varying degrees of interest and ‘importance’ (imagined or otherwise) to me; they were also productive of an emotional affect in me… However, this emotional affect was not nearly as easy for me to be as conscious of, ‘in-the-moment’, as that kaleidoscope of reactive ‘brilliant ideas’ which would invariably begin to spontaneously swirl around in my head, the moment that I began to focus my attention on what it was that I was presently listening to, or reading.

The particular ‘affects’, that were experienced by me ”in-the-moment’ here (when I made any attempt to focus on Eugene Halliday’s material, in whatever form) would, I believe, arise as a direct consequence of a number of factors here. These included : the point that I had arrived at on my ‘life-journey’ at that particular time; the earnestness which I brought to bear in my attempts to move forward with this ‘journey’ of mine at that specific time; Eugene Halliday’s actual ‘presence’, as it was experienced by me at that particular time; and the very nature of his subject material, as I perceived it at that particular time…

But I eventually came to realize that it was my attempts ‘in-the-moment’ to focus on the emotional aspect of my interaction with Eugene Halliday’s material that was crucially important for me here… As this was the catalyst that both enabled me to experience a sense of moving forward – and at the same time led me into believing that I had actually done some Work…

It was then, the satiation of a particular appetite in me – supplied by my state of understanding, and not just by the matter of my understanding – that I had to focus on  … An’ in-the-moment task’ that also served to make me even more cautious of that ever-present possibility of my being deluded… As a ‘state of delusion’ can easily bring about (and usually much more quickly and pleasurably) this satiation – but of another appetite entirely!…

I believe that there is always freedom of choice for me here, which is to either ‘just’ surrender to one of my various delusions – the usual purpose of which is to provide myself with a relatively easier route to feeling good about myself in the things that I do; or to be as honest with myself as I could, and attempt instead to satisfy my appetite for my (self-imposed) ‘love of truth’ – a much harder route, and one that, more often than not, required me to accept some thing(s) about myself that weren’t particularly wonderful … 

The decision here was (and always is) for me alone to realize. And so, in order to strengthen my resolve here, it became crucial for me to believe that grasping this emerging viewpoint of attempting to be conscious of my emotional states in-the-moment with regard to the study of Eugene Halliday’s material would actively assist in producing those changes within me that would be of significant help in moving me forward…And thus I had to somehow endow his material with authentic value, and not with just some vague, sycophantic  ‘appreciation’.. Or – to put it another way – this value that I gave it, had to be a real one for me…. Because if it wasn’t real for me, then nothing was going to happen.

It wasn’t just my reflextion in-the-moment of these emotional states only that I had to realize were important, but also how I subsequently – upon reflexion – defined the meaning of them, using – if possible – my acquired active language to-date . A language that seemed to me to be evolving spontaneously, as it involved itself in the various process(es) going on within me here….

As you have no doubt already spotted, all this is extremely difficult for me to articulate – as this process of explaining what is involved here is not at all the same thing as my merely having to describe it… (Try to explain exactly what it is that you are doing when you ‘walk’, or what it is that you do when you ‘breath’ – as opposed to, say, merely describing what walking, or breathing, ‘is’ – and you might experience something like this difficulty of mine here for yourself) … …

Cultivating a cohesive approach here then, or of even being able to ponder over this process in some constructive way, has really been the most illusive thing for me to bring into any focus… And it is also certainly the most difficult to articulate to another – although, funnily enough, if I do discuss this subject with someone who has also actually been engaged in any experientially similar activities, the attempt by me to articulate my experiences here becomes, very quickly, (relatively) easier for me….

And deciding that you are now ‘going to get to know yourself’, brings the question of your involvement here with others – your various relationships, new or old, that is – into much sharper focus. And although I would agree with the idea that it is only natural to seek the company of others who are engaged in a similar quest here, the problems created by these relationships – because they are predicated on this particular aspect of your life – are very real, and very dangerous… Indeed, in my experience, the very next thing that will happen in your life after you have decided that you are going to ‘improve yourself’ will be that some ‘thing or other’ will immediately seek to prevent you doing so (call these various oppositions that you now experience ‘Things Demonic’ if this idea serves to focus your attention on this problem, or if you prefer to view this quest of yours using somewhat traditional Western metaphors and allegories – I don’t personally label them quite like this, but it’s an allegorical perspective that I have no problem understanding, and so it certainly helps me in my discussions, vis-a-vis this problem with, and about, others here)..

A question you could ask yourself here which might get you to see this is, “Will I experience any resistance to this noble endeavor of mine to ‘move forward and get to know myself’ as some sort of excruciatingly difficult and uncomfortable test – where I’m being tortured, or I have to sweat and strain, or I suddenly see myself as some kind of ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ monster … and it’s all very dramatic and overpowering … Or will it rather be the case, that every time I decide that I need to take another step, I’m overcome with this overwhelming desire to make a cup of tea or coffee, sit on the couch, open a packet of digestive biscuits,  and then watch that ‘very important’ program that I recorded last night.”…

So will it now be that you find yourself joining yet another ‘wonderful’ new group that you ‘just happen’ to have ‘discovered’ (yoga, theosophist, ‘new age’, or whatever – it doesn’t really matter) who – you find yourself now believing – know lots and lots about ‘all this’, and indeed have an ‘ancient tradition’ (usually ‘sacred’ or ‘secret’) going back thousands of years (and so they must ‘really’ know what it’s ‘all about’ then) and who are ‘in touch’ with ‘something or other’, and that you are, in future, going to ‘be doing’ this traveling of yours with  … And it’s all ‘so wonderful’, because you feel far more safe and secure (like ‘coming home’) now… (Now that you’ve been shown the ‘real path’, that is) … And – even better – that you’re now, finally, at last, ‘with like minds’ … And of course if anything screws up here, you will just tell yourself that it was probably because you’ve either misunderstood some of the ‘essential’ stuff (you just ‘missed it’ as it were) – as there does seem to an awful lot that you need to know here, and much of it uses words in ways that you’re not familiar with, or have never heard before, or are in a foreign obscure language; … or that you’ve ‘just simply’ made a mistake and joined the wrong group (again), and it was perfectly reasonable for you to have to ‘stick with it’ for some time at least, but now you’ve ‘realized’ that it wasn’t for you after-all…This was then an ‘understandable’ mistake – you believe – and, with regrets of course, you will simply now have to ‘move on’….

Well, of course, you won’t be ‘moving on’ at all – you’ll simply continue, at best, to ‘slip sideways’…  As those ‘groups’ that you join – and the consequent relationships that you form in these groups – almost certainly constitute just another, but far subtler, aspect of your very own original problem…

But …I know … in your case … “It’s different!” … Isn’t it? … …..Well…  No it (almost certainly) isn’t … At least in my experience of all this, I’m afraid …

This problem constitutes a different, and difficult, complex subject in itself –  and hopefully I will get to it in more detail in a later posting …. But before I do leave it, here’s a quote in the meantime that might help to throw further light on the subject.

Yet .. anxiety … is not the only barrier to an acceptance of new and novel circumstances. Their is also our sense of threat from our inability to comprehend them, since we are too firmly attached to the old consciousness structure. Seen from the old standpoint, the new seems suprarealistic or supernatural; and, in fact, with reference to the old consciousness structure, the new not only appears to transcend and supersede the old reality but actually does so. We are then left with what seems to us to be the only alternative; we try to adapt or assimilate the new into the old, at the expense of course of the integrity and verity of the new. It is such attempts at explaining the new on the basis of the old, using old concepts, rather than allowing the new to stand out in its originality against the old background, that give rise to the misunderstandings, misinterpretations, and objections.

From Chaper 3 of ‘The Ever Present Origin’
by Jean Gebser (trans. by Noel Barstad)
Published by Ohio University Press 1989

You might say that this problem is – in part at least – about storing new wine in old wine-skins; or of realizing that the ‘rock’ you took so much care in selecting for that foundation of yours, will inevitably – and sooner rather than later – turn to sand … Because that’s what rocks do… It’s where that sand you’re always so concerned about comes from … It in ‘the very nature of these things’ … And so it just ‘goes with the gig’ … … … As us hipsters like to say ..

…Anyway … To continue on here …

 (Lights fade-up to reveal what appears to be a small office, complete with filing cabinets etc. – circa 1960’s. He is facing us, seated behind a desk, dressed in a conventional suit complete with white shirt and tie; and is speaking into a black, old-fashioned, telephone handset, which is connected – via a thick curly lead – to the base that we can clearly see on his desk. He appears to be somewhat exasperated with his conversation, and we get the distinct impression that he is reporting to a senior, and is having some difficulty in clarifying his situation)..

Look … The way you’re seeing all this … It’s not really helping me ….. I …(He pauses to listen)

Look, I know that it’s… … Look! I know…. (He is almost shouting now)..Look! …(He lowers his voice) I know it’s obvious – at least to us it is! … But it isn’t to them… They just don’t seem to… ‘Get … it’!… At all!…

You can explain it to them, over, and over, and over, again …And sometimes you almost believe that they understand what it is you’ve just told them… They’ll even give you good feedback occasionally!…Or – what is even more baffling – appear at times to make an actual contribution!… 

But, in the end, no matter what I try… And I do appreciate your suggestions here … They still just don’t …’Get it’… …Which makes all this very difficult …

As soon as they hear something, or read something, or see something that … ‘captures’ … their attention – and ‘captures’ really is the right word here, particularly if the situation that they find themselves in strikes a numinous chord – then… ‘Off they go’!! ….

So, if they believe they’re engaged in something that is – what they like to call – ‘spiritual’ …And NO!… I don’t really know what they mean by that either! … Or ‘religious’ … which is a word that they seem to use to talk about patterns of social behavior that some of them like to indulge in; and that is supposed to demonstrate their ‘godliness’… Whatever that’s supposed to be! …Then I have to stop .. and start the dance with them – from the beginning – all over again..

And so its a case of, “Let’s rewind the music again people, and this time let’s all really try to remember not to rush.” …… Talk about ‘two left feet’! …(He pauses)

I know! .. I agree! … It IS crazy! (He is almost shouting again) … …

(He once again lowers the tone of his voice) Anyway, as I say, the minute their attention is captured in this way … ‘Down they fall’…(He takes out a handkerchief and wipes his brow with it, before replacing it in his jacket pocket)

It would never occur to them, to simply ask themselves, “What is actually going on here?” … Because they have become so completely enthralled by the way that they now ‘feel’, it has, once again, become almost impossible to reach them……(He stops, and appears to be listening closely)

Well, for instance  … If they’re attending a talk given by one of their ‘gurus’ … The question that they should so obviously all be asking themselves – “What is it that is happening now to this person while they are speaking to us?” – never even seems to occur to them! … It is always, and ever, only about themselves…  Such that, if I were to ask them immediately afterwards, “What then, is becoming here?” I don’t think they’d understand me at all!…The best I could expect is that they’d probably look down at the floor, shuffle their feet a bit, look decidedly uncomfortable and say something like, “What do you mean?”… and then mutter something about me being far too  ‘obscure’, while obviously all feeling very exposed …  Or something like that!

I keep telling them, “Just because you imagine that you have met someone who believes that they can tell you ‘the way it is down here’ … this belief of yours doesn’t mean that they can do so – because how would you know if they could? …And secondly, that even if these ‘gurus’ do ‘know’, this doesn’t mean that they are somehow different, in some fundamental way, from you… It isn’t as if they are beings who ‘know something’ or who are ‘doing something’…. else!… something ‘other’ … Something so ‘fundamentally other’ … that you couldn’t do it!… What the … Hell … use … on ‘earth‘ (He laughs quickly in a resigned manner) would that be to you?” …(His voice has dropped considerably and he now starts to sound somewhat resigned and depressed) 

Why we have been consigned to go through all this adversity with them, is beyond me…

Why don’t we just simply give them what it is that they imagine they want? …  Then things would – very rapidly – come to a head down here …..And then all of us who have found it necessary to become involved here will be done with this… At last!… (He looks up from the desk, and stares out into the audience, and just before slamming down the phone, shouts) Finally! (Fade to black)…

From ‘Field-notes for Armageddon’ by Bob Hardy

 

NOTE: Unlike other subjects I’ve taken a profound interest in over the last 40 years or so, and that have been fairly straightforward (although they’ve all usually presented me with at least some degree of difficulty) the subject area of what I like to refer to as ‘Feelings and Emotions’, has been by far the trickiest …

Nonetheless, I would maintain that this topic underpinned everything that Eugene Halliday both spoke of, or wrote about – certainly as far as this blog is concerned.

I have found that focusing on the feeling tone of Eugene Haliday’s presentation of his material (and also of my reaction to it) to have been a particularly fruitful vantage point for me to perceive patterns in what it was that Eugene Halliday was mainly ‘on about’. This viewpoint also, of course, obviously informed me about the subject of ‘feelings and emotions’ itself  ….

But, if it seems -from what I have written in this post – that I believe this subject to have now become somehow ‘manageable’ for me, and that I’ve at last succeeded in presenting my results in a causal, linear manner – this is purely accidental… As grasping the essence of this subject – in the sense that it could be ‘nailed down’ – is, I believe, impossible … in principle..

 So understand then, that what I offer below (which I appreciate might be experienced by you as fragmented, or as ‘skipping about a bit’) is merely ‘the tip of the iceberg’ (well more like ‘a few snow-flakes’) …. But I have had to make a start here somewhere…

And as my interest, and my consequent investigations, into the subject of ‘feelings and emotions’ has – for a very long time now – constituted a significant part of my approach to both my view of the person of Eugene Halliday as a cultural phenomena, and that also informs my position vis-à-vis his researchable ‘output’, it might now be possible (after some thirteen previous postings of mine) for you to appreciate that a major focal point for me in the very early stages of this game here was, ”What was it that was happening to Eugene Halliday himself, while he was engaged in this Work of his?” … Together with the (far more selfish on my part) question, “If I come to understand this process of his, then will this understanding provide me with some sort of ‘map’ to help me with my journey?” … (As opposed to, ”What interesting stuff was he trotting out to entertain his audience with, that I can appropriate in order to trot it out myself at some future date to others; and so perhaps succeed in sounding as if I might know what’s going on here?”) …

 

My own technique for observing what it is that’s taking place in my ‘interior space’ does not make use of Eugene Halliday’s suggested mnemonics such as ‘Be Here Now’, or ‘The observer is not the observed’, as I find these phrases to be too awkward for my taste (they make me feel a bit like I’m pretending to be Christopher Lee in some film adaptation or other of a Dennis Wheatley, or Stephen King, novel).. However, as I like to believe that I understand – to some degree at least – the detailed exposition that Eugene Halliday gives regarding the use of this technique in his essay ‘Reflexive Self-Consciousness, I have, as a consequence, had no problem in formulating my own mnemonic(s) here – in my pursuit of this ability to be able to reflect (in part at least) upon my own ‘being-in-the-world-in-the-moment’, as it were…

These mnemonics of mine make a somewhat fluid use of the following related group of words – “What’s Happening Now?” … “Oh! What’s happening now.” … “Crumbs! What’s happening now.” …  “Good Heavens! What’s happening now?” ….”Crikey! What’s happening now!”… “Flipping Heck! What’s happening now?”… and so on, ‘up the scale,’ to the really difficult stuff (I’ll leave you to work out the remainder of this sequence for yourself – as my own personal set of preferred expletives might not be to your taste)…

The examination of my various emotional states then, becomes more difficult with the increasing intensity of these states, and, as a direct consequence, my attempts at ‘riding out the storm’ – when they do threaten to overwhelm me – becomes more and more desperate, until the task finally becomes impossible … Maybe someone else would claim that it’s different for them, and that they have found – in practicing this technique over the years – that all this has become somewhat easier … But telling me that wouldn’t really help me here …Would it? …  … And I wouldn’t believe them anyway…

To continue on here, I must make two things very clear. As far as I’m concerned:

1) For an emotional state to exist, there must either be someone who is experiencing it; or who has, in the past, experienced it.

2) Every emotional state is capable of being described in some form of ‘text’ (spoken; written; danced; painted; etc.) That is, there are no experienced emotional states that cannot either in-the-moment, or subsequently – potentially at least – be described, using some form of ‘text’…

And please take the trouble here to ponder for a moment on what it is that I might mean by the word ‘describe’; and so appreciate that a ‘description’ is not the same thing at all as an ‘explanation’.

An essential component of my belief system is that emotional awareness is something we all possess: a commonality that presents us with the potential to offer support to one-another, because we can appreciate – if not from our own experiences, then at least by using our imagination – what it is that might be ‘going on’ with someone else, when their life ‘takes a turn’, either for the better, or for the worse…

It’s from my observation of these emotional states in others, and an inbuilt realization that I can potentially experience these same emotional states in my own life – states of depression, anxiety, fear, anger, lust, shame, happiness, compassion, sympathy, obsession, love, etc. – that has allowed me to recognize that the overwhelming majority of us are indeed ‘all in the same boat down here’…

I don’t believe that this ability to recognize these states in others comes about merely as a consequence of some sort of cultural, or religious, ‘programming’… And thus, this natural ability then – both in my experiences of these states, and in my reflection on the experiences of them in others – I take to be an essential component of what it is that ‘I am’ … of what ‘we are’… It just ‘goes with the territory’ you might say, and forms an essential part of what it is that we all do – of what it is that makes us ‘human’….But I should also add here that this ‘inbuilt realization’, I claim here that we all possess, says nothing about any subsequent course of action which might take place as a consequence of these states… This, as I see it, would concern the ethical, or moral judgments of these states  – which is another matter entirely.

And further, when I reflect on those philosophical, theological, and cultural etc. interests that I have pursued throughout my life, I can see that – without this sharing – the contents of these various subjects would have been meaningless to me.

I believe that we are all the authors of the emotions that we experience; and that these emotional states are at the very root of these experiences… And so, if we can lay claim to anything in our lives that ‘belongs to us’, it is to these unique emotional experiences of ours, because they are – as nothing else in our lives are – ‘authentic’.

Without our emotional experiences, there would be no ground for empathy; or – via the intellect, and active imagination – any genuine ‘concern’ for the state of others. For even though you might never have shared someone else’s particular experience(s), you can still imagine what these experiences might ‘be like’, and thus, as a result, display compassion (even if you do not experience any actual degree of empathy)… A response on your part that I believe unfortunately however, may or may not be genuine – as, in my experience, this ‘compassion’ can easily be faked; whereas ‘empathy’ cannot…

This means then that I reject the idea that it is possible for some higher being to ‘just’ simply empathize with my condition, although I can allow that they might ‘just’ manifest compassion – but only in the same way that I might experience compassion when I, say, recognize the squelchy-crunchy sound of that snail’s shell I have just stepped on, on my way out to work, and that I had failed to notice  … (“Oh dear! …I am sorry…I do feel really bad about that.” … ‘Bad’, that is, for about the two seconds that it takes me to get into my car and move on … A response that I view as more of a socially programmed convention, than anything else)…

On the negative side here then, this ‘sharing of our emotional lives’ can often explain how it is possible for someone to gain power over – and consequently manipulate – others… For a quick mind can – particularly if it is one which intuits that if it intimates an understanding of another being’s emotional state, then it can gain a great deal of real power in any future relationship here … On the positive side, there might perhaps be some ‘genuine understanding’ here, but this is regrettably placed in the service of a willfully-seeking desire to control the resulting relationship, and thus of exploiting the other’s vulnerability, as it were…

Even so, whatever any particular person’s social station in life happens to be, we are – all of us, at least in principle – capable of appreciating this life we have ‘together’…. Rich man; poor man; beggar man; thief, are all capable of experiencing a performance at the theater; a movie; a music recital; a joke, etc. in very similar ways… If only for the fact that, if they couldn’t, then these events could not be promoted in the way that they are, or to the extent that they are …

As far as I’m concerned here, it is this essential fact about you – and only this – that enables you to claim that you share in the humanity of others, whatever your material, social, or intellectual etc. status, or position, happens to be. And so, to be ‘emotional’ then, is what I see that makes us all quintessentially human… But – and here’s the ‘Million Dollar Question’ – “Just what are these ‘emotions’?“

That they are seen as an ‘out-pouring’, or ‘out-moving’, of ‘feeling’ (or whatever) … is etymologically obvious … But there is all the difference in the world between ‘motion’ as ‘loco-motion’ (a movement out from your ‘feeling center’ and ‘into your body’, as it were) and a ‘motion’ that constitutes some modification or alteration of your state (from one emotional state to another)… Indeed, Aristotle had already worked that out ‘way back when’… (If you’d like to take a ‘time out’ here to do some research in this area by the way, that’s OK… Try his ‘Nicomachean Ethics’) … And the position in a belief that we are ‘moved’ or ‘propelled’ by our emotions – that is, in this simple ‘outpouring’ idea – I see largely as supportive of a mechanical, or materialistic, and thus largely deterministic, view… However, the ‘change of state’ view of emotions is, for me, a far more fruitful, interesting, and contemporary psychological viewpoint, leading me to a (version of) phenomenology that is not ‘merely mechanical’, and that, indeed, informs my own ideas on ‘freedom of choice’…. But I appreciate that, for the moment at least, this position of mine would take some justifying on my part ……

We might put this question re, “What are emotions?” another way. And that is, “When we are doing something (when we make music; draw a picture; act; talk to one another; attempt to acquire a new skill; study for an academic qualification; engage in sexual activity; etc.), what happens to us?” … Is it somehow that we ‘become’ something, by ‘identifying with’ the emotion? … And so our answer here then would seem to be, that to express our emotions is to somehow ‘give in’ to them…

Or is it that we overcome them, and so sublimate them, in order to produce something ‘from them’?

And further, if we are to view ‘what happens’ to us as having prominently to do with our ‘emotions’, then do we have these emotions – that is, are they mine – or is it rather the case that no matter how deeply they are ‘felt’, we are nonetheless firmly in the grip of them – and thus that these emotions possess us; that they ‘come in’ to us, and so inhabit us; and that we, rather, become ‘theirs’…

This latter view, by the way, would be right at home from the dawn of recorded history up until at least the Enlightenment. During which time you – as a person – would have been either home to the ‘gods’ (or ‘God’), or had been invaded by ‘demons’ (with the unfortunate social consequences that go along with this particular ‘world-view’)…. And, in this scenario then, our question re ‘emotions’ would, during that period of history at least, have been, “What does this god/demon want here with me?” and not, “What do I want here?”

NOTE: If you’re having trouble getting to grips with this idea, try reflecting on one of your dream states (the particular dream of yours that you chose here is of no importance)… Do you experience this dream state of yours as ‘being somewhere’? .. Are you – as it were – ‘still you’, but now you’re an inhabitant in this ‘dream-place’, no matter how bizarre? …That is, you experience yourself as being in a definite ‘geographical location’ (on a ship; up a mountain; in a desert) – …And do you ‘meet others here’ …. Well, this sense that you are ‘somewhere’, is what I’m trying to describe here, when I say that your emotional states ‘take you to a definite somewhere’ … All this is, of course, complicated by the fact that  the ‘quality’ of this state (happy; sad; lust; fear; etc.) very often also makes use of a ‘location’ metaphor’ (‘Fields of delight’; rivers of ecstasy; ‘clouds of depression’;  etc.)…  …

… I do hope the above note hasn’t confused you even further …. ….. Anyway….. ‘Moving quickly on’ …

We often find that we (re)act ‘in the moment’ also, because responding from our emotional states can so easily be immediate – just because it is these states that fundamentally constitute our moment-to-moment awareness…. From this perspective then, I believe that they are also the connection between my instinctive animal nature and my primary will; and that they also provide the raw material for the exercise of my ability to reflect cognitively on ‘what the hell is going on here’. … (I am making use of one of Eugene Halliday’s meanings for ‘Will’ here, “…(T)he Will should be used only for pre-initiation … Will is unconditioned.”)… unfortunately this presents me with being required to perform something of a balancing act, in that I must (almost but not quite) ‘identify’ with the emotion in question, in order to ‘view’ it. And this situation could, very easily, simply overwhelm me…

For me to adequately reflect on these matters, I found that I needed the concept of the ‘unconscious’ to explain to me why these emotions ‘get the better of me’; together with the concept of ‘consciousness’ to explain how I might enter into a dialogue with these emotions and so, subsequently, formulate them – in order to arrive at some measure of understanding here – and to consequently, perhaps, allow me some degree of control over them, and so of my ‘being’…. Because it is only through these emotions that I believe I can gain any understanding of what the world is ‘about’; that gives the world any ‘meaning’; and that makes any relationship to it possible…. Even though there is always an ever-present element of danger involved (precipitation into rage, or sublime delight, or even into ‘mental illnesses’ – such as depression, or paranoia, for instance).

But let me add here that I have no idea if there is really any such a thing as the ‘conscious’ or the ‘unconscious’…. I merely make use of these concepts (and concepts like them) to ‘move me along’ on my journey…. And when it might happen, perhaps after decades, that they no longer do so, I will have no problem in discarding them … with perhaps some measure of gratitude, but also with absolutely no regrets …

So then, cultivating techniques in order to dis-engage from the world by ‘controlling’ my emotional flow, I view as attempts to inhibit the possibility of me discovering who I am, and even more alarming, of ‘plastering over’ myself with (yet another) layer of delusion, in an attempt to present myself to another – and so then delude both of us – into believing that this marionette that I have manufactured and that you see here is, “‘The way that I really am’… Honest-to-God!”…. A ‘construct’ that consists almost entirely of those characteristics that I would like to see reflected in your perception of me, making my motive here then, narcissistic idolatry … as it is a ‘construct’ that requires I continually remember the components of its image, so that I might endlessly re-constitute it, in order to continually re-present it to the world…. An unwholesome form of ‘worship’ then… (A word that Eugene Halliday defined very nicely as ‘continual remembrance’)… So … Real problems with this for me I’m afraid…

The metaphor I use to describe the attempt at deliberately inhibiting and controlling my emotional flow is that of siting behind the steering wheel of a car, with the engine in top gear and the feet on both the accelerator and brake at the same time… There is an appearance of being motionless – in that there is no forward movement – but there is now in imminent danger of the whole thing shaking apart, or even blowing up.. A  situation of – as I like to say, “Going nowhere…Fast!”… And which is really quite dangerous…

The contents of this present post have their root in my interpretation of a number of concepts (including a significant number of Eugene Halliday’s), and constitute my observations of both myself and my objective world, when viewed from the perspective gained by me from contemplating (what I take to constitute the content of) these various concepts.

The pieces in red below consists of an edited selection from my notebooks (from the late 1970’s to date) that contain some of my thoughts on Eugene Halliday’s Work, and which are, I believe, of some relevance here.

Notes towards Working with Eugene Halliday’s concept of  a ‘System’ as,  ‘A savior for a time’.

 I have found that this myth/metaphor of ‘the journey’ seems to apply very nicely to the way in which I experience what the hell it is that I’m doing with all this stuff… And that the stages of this journey of mine (and also of those other beings that I have met on the way) form the various chapters of this personal myth of mine. 

And so I have come to realize that it is important for me to record my own ‘as-lived’ account of all this as honestly as I can then…. Because I have learned, through experience, that it is not enough for me to simply seek to acquire more knowledge, or information, of something or other here…. In practice, for this material to be of any real value to me, I must somehow actively locate it – and then fix it – in the framework of my own lived experience; in my own personal time and space, as it were… And the extent to which I have deluded myself in my efforts here can be measured by the degree to which I am able to accurately recall my authentic past (as opposed to a version of that past which I would have ‘preferred’ – and which constitutes the ‘edited’ version of it that I always recount to others)… And as any account of this ‘past’ of mine that I seek to iluminate is, primarily, a linguistic account; then this is yet another crucial reason for the acquisition of an ‘active language’ 

But it is imperative here that I bear in mind, this myth of mine – this ‘journey’ I’m attempting to describe – is not really a ‘journey’ at all… My use of those metaphors – such as ‘journey’; ‘distance’; obstacles; ‘being ‘lost”; etc. etc. – are merely extremely useful ways of assisting me in my attempts at conceptualizing, evaluating, and ‘explaining’ , to both myself, and occasionally  to others, in language – a process taking place that is ‘uniquely itself’… and is not ‘like’ anything else at all really.

A ‘myth’, for me, is a form of story-telling that – to function as it is supposed to function in the individual – must in some real way, be about that individual…. Myths then, are definitely not risqué stories about the various goings-on of ‘the gods’ or other fictional characters, that various ‘self-appointed authorities’ subsequently ‘interpret’ using the latest, fashionable, ‘New-Age’ techniques …. As in: “That’s really a ‘Hero-figure-masculine-phallic-castration-incest’ myth in contemporary guise –  and not just simply a tale involving a beaver, a bath of Mazola oil, and a stealth bomber.”; or, “That story fragment ‘really’ forms part an ‘Earth-Mother’ saga  – although the uninitiated might think that it’s simple about a bit of lark which took place just inside a storage facility on the outskirts of Maidenhead.” … etc. etc. [yawn, yawn] ……. Would it were all really that easy… But then again, we all have to make a living I suppose…

I experience this journey as one in which I am, more often than not, traversing a completely unpredictable terrain – although I do get the occasional ‘coasting’ period (But I suspect this is merely to lull me into a sense of false security).. It might then, be easy going for part of the way; there might be mountains to climb; rivers to cross; sand-dunes to clamber over; waterlogged areas to wade through; etc. etc… And, as a result, I have become less and less concerned with being too particular about what it is that I am prepared to use ‘in the moment’ that will, I believe, move me forward here… Although I find that I must be totally committed to whatever it is that I am making use of at any one particular time  … Even though I might find that I – quite suddenly – will have to completely abandon it…

Volunteers who fondly imagine that they would like to become, or who indeed insist that they in fact are, ‘Fellow Travelers’ on this journey of mine, are another thing entirely…  I like to believe that I’m very reliable when I ‘cut a deal’ with others here, and I really do strive to be as clear as possible as to what I believe the outcomes can reasonably be expected to be – at least from my end… But my actual experiences here (and perhaps it is simply because I’ve never been able to clarify my own position in all this well enough to others) has taught me that it is far more usually the case that the majority of these others – usually because they have completely misunderstood what it is that ‘I’m about’ – will end up inevitably lowering the goalpost, or moving the starting line, or unilaterally changing the rules.…

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I have had to learn the hard way (and I have to confess that I still haven’t really learnt my lesson – although my wife has been attempting to advise me about this penchant of mine for decades) that it is extremely dangerous to cut deal with ‘devils’ – however minor; and however reasonable their subsequent defense of their own behavior might seem to be… 

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Important note to myself: This is a serious game …There is no rehearsal… This is IT… I have but one ‘go’ at it, and that’s all… There is no ‘return match’ .. no ‘reincarnation’ … What I do, ‘here and now’, constitutes – in the end – all that I am ever going to do with this life of mine… And when my death inevitably arrives, I believe there will then be a moment when it will clearly be seen by me that there were absolutely no excuses at all for any of the choices that I made in my life, or for any of my behavior here … Not that believing this really helps me all that much now…

This then is the scenario in which I need my ‘system’ to function. This is my ‘real world’; the one that I experience, and that I must deal with … And so clearly, my approach here must – to some extent at the very  least – be ‘fluid’ … As Eugene Halliday has it, only ever , ‘A Savior … for a time’.

In order for me to at least believe that I know what I’m doing, from moment to moment, with my ‘System’, I have had to take a closer look at a group of these related words that I see as clustering around the word ‘theory’. A word that often seems to be applied to – what might be more accurately described as – a ‘speculation’; or a ‘notion’; or a ‘model’… Anyway, here’s my ‘take’ on these words.

 I use ‘theory’ to refer to those ideas and concepts that I relate together to form principles, which I then use to produce reasonably systematic statements about either a particular subject of interest to me, or of an experience of mine, and that serves to illuminate these somewhat …

 A ‘notion’ is like a ‘hunch’ for me…. I might intuit that there will be some connection between two experiences or ideas, but this ‘maintaining the possibility here’ is not the same as producing a theory … Although these ‘notions’ may be later incorporated into some theory or other of mine – if the end result that is arrived at as a consequence of applying these ‘notions’ coincides with the same basic principles as the theory in question, that is…

But until then, I would rather call what I am doing here ‘speculation’. And this is a situation that will remain in this state until the principles I maintain are present here can be involved in some form of praxis of mine, or can at least be examined empirically, or concretely, by me… I should also add that my ‘notions’ usually take the form of metaphors – as these usually function quite well in getting me a little deeper into a particular subject.

Here’s an example: I like to think of my various emotions as the different colored inks that are contained in something like a set of children’s felt-tipped drawing pens; then my brain is the pen itself (the physical thing); and my mind is the hand that produces those ‘texts’ (acting with ‘intentionality’). These texts can, subsequently, be presented to my consciousness as a simple awareness, all the way up to a complex mentation… This ‘notion/metaphor’ ‘doesn’t really work’ if I think about it deeply at all – but it does serve to get me ‘into the right area’, and from this it is now possible that I might come up with something really useful…. So (obviously) although it’s very scrappy, and has ‘loads of holes’ in it, none the less I can Work with it – always provided I bear in mind that I mustn’t ‘fall for it’ (identify with it) that is…

I use ‘model’, when I believe I’m someway towards constructing a theory. My model partially ‘represents’, and uses those systematic statements that I’m constructing to describe various relationships that I’m perceiving. But my ‘model’ is always incomplete by its very nature… If  I were to believe that my model had somehow become complete, then it would no longer be a model – as it would now be identical with ‘the thing itself’, and so would be indistinguishable from it – which is impossible … (By the way, the statements by me that, “I completely understand,” something – is, I believe, also impossible)…

A ‘model’ then, helps me to construct a theory, which will then tell me not only what ‘parts’ of my model are incomplete, but also the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of those parts I’ve worked on, and possibly how they inter-relate. … I then use Eugene Halliday’s concept of a ‘system’ to link various theories together … Before finally Working on them – by  attempting to complete them still further; and, more importantly, adapting them into some form of praxis.

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Where do these ‘models’ of mine (for what it is that we essentially are) come from? … I have to accept that they are formed in the main by the Zeitgeist, or ‘Aionic forces’ …The seventeenth century emphasized mechanics (Newton and Descartes), which gave rise in the nineteenth century to, for example, the view that the best way to look at the world was based on forces, fields, energy, and resistance. This model was behind the ideas of pioneers such as Freud – who used this paradigm as the scientific basis for his theory of regression (which was appropriated by Eugene Halliday, in my view, to formulate the practical basis of what he referred to as, ‘engram work’), and Henri Berson, with his conscious field; his ‘élan vital’…

But this was not the only model that was about then, by any means… That branch of philosophy known as Phenomenology, coming out of German Idealism, and that gave rise to Romanticism, and Existentialism would also produce its own (quite different) vision..

I believe that we are now moving into an era where ‘what we are’ can be modeled more completely by incorporating metaphors based upon the ‘computer model’ – with its sub-routines; feedback loops; virtual realities; ability to provide relatively simple graphic representations of complex mathematical ideas etc. etc. etc..”

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The basic problem seems to me to have always revolved around dualism and idealism. On the one hand, the world is material in nature, and if there is any mystery here then it simply a consequence of our ignorance, and that is all. But then this Zeitgeist dictates that we accept certain types of evidence over other types – with the notably recent paradigm (in the West at least) being that of the causal nature of events.

 However, it is a matter of historical record that our epistemologies do evolve. But this evolution does not solve the problem that – in any given era – we still place more reliance on certain types of evidence than upon other types.

 If these models really succeed in reflecting current, contemporary, human values, then (as a direct consequence of this success) these models are difficult to shine any light upon, because they clearly do just seem to be, ‘the way it really is’.

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As the ideas that I work with iterate and bifurcate, I find I am having to deal with more and more diverse subjects.  Thus, questions concerning the nature of ‘consciousness’, and the necessity for a ‘system’ etc., all seem to arise quite naturally from my initial investigation into – what I fondly imagined were – ‘just’ my emotions… 

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 A ‘system’ must be formulated (or re-formulated) by me, to be of any real use to me…That is, I cannot just ‘take on’ someone else’s system…

In order for the involution/evolution of this system of mine to progress, I must actively involve the primary components of my perception, (that is, input received by me via my ‘five senses’); my experience of degrees of feeling; and those aesthetic evaluations which constitute my ‘recognition’ of my emotional states…. However i still view this system of mine as being – by and large – a construct of my mentational processes…

A fancy term for this system of mine then, might be to call it a ‘Cognitive Structure’, because this label would at least highlight the fact that it is, primarily, a system of representations in language, and is therefore essentially one that I can ‘play about with’ – with a view to transforming the elements contained within it… Hence the crucial importance here then, of developing my own ‘active language’.

These systems of mine then, I view as being products of my mind… Unlike, say, the ‘system’ of control that seems to be in place to preside over the regulation of organs such as my kidneys, for example… The smooth running of which must, as a consequence then, be continually tweaked by my brain ‘alone’. As my ‘conscious mind’ is apparently not required here. ..And so ‘I don’t ever actually ‘know’ that ‘I’m’ doing it!’ … This is fine by me by the way, as I’d probably screw the whole thing up if I did try to interfere here and attempt to become involved in ‘managing’ these essential bodily functions of mine… Because, let’s face it, I am so very easily distracted, and thus any interference by ‘the real me’ here would inevitably prove to be fatal … 

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As to ‘consciousness’ itself. It’s not something that I’m really all that interested in. That is to say, its not of any real pressing importance to me what consciousness is. I happen to believe that it is phenomenologically and ontologically unique. And thus, all attempts to explain it as being ‘like’ a ‘something else’ (as something that we all ‘understand better’) are doomed from the outset. … Because I have never been able to think of anything else that consciousness is remotely similar to … 

It is interesting for me to speculate, that the position taken by the contemporary philosopher Daniel Dennett re ‘consciousness’ may have arisen simple because of the temptation on his part to deny – what I claim is – consciousness’s uniqueness… And so then, for him – because consciousness isn’t ‘like something else’ (and so cannot then in principle, be ‘explained’) – ‘consciousness’ therefore, ‘doesn’t exist’…

In my view, the position, in part at least, that Dennett takes up regarding a view of ‘consciousness’ – which is predicated on what he refers to as, ‘The Multiple-Drafts Model’ – makes use of precisely the same sort of argument… That is – that consciousness isn’t like ‘this‘; it’s like ‘that‘..

And although I am in full agreement with Dennett’s demolishing of those models of consciousness that have been presented to us in the past and that he disagrees with – because he does prove, to my satisfaction at least, that these accounts all invariably do proceed by (and so seek to find their justification in) this analogy – I see his book  (‘Consiousness Explained’ ) as rather, an extremely complex and well argued example of, what Eugene Halliday both talks of and writes about regarding, ‘(T)he limit(s) of the application of term(s)’… The ‘term’ (in Dennett’s  exploration if it) being ‘Consciousness’.

 

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)

I believe that Eugene Halliday’s many talks can be viewed from the point of view of, what I might call here, ‘The Emotional Life’… And, if you would like to ‘have a go’ at interacting with his material yourself from this perspective then, I would suggest that, instead of simply attempting to absorb information (definitions and ideas), you try to observe what it is that is happening in you while you listen to one of his talks; or even better, what it is that you believe is happening to Eugene Halliday while he is speaking… You might be pleasantly (or even unpleasantly) surprised….

You might now also try reading the collection of short essays written by Eugene Halliday, that was first published under the title of ‘Essays On God’ (the work of his friend, David Mahlowe). I cannot give you any information as to whether or not there was any editing of this material by David – except where it concerns the last four parts of this publication – their collective title being ‘God Is Not Dead’. These were originally printed in the parish magazine of ‘St Michael and All Angels Church’ (located in Manchester, UK) between March and June of 1980, and are – as far as I am able to tell – ‘as written’ by Eugene Halliday himself..

This collection of essays is available for viewing – and also for free downloading as pdf files – from Josh Hennessy’s excellent site, which is located a mere key-click away  … …   here

 Friendship is born at the moment one person says to another, “What? You too? I thought I was the only one.”

C. S. Lewis

To be continued….

Bob Hardy

May 30 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

[Joseph] claimed to be not only God, Christ, and the Holy Ghost, but other important personages as well. … Joseph claimed to have been all over the world … He went on to say that he was governor of Illinois
Were you governor of Illinois, or God?
“God … and I was also the governor of Illinois”
You were both”
“Yes!…I have to make my living you know.”

From  ‘The Three Christs of Ypsilanti’ by Milton Rokeach

 

There! …
There is no cave, it is gone
But where did it go?
I cannot find me….
Where am I?
… Lost!

From a poem by a schizophrenic patient – ‘Psychiatry Quarterly’-Vol XXX

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Not surprisingly – Yet More Stuff on Words…(mostly silent)

“..(He looks around) … I could ask you all that old chestnut, ‘What is the sound of one hand clapping?’ …I suppose … (He pauses, looking vaguely irritated, folds one arm across his chest,and  lifts the first finger of his other hand to his lips as he does so, as if deep in thought) 

(He removes the finger from his lips and continues) But to tell you the truth … I’m not really all that interested in hearing any of your answers…(He gives a resigned shrug)… Because … Well … I just know that I’ve heard them all before…

(He spins around suddenly, walking quickly downstage before addressing the audience in a much more enthusiastic voice) … But you know what?… (He grins widely, gestures animatedly, extends his arms, and almost shouting, repeats) You know what? … I would be very interested indeed! …. Fascinated in fact!… To hear any thoughts that you might care to offer up here… Where it concerns that far more vexing question (he quickly lowers his voice, sounding almost apologetic) at least as far as I’m concerned …(he pauses, his grin vanishes, and he pushes out his neck aggressively, before asking, loudly and quizzically) … … “What, exactly, is the sound of two hands clapping!”…(He stands motionless. Once again he is at the front of stage with his arms extended . Fade to blackout)

From ‘Fieldnotes for Armageddon’ by Bob Hardy

The last couple of posts focused, in the main, on the subject of the ‘spoken word’ –  a form of ‘organized sound’ that we commonly refer to as ‘language’ (or ‘parole’ if you prefer), plus suggestions by me as to what audio-files from the ‘Eugene Halliday’s Archive’ that you might like to start with. Obviously there’s a lot more in Eugene Halliday’s approach to the subject of language than the ideas contained in these two talks. But as one of the major purposes of this blog is the attempt by me to describe my particular, over-all, approach to Eugene Halliday’s material, I won’t be staying on any one particular topic for too long – at least not at this stage… So I’m now going to move on to the subject of the ‘written word’ – where it pertains to ‘active’ and ‘passive’ forms of language, that is ….

Which brings me rather nicely to subject of ‘the production of précis’ …

The suggestions by Eugene Halliday re the writing of ‘précis’ are contained in his ‘Rules for Ishval Members’ (Rules 2 – 6 inclusive), created by him sometime around 1966…  I have written something about these rules in my early blog posts… Anyway, here are these rules again:-

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

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

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

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

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

Did Eugene Halliday produce any précis himself? … Well until relatively recently, I had no idea whether or not he had. But then in 2006, quite by chance, I discovered that – over an extended period that must surely have spanned decades – he had produced an astonishing number of them …covering a variety of diverse subjects: science, art, religion, ethics, philosophy… There was even one on ‘The Tarot’…And if you had no real knowledge of the actual source material he had been working with, you could easily mistake these précis of Eugene Halliday’s for original works. … I believe that very few people were even aware of their existence, or – even if they did – what these documents actually were (that is, what was ‘going on’ here)… Indeed, at the present time, I still have no idea really, just how many people have seen these documents for themselves – or if, in fact, anyone else has …  Luckily though, I did manage to get the opportunity to look through a great many of them, and I can tell you that a considerable number were over four hundred pages long… I eventually scanned a dozen or so of them – not only as examples of Eugene Halliday’s ‘Work’ for my own research, but also because I had a gut feeling at the time, that these notebooks would never see the light of day, and would simply ‘disappear’ for lack of direction on the part of those responsible here. Regrettably, some twenty-five years after Eugene Halliday’s death, my understanding here is that these documents have still not been made available – even for limited viewing. … So here are my scanned copies of ten of these notebooks.

My purpose in making these scans available is twofold. First it is to demonstrate that, in my view, the degree to which Eugene Halliday was capable of applying himself to this task was considerable; and two, to clarify, once and for all, that he did not receive information in the areas of (for example) science, religion, art, philosophy etc. via some sort of ‘supernatural osmosis’ or ‘cosmic-information-field-transfer’; or because he was ‘an avatar, or ‘a chosen one’; or that he traveled to some ‘astral place of learning’ in a ‘trance’; or something equally ridiculous …. But rather, that he did it  – like any normal human being would do it – by getting up off his behind and applying himself … And that he cultivated this ability of his to do so, by methodically laboring at it for a significantly greater percentage of his waking life – across a period that must have spanned decades – than most folk are willing to devote to anything, even for a few days… However, although I would be the first to agree that this ability of his was remarkable, the use of this technique is certainly not that unusual – at least to the extent that some folk might claim… What was unusual perhaps, was the depth of insight that this ‘Work’ – which he labored at all his life – subsequently provided him with.

After examining these notebooks of Eugene Halliday’s I would advise you to spend some time in contemplating just how long it might have taken him to produce even one decent sized volume; realize that there were very many of these notebooks produced by him over the years; and then go on to consider that this activity represented only one aspect of his ‘Work’…. And finally, go on to realize that there is nothing supernatural about this ability at all….Incidentally, in my opinion, it would surely be a truly cruel thing to suggest to others that they ‘do as you have done’ if it wasn’t possible for them to do so, in principle at least, … due to the ‘fact’ (say) that you were in receipt of some kind of ‘special’, one-off, ‘celestial dispensation’ here … … Would it? … On the other hand, if you were at something of a disadvantage in life to start with (say you were … I dunno … severely disabled for example) then your advice here would surely shame at least one or two of those people who were forever claiming to be ‘followers of your teachings’ into attempting to do as you suggested… You might like to think about that when you have a spare moment or two … I appreciate though, that for most of the time at least, and for some reason which you can’t get ‘get your teeth into’, you’re ‘doing something else’, or ‘simply ‘just ‘too busy’ at the moment’ … ‘What a life’, hey? …

These précis were hand-written by Eugene Halliday; each notebook page being roughly the size of a unlined postcard, and written on both sides (which he has usually numbered)  …. I would say that he made use of a black biro. However, it is possible that he may have used an ink pen – but I couldn’t be sure. These pages were subsequently bound together by hand, using needle and thread, and over most of them, a cover was then glued. (I have also scanned these covers).

What was the source material of these précis … Well, I would suggest here – if you’re interested that is – that you can do this part of the research for yourself… I will give you two of them though, to get you started. The ‘Zen’ précis is from a Suzuki book; and the ‘Sorcery’ précis is from a series of books by Carlos Castaneda about the Yaqui shaman, Don Juan (notably the second book in this series)… There are also two smaller notebooks here – ‘The Body’ and ‘Modern Physics’ – and about the source material of these, I have no idea. … However, the subject material contained in the latter of these two notebooks is similar in content to other books for the non-scientist – such as Gary Zukav’s ‘The Dancing Wu Li Masters’ (1979), or Frijof Capra’s ‘The Tao of Physics’ (1977) ….

Anyway, here they are…. By the way, some of these files are small, but one or two – such as ‘Islam’ (wouldn’t you just know it!) – are much bigger:

Précis – Eugene Halliday – Zen

Précis – Eugene Halliday – Sorcery

Précis – Eugene Halliday – The Body

Précis – Eugene Halliday – Modern Physics

Précis – Eugene Halliday – The Basics of Judaism

Précis – Eugene Halliday – Soul

Précis – Eugene Halliday – Pseudo-Denys

Précis – Eugene Halliday – Karlfried Von Durkheim

Précis – Eugene Halliday – Hierarchy

Précis – Eugene Halliday – Islam

The amount of work involved in producing each of these notebooks is obviously considerable. But, even so, let me again make it clear here that I do not see this very ‘sensible’ piece of advice from Eugene Halliday – re the the study, and consequent production of a précis, of some particular subject or other – to be anything more than sound common sense. Particularly as it would not be unusual at all for any diligent student to have incorporated this approach to learning into their studying regime… Although, in my opinion, Eugene Halliday brings far more rigor to the task in hand than your average student (at least more than I ever did!)  … And thus, while this technique might be a component – even an essential one – in the task of ‘Working’ – it is by no means, in my view, the most important one….

Of premier importance to me also, was the realization (actually more of a ‘dawning revelation’) that the contents of Eugene Halliday’s précis material were not really of any use to me personally, particularly when it came to my own efforts at ‘Working’ … With the result that I now maintain it is not actually possible, in principle, to appropriate the fruits of anyone else’s ‘Work’ in order to increase the vocabulary of one’s own ‘active language’…. No matter how reasonable, or attractive, or ‘harmless’, that this idea might seem at the time…Although, obviously, your own clarification of a body of particular ideas can be achieved by reading, or hearing, someone else’s approach to the subject, particularly if the subject concerned is an already well-established academic discipline …. Which is really how we all personally decide whether or not that teacher of ours – ‘way back when’ – was ‘any good’ … Don’t we? … At least as far as our own ‘learning curve’ goes.

Indeed, I now view Eugene Halliay’s précis material in the same the way that I view the practice regimes of musicians, or the training schedules of athletes…  And while I would agree that it is encouraging to know that someone else out there has ‘gone the distance’, I don’t believe that studying Eugene Halliday’s own précis material will really do much more than that – at least not for individuals like me…

And where it concerns your own attempts at studying, and the production of précis material then?  ….Well … If you are interested in a particular subject, and if the manner in which you go about studying it is ‘agreeable’ to you. That is, you respond positively to the teaching-style of the teacher; the text-book(s) that you are required to read are written in an approachable way as far as you’re concerned; the technical words that you need to acquire are being presented to you at an assimilatable rate; and if you have been ‘taking’, or making, copious notes throughout the whole of this learning process, then you are going to ‘learn something’… obviously!… But none of this, of itself, automatically constitutes ‘Working’…

And if you give all this any serious thought at all, that should become obvious to you…. Because you will surely have met many people in your life who have engaged in this sort of activity … So you should be able to say how many of them strike you as – in any way – ‘enlightened’ … Or to look at this in another area – there have been a myriad ‘Yoga groups’ dotted around the country now for fifty-plus or so years now, with a collective membership numbering hundreds of thousands (if not millions)  – How many of those members that you have met strike you as enlightened beings, particularly? … Thousands… A few hundred … Scores … Dozens … A handful … One or two … … … None? …

Practicing techniques in order to be able to ‘cope’ with modern life; being a lot calmer; claiming to be ‘in control’ of things; being ‘in touch with your body’; waving your arms and legs about; etc. is all well and good, but it usually has little or nothing to do with ‘Working’ … Think about someone you might know who has studied philosophy, or theology, or medicine, or law, or physics, or a martial art; or who ‘works out’; or swims every day; or who has embarked upon some life-long specialized feeding regime. Do these people strike you – as a consequence of engaging in these activities to whatever degree – as knowing a great deal more about what is ‘going on here in this life’ than you do? That is, simply as a consequence of engaging in these activities? ..Because if you do, then you will have no problem in agreeing here that, “Those people over there clearly know what it’s all about, because they study arithmetic, the alphabet, ancient history; practice amateur boxing; never bathe; … and only eat beans.” … If, on the other hand, you would like to protest that this suggestion of mine here is, “Ridiculous!” , then what component(s) of other peoples activities is it exactly that you would label “The way to enlightenment’, and, as a consequence, earnestly seek to emulate? …. Do tell! ….

In my case, I soon realized that producing précis material (making copious notes about various subjects) wasn’t really doing that much for me. In fact I was becoming somewhat ‘bloated’ with all this studying .. And I started to believe strongly that I needed to step back a little from this whole ‘précis idea’, and attempt to view this activity as just a component of what it was that Eugene Halliday might be ‘doing’, or at least, had ‘done’ … And so I gave up on the idea that we all had to attempt to become ‘The Brain of Britain’ here, or someone like that …

I spent a long time pondering over this whole business… And this eventually produced more insights into my realization that the task I appeared to be compelled to engage in (like it or not) – including the problem of conceptualizing, in a clearer fashion, those questions of mine that I wanted answering, such that  I would be able to ‘beaver away at all this a bit better’ – appeared to be a completely different task from the one that (almost) everyone else I spoke to here appeared (to me at least) to be attempting to engage in … Admittedly, the initial experience that I had of all this – like everyone else who appeared to have enthusiastically ‘taken it up’ way back when – was that it all seemed to be very straightforward; reasonably clear enough to comprehend… and also extremely attractive (Oh dear!) …  But I quickly found, in my case anyway, that the whole thing soon became extremely illusive, slippery, and very ‘deep’ … And also incredibly irritating … at least for a great deal of the time! …

Luckily though, I eventually came to realize that the most important insight I needed to cultivate when attempting to acquire an ‘active’ language was not to simply begin studying ‘willy-nilly’ – making précis as I ‘went along’ as it were – but to, first of all, reach a position where I believed it was a lot clearer for me to see what this ‘active’ language, that I was attempting to acquire, might be…. This viewpoint had to also include an understanding of how this ‘active language’ might differ from the language that ‘knowledgable folk’ use to disseminate information to others… Because I didn’t believe now that Eugene Halliday was simply advising members (in these rules of his) to ‘know what they’re talking about before they open their mouths,’. Because I saw that many people could do this – particularly if they confined their utterances to their own particular ‘area of expertise’ … I say ‘luckily’ here, but it still took me a very long time to make any measurable progress …. and I’m still working at it ….

So – if I were to say here that the most important thing I came to view as crucial to the acquisition of an ‘active language’ was not necessarily an understanding of those texts that I was being advised to study – an understanding that was perhaps brought about with the assistance of my ‘précis production here (but, then again, maybe not) – but of far more importance here was my relationship to these texts. Because it is this relationship that constitutes any meaning that they might have for me….

This is why we don’t believe we are witnessing the ‘Second Coming’, when we see a seven-year-old lad from Tennessee on the TV, who can recite the Bible from start to finish, and then pull out any quotation asked for – on request – for an encore…. Because (I would suggest to you) he doesn’t seem to have the ‘correct relationship’ to these texts …

I will also add here, if you like, that I broadly support the idea that there is no privileged reading of any text, only the reader’s interpretation of it – and that we reap whatever benefits are due to us, purely from our attempts at ‘Working’ with it – that is, to embody it – by the process of engaging with it – in order to do just this ‘relating’ to it.

In my view then, this ‘précis technique’ of Eugene Halliday’s – where it concerns attempts to acquire an ‘active language’ – forms only a part of the system that he put in place in order to develop his own, increasing, self-reflexion. And so then, I am saying here, in effect, that I don’t believe Eugene Halliday was a ‘fully self-reflexive being’, but that he was continually attempting to ‘work on it’… The major difference I see between him and most others then? … He had ‘worked’ and they hadn’t … ‘Iz all’ …..

I believe that the essence of an ‘active language’ comes solely from its ‘experiential nature’ –  and it is only this experiential aspect which endows any being’s ‘active language’ with its unique, and particular, perspective on any particular subject… The realization of mine as to what the root of what ‘meaning’ was actually all about was crucially important to me …because I saw that it was the root of why it is that, underneath it all – and to quote my maternal grand-mother – “We’re all the same .. only different.”

‘Meaning’, from my perspective then, only emerges as a result of this ‘Working’ and, as a consequence therefore, a person’s ‘active language’ actually is them … it constitutes them … And it is not just some random body of information that they have taken a fancy to lugging around, unpacking it for display at opportune moments to hapless bystanders: a segment of their ‘personality’ or persona – as a component of ‘who it is that they like to think they are; and that they want to convince others that they are’ – then… Think here of your ‘fashionable atheist’… “liberal Westerner’ … ‘new-ager’ ‘…’yoga teacher’ … etc. etc.

So you won’t be all that surprised if I tell you that I eventually ended up deviating (considerably) from  Eugene Halliday’s  suggested, straightforward, methodology – the one that’s contained in those ‘Rules for Ishval Members’ that is …And began delving a little deeper into what it was that he actually wrote about, and spoke about….

This being the case, I will now attempt to explain the system that I ended up adopting – in part at least – and also my reasons for doing so … If I can, that is.

The first thing I would advise you to consider here, is whether or not the basic subject material that you have decided to currently ‘work’ on is already familiar to you at all. Because if it is, then your reactions to it will almost certainly be different to those reactions that you experience when you attempt to ‘Work’ with a subject that is new to you … My advice here? … Begin with a subject that you already know something about.

Why? … Well, my reason for suggesting this approach to ‘Working’, is that you will almost certainly find it relatively easy to immediately engage with this subject-matter personally, because you will already possess pre-formed opinions about it. And, consequently, you will feel an urge to express these, particularly if you disagree at some point with the ideas contained in the subject you have presently  decided to study … Crucially here for me, I maintain that these opinions you hold about this subject already constitute a part (or component if you prefer) of your being – because these opinions of yours possess ‘form’  (see previous posts of mine here for my meaning of this word)… But the chances are, that, for the moment, these ‘forms’ of yours will not contain much ‘active language’, and will probably, instead, be constructed from a clobbered-together bunch of prejudices; half-baked ideas; fashionable ideologies; sentimental junk; and topped-off with a sprinkling of dimly understood relevant technical terms….

Fortunately for you – at least as far as my way of looking at all this is concerned – this situation is exactly the one that you want… Simply because these opinions of yours carry an emotional charge… And it is these emotional charges of yours that we are really interested in here .. and that we really have to examine, evaluate, describe, and understand…

And look … If the subject being ‘Worked’ on already interests you, such that you might already know something (or even a great deal) about it. Can we take it ‘as read’, that by the end of this process you will know more – at least intellectually – about it, simply as a matter of course…. You can call this acquisition of any new ‘knowledge’ here ‘a bonus’ – if it makes you feel any better… ….To put this in another way – your muscles will be ‘toned up’ by the act of chopping up a large tree for firewood, although your intention was probably simply to ensure that you could keep warm… So then here, you could be said to have received a ‘bonus’ by virtue of the fact that you are, as a consequence of this activity, now ‘fitter’. And that this result was not something that was initially factored-in by you…(Yet another cheesy metaphor by me there… What a writer!) …

So … the idea here is to deliberately ‘bring up those emotional charges that are associated with your opinions’. Give them ‘free reign’, have ‘a bit of a rant’ if you like, use ‘active imagination’ if this will do the trick here – rather than focusing on attempting to ‘understand’ the particular subject’s intellectual content. But – and this is most important – you must keep a record of these responses of yours, describing your emotional responses…(I eventually used an audio-recorder for this, because I found I couldn’t understand ‘my own’ handwriting, when I came to interpret my own written attempts   … Creepy, hey?)

To start then, you might (sometime after you come ‘come down off the ceiling’ and have ‘settled down’ that is) like to attempt to consider a paragraph or so of the original text that you are working on, together with your recording of your reaction/response to it, and try to figure out why you were behaving in the way that you were …Because, although you can claim that the ideas contained in the subject under study, and also even (perhaps) those ideas you already hold here, did not actually originate with you; you cannot claim the same where it concerns your emotional responses –  these belong entirely to ‘you’… Unless that is, of course, you can construct a taxonomy here that satisfactorily explains why these emotional irruptions you experience are not, in fact, ‘yours’….

So – and more disturbingly now perhaps – however you chose to view these emotional responses then, they must surely still ‘inhabit the same building’ that you do. That is, they reside in your body (or being, or whatever term you prefer to use here – I use ‘psyche’, which for me includes the physical body). And that perhaps you might come to see that they influence – far more than you have been aware of up until now – your patterns of behavior…. And if that wasn’t bad enough, I should also warn you that these ‘psychic states’ you will experience here are also extremely contagious – so much so, that even your dog, or your cat, can be affected by them … (I’m not so sure about ‘Amanda the goldfish’ though…).

In my opinion, Eugene Halliday was referring to these patterns when he was using the late nineteenth century term, ‘engrams’, I prefer to use the later term, ‘complexes’.

The preamble to ‘Working’ proper, is, in my opinion, to labor at an understanding of those engrams/complexes that were constellated in your childhood – and this applies to those people whose childhoods were ‘a walk in the park’, just as surely as it applies to those people whose childhoods were the ‘stuff of nightmares’. These patterns are relatively easy to appreciate (which is why regression therapy is so popular) – but understand here that perceiving these early emgram/complexes does not, in itself, constitute ‘work’, although it does constitute, in part, the beginnings of some sort of ‘self-knowledge’. Which, while it is an essential component to all this, is not, by any stretch of the imagination, the main concern here. It might help if you see this  aspect of ‘self-knowledge’ as (here comes another cheesy metaphor) ‘cleaning out the cellar’ and ‘renovating the attic’…. Many people are quite content to finish here and, in fact, consider it to be ‘quite an achievement’. … But you don’t have to experience this particular feeling of self-knowledge very long to realize that – where it concerns you future behavior – it hasn’t necessarily improved things at all! … Indeed, with the removal of  this childhood pattern, which normally might have functioned for you as a crutch, or self-excuse, many go on here and blunder about even worse, becoming even more screwed up. …

But I never said that all this was going to be easy… I said it was ‘simple’ … But I also reminded you that ‘Simple does not mean easy’.

So anyway, if you’re still with me here …. Keep on repeating this process until such time as you can begin to see the pattern(s) that your responses make – as much as you are able to, that is… You will find that these patterns exhibit a definite ‘personality’ … a ‘structure’ … That they are in fact ‘beings’ …Just like you! …Your very own ‘little family’ in fact! …. And you will, finally, begin to recognize them….You might even decide to give them names, such as ‘Naughty Adrien’ ….or ‘Beohetmethemoth’ ….and imagine them looking like, say, a half-man/half-sardine …. or something.

 … The idea here then in studying texts, is that one should really attempt to ‘engage’ with them; to react to them … And I’m not just talking here about getting a ‘bad vibe’ either. You could be so entranced with the person supplying the material here (the one you find yourself  listening to, or reading) that you could be in an almost permanent state of ecstasy  – brought about, say, by both your delight in your ‘understanding of the material’, and in the ‘clarity’ of the ideas being expressed…. While, at the same time, being possessed of an irresistible urge to … How shall I put it? …’Acquiesce’….(Take that any way you like)

And this particular process – this separating out of the ‘cognitive’ from the ‘feeling’ (or ‘male’ from the ‘female’ – if you prefer a more esoteric, trendy, terminology) is – in my experience at least – extremely tricky and slippery, difficult, and sometimes even down-right dangerous thing to attempt to do …. Moreover, the degree of difficulty that is experienced emotionally – as frustration, anger, despair, pleasure, surrender, etc. – I also find to be very exhausting … And, in fact, I would even go so far as to say that, “If you don’t find this activity exhausting, then you must be doing it wrong!”…

My experience here was that the ‘happy, happy, joy, joy’ reactions were, far and away, the most dangerous for me ‘psychically’ ..Because I didn’t realize for a long time that this reaction simply prevented me from going any deeper – and so I didn’t experience this ‘positivity’ as a problem here for some considerable time …

To put all this another way, and perhaps to try and finally nail it for you… The ‘quality’ (good or bad; positive or negative: or however you want to refer to it) of your reaction is irrelevant to this exercise . The only things you are attempting to focus on here, and that is of any real importance to you, are both the states that you are experiencing here, and your subsequent attempts at evaluating them….

I find this exercise very hard to ‘pull-off’ myself – because everything that is not productive of lots of praise and encouraging taps on the head immediately; or that I can’t manage to do excellently, and without effort – exhausting … But you might also like to know details about one of my own special, secret, techniques for dealing with the affects of these serious, negative psychic attacks… And that is, to engage in -what I like to refer to as – ‘ritualistic-rest-period activities’…. Among the fetish objects essential to me here in this actively are, packets of digestive biscuits, and also copious amounts of tea … and it helps things along immensely here if one trains oneself to repeat (almost – but not quite) silently, the mantra ‘Zzzzzz’  (but only on the ‘out-breath’) for at least half an hour or so  – or at least until one is dragged back into the ‘World of Maya’ by the vengeful, malicious, voice of that ‘keeper of your conscience’, who appears to be insisting that, “You know it’s your turn to wash the dishes tonight, so why haven’t you done them yet?”; or by the salacious, dulcet, tones of some succubus (or incubus if they all happen to be too busy), tempting you unmercifully with the offer of (yet) another cup of tea…..More advanced techniques of mine here include having a game of Tetrus ‘running in the background’ on my computer at all times – but this assumes that you are now an advanced student here, and are familiar with a variety of dimly understood hermeneutic texts, such as, ‘Manual For Windows – Version 99 (or whatever)’, and also rigorously trained in the cautious use of sources of cosmic energy, such as ‘the mains socket’ – So it’s not for the faint-hearted, or for those of you who are in receipt of any form of free public transport… (As I say, “There are metaphors …. and then there are my metaphors.”)… …

Meanwhile …

Our initial starting point then, was to consider words from an intellectual perspective – their definitions and their histories (etymologies). And I hope I’ve made it reasonably clear to you that not only is this what every reasonable person might ordinarily do when they come across a word that don’t ‘understand’ and that has ‘tweaked their interest’; but also that this information will tell you little or nothing about the ‘meaning’ of a particular word …’Meaning’ is instead, metaphorically, situated ‘in the critical space’ between you, and what it is that the word represents… ‘Meaning’ then is your unique, particular, ‘relationship’ to a word… And its major feature – or the one that we now need to focus on here if you prefer – is it’s ‘feeling tone’…. Understand now though, that even after doing this, we have by no means finished examining what an ‘active language’ might be..

… Anyway,enough of all that. Here’s that piece of Eugene Halliday’s writing on the subject of words – first presented as nine short essays in the 1970’s, under the collective title of ‘Words of Power’     Words of Power

Here’s Ken Ratcliffe’s audio recording of the same material  Words Of Power (1 of 4)  Words Of Power (2 of 4)  Words Of Power (3 of 4)  Words Of Power (4 of 4) if you would also like to experience the added pleasure of listening to it while you’re skateboarding to work, or whatever else it is that you get up to when you’re wearing your ear-phones.

It starts with Eugene’s ideas on words themselves, and he goes on to write about their relationship to ‘power’ (‘they produce responses’ etc.) … There’s a very interesting bit (for me) on non-lingusitic forms of ‘texts’ .. Words are considered positively and negatively as to their affect… There is an examination of many words from this perspective of his; such as the meaning of ‘inertia’, ‘love’, etc … There is a piece on ‘words of powerlessness’ …. All this material is – refreshingly for me – presented from a Western philosophical, ideological, and ‘spiritual’ perspective… And there’s no ‘phonetics’ involved … (‘Oh, deep joy!’)…

This approach to ‘words’ that Eugene uses here is a lot more concise and useful for me then; and I found it far more practical as a tool in getting to understand more about what this ‘active language’ might be – particularly from the point of view of praxis – than any of his recorded material… And so, as a consequence, I tend to interpret much of his audio material from the viewpoint he expresses here in these nine essays … And if he moves too far away from this perspective in his talks, then I interpret this as him coming to the ‘edge’ of , or ‘demonstrating where’, the ‘limit of the application of  those terms’, that he happens to be speaking about at that particular moment, lie …

So, in his talks then, I experience Eugene Halliday as exploring his own linguistic ‘unedited space’ and revealing what it is that happens to him (to those like me, that is, who experience what it is that he is ‘doing’ like this) when he has reached the parameters of any particular concept… That is, the practical way in which he moves on to another concept (‘change the form of a word, change its function; change the words, change the concept’) in order to move forward… Any movement (forward) that Eugene Halliday achieves here, I believe, constitutes a successful attempt by him to objectify (to himself ) – within the confines of an ‘active’ language – that all there is, is ‘Sentient Power’. ….

I do realize that I could be accused here of attempting to tell everyone what this ‘Work’ of Eugene Halliday’s – that I experience him as striving to accomplish – was actually about for him. … But that’s my problem isn’t it? … It works for me, and really that’s the only reason why I’m doing all this … And, just so you don’t waste your own precious time here, and if you hadn’t caught on already – I am definitely not seeking endorsements from others in this matter…

Remember though – that I fully appreciate your experiences might be completely different from mine here, and if that is so, then I would be very interested to hear from you about your own experiences – those that you actually had, when you took these ideas on board, and attempted to put them into affect. What we might call your ‘consequential ideas’ perhaps…You can post them on the blog forum here; or contact me privately at archivequery@gmail.com if you’d rather.

I’m going to leave the study of texts re ‘Words’ here now, for the time being at least, because I believe that you will only understand what I’ve been on about here if you ‘Work’ with this material yourself. And that this will – in my experience – take you some time……

Oh Yeah.. You might like to know if I have any special reason for  my continual use, throughout these posts, of this word ‘Work’ or ‘Working’?… Well, yes there is, because – as I like to put it – it reminds me that, “It is only when you cease ‘Working’ that you can be said to have failed.” And looking at it this way ‘keeps me at it’….That being said though, it should also be clearly understood here that I also have no doubt I am still, of course, going to die – anyway.   … (I didn’t want you to think I had some ‘magic reason’ for doing all this; one that might have got your ‘hopes up’ unnecessarily, that is)….

Finally …  ‘And  now for something completely different’ …

I hope that it’s reasonably obvious by now (but I will point it out here anyway) that I did not engage with any of these ideas of Eugene Halliday’s ‘in isolation’ as it were….But that I was also, simultaneously, examining other concepts of his (and those of many others, I should add)… Including, what Eugene Halliday refers to as – ‘Sentient Power’. A concept that I see as the starting point of his approach to the eventual possible meaning of a more familar contemporary term – ‘consciousness’…. But, to say something about this interaction of mine in the next post here, I will have to start with both my perception of his approach to, and also (you’ve guessed already, haven’t you?) my subsequent problems with – Eugene Halliday’s repeated use of the ‘F’ word … … … … … ‘Feeling’.

To be continued………….

Bob Hardy

January 2013

 

Words are principles of order: ‘W-ORD’ is the entity that orders.

Eugene Halliday

The tendency is, not to work on what we have, but to want to know more, and more, and more, about bigger metaphysical problems – because it relieves us of the necessity for immediate work on ourselves.

 Eugene Halliday

You should think of the sentence, not as something you get by putting words together, but think of the words as what you get if you take the sentence apart…. The meaning of the word is the contribution it makes to the meaning of the whole sentence. – An idea attributed to Gottlob Frege by the America philosopher John Searle

———————————————————

 

I take ‘Work’ to be about ‘Doing’ …

So that, for example, even though you might believe that you are sincerely attracted to the concepts of people like Eugene Halliday, so much so, that you ‘study’ the works of these people regularly – even going so far as attempting to commit those ideas that have really attracted your attention to memory (in order, you imagine, to ‘understand’ them better) – you have not, in my opinion, been engaged in ‘Work’. … Any more than attempting to calm those see-sawing emotional states that you suffer from qualifies as ‘Work’ … Laudable though these activities might seem to you, or indeed to others who claim to be ‘in the know’ about these matters (for what I believe, are fairly obvious reasons).

 No … The way I see it, you have to get your hands dirty … But I do appreciate that you might disagree with me here.

Furthermore, if you do decide that you are going to do some ‘Work’, and then perhaps continue on, later, to describe your experiences – even if you only attempt to describe them to yourself – this should not give you too much cause for self-congratulation either. Because the chances are that you will almost certainly seek to present your accomplishments in a more favorable light than they actually deserve…. ‘Gilding the lily’ you might say….

That being said, formulating your attempts at ‘working’ may – if you ‘do this right’ that is – possibly even increase your active vocabulary…. But I wouldn’t say that it definitely does so … and even if it did … don’t expect the earth to move..

If you’re not sure what I mean here by involving yourself with these ideas, just ask yourself, “If I’d never heard of (for example) Eugene Halliday, what difference do I believe it would make to me now?”..

Your answer might be something along the lines of, “I feel a bit better about the whole dying thing,” or that, “I’m not nearly as guilt-ridden about everything, as I was when I was a staunch, practicing, Irish-Catholic,” or, “I wouldn’t have met nearly as many ‘interesting’ people.” – or, “I would never have taken up Professional Wrestling,” or “His ideas really gave me some very useful tools to help me with the task of ‘knowing myself’,” or, “I dunno really,” or something along those lines… But whatever your answer is here, try to be honest … And try to resist the temptation to exaggerate if you can possibly avoid it … Because the desire to exaggerate to yourself here is a sure sign that someone else in the building is running the show for you… And, in my opinion, this elementary problem is one of the first and – sad to say – major barriers, that the beginner must overcome if they are to make any initial progress here …

I haven’t actually ever heard anyone give a detailed account of the affect on them of working with Eugene Halliday’s ideas – at least in the way that I believe this needs to be done…. Although this doesn’t mean that they haven’t done so at some point…It’s just that I’ve never actually heard them…. I have of course talked to any number of people who are only too happy to tell me that they are, “interested in his ideas,” or that he was, “a wonderful and special human being,” … But that’s not the same thing at all … Is it?

To this end then, the piece below (that I have considerably edited for its inclusion in this blog), which was first put together by me sometime around 1995 – when it formed the basis of my approach to teaching a basic introduction to improvisation – is offered here as an example of what I take to mean, in part at least, ‘working’ with, and ‘working on’ these ideas.

It grew out of  – in the main – my protracted musings over Eugene Halliday’s ideas re active and passive forms of language (see my previous posts here for more information) over the previous fifteen years or so; together with various thoughts on the philosophical idea of ‘Intentionality’, contained in the work of John Searle, and (to a lesser extent) Daniel Dennett.(See Searle’s book ‘Intentionality’, and Dennett’s book ‘The Intentional Stance’, if you would like to delve further here).

The focus of this material is centered around, what might be meant by, the term ‘improvising’.

This material was designed by me to be delivered to students who were 18 years-old and older, and also to ‘mature students’. And while some previous musical experience was necessary in order for them to enroll on this particular course, I have edited my notes here in this post, so that this experience is not necessary for any understanding here by non-musicians  – although I do use one or two (very minor) ‘technical’ words later on – but again, understanding these is not essential here.

One of the major problems in teaching any subject to the beginner, is that of finding a suitable place to start from – some ‘common ground’ – something that they are already familiar with … (“My understanding is that you are here, and I am going to attempt to help you to get to there, if I can.”)

It is, on the other hand, relatively easy to begin, by simply impressing the new student with just how smart you are; or by loading them down with a lot of (useless) theory in such a way that, even though, by the end of all their studies with you they still can’t improvise, they can now (regrettably) join-in with that legion of ‘experts’ out there who are far more intent on relating their opinions and ‘explanations’ on this subject to anyone unlucky enough to be in the vicinity, than actually demonstrating this ability to improvise themselves.

Of course, had the student focussed on the right question here (‘kept their eye on the ball’ if you like) they would not have subsequently found themselves having had their arrival at some attainable (for them) goal, not only now somehow, magically, and indefinitely, deferred; but also of now finding it almost impossible to be receptive to any further practical advice on the subject, because they have become so ‘full to the brim’ with stuff, that anything which might help here is immediately drowned out by the sound of their own, continuous, internal, chattering ..

The question they should have been focused on?…. “All this is very nice, but am I actually getting any better at this improvising thing?” ….

And – by the way – the only question that any responsible teacher should be asking themselves here? …”What did the learner learn?”(to quote the vernacular).

As someone who took this latter question very seriously, I found myself in the position of having to come up with metaphors and allegories that actually worked for my students, as opposed to, say, having to continually justify the fact that, while I was sure that the material I was delivering was ‘true’, and ‘very good’, (in my opinion that is), it just wasn’t ‘doing the business’. … (“Very poor level of student intake this year,” etc. etc.).

The material below forms the outline of what I ended up delivering…. Let me repeat here that my expressed intention was simply to get my students off on a firm footing, by providing them with material that allowed them to approach some initial experiental understanding of this subject ….And my only reason for continuing to use this approach was that it worked for me during the twelve or so years that it formed (in part) the substance of my introductory unit for this module. …

The students found this material very easy to work with, and to subsequently expand upon – which was really the whole idea … They ‘got it’ immediately …and would often voice their amazement at the fact that something, which now seemed rather obvious to them, hadn’t been explained to them, using something like this approach, before! Of course, later on ‘down the line’ (so to speak) they discovered a down-side to all this, in that they realized they might not have the necessary discipline to get any further here – but, having swallowed the bait by admitting to themselves that they now knew how to proceed – they couldn’t delude themselves into believing that they had a decent excuse for not doing so … Which – I would add in passing – over the years, often resulted in some really bizarre behavior on the part of one or two of them … Something which I also believe is also blatantly obvious to observe in a significant number of those people who have ‘taken an interest’ (so to speak) in the ideas of folk such as Eugene Halliday.

Here’s the basic approach then. The idea here (which I would suggest is ‘easy’) is to get students to reflect upon aspects of their own use of, current, spoken language, and from this position, by conjecture, to consider if musical creativity (which is what improvisation essentially is – in part at least) might be practically viewed in the same way.

For convenience, I’ll use a ‘male subject’ in my example below.

I begin by saying that we are going to consider what we might mean, in general, by the use of the term ‘improvising’. I would not ask for a definition here, or define the word for the group, or give them any etymological information. We would just collectively throw ideas around for a few minutes (ostensively for me to get some ‘feel’ for ‘where they were at’ on the subject) the usual outcome here being that ‘improvising’ had something to do with ’embellishing’, or ‘improving’ even … or of just ‘sort of making stuff up that fitted’. This latter approach might also include some rudimentary theoretical stuff from the odd student. (“You have to fit the correct scale(s) to the right chords.”) etc.

I would them tell them that I would like to start here by asking them to think about ‘improvising’ in a way that I would guess they had never considered before …

I would tell them all to imagine that it’s mid-afternoon and they are out walking on their own, down a major street in town that is part of a bus route. There were the usual numbers of people about: the weather is pleasant enough; and in fact, everything is quite normal.

An attractive young lady in her late teens/early twenties is walking towards you, and as she draws near, she says something to you… You have never seen her before, and you had no idea whatsoever that you were going to be stopped by her…. In fact, you were so busy mulling over a minor problem  (what club you were going to go to that night) that you hadn’t even noticed her, and so you were taken by surprise when she said, “Excuse me?”

This had the affect of making you stop (and perhaps smile helpfully).

Before you have time to say reply, she continues, “Could you tell me where I can get a bus into town please?” ..

OK. … That’s the set-up…. It’s now the turn of the students, in the main, to do the talking, which is far better than having me rabbit at them for the next hour or so, in order to demonstrate how smart I think I am.

I get the ball rolling here by asking the group a number of questions. But I would begin by asking the students to think about this first one during the coming week.

When you are asked to reflect upon your responses to being questioned by others – about anything at at all – would you say that these responses of yours are all similar in some fundamental way – irrespective of how complex the question is – and that perhaps if you examined these responses of yours, they might tell you something about your fundamental character? … If so, how would you describe this ‘usual response’ of yours? (Inhibited; confident; hesitant; fearful; etc).

I would then quickly go on the put questions. such as the following ones, to the class:-

Always assuming you are going to reply to this young lady, what language would you answer her in?…Why?

If you had done a couple of years French at High School, would you have a go at answering her in that language, because, say, you quite fancied her, and you wanted to impress her?

Would you just give her a ‘normal’ reply – but attempt to imitate a popular film star’s voice while you were doing so?

Do you find, that in order to answer any question at all, you first of all have to go through all the words in your vocabulary, and then select the appropriate ones – carefully checking the definitions and etymologies of these words first, then putting them in the correct order ‘in your mind’  before delivering this answer? … Do you think that’s a really dumb idea? … .If not, why not?

Would you reply with a string of nonsense words because, say, you didn’t know what the correct answer was, but you ‘felt’ impelled to say something .. anything in fact?

Would you attempt to keep a conversation going? … Why? … If ‘Yes’, how would you go about it.

If you couldn’t answer the particular question that she asked you, would you substitute the answer to a different, but far more difficult question, that you did know the answer to? …Why not?

Do you think it would be possible for you to spontaneously answer this question in a language that you, up to then, knew absolutely nothing about? …Why?

What would you do if she had asked you in a language that you didn’t understand?

What would you do if she said, “Excuse me?” in a pronounced foreign accent, and then handed you a piece of paper on which was written ‘I do not speak English. I need to get the bus into town. Can you help me please?’

In working with that last question I would point out to the students, that it is possible here to introduce a ‘group concept’ of interaction/improvisation, by asking them to consider, that if they didn’t know the answer to the young lady’s question here, would they be happy to rope in the next person coming down the road, in the hope that this new person might be able to help, and would they then stick around to add support – because perhaps this new, more complex, situation had quite taken their fancy? … If a few more people joined in here, how do they see themselves fitting in? Would they want to be ‘in charge’ of this group? Do students believe that, as this group enlarged, some members would want to organize it, while others would just want to hang round at the back – not wanting to ‘get involved too much’ etc…. How would the flow of information be managed? …Who by? … Would you all suddenly stop and elect a spokes-person …. Why? …. Does thinking about this new situation start to ‘stress you out’? …. Why? … etc. etc.” If the students wanted to explore this scenario some more, I would tell them that this is a far more complex situation, but that I already planned to discuss it in the next unit of this module.

….. Hopefully the reader here  ‘gets the idea’… (Let me know if you don’t).

There’s a good few more questions you can use here, but the ones above should give you the idea…

At this point, it is relatively easy to get the student to appreciate that, even though they had no idea what it was that I was going to suggest to them here; no idea that it would involve some sort of ‘scenario’ to them in which they were required to speak; and that they had no idea what the subject of any speaking by them was going to be about until immediately after they were asked the question by this young lady; none the less they could see that they would have no problem responding instantly – even if they had never been in this particular situation before in their lives.

Students also readily intuited that there seemed to be a great deal of similarity between what they were required to do in this scenario, and how they would react to the problem of improvising – when called upon to do so – in a musical situation that they ‘were potentially equipped’ to take part in, should they wish to do so. That of, say, playing a guitar solo over a repetitive sequence – such as a simple twelve-bar blues pattern – with musicians that they had never worked with before..

I would then continue on, by suggesting that they tie aspects of this discussion into their ideas on ‘improvising’ – that is, in what they think this might now involve – with an attempt at an actual musical improvisation on their part – by using ‘The Blues’ as a basis, a common popular music form with a musical structure that almost everyone in the West can recognize the sound of.

I would tell them that, because they are already familiar with the sound of the twelve-bar blues, they already know – to some extent at least – what it is they are going to hear. Just as when they exchange social pleasantries with someone they have never met before, they know roughly what it is they are going to hear.

The particular way in which we speak, the sound of our voices, the way we use dynamics (load and soft), the way we mechanically repeat certain phrases, our local dialects or accents, all have direct correlations to improvising music. These components adding ‘individuality’ or ‘style’, and allowing us to recognize individual speakers/performers.

In order to communicate, we need to have a vocabulary, which we are continually adding to by the very act of engaging in social relationships, and not necessarily by deliberately attempting to remember ‘lists’ of words, or studying one or two words at great length – which is something that we might have done a lot of when we were ‘beginners’, as when we were still small children (the endless, “What’s that?” … “What’s that?” that infants engage in) or when we were attempting to learn a foreign language in school.

In my personal experience, we do a lot of our language acquiring ‘organically’ – simply by the act of  engaging in social relationships, or by watching TV, or by reading – and we do this from an extremely early age ..

To continue on here …. Consider the following. If you go to a music college today you will probably be taught to play along with this ‘the twelve-bar blues’, as a method of getting you to acquire this ability to ‘improvise’.

The way this is done is to teach you a little bit of theory – which would probably include some basic harmony (the simple chords and chord progression); melody (using something that contemporary music teachers have seen fit to  label the ‘blues scale’ usually), along with the ability to recognize, and respond to in a simple way, a simple mono-rhythm (usually a ‘blues shuffle’).

This material will be put together (‘conceptualized’ if you like) in the form of a ‘backing tape’, or computer audio file, which consists of a recording of this twelve bar blues pattern – minus any ‘improvised solos’ of course – repeated ad nausium.

So there you are with your backing tape – a simple twelve bar sequence, consisting of three chords played on a guitar or keyboard, together with this simple, arpegiated, chord sequence as a bass line, and a shuffle rhythm from the drums. … As this backing track is played over and over, you are supposed to play notes from that simple blues scale you have been practicing (or other scales depending upon how ‘advanced’ you are) on your instrument – this effort of yours here constituting your ‘solo’ ….

This approach is the most popular way of teaching ‘blues improvisation’ today, particularly to those musicians who don’t actually want to play the blues – but would like to know how to suggest that they do, by adding a little ‘bluesy flavor’ to their playing now and again … (You might like to think about this last bit by the way, as, in my view, it’s far more important to the bigger picture than you might first imagine).

So …According to, say, your guitar tutor anyway, that’s how you do it. … And you are also told that if you listen to any top-draw blues player (B B King say) you can use this system that you have learnt here in order to ‘analyze’ their solos (“In this part of his solo, what he is playing is this fragment of this scale, with some embellishment …etc.”).

However, there are one or two other major problems with this way of looking at things. For example:-

1)    Almost all of the great blues players (those from whom todays players look to for inspiration and also to steal licks from) that were around from roughly the turn of the last century until the late 1950’s would have had no idea what you were talking about when you said ‘blues scale’. So.. clearly, on our understanding of ‘what’s going on’ here – that is, from our confident pronouncement of our (‘relative’) ‘truth’ on ‘how one actually plays the blues’ – these musicians  didn’t ‘really’ know what they were doing… Which, I would maintain, is clearly stupid!…

2)    The second problem? Sir James Galway, an Northern-Irish laddie, who is a genius on the flute and has performed with, amongst others, The Berlin Philharmonic, is on film attempting to improvise over one of these backing tracks, and his attempts are embarrassingly bad !! … But .. We are certain that Sir James clearly ‘knows’ exactly what to do .. We believe also, that he has a phenomenal technique, and also, that – when it comes to performing with an orchestra – the man can ‘read fly-shit’ (to quote the vernacular)…  But, none the less, he finds that he can’t do this very simple, basic, ‘play-along’ thing .. In fact he admits that he can’t, during the course of this film. …And that isn’t really very satisfactory either, in our ‘scheme’ of things …at least for me it isn’t.

I’ll leave this here now, because this is where I would leave it with my students …except to finally ask them if they felt any easier about their understanding of ‘improvisation’ … Which is the same question I’d like to leave you with…

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Here are one or two more reflections of mine on the idea of an ‘active language’ that you might, perhaps, find helpful …

How do you decide if someone you are listening to ‘possesses’ an ‘active language’? …

Let us say that you are sitting and listening to someone who is speaking about ‘matters esoteric’ and that you find what is being said is incomprehensible …even fanciful, and silly, to you … But the people sitting on either side of you find this same material revelatory and empowering. (You find this out because you talk to them about it afterwards, say).

How do you explain this? …Does the question,”Who is right here?” have any meaning? …How? … How would you process the answers from these other people here? … Would your answer here be conditioned by any practical experiences of yours as to what the concept of a ‘passive/active language might ‘mean’ to you? …. If so, what sorts of experiences might these be?

How do you decide then? … Would your answer here factor in: your degree of interest in the subject matter; the fact that what was said made you feel good; that you found yourself agreeing with what was being said… etc.

What would you think of a situation where someone insists that they had been listening to someone who possesses a really extensive ‘active’ language that has resulted in them going home, selling all their belongings, including the house, and then giving all the money to the Salvation Army. … Would your reaction be any different if they had sold everything etc. and then given the cash to the British People’s Fascist Party? ….

And the last one … Do you find yourself desperately, and automatically, looking for a meaningful, smart-assed answer, whenever you are asked questions like the ones above? …

——————————————–

In closing here, I’d like to give you an example of how I have approached ‘working’ on one aspect, of one particular word … I must tell you though, that I find the process extremely difficult to put into writing … However, I’m going to have a go it at here anyway… but you’ll have to bear with me ..

What I experience as someone else’s ‘active language is only ‘active” if it gets me off the couch and into doing something which takes me further along that path that I fancy I’ve committed myself to traveling along – improve my ‘being-potential’ if you like.

This experience must knock me off balance just enough, so that I can get enough energy from it to impel me forward a fraction – too much energy and I’ll just get confused; to little and I’ll be full of good intentions, but never quite get round to doing anything. And what Eugene Halliday refers to as the ‘three parts of [my] being’ (thinking, feeling, and willing) must remain as co-ordinated as I can manage… All this doesn’t happen to me that often by the way – but often enough to keep me ‘at it’, over the long haul….

So, I maintain that, if the affect of hearing someone speak to you does not develop your ‘being-potential’, then – in my view – the experience you have had, may well have been … ‘interesting’ … ‘pleasant’ … ‘enjoyable’, even … but the only criteria for you here, in cases like this will have been: a). How ‘interesting’ or ‘enjoyable’ …etc… was it? (“Most uplifting.” …”Food for thought there!” … “Moved me to tears!” …  etc …”) ‘, or b). How much of this experience you can remember that, at the time, seemed to be ‘smart’ or ‘helpful’ or ‘meaningful’ enough, such that you can relay it to others at a later date …Which will bolster the image, that both you and they have, that you are ‘someone in the know’…

Anyway, here’s an example of how I have worked, in part at least, on the particular word ‘form’.

‘Form’ is a word that Eugene Halliday made use of frequently…. I’ll miss out the part where I do the dictionary and etymological thing – other than to tell you that I do my ‘looking up’ here (and have done for a long time) using a digital version of the ‘Complete Oxford Dictionary’; a task that usually takes me all of about five minutes…and, I have to admit, doesn’t really seem to help me here…. Also, discovering that the word ‘form’ can be related to other words such as ‘shape’, or ‘to strike’, doesn’t get me moving either. Because, although I might find this information interesting in its own way I suppose, it is after all, hardly surprising – to me at least – that other ‘peoples of the world’ have their own word for ‘form’…. And anyway, it’s not as if anyone is claiming that the word ‘form’ is related say, to the word ‘lawn-mower’ – which I would really find interesting!…. Unfortunately then, as far as I’m concerned, considering these additional words only seems to provide me with (more) ‘information’ ….(“Hey! … ‘Information’ ….That’s a word that’s connected to ‘form’! … …  Look everybody!! … ‘Inform’ is ‘in-form’ ..I must remember that … It could be ….really useful … information …(?) …”). … ….

So, I use something else that Eugene Halliday said about words to keep me on track here; which was to the effect that, “If you change a word, then you change the form; and if you change the form, then you change the function.” … A nugget of wisdom that I fancy I can use…  And so, as a consequence, it’s strictly ‘one word at a time’ for me then.

Anyway, to make a start here …When I’m attempting to ‘work’ on a word, in order to make it more ‘active’ than it previously was, I do not first ‘think’ about the word itself too deeply – unless I am merely attempting to memorize information, or trying to do something strictly cerebral – such as trying to solve a mathematical problem, or the ‘Times’ crossword.

By far the most important consideration for me in developing any word  – such that it becomes an ‘active’ component in my vocabulary – is in the process of their actual initial selection by me… To this end then, I have the following little rule – It is only those words I use that I am satisfied can adequately describe my own experiences, which can subsequently become components of my own, personal, ‘active vocabulary’ … To put it another way, I attempt to add to my active vocabulary by considering only those relevant words that, as far as I am able, mirror, and illuminate, the ‘meaning’ of my experiences. … Because, I repeat, it is only these experiences of mine that can provide the substance (the ‘matter’) of those significant words (which I have used in this task) that can go on (perhaps) to become an ‘active’ component in my own vocabulary.

So it is not the ‘form’ of ‘words’ per se that, of themselves, produce (or pad-out) my ‘experiences’  – as this process of word assimilation can just as easily be used by me to manufacture mere opinions – or, more probably, wind… But it is only my experiences themselves that have the potential to produce those ‘active’ words; words that then ‘pin’ these experiences of mine in language… Or … You can only really talk ‘actively’ about those things that you have some experience of.

So I would maintain that the ‘meaning’ of ‘Form’ – where this word concerns my ‘active’ language then –  is my attempt to select those words that satisfactorily mirror my experience(s). Without experience then, I believe words are empty of ‘meaning’, but they will obviously still possess dictionary definitions and also etymologies, and they can still evoke  emotions, and still have the ability to inform – because groups of words produce concepts, and these can supply a being with ‘information’ – sometimes useful information – and this information can fly about inside a being, all over the place, and produce all sorts of interesting affects – but more often than not, it does nothing of the kind – it simply inflates what I refer to as the Persona (a component of what I refer to as the Ego).

‘Form’ from this aspect (hermeneutically) then, is ‘ the overall generic term I use for that collection of words (words order power) that illuminates the meaning of my experience(s) in language’, and it is not a word I use to describe ‘the shape of a triangle’ or anything like that …(I would not personally say,”‘the form of a triangle,” by the way, as the use of the word ‘form’ here seems to me to be ‘a bit over the top’) ..

The most interesting part of this subsequently for me though, is what now happens when I now hear the word ‘form’ being used by another person. Because I find that it’s now possible for me to quickly become aware of whether or not this word is grounded in this particular speaker’s experience(s); or if it is simply being used in an attempt to impress me, or supply some information.. If this is the case, the of course what is being said here can still be ‘true’, and might also prove to be useful.

‘Active language’ then, on this account, begins with experience. But as it is far more often the case that what is being said, is being said using ‘passive language’, what is experienced by the listener is, at best, ‘informed’ opinion, which is relatively easy to obtain by studying the work of others (an obvious example here would be the reading of a text book)  –  you only have to listen to any ‘expert’ to experience this, and for me this is qualitatively different from listening to  ‘active’ language.

The positive side of this way of looking at the acquisition of an ‘active language’, as far as I’m concerned? …

I realized a long time ago (because I find it obvious) that I am a being of limited experiences… Thus, from my viewpoint then, my ‘active’ language, will (thankfully) be limited to these experiences … The idea then of, say, attempting to become a ‘polymath’ or ‘renaissance man’ is not one that I find useful here  … and I prefer to leave projects like these to those who like competing in pub quizzes…

… I admit that it is possible to know a lot about a great deal …. but it is also blindingly obvious to me that it is also possible (and far more usual) to know absolutely nothing about one’s self… And this latter task is, I would argue –  in my case, certainly – the only valid reason for ‘being here’ … It’s ‘the only game in town’, you might say.

—————————————-

… Once again – it’s Your Turn…

In my last two posting, I first suggested that you might listen to Eugene Halliday’s talk ‘Words’ (recorded in Liverpool during the 1960’s), and then ‘Vocabulary’ (recorded some 10 – 20 years later, at an ISHVAL meeting)

I did post something on the blog Forum  re my own ‘interactions’ with ‘Words’ as promised, but I did not do so with the second suggested talk (‘Vocabulary’)… However, I will try to get around to this in the near future if I have time …

Anyway, here’s the third recording I’d like to suggest to you – it’s the final one regarding ‘active and passive forms of language’ from me here for the present, and it’s title is ‘The Value of Words’.

Like the first talk that I suggested you listen to, this one was also recorded in Liverpool during the 1960’s….

You can download an audio-file of this recording from the Eugene Halliday Archive Site. It is contained in the ‘Liverpool Archive Material’ section. Here’s the link:  Eugene Halliday Archive – Liverpool Audio Files

You can also download a transcription of this talk from Josh Hennessy’s site. Here’s the link:  Eugene Halliday – Transcripts of Talks

Next month I’ll be suggesting that you read something of Eugene Halliday’s on the subject of words

 

To be continued …..

Bob Hardy

December, 2012

 

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

Nathan Schwartz-Salant
 

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

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

Faust:  “Why should that be so?”

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

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

Devil: “Indeed they are.”

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

Devil: “Without substance, as mist is.”

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

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

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

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

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

 ___________________

 

What on earth have we all been up to?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And this is merely scratching the surface …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

…. Talk about a ‘Tacit Conspiracy’! …

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

… And Now It’s Your Turn … Again!

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

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

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

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

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

 

To be continued …..

Bob Hardy

November 2012

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