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.

 

 

 

“Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again.” – André Gide.

I have very recently, in the last couple of days, decided to split this post into two parts, as I am finding that it has become far too unwieldily for me to manage in quite the way that I would like.

This particular post then will deal further with my own experiences at ‘Working’; while the next post will focus mainly on my attempts to come to some practical understanding, concerning what I believe is another major concept of Eugene Halliday’s (and one that I maintain is intimately linked with ‘Working’), that of ‘Being here now’.

For the time being at least, these two post will be the last ones in which I will be dealing solely with these related ideas.

I should also add here, that although the contents of this particular post arose as a direct consequence of the comment Richard had posted at the end of my previous post (here), what I have written below is not intended to constitute a reply.

To begin then …

NOTE: At some point during this post I hope it will become clear to you why it is that, when I’m attempting to clarify what I mean (certainly in practice) by the terms, work (‘work/Work’) and working (‘working/Working’, I make use of both, the small-case ‘w’, and also the upper-case ‘W’.

If you maintain that you’re having real problems in coming to an appreciation of this ‘work/Work’ concept of Eugene Halliday’s (a situation that is understandable if you’re relatively new to his material; but difficult (at least for me) to appreciate if you claim to have been ‘working/Working’ – or ‘involving yourself’ with his ideas for a reasonable amount of time) then what I am suggesting below, is that the tackling of questions such as “Who is doing the work?” might be used to uncover a great deal of useful information – and perhaps even result in an increase in overall understanding here. Particularly if this subject is approached with questions that attempt to view it from a number of disparate (and maybe not quite so obvious) viewpoints.

I have used this approach myself a great deal over the years as a means of uncovering information concerning this, and also a variety of other subjects that have – one way or another – somehow managed to ‘take my fancy’.

I would claim that this approach is, in many ways (in part at least) similar to the one used in deconstructing texts. Particularly where I am attempting to discover any ‘gaps’ that I believe might be situated ‘around the periphery of’ the accepted meaning of the text(s) that I am examining.

This approach was one that I first began using as a consequence of the way in which I believed I understood Eugene Halliday’s ideas regarding the (as he puts it) ‘limits of the application of terms’.

A quick comment here then before continuing, about Eugene Halliday’s ‘limits of the application of terms’…

If you continually attempt to bear this idea of Halliday’s in mind, you will hopefully, in the ‘here and now’ moment, eventually become aware that any utterance you are presently making use of (that is – any concept, or any idea that you are presently examining) is always relative; is always bounded; and is thus then, always heuristic by its very nature…

You do not, and cannot, speak exhaustively about anything whatsoever, and thus any attempt to say what is absolutely ‘real’ is – before you begin –  doomed to failure.

What you can do though, is objectify your present view of the world, and construct a relative viewpoint in such a way that it allows you to move forward.

You need to formulate then, what it is that will (for the moment at least)  allow you some measure of predictability in the manner in which you proceed… Or, in my case, what exactly was it that I need to know now in order to make some progress –  had become the pressing question here for me.

So we can say that, when using language as a method of formulating meaning, we are always being, in some measure at least, hypothetical … And thus we can, in practice, be aware then, that the moment we hypostatize our hypothesis – that is, that we believe it to be ‘real’ – we are already beginning our slide down the slippery slope of the process that Eugene Halliday refers to as ‘identification’…

The ‘name of the particular game’ here for me then, is to attempt an understanding of the context, the range, and the scope, of that group of ideas contained in Eugene Halliday’s term ‘Work’ – in order to discover ‘the limits of the application of this (particular) term’… for me.

If I am – to any significant degree – successful, it should then be possible for me to realize when I can properly make use of this term, and so when it might be prudent for me to use a different one (such as: ‘talking past myself’; ‘fiddling about’; ’trying to be a smart-ass’; ‘fantasizing’; or ‘dithering’).

Here, then, are a number of ‘different’ approaches that I would suggest could be used in order to throw further light on this term –  ‘working/Working’

  • Can you be ‘Working’ and not ‘know’ (not be aware) that you are? …Can you ‘Work’ without ever – either vaguely or exhaustively – attempting to define (and thus subsequently give a textual meaning to) this concept/activity? Or – putting this another way – can you Work and be completely unable (or perhaps simply just not see the point of) formulating a precise definition for this mode of activity? …. Looking at the question this way could help you get some idea of just how important the formulating of concepts like these are to you (at least emotionally).
  • If, on examining a significant number of examples, you arrive at the conclusion that knowing what ‘Work is’ appears to matter very little in these instances  (that is – where it concerns the process of actually doing some Work) then this conclusion of yours could lead you to maintain that people who need to define and explain everything in this way might very well not in fact be, in some way, superior here… But, rather, that they might actually be handicapped by this continual attempt on their part to engage in an endless search for (and subsequent pontification over) the ‘correct definition’, or the ‘real meaning’, of everything… A process that might even have gone so far as to see them agonizing over every single letter that they make use of, during these attempts of theirs.
  • Would you ever maintain something like, “‘Working’ constitutes its own definition; it is its own text… It does not need some form of further elaboration.” Or perhaps, “It is the real and only expression of Love, and it ‘speaks for itself’.” …And if you did, what would you mean by that?
  • Are you the sort of person that, when presented by someone else with explanations, like (say) the one that I have used for ‘Working’ in the paragraph above, thinks that its ‘very good’. And, as a direct consequence, will then immediately attempt to appropriate it? … If you are, to what degree do you then attempt to ‘make it your own’ by, say, meditating over this ‘explanation that has taken your fancy’, and then attempting to incorporate it into some form of praxis (use it to ‘work/Work’ yourself)? … Or do you just find that you now have a very good way of disguising the fact that you – in truth – don’t actually do much work – but when asked about the subject, you can now ‘say something smart about it’ and so appear to those who are looking for answers here, to be someone you’re not; that is, to be someone  who is practically ‘in the know’..
  • What advantages were obtained (if any) by you, in studying material produced by people like Eugene Halliday (and perhaps others in the same field) where it concerns your own efforts at – what it is that you now (or in the past) refer(ed) to as – ‘Working’?
  • Was it essential to you that there was someone like Eugene Halliday ‘about’ – a person with whom you believed (or imagined) that you could form some sort of (meaningful) relationship with, in order to – in principle at least – come to any subsequent understanding (as you see it) of this concept of ‘Working’? … That is, would you subscribe to one version or another of the idea that some sort of ‘qualified teacher’ is essential here – before you can begin to engage in something like ‘Working’? ….
  • And to put this last bit into some sort of context… The overwhelming majority of those beings who were passing themselves off as ‘yoga teachers’ in the 60’s and early ‘70’s (such as Ken Ratcliffe) had learned what it was that they thought they knew about the subject from either: reading a book; listening to a recording; watching others doing it on TV; making it up themselves; engaging in – and subsequently promoting – various calisthenic and/or calming exercises that are all rather obvious really; or (like John, Paul, George, and Ringo) hanging around with some guy who hailed from ‘East of Suez’ (take your pick) while, at the same time, dressing-up like extras for the cover of a ‘Quality Street’ chocolate-box photo shoot… In these instances above though, would you say that, even so, it would still be possible to gain at least some understanding of what it was that ‘working/Working’ might actually be about; even if these particular experiences only resulted in serving to illuminate what ‘Working’ ‘was not’?…
  • If your answer to this last question was, “Yes, you must have a teacher,” then how do you arrive at the conclusion that the particular teacher you’ve ‘signed up with’ knows what they are talking about? … Do you take it on trust? … Would it simply be that they appeared to be ‘popular in a particular ‘occult’ area’ (like Russell Grant in Astrology, say)? Or would you say that you ‘just knew’ they were the right person, because of the ‘strong feeling’ you had about it…. Or was it for a completely different reason – for example, you felt that if you demonstrated a ‘real earnestness to learn’, this person (unlike almost everyone else you knew) might recognize something in you ‘of true worth’ and ‘bring it out in you’… Or something like that?
  • Would you admit that, although you don’t need a ‘teacher’ constantly, the truth of the matter is, that you believe you needed someone to point you in roughly the right direction at the beginning here… Even if you subsequently ‘moved on’ and severed this relationship.
  • Do you believe that ‘Working’ is something that you (and perhaps all human beings) are, somehow, already naturally required, or fundamentally equipped, to engage in? … Or do they need to acquire – what you presently believe are – ‘special powers’, (such as ‘reflexive self-consciousness’ for example). And thus, that this activity therefore, is only available to the ‘fortunate few’ (or some group or other of ‘The Elect’ etc.)… Or do you believe that your average milkman/postman/fisherman/tax-collector/’lady of the night’ would have just as much success at understanding – and of actually actively engaging in – ‘work/Work’ as, say, Eugene Halliday? … What are your reasons for thinking about this in the way that you do?
  • Was ‘becoming involved in these sorts of activities’ a course of action that you thought you might like to embark upon (when you could get round to it) that was suggested to you by someone else (as an ‘idea’ or ‘concept’, or ‘interest’) … By someone who (perhaps) represented some sort of ‘authority figure’ here… … But that, even so, this idea already appealed to you in some way? (You rather liked the sound of it’ – although you didn’t really understand it at the time – but just ‘sort of’ believed that – one way or another – ‘it would all become ‘clear(er)’…eventually… ).
  • Did you have a vague intuition that becoming involved in ‘this sort of thing’ would somehow make you a ‘more interesting person’, either to yourself, or to others… Why?
  • Do your ideas about ‘Working’ include the necessity for you to be associated with some particular group of people?
  • If the answer to the last question is ‘Yes’, do you believe that this group would be hierarchically organized, and that your position in this hierarchy, or the activities with this group that you like to engage in, constitute for you, in some way, a measure of your ‘success’ in ‘all this’?

I am suggesting that you look at these questions (and questions here like this) because they arise out of my own experiences – which I believe is a far better approach for me to take here than attempting to supply (yet more) mysterious and occult ideas that I have purloined from either some book; or from some other source; or have ‘personalized’ from someone else’s ideas, or from accounts of their own experiences … (Which is something that I am more than capable of doing, by the way 🙂 …)

I began reflecting upon my own position here relatively early on in all this, with the result that I came to realize that I had swallowed this particular ‘work/Work’ concept, ‘hook line and sinker’ (along with quite a few others) – without really understanding it – simply because I was attracted to it, and found it so appealing! … If I were to be more precise, I would maintain that I was, in fact, seduced by these ideas (a situation that I have alluded to in other posts) …

And so, as a direct result of this ‘seduction’, it became essential that – before I went any further – I completely understood that I would have to take full responsibility (or as much responsibility as I could) for what it was that I had willingly allowed to happen to me here… if I was ever going to move on, that is… Otherwise I would be condemned to a life of ‘turning up at meetings’ without really understanding why… These habitual ‘social occasions’ being pleasant enough so as to not ‘rattle my cage’ and perhaps ‘wake me up’ … (Heaven forbid!)..

To elaborate on the seductive aspect of these ideas for a moment (as far I experienced them), this idea of ‘working/Working’ (and ideas very like it) seemed to point to the possibility of my appreciation of – and perhaps my subsequent direct involvement with – other ideas that I vaguely thought were ‘related’. Such as; ‘understanding’ stuff from the vantage point of a ‘higher level of consciousness’ (although I did not – and still do not – have the faintest idea as to what that term might really mean in practice); or come to embrace the idea that we were all, somehow, disembodied beings, who were making use of these ‘gross material’ bodies of ours  – via our various ‘consciousnesses’; or perhaps we were all making use of the same consciousness; or indeed, that perhaps ‘it’ was making use of ‘us’ – and upon dying we would all subsequently be released (somehow) in order to ‘fly off’ (or ‘plummet down headlong’) to a ‘better (or even worse) place’ as a direct consequence of some sort of ‘evolutionary mechanism’, or ‘grand cosmic plan’..

I should also mention here, that one of the very real problems with Eugene’s material that I initially had during that first ten years or so was one that I now realize was absolutely necessary for me to experience… Which was that, the more that I fancied that I ‘understood’ his ideas, the more this meant – in some way – that I was finally getting to know ‘what was really going on’ down here… But in practice, nothing could have been further from the truth … and I was actually, instead, very busy laboring away at ‘vanishing up my own behind’…. Luckily for me though, during this period, I was still unable to give up the fags, booze and other recreational ‘enhancers’, bacon sandwiches, visits to the White City dog track, and the perusing of magazines such as ‘Tit-Bits’ and ‘Reveille’, etc. … Which probably went a long way towards saving me for more advanced stuff… (Which is, so to say, after I had ‘matured a bit’) …

Anyway, it was some time before I was able to stop (for short periods at least) all the ‘occult fantasizing’ that was going on. And it was with something approaching relief that I eventually came to accept – and also realized that it would be extremely profitable for me to go along with – Eugene Halliday’s concept of ‘working/Working’ – which he defined simply as, ‘The act/process of ordering (sentient) power’.

Of course, seeing the subject this way didn’t actually make it any easier for me to do any ‘work/Work’ myself… Although, it was now beginning to dawn on me that this ‘working’ (lower-case ‘w’) was not (and indeed had never been) a problem – because ‘working’ was something that I was doing all the time, and actually couldn’t stop doing – whether I liked it or not..  But luckily – from this perspective – I saw that it might now be possible for me to change things, by attempting to find ways of limiting the negative affects of my ‘working’ if I could; or even devise ways of increasing my ability to actually do some ‘Work’ (upper-case ‘W’).

In addition, accepting this concept of Eugene Halliday’s in the way that I now did, allowed me to view beings who weren’t particularly nice (such as Satan, Adolph Hitler, and Batman), and also very nice people (such as St Francis of Assisi, Miss Marple, and Jimmy Carter) to have been reasonably adept at managing their own  abilities to ‘work/Work’ – at least for some of the time… … And the fruits of these ‘various beings’ labors (that were the direct result at their attempts at ‘working/Working’)? … Well, of course, this was conditional upon their particular ‘field of endeavor’… In one or two of the instances immediately above, for example, this could be said to be: marching into Poland; or riding around on a bicycle through the English country-side solving all manner of heinous crimes …(‘As ye sow,…etc.’). …

If I could be perhaps overly melodramatic for a second – I was also surprised to discover that it was now possible for me to ‘Defend the Devil’  … because I could now appreciate that He was, at the very least,  ‘working’; or even (and far more interestingly as I understood Eugene Halliday to be suggesting) – ‘Working’.

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This realization vis-à-vis ‘sentient power’, and ‘working’ – that is, that not only your dog, but also the bacteria in your dog’s gut etc. were all very busy ‘working’ (the former beavering away at sniffing the crutches of various family members and friends, barking, tail-waging, and fetching sticks; and the latter producing dog-poop) – because both dog and bacteria were ‘ordering power’ – seems rather obvious now.. And indeed, this ‘obviousness after the fact’ is one of the reasons why I’m really attracted to the way in which  Eugene Halliday presents some (at least) of his ideas.

And, indeed  – from that time on, right up until the present moment – this is how I ‘see things’. And I am now in the happy state of finding it blindingly obvious that – in fact – every ‘body’ is ‘at it’… all of the time…

You might say then, that I fancy I now, almost, understand this idea.  🙂

+++++++++++++++

Having got that out of the way then, the task in hand now became one of coming to some understanding as to who it was that might be choosing (if indeed anybody was) to  ‘affirm’ all this ‘work/Work’.. I was OK with the ‘who’ then, but now the ‘why’ seemed to be yet another crucial question here., because I could intuit that the ‘why’ would pretty much determine who the ‘who’ was.

And it was for this very reason, that ever since I arrived at my conclusion regarding what this ‘ordering of (sentient) power’ might mean for me, I have found it necessary to differentiate between ‘work’ and ‘Work’.. And also to recognize that both these activities constitute, ‘What it is that all of existence is ‘actually, really, all about’ …’ (Particularly in Eugene Halliday’s sense of ‘real(ly)’ – making a difference; and ‘about’ – around out’)

+++++++++++++

The question of what exactly constituted ‘work/Work’ then, was now, I felt, something that I had, finally ‘got some sort of handle on’…. But the question of just why this who was doing all this ‘work/Work’ was not nearly as clear to me…

I hope you can now see why this question of ‘agency’ (the ‘who’) began to dominate my thinking, when it came to this subject of work/Work… And also that I already appreciated a satisfactory answer here would not be anything as simplistic as just ‘the observer’…. or something like that. At least unless I could come to some idea as to why ‘the observer’ (if indeed I came to believe that there was such a ‘who’) would be involved… I mean, for God’s sake, “Why bother?” … 🙂

However, thankfully, it was now a question that I believed finally ‘had some flesh on its bones’ for me. And so I hoped that I would find myself, sooner or later, arriving at some sort of satisfactory answer here – or at least enough of a one to allow me to move forward.

But what I believed I needed now, was a way of ‘seeing’ these two concepts of ‘working’ and Working’… That is, I had to create some sort of metaphor in order to ‘illuminate’ them… Something that I could use to judge the degree of work/Work that I believed I was observing; and at the same time, also what it was that I believed this work/Work to consist in … as clearly as I could …

Because, if work/Work was – as I now maintained – going on all around me, all of the time – then in order to understand it, I needed to establish some form of relationship with it… At least one that would provide me with a way of constructing some form of text that: a). Satisfactorily described this work/Work as a process; and b). Described my relationship(s) to it in some way (my reaction to it; the consequences of it in the world for me; etc.).

The model that I eventually came to use was in the end, I would maintain, relative simple.

It consists of an imaginary rope that is black at its left end, and white at its right end. This rope gradually changes color from one end to the other – such that in the middle – for my purposes here – it would, most usually, be grey.

On the far left end I situate mechanical ‘work’ – this would be ‘work’ at the level of gross matter, that was just ‘going on anyway’. Power is being ordered here in such a way that it establishes the simplest of basic forms – something like, say, sub-atomic particles – and although ‘spin’ (rotation) is, I believe, the ‘quality’ that is most apparent in them; even so, they still – at this very basic level – demonstrate the capabilities of attraction and repulsion (reactivity then), or of ‘relationship’ (in the simplest of terms)…

On the far right of my rope is a Mythological Abstraction – ‘God at Work’.

The degree of difficulty that I experienced in attempting to maintain my balance when I (metaphorically) positioned myself on this rope at any one particular time (which was how I ‘saw’ my various attempts at working/Working to be) would be mirrored (would correspond metaphorically) to the height of the rope above the ground … Which, I should mention, was (again metaphorically speaking) positioned directly over the mouth of a large crocodile pit … which had big poisonous spikes sticking up from the bottom in it … that all had poisonous tips..

I should also add that – if that wasn’t enough – there would always be a wind blowing about – from the caress of a slight breeze, to a howling gale…

Everything that’s ‘going on’ down here then – when I’m either participating in it myself, or when I’m observing other beings ‘doing stuff’ – can be situated (metaphorically) by me, somewhere in-between the two ends of this rope.

Human beings are the only beings that I have experienced who I believe are capable of actually doing any ‘Work’ (although I appreciate that you might maintain this is not the case for you)… Primarily because they are the only beings potentially capable of being reflectively self-conscious at any particular moment in time – should they freely chose to be so…. All other sentient creatures that I have encountered have only been capable of ‘work’… But they can all, of course, still be situated at varying distances away from the far left end of my metaphorical rope… With, say, Geckos being ‘further to the right’ than Artichokes….

My sole intention for constructing this metaphor is to explore – and to consequently construct accounts for myself – of my own attempts at working/Working, and also my appreciation of other being’s attempts…. So it is crucial in all this that you fully appreciate these accounts of mine are purely hypothetical… And indeed, this is why this particular metaphor (with its colored rope and crocodiles etc.) in it, is so useful to me… Because I find it almost impossible to fall into the trap (… 🙂 …) of believing that it is substantive – that is, that it is ‘real’ … And this helps prevent me from  hypostatizing these various metaphorical  hypotheses’ of mine… And also allows me the room to appreciate that this metaphor could even become – in the future – far too naïve, or simplistic, for my purposes here… So you might be relieved to know that I am never in the position of actually believing that I am really balancing on a colored rope, suspended above a crocodile pit… Because, “Hey! … That would just be ridiculous!!”

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So, from this point onwards, I attempted to shift my own perspective around to a point where I could reflect on just what it was that I understood Eugene Halliday’s position to be here… Which was that it was not concerned simply with ‘working’ (with simply ‘ordering power’) but was – in practical terms – far more about ‘the act of affirming this working/Working’…. More importantly then, about just why it was that the who might be doing this affirming.

So, ‘the who that was in charge here as a consequence of the why’ from moment to moment became the consuming interest for me now. … And, indeed, I quickly discovered that this was an extremely slippery and evasive question for me to even attempt a response to – particularly where it concerns the formulating of any sort of textual (written or verbal) account that I was, in any way, even reasonably satisfied with….

But at least I now believed that it was now possible for me to be in a state where I could identify ‘who’ it was that was in charge (by reflecting upon it ‘in the now’) even without this ability for me to produce a (metaphorical) description of it… However, I now suspected there was a distinct possibility that I might soon be able to create these accounts – by, say, recalling them from memory, and subsequently writing them down (without, hopefully, embellishing them too much, in order to ‘present them in a ‘kindlier light’)..

But of course these ‘new improved’ accounts would be more complex, and so would have to include far more than just my ‘rope’ metaphor/analogy. Which was – although still very practical (at least as far as I was concerned) –  obviously going to be missing a great deal of essential detail.

I would claim that my relative success at now being able to focus on my own states during these attempts of mine to work/Work began (and have remained so ever since) to provide me with (what I am pleased to refer to as) numerous examples of ‘Archetypal material’…

This material was dependent for its particular ‘form’ on those different working/Work scenarios that I found myself attempting to deal with at any one particular time… That is to say, these scenarios of mine seemed to naturally produce any number of different ‘personalities’, that – by the use of active imagination – I found I could then allow to ‘speak through me’..

And thus the particular scenario in question was ‘fleshed out’, as it were, in the form of this subsequent ‘account’ of mine. Which could (as a direct consequence here) have then been (hopefully) dragged into my egoic consciousness – to the extent that I was then able to interrogate it, to debate with it; to converse with it; to form a relationship with it; and to subsequently ponder over any implications in all this that it might contain … to my heart’s content …

You might say that I was ‘conjuring up spirits’ here 🙂 … Or you could say,that I was allowing myself to be possessed … and that this is what I was ‘affirming ’…

Only kidding! … … (No I’m not).

We never hear things as they really are; we only ever hear things as we really are.

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

I would occasionally (and still do) sometimes sit down and just attempt to noodle away at the the piano instead … As this particular approach to ‘getting at who it was that I am’ at any one particular time, does seem to mirror – broadly speaking a least – the particular ‘cluster’ of ‘in-the-now’ emotional states that I find myself in…

But the situation that I now found myself in had started to make me realize that keeping two of – what I believed were  –  Eugene Halliday’s major concepts  separate, was becoming next to impossible for me.

These two major concepts of his were:

1) The one that I have been attempting to present in this and the previous two posts, re ‘working/’Working; and,

2) The one that I intend to attempt to deal with in my next post – ‘being here now’.

To be continued then …

 

BOB HARDY

March 22nd  2014

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Anyway … back to the topic in hand…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

… Like I say, it’s complicated…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Woof!! Woof!!

To be continued ……

Bob Hardy

March 31st 2013

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