“Anything can happen if you let it.” – Mary Poppins

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In order to examine what your previous life has ‘meant’ to you, you must obviously have lived it… If though instead, you invested most of your energy in attempting to be be someone else, then you (and also incidentally, that person you were pretending to be) cannot possibly have realized a meaningful profit down here …

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I’ve never been a huge fan of Descartes’ ‘Cogito’.

It was originally written in French by the way (‘Je pense, donc je suis’)  before being foisted upon the rest of us, in its far more familiar Latin version, as ‘Cogito ergo sum’.. Presumably in order to give it more ‘cultural wack’. Something like that doctor’s prescription then that was also written in Latin  – and for almost exactly the same reasons … The one your doctor handed to you after conducting one of those ‘examinations’ of his – way back in the 1950’s. That you then took along to your local chemist, who disappeared into the back of the shop in order to ‘dispense’ it. Before finally re-appearing and presenting you with a suitably labelled bottle of green, or red colored (by and large) water.

Of course, Descartes ‘cogito’ finally ended up in English as, ‘I think, therefore I am’.. But my own (preferred) rendering of this is,  “Thinking might be present – but this doesn’t necessarily mean that I am.”  

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

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So! …How to proceed here? …

As I see it, these are the essential steps that Eugene Halliday advised others to take. And I would claim that they are very clear, straightforward. and (deceptively) simple.

    • To appreciate that ‘All that there is, is Sentient Power.
    • To understand that this Sentient Power ‘is continually Working for the development of the potential in all being.
    • That all beings – and this includes you of course (and also Eugene Halliday by the way) are circumscribed modalities of this power.
    • That, in order to Work, it is necessary for you to first of all develop an active language .
    • That any profit you (as a circumscribed being) accrue from this Working, consists entirely in that increased ability you now possess to behave more Reflexively Self-Consciously.

Reflexive Self-Consciousness is a function of Sentient Power. An ability that we already possess to some degree – think of it as a ‘talent(s)’. But that does not necessarily mean that we will (ever) make use of this talent. Because, perhaps (metaphorically) ‘we can always bury it in field’; or because we were, perhaps, afraid to make use of it…. It helps me here to view any increase in my own ability (an increase that can only ever come about in me as a consequence of my own Working) as a ‘profit’. – in the sense that this term is used in the New Testament.

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You will never see anything until you make use of the right metaphor that allows you to do so.

So here’s (yet another)  metaphor 🙂

The number of different ways in which a regular deck of 52 cards can be dealt is 52!. Which – as a real number- is written:

806,581,751,709,438,785,716,606,368,564,037,669,752,89,505,440,883,277,824,000,000,000,000 … (!)

Because of the sheer magnitude of this number, I would maintain that it is obviously just not realistic for anyone to expect to repeat any particular 52-card deal during their own lifetime.

And thus, each and every individual deal can then, be uniquely viewed as a ‘one time event’. At least for any practical purposes of ours here.

Metaphorically then, any one of these particular 52-card deals could, I would venture to suggest, be seen as uniquely ‘equivalent’ to ‘you’…

And for whatever philosophical, or theological, etc. reason(s) that you might then decide on in order to examine (or not), or guide (or not), this ‘you’, through the course of your life, you can at least rest assured that you are going to be dealing with exactly the same ‘you’, while you go about it.

The one rule here concerning this unique ‘deal’ of yours, by the way, is that you can’t just swap it for another ‘deal’ … (Say, one that you imagine that you might prefer to play with).

So you can only, then, either play out the sequence given to you at the beginning; or instead, decide that you aren’t going play at all (or hardly play at all)…. And it is this decision of yours that you continually have to make over the course of your life here that does, in fact (I would maintain) constitute the essence of that ‘free will’ of yours.

Any ‘meaning’ that these various ‘plays’ of yours might then come to have here for you, is left entirely up to you. These ‘meanings’ though, will obviously center entirely around the way that you have chosen to live – both temporally and materially… How you also subsequently come to value these meanings of yours, is also entirely up to you (So, more of that ‘free will’ of yours, is involved here).

On the other hand of course you can always – by practicing the art of manipulation and (self) deception here – simply cheat! … Problem solved then! (But regrettably only for the time being)…

And in this case, as you will be ‘living’ instead through this bogus hand that you would have preferred to have been dealt… The one that you have had to continually ‘bear in mind’ throughout your life in order to keep it in being (continually ‘refresh’ this ‘part’ that you have chosen to play), and that, as a consequence will be what it is that you really ‘worshipped’ here…  You will now have to go on to learn – if you are lucky, that is, (because for many here this realization will usually come far too late in the game to be profited from) – that the only being who was being cheated here by you, was you 🙂

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You’re only ever really ‘getting past it’ when you are no longer open to new ideas. A state that you will also inevitably find yourself in if you’re still far too busy being hostile to, or are still clinging to, some of your old ideas.

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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My particular approach at attempting to Work with Eugene Halliday’s various concepts was to – first of all – initiate some form of system or other that would evolve from my own particular ‘Governing Concept’. In my particular case (and also, I believe, in Eugene Halliday’s) this would be, ‘All that there is, is Sentient Power: and this Sentient Power is Working for the development of potential in all being’. At the same time I would Work at attempting to convert specific components of my passive language into my active language.

I do not however, claim that this is definitely the only approach to Working – even though I have no real experience of Working in any other way.

But I do believe that it is possible to, “Just doing the right thing,” as it were. That is, to ‘Be in the Light’; as opposed to ‘Be searching for the Light’… So, there would be no need to construct a ‘system’ at all then, in this instance!

I would also say that my particular metaphor/allegory of ‘a journey’ that I use to describe my own process of ‘Working’ is also (and, I think, more obviously) not absolutely necessary either in all of this.

As to others here though… I wouldn’t really be comfortable saying anything about anyone else’s approach here. Without at least either trying that approach out for myself, or speaking at length about it with the person involved …(Which was one of the main reasons for me writing this blog, by the way) And even then, I would only really be happy with saying what this might seem, or not seem to indicate to me here, from my own particular perspective…

But without being provided by someone with a verifiable account of their progress; or by my observation of their expressed behavior over a period of time, I would be extremely reluctant to offer even a facile opinion as to whether or not they were doing something that I understood to be ‘Working’ or ‘Knowing yourself’ (as opposed to me, say, maintaining that they do seem to have acquired any number of interesting things to say on the subject).

And obviously, if they were doing this Work of theirs in a – so to say – ‘secret way’ (although this claim, in my experience at least, is almost invariably an example of ‘Still waters running shallow’) then clearly none of this would ever arise… At least where it concerns any exchange between us re methodologies here.

Thus, my viewpoint regarding those who claim to have been ‘influenced’, or to have ‘sat at the feet of Eugene Halliday’, or to be ‘in the know’ here, or who claim to find his material ‘very interesting’, or even (in their opinion) ‘true’ – without providing any meaningful context as to what it is exactly that they mean (in the way that I have elaborated upon with my own perspective on this subject in far more detail in earlier posts here) – is that it doesn’t really amount to much …

But who knows? Their interpretation of Halliday’s various texts might not consist of simply the odd remark or throw-away homily (that reactive response to some fragment or other here that has taken their fancy for the moment) – but might indeed be part of some complete, and fundamentally different, approach to the one that I use here.

So I’ll just summarize this segment here, by adding (in line with what I have written previously above) that I believe it’s possible to Work using other methods. But that I don’t really have anything useful to say about these, because I don’t know what it would actually mean to use them (although I might be quite happy to engage in some intellectual sparring with you about them – provided you paid me enough).

As Jack Palance would have it in the movie ‘Shane’ (a sacred text of mine), if you do maintain that you use another method, as far as I’m concerned, then… “Prove it!”…

Of course you don’t have to do anything of the sort if you don’t want to. But (as I’ve said repeatedly in these posts) if you want to discuss Working with me, then you will have to demonstrate in some way to my satisfaction that you have a methodology in place that you can reasonably elaborate upon; together with some understanding of the underlying processes involved. Plus, and – most importantly – any number of experiential examples from your own life…

Because, if you are doing what it is that you maintain you are doing (Working, that is), then you will obviously, in fact, be tripping over all these personal experiences of yours. … Won’t you? 🙂

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There are a number of Eugene Hallidays concepts that I believe are essential for you to actively engage with, if you want to Work in the way in which I believe he suggested. Here are a couple of them:

  • A ‘Theory of everything’ (TOE) – In his case:- ‘All that there is, is sentient power’.
  • This ‘Sentient Power’ is working for the development in its potential through all being.
  • His insistence that one needs an ‘active language’ in order to move forward
  • Metaphor(s) of the conflicts that are existentially experienced, using this active language, when Working with opposing ideas
  • His use of – what he refers to as – ‘The dialectic’.

The overwhelming number of those subjects that are contained in his many talks and writings, are not necessarily essential for any attempts at Working. These subjects include, but are not restricted to, the works of Jacob Boehme; Tarot; Astrology; Shakespeare; Blake; Yoga; Magic; Egyptology. (etc).

And you can actually waste a great deal of your valuable time here, because you are almost certain to be superbly entertained by listening to, and perhaps pondering over, much of this stuff…

More importantly though, you will almost certainly come to believe that you, as a consequence of doing so, actually now know something of importance in all of this. When it is almost certain to be the case that exactly the opposite has, in fact, taken place…

Here’s a little secret. 🙂 The real value for you, in your attending to those talks and writings of Eugene Halliday’s – when it comes to your attempts at Working – isn’t in their subject matter… It’s in the subsequent in-depth understanding by you, of why it was that you believed this particular material was actually necessary to all of this for you … At all! … In the first place.

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“… Well! Two pieces of information actually! … I can tell you with certainty, that you can start this journey of yours from absolutely anywhere… And I can also tell you with certainty that really, you can only ever start this journey of yours from one particular place… (He grins widely)  I do hope that helps!… (He looks up, gesturing encouragingly)…”

Fragment from ‘Field-notes for Armageddon’ by Bob Hardy

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It is common for very infantile people to have a mystical, religious feeling. They enjoy this atmosphere, in which they can admire their beautiful feelings. But they are simply indulging their auto-eroticism.

C G Jung –  ETH Lecture 1935

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“Look! (He appears to be collecting his thoughts) … You know how (He pauses)… You know how you … almost invariably… get annoyed … ‘go on the defensive’ … the minute someone else tries to tell you anything that’s the least bit negative or ‘judgmental’ about yourself… or your ideas?… (He clasps his hands together, momentarily pursing his lips) 

You know the sort of thing! … When they say stuff to you like, “Well, actually – if you must know – in my opinion, a lot of the time you come across as a something of sanctimonious prat…” etc. etc…(He pauses) … Or even being on the receiving end of an attempt by them to drown you in that latrine of overblown, and clearly insincere, praise’? … (He glances up and frowns theatrically). But of course!! … I forget? … Forgive me!! … That sort of thing isn’t really a major problem for you at all now? … Is it?…

Because you’ve learnt to do your calming exercises properly; and you eat all the ‘right food’ (whatever that’s supposed to mean); and you light one of your aromatherapy candles whenever you start to feel low … All that sort of thing (He pauses)… So that now … at this stage of your … ‘development’ so to say (He stifles a laugh) these sorts of ‘unpleasant experiences’ have now become more like ‘minor difficulties’ to you… You’ve ‘risen above them’ … So to speak!

(He spreads out his arms and raises his voice). I mean, “Well!… Bring it on!!” … (He returns his arms back own to his sides and continues on) 

With the result that today you’re far more inclined to … ‘forgive’ .. If only because you ‘believe’ that this is a ‘much better way to behave’ in these circumstances… Don’t you? …

And so now, and as a result of your own efforts here, you can quickly … divert … the overwhelming majority of these ‘attacks’ …Deflecting them almost effortlessly!.. 

But … and funnily enough .. You can’t help noticing that most of these criticisms directed at you seem to be centered around the same sorts of things… (He smiles, an then exclaims) … And as a result, you can’t help suspecting that there might not be some kernel of truth in them!  (He smiles as he looks down, before quickly looking back up)…

Anyway .. Whatever!…. ‘Bully for you!’ ….As you like to say down here! 

(He pauses and then goes on a little more deliberately in the same tone of voice – emphasizing each word slightly). But what has happened here … In fact … For all of your ‘spiritual exercising’… Is that you have merely constructed a fetching suit of armor and straight-jacket for yourself… And once you are safely ensconced inside either one of these, you can ignore all sorts of things! (He pauses and beams  benevolently) 

And even if you have managed to train yourself to appear suitably humble to your little flock.. You still, in your more sober moments, find yourself possessed of lingering doubts here, leading you on to believe that you might not be ‘quite there yet’ … However, you have also developed a legion of rhetorical techniques in order to deny, or justify, or explain, or excuse, every single negative point that someone else might say, or write about you…that you don’t like, or that you don’t particularly agree with … .(He grins) … Clever!  … And how … empowering … that must be for you! … But of course this means that .. in realty .. you have willfully and deliberately isolated yourself.. And have therefore, so to speak, now put yourself beyond help!

(He pauses, raising his voice slightly, and slowing his speech pattern down a little for effect).. And sadly .. I believe that I should also point out that you still … really … have yet another very big problem down here  … One of those really major problems … in fact .. And one that has – almost certainly – now managed to ‘slip right past you’. (He pauses again)

“And what might that be?” … You ask? 

Well, even though you may have developed techniques to ‘fend off’ the majority of those unacceptable remarks about you, that are being made by others.. You … will …invariably … still always believe those other far more acceptable remarks – your ‘real truths’ (at least as far as you’re concerned) that you have become so addicted to telling yourselfabout yourself! (He pauses looking almost concerned, before grinning broadly)..

And this is a problem that has even far more dangerous … even far more damaging … and even far more serious consequences… for you! (He pauses once again and moves away) .. 

Worse and worse! … Because even if you can now see this particular problem of yours  …

Because you have spent almost your whole time down here insulating yourself from others.. ‘Become skilled in the noble art of debate’, as they say! … The end result has been that you are now almost completely isolated here… And just how exactly do you imagine that you’re ever going to deal with that!… Now?” (He spins around and grins)Eh? (Lights – quick fade to blackout)

From ‘Field-notes for Armageddon’ by Bob Hardy

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How am I going to go about this next bit?….

Summarizing has always – for me at least – proved to be an extremely difficult task.

I’d even go as far as to say that, in most cases at least, I find it next to impossible.

So I’ve nicked the following quote from Irish writer, Anthony Cronin (modifying it somewhat in the process, with my ‘contribution’ to it here in italics), primarily because I believe that it does the job far better than I ever could…

Make of it what you will …

However, if you do manage to ‘get it’, then hopefully you will now understand the direction I’ve attempted to follow over the course of these twenty-four or so blog posts of mine .. It’s an extremely telling fragment in my opinion, particularly the first paragraph – where it illuminates my view of ‘Working’ with Eugene Halliday’s ideas, and is not a million miles away from my view of the man himself either 🙂

Up to this point he had, like others, struggled to be knowing; indeed the ‘knowingness’ of his early writings is one of their most obvious characteristics. And besides this attempt at knowledgeability, there had been the struggle by him to do what the writer here is expected to do, to describe a world which would be a realistic simulacrum of the world about him. In other words, he had attempted to be creative in the wrong sense.

But according to the revelation that he now had, instead of writing about that exterior world he should have written about his own inner world, with its darkness, its ignorance, its uncertainty. The omnipotent, sly and sophisticated narrator of much of his previous works was pretending to knowledge, experiences and abilities that inside himself he knew he did not have. Their creator then, had tried to conceal that inner ignorance and darkness which could in reality have been his greatest strength.

Now he resolved that he would let it prevail. From that point on he would attempt to abandon pretense of any kind … a total renunciation of all certainties including philosophical certainties of any kind, and there would instead be a reiteration of, or an acknowledgment of, his ignorance. The restitution to their rightful place in his work then of the uncertainties and confusions of which his life is made up.

The mode for such a reiteration and restitution would be the only possible one: first person monologue.

From page 359 of ‘Samuel Beckett – The Last Modernist’
by Anthony Cronin.
Published by Flamingo 1997.

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Over lunch he expatiated on his own theme of the impossibility of knowing. “The crisis started at the end of the eighteenth century… They give reason a responsibility which it simply can’t bear, it’s too weak.” … Staring down at his plate he continued, “Leonardo da Vinci still had everything in his head, still knew everything.. But now!” .. Then, looking up with a smile that was between bitterness and resignation, he continued, “Now it’s no longer possible to know everything. The tie between the Self and Things no longer exists. One must make a world of one’s own in order to satisfy one’s need to know. to understand one’s need for order.” Almost on a more cheerful note, he concluded, “There, for me, is the value of the Theater. One turns out a small world with its own laws…

From pages 557 and 558 of ‘Samuel Beckett – The Last Modernist’
by Anthony Cronin.
Published by Flamingo 1997.

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I have no doubt at all that what you should do is learn that ‘information comes before illumination’. … (P)eople are only uncertain, feel uncertain, and suffer from confusion when, and only when, they really do not want to learn. The part that is resisting the learning provides the confusion, etc. The secondary self which is what people interpose between themselves and knowledge, the bundle of subjective and conditioned responses, resists truth.

From ‘The Commanding Self’  page 81.
by Idris Shah.
Published by Octagon Press 1994

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Q. Why do real Sufis not teach meditation and other spiritual practices as a matter of course? Surely everyone can benefit from them?

A. For the same reason good gardeners do not plant productive crops among, or on top of, weeds. –

From ‘The Commanding Self’  page 85.
by Idris Shah.
Published by Octagon Press 1994

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“… So the devil is a devourer; understanding is likewise a devourer. Understanding swallows you up .. … In wanting to understand, ethical and human as it sounds, there lurks the devil’s will… Understanding is a fearfully binding power, at times a veritable murderer of the soul as soon as it flattens out vitally important differences. At the core of the individual is the mystery of life, which is snuffed out when it is ‘grasped’.”

From C G Jung Letters Vol 1 page 31
(In letter to Hans Schmid – 6th Nov. 1915)

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 When fighting against anything whatsoever we have to start out from the evil to be combated, never from the misfortune produced..

From ‘No Pity For Sarajevo’
by J Baudrillard

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And one from Samuel Beckett himself. This short fragment, from my perspective, summarizes how I see almost everyone I’ve ever met who claims to, “Have Worked,” or “Is Working,” with Eugene Halliday’s ideas. Which of course means that the overwhelming majority of those who read this quote probably won’t get it. But then, if it helps, from my perspective almost everyone who has written about Beckett himself doesn’t get it either :-)…

Anyway here ’tis 🙂

Watt had watched people smile and thought he understood how it was done

Samuel Beckett, Watt.

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If you forced me to issue only one piece of advice, it would probably be this. “Whatever the situation is that you have presently landed yourself in – particularly a situation in which you’ve been told beforehand there will be, “Someone there who has ‘all the answers’,” make absolutely sure that you obtain clear and succinct directions to the nearest exit before you enter. And I would also add, “And you should also be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice.”

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Through the course of your life you will often come across those who, when discussing with you some socially reprehensible mode of behavior ‘out there’, go on to exclaim something to the effect that, “Oh dear me! No! … I don’t (or, “I would never,”) do that sort of thing!” – usually with a sanctimonious smirk on their faces…

And you cannot help but gain the impression that this is something that they believe they really ‘do’ (or ‘don’t do’)..

When in fact these situations are, almost certainly, something that they have no experience of …

Let’s face it, we are all (including even me) provided with a ‘good side’ – no matter how small; as well as all those impulses, patterns of behavior, and imaginings, that we would prefer to do without – in our ‘finer’ moments – that is.

In fact, it is only when you see someone struggling with their negative side, that you can be reasonably sure that there is, in fact, really anyone there attempting to ‘doing something’ at all…. Regrettably, and for most of the time, it is far more probable that, in fact, there is ‘no one at home’, that there is ‘no one minding the store’, at all.

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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(Lights fade-up slowly to reveal a sparsely furnished office, which is obviously in the process of being vacated.


The stage backdrop is painted a dull-green to represent one of the office walls. And from the random patchwork of paper corners that are still pinned to it, we can see that a variety of posters and notices have been hastily removed.


Scattered around the threadbare carpet that covers most of the floor are a number of cardboard filing boxes – some with their lids on, and others that are obviously still in the process of being filled.  We can also see half-a-dozen stacks of books and magazines littered around the floor.


Center stage, in the middle of this carpet and directly underneath the single bright light-bulb suspended from the ceiling that serves to illuminate this scene, we can see him seated behind a large desk.


We can see that he is clearly in the process of vacating this office in the very near future as, immediately to the side of this desk, we can also see a few pieces of non-matching luggage, on top of which are his his suit-jacket, top-coat, and a scarf.

He is wearing a tie over a whitish-grey shirt – the top button of which is unfastened. He looks tired and is in need of a shave. His over-long, lank, greasy hair also needs cutting.


An untidy clutter of paperwork is lying directly in front of him on the desk. And in his right hand – the fingers of which he nervously passes through his hair from time to time – he is holding a pencil (or a biro).


He is clasping the receiver of an old-fashioned telephone in his left hand, and into which – as the scene begins – we can hear him speaking.

From his animated body language, we can see that he is somewhat agitated. But we quickly gain the impression that he is on the phone to someone that he is comfortable speaking with – the familial tone of his voice indicating that this person is, at very least, his equal (possibly an old colleague).


For the first few minutes of this call at least, we see him making a half-hearted attempt to terminate this conversation because he keeps getting up from off his chair and bending over the telephone cradle – which is situated towards the front of the desk – in order to replace the handset. 

However, he obviously keeps reconsidering and, as a consequence, has to keep sitting back down again in his chair – something that we observe him doing as the scene begins.

We hear him speaking).

“… … No! …  Really!! .. I know you’ve never even heard of this place! But everything you need to know about it, in order for you to at least get started, is in those field-notes that I’ve been sending to head office!!! (He pauses to listen)

But I assure you that I do understand! … And please believe me when I tell you that it was much the same for me when I first arrived here…And … I must also insist … that I am doing my very best to answer these questions of yours! … (He pauses, and listens for a moment before continuing on in an exasperated tone)… Look! … I do sympathize! .. But I really don’t have much more time to go over all this … Yet again! (He pauses once more to listen)

Well … I suppose it’s just that my… by and large .. futile attempts to supply answers has – for some considerable time now at least – resulted in me merely repeating myself … and more than once! (He pauses)

… And I honestly do believe that it is impossible for me to go any further into this with you – at least in any depth – until you ‘take the plunge’ here yourself … So to speak…   (His voice tails off, and he looks up as if exasperated, before quickly lowering his voice – which now takes on a conciliatory tone – adding rather quickly) …And look! … I will be the first to admit that your questions here are very direct! … ..(His speech quickly returns to normal, as he continues on in a slightly louder tone of voice)  – But clearly… answering them … for me at least … is not nearly as straightforward as you appear to be making out! …(He pauses to listen).

Well exactly! … Look! ….. But if there is only one thing initially that you can perhaps appreciate here in all this…. and that I’ve been trying to clarify for you during all of this time… It would be to realize just how it is that the overwhelming majority of them … (He pauses and passes the fingers of his right hand through his hair a number of times in exasperation. And his voice begins to trail off somewhat) How on earth can I put this!.. (He pauses again and then adds more confidently ..Actually are!(Once again he pauses) … Even though you will probably… well … almost certainly at first .. and very reasonably… not believe it! … (He pauses before adding – somewhat dramatically). … Simply put .. The truth is … That they’re almost completely unable to … ‘experience’ … themselves… (He sighs)

I know it sounds crazy!… … . I Know!! I Know!! (He pauses) But what I am also suggesting to you, is that life here is this way for them – in the main – because they spend the overwhelming majority of their time down here busily constructing … images of some imaginary version of themselves! …Which they then proceed to … inhabit! …And that yes, tragically, they can be extremely sincere … extremely genuine … about performing… about acting out … these almost entirely fictitious ‘images of themselves’ …Images that will of course … eventually just … seize up!… (He pauses).

But even if you do succeed in somehow bringing them around to reflecting on this state of affairs at all … Even momentarily! … They will – more than likely – only protest that they have spent their entire lives behaving in this way because, “I really thought I was doing the right thing,” or “There was nothing else that I could do,” or, “But I wanted to ‘do good’ in the world and help others,” or something else along those lines…  (He pauses slightly) And so they cannot bring themselves to understand that this ‘puppet’ … this ‘clockwork machine’ that they have constructed by themselves… for themselves …of themselves..  plays itself out according to that particular set of self-imposed deterministic rules they had initially … willingly … ingested. (He signs) …And so they eventually … obviously … of course … now simply slowly ‘wind down’ … Stumbling about, as various attributes malfunction, or begin to function intermittently, or at best, very slowly… Until they finally just … grind to a halt … ‘Run out’ as it were.. At which point they then, inevitably, fall to bits… Eventually crumpling to dust… Before disappearing entirely (He pauses to listen for a moment).

Exactly! … Yes! … I’m saying here that, long before the end, and because … as a direct result of … as a consequence of … the way that they have chosen to… ‘spend’… their lives, they have become almost completely unable – because they are, by this time … at this point … almost incapable of being aware … of grasping … those opportunities that are continually being presented to them up – up until they draw their last breath, you might say – in order to move forward… Situations that they are – even at that late date – still quite capable of entering into…. (He pauses to listen).

What do I mean by opportunities? .. Well, for example, to enter into living relationships with other beings … that they can freely chose to commit to  .. similar to themselves, or not … Opportunities that they still seem to be completely unable to appreciate are almost the only events in their lives that.. initially at least certainly … have the potential to provide them with any experience of real meaning! … And … as I keep repeating to you … that constitute a way forward for them… And that they were – from the moment of their birth almost … already given this means of Working on themselves These are, by the way, opportunities that arise immediately after the previous ones that they’ve managed to ignore, or squander etc. are wasted… Opportunities that arise continuously then! … Such that they could not actually … be presented with any more!!  (He snorts, half laughing, and pauses)

‘Living relationships’? … What do I mean by that? …  Well, I’ll tell you what it doesn’t mean! It doesn’t mean becoming a member of the fan club of some notable person or other down here … Some media personality; or popular ‘guru’ for instance! …(although that’s what many down here end up doing!) And then going on to engage in some form or other of insipid bovine worship, before finally presenting themselves to others as enjoying some sort of intimate personal relationship with these objects of their obsession..  An obsession that will  often result in them placing a photograph of this object… this person … on their bedside table, or hanging a poster of them on the living-room wall. (He pauses and sighs, listening to the voice on the other end of the phone)

Well… Sadly … I’d go as far as to say that the overwhelming majority of them do not seem to have the faintest idea what a ‘friend’ actually is! (He pauses for a moment before continuing). In fact many of them have so little real experience of any real relationships – and as a result become so desperate to have any sort of meaning in their lives – that they can even come to believe they can have a meaningful relationship with their local football club …. or with their stamp collection!…. Which, incidentally, is how so many of them can be induced into buying any amount of ‘belonging’ paraphernalia – such as caps, scarfs, and ‘special’ books etc .. Almost tripping over themselves in their head-long rush to ‘squander their inheritance’ here, you might say!  (He pauses again to listen) ..

No! … I’m not suggesting that it’s easy for them! In fact I do appreciate – more than you can imagine – that all this is extremely difficult for them … And is testing enough for them … to manage … even in the most favorable of circumstances! (He stops speaking, and listens).

Well, they do .. often .. make ‘resolutions’ to ‘do something’ about all this… But that burst of energy which arises from their ‘initial enthusiasm’, and that they have managed to made available to themselves … by engaging in contemplating this position of theirs in the ‘here and now’ – a position that is a necessary prerequisite for them to make any headway here?.. Well it is invariably, and very quickly, dissipated in pointless ‘emotional reactive states’ … “Throwing the rattle out of the pram,” – as they themselves so succinctly like to put it ! (He laughs, pauses, once again sitting back in his chair with the telephone still to his ear, and begins playing with the pencil in his free hand)

And my experience here, at least, of pointing all this out repeatedly… Which, lets face it – if you were one of these beings here who maintained that they really wanted to move forward here, is something that could be viewed as (reasonably) Good News’, – will, because of who the being is that they are really invested in – almost certainly see them becoming very upset… and even violent! …

It’s like watching someone in a library, who doesn’t know what they’re looking for …. having their interest continually captured, for days on end, by this book … or by that book… And who will then spend some time … often a very long time! … trapped by the seductive nature of the information contained in one or other of them….. And – as a consequence – will also convince themselves that they are not, in fact, wasting time at all! … …. (He pause and goes on to add – somewhat whimsically)But although some here will indeed also begin to suspect that there has been very little value in most of what it is that they imagine they were trying to do… They still seem to think that the amount of time that they have spent dithering about doing it, somehow constitutes – or is at least a contributing factor to – the real measure of some ‘value’ or other in all of this. (He pauses to listen).

And the longer they indulge in this form of behavior? … Well, I was hoping what would happen is that they would become conscious that this, in fact, is all they have actually been doing for most of their time… If only because, as a consequence, they are now usually much older, and so ‘further on down that line’ … And if a sort of passive stubbornness hasn’t kicked in, I had been hoping… at this point.. that they might now almost be prepared to half-admit that all this had got them absolutely nowhere… 

Regrettably though at this point (He pauses and sighs deeply) most of them here can no longer, or will even stubbornly refuse, to look towards that light… Preferring to keep their head down in the dark – even though they are now aware that all of this ‘searching ab-out’ that they’ve been frantically engaged in, has been of little, or no use, whatsoever…

 But of course… And to be fair… In the end, there is no such thing as ‘wasted time’ really … Is there? (He pauses momentarily to listen).. What on earth do I mean by that? (He pauses again) Well, whatever they do… it will always serve some positive purpose or other.. (He laughs again)… Even if it’s only to demonstrate to others what and who, does and does not, Work here …(He pauses, and listens. Half nodding and shaking his head from time to time).

My major aim here? What it is that I’ve been trying to do here do you mean? …

Simply to get them to start in the right place … That is, not with some imported set of exotic ‘ideas’; not with some activity or other, such as ‘sitting at the feet of the (latest fashionable) ‘master’ … But with themselves!!

And this is something that .. No matter how I try to present it to them … They have, it seems to me … overwhelmingly … failed to understand…. (He pauses and settles back briefly)

No! Not at all! … At one point here, I really thought that the next step they had to take was becoming more and more obvious to them… That it might finally becoming ‘simple’ for them to see it, in fact.. But that isn’t the way it’s turned out at all!! … ‘Simple’ for them, it might now possibly be… But ‘easy’ for them? … It definitely .. and obviously .. isn’t! (He looks down at the floor pensively as he listens for some little time. He nods now and then, and utters an occasional, “Yes,” or, “No,” before continuing)

Can I tell you more about what it is that they actually do about embarking on this search of theirs? … Well, on the one hand you have their attempts to ….. congregate – although I prefer the term ‘coagulate’ myself (He laughs) – in extremely large numbers… A factor that they obviously consider to be of some importance in all this, and.. (He pauses, as he has obviously been interrupted) No! I have absolutely no idea why! (He laughs)…But they do so, both willingly and unwillingly… and then give themselves fancy labels such as, ‘The Brotherhood of Mankind’ or ‘God’s Kingdom on Earth’ or ‘The International Institute for the Advancement of Being’ or ‘The Chosen Few” …. or some such fanciful name…

And very shortly after they manage that – something that is usually accompanied by an extraordinary amount of bloodshed, by the way – what happens then is that you now inevitably seem to end up with (He pauses momentarily) … the splitting up of one of these large groups into two rival groups, often dialectically opposed to each other over some – what they like to maintain is – major ideological, or theological, position… Such as, “Who did the boss say was going to be in charge here after he died?”  …

And before you know it, they then also quickly go on to devote most of their energies in devising ways of denigrating, or at very best ‘disagreeing’ with, all and every other group that they happen to come across, and that they don’t happen to belong to… An activity they will engage in to the exclusion of almost everything else!! Something they refer to as ‘religious zeal’! (He is forced to pause momentarily).

Wait! … No! … Or even worse! ..The fragmentation of one of these large groups into any number of smaller lunatic cults. (He pauses again to listen before continuing) 

Well I’d say that all this has certainly been the case down here for at least the last couple of thousand or so of their years!… (He pauses to listen) … OK! Well yes! … On the other hand that’s what some of them actually do … During this same period, a number of them will attempt to congregate into much small groups .. … But these will all invariably be based simply upon one particular ideological consideration or other – usually stemming from what someone-or-other claims to be ‘the real meaning’ of the material that was responsible for the formation of one of those larger groups in the first place! But also suggesting that this ‘new’ (which really only means ‘most recent’) particular mode of activity, is somehow ‘exclusive’, and that ‘you have to be ready for it’ … and that ‘it isn’t for everyone’… (He pauses to listen – and is clearly more relaxed now) 

One rather amusing effect of this, is that those larger mutually opposing groups will now often band together in order to to exterminate completely, one, or any number of, these smaller ‘exclusive’ groups! …. Maintaining  that they, “Are acting out of a greater good, ” or claiming that these alliances are sensible here because, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” … Or some such rubbish! (He pauses again to listen) … Yes! … And I would even go so far as to claim that this pattern of behavior permeates all of their collective activities… Right down to that support of theirs for their favorite sports team!! (He laughs ironically, pausing again to listen).

No, I wouldn’t say so myself … As I see them, they almost never come together as beings that have the same basic problem … The best you can hope for normally is that they will come together because they believe they are inconvenienced by the same difficulties … And invariably these will be the consequences of some self-imposed habit, or addiction, or other state of affairs that has simply gotten out of hand… Using involving  …sex … drugs … money .. position … keeping-fit …diet.. failed relationships.. feelings of lack of esteem … etc…  The list goes on and on (He laughs).. Because of course these self-imposed difficulties serve to endlessly defer tackling that real ‘problem’ they all have. (He pauses).

I just got tired of telling them, “You must first of all realize you have a problem of your very own that you are simply not facing … And what I see you invariably doing instead is, and very quickly, selecting a ‘better problem’… Usually a far more worthy or ‘spiritual’ one’ … That you now pretend you do have, and that you believe you can solve!… Instead! ..

And as a consequence of this ‘maneuvering? … You now believe that this decision of yours ‘to do something positive’ here will now somehow also ‘magically remove’ that original and only real problem that you were supposed to be tackling in the first place! (He pauses) … How on earth are we supposed to deal with behavior like that? !!! (He pauses to listen) 

Do you mean … What happens if they do – by some miracle or other – manage to cohere  … into much larger aggregations for particular periods of time?

Well that does happen. In fact these modes of behavior that I’ve just been telling you about are – more often than not – actively encouraged by ‘the powers that be’ anyway! Would you believe!… Who will describe them as excellent examples of ‘loyalty’, or ‘devotion’, ‘etc…

… And (His voice is becoming considerably louder as he is clearly being momentarily interrupted) … No! … Not at all! Real relationships are a different thing altogether… And in fact constitute one of the few initial situations that are guaranteed to supply their authentic selves with the possibility of actually growing here! (He pauses)

Look! I can assure you that when you do get some time to examine one or two of these social groups of theirs in some depth, it’ll be pretty easy for you to get yourself some kind of handle on all of this. Even if you do find it all ‘just too crazy’ for you at the moment….

And I can also appreciate your reluctance to go along with my belief, that not only is there no solution on offer here for the foreseeable future. But that there doesn’t even seem to be the possibility of suggesting that there might indeed be one!… But do still keep those feelers out for the possibility that you might at any moment come across one of them who can see what’s actually going on here. (He pauses to listen once again, but then clearly interrupts the person on the other end of the phone) 

No!! … Not just that!! … What will really complicate things down here for you is that you will continually be coming across some particular individual or other who will appear to be … ‘getting’ … all this… ‘Seeing the bigger picture’ as they like to call it … And, as a consequence, you will, once again, be suckered into believing that this means someone here, at last, is ‘making some progress’ in all of this. (He laughs and pauses to listen, and appears to relax more. His left hand now goes behind his head and he leans back before continuing) … But, in my experience here at least, the work done by these individuals seems to just… fizzle out … Or at best seems to become … perverted …  or becomes so severely … diluted … that it ends up merely contributing to the mountain of confusion that’s already cluttering up the place up, down here…(He pauses again)

Well yes! As I’ve just said! I admit that, initially at least, I believed that a number of individuals here seemed to be cottoning on to the value of – let’s call it ‘individual awareness’… As opposed to, say, going along with one or other of those political, or religious, or fashionable, New Age, ‘ideologies’ … And that they were, rather, pushing for the idea that each separate individual was capable of living out some form of basic, realized, intuitive, perspective, that would move them on… move them away…  from all those outmoded, passively acquired, rules and hierarchies here, that only ever result in inertic responses anyway, and that always end up being more or less inappropriate and time-wasting … and occasionally, even downright dangerous!…(He pauses before continuing). 

Say a little more about their ‘group activity? Look! I can’t be going over and over this for you! … You’ll have to discover what’s going on here for yourself! And in your own terms – not mine! (He pauses to listen) … And look!  I really do have to be moving on shortly! (He pauses again, and begins to look focussed. pushing his glasses up onto the bridge of his nose)

OK! ….Look! …. Take, for example, a situation where a group of them separate … Wall themselves off geographically … or just meet together socially in some way  .. In order to create a space for themselves, where they imagine they can work on getting to the bottom of things here, by studying all manner of ‘ancient texts’, for example, or engaging in one form of physical exercise or other etc…(He pauses to think for a moment). And as a result of this activity they now begin to ‘feel better’ … ‘less stressful’ about themselves – and so they quickly arrive at the conclusion that it would be a very good idea to live like this all of the time! … Because then they will no longer need to shoulder the additional burden of ‘keeping an eye on the great unwashed’; or ‘be continually monitoring the activities of others’…

And so this mode of existence now becomes one of the necessary steps that they believe they have to take – this removal of themselves from others in some way – and thus, this has now become then, an essential component in being able to ‘move forward here’ … If you’ll excuse that metaphor of mine yet again!… (He pauses and raises his voice).. It’s one of the first things that they are liable to do here, particularly if they can afford to do so! … I’ve known one or two that have moved themselves half-way round the world!! … A long way to go to meet up with yourself … yet again … if you ask me!! …When the whole point of being here with all of these other beings ‘that you don’t ‘like’ ..’, is to understand how it is actually very possible to do exactly that! To actually be in the center of things, without ripping one another to pieces!!! And to also come to see that this place they are presently in is not simply some sort of ‘holiday camp’ that has gone dreadfully wrong, but is actually yet another place to Work! (He leans back and breaths heavily, listening to the voice on the other end of the phone, before continuing on in a quieter voice)… 

But … wouldn’t you just know it! … Appearing almost simultaneously with this separate group of theirs, a significant number of yet other beings now appear on the scene as yet another group! Who’s sole purpose seems to be in convincing the first group that all their studying here; and all their training that they’ve put themselves through in order to develop the ability to ‘focus their attention here’, has only come about as the result of their ‘egoic’ desires … And therefore, that this makes all of what they’re doing somehow ‘bad’! (He pauses to listen again).

Why would they do that?… Who knows!!  But, it seems to me, that almost all of them continually conflate … confuse .. misuse … distort … terms such as ‘I’, ‘ego’, ‘self’, ‘egoic’, conscious, unconscious, ‘selfish’ etc. Resulting in them – yet again – being mired in that bog of hopeless confusion that they seem to be continually falling into. (He pauses to chuckle)

So while now, some of them band together in order to attempt to strive for ‘Individual self-awareness’; others will, at the same time, be simultaneously denigrating this ‘illusory I’ of theirs .. Which finds them all now endlessly debating about how they should begin to go about all this exactly; and why would they would want to do so… And, as I say … as all of them  – in the main – are pretending to be ‘someone else’ for almost all of their time here anyway, everything simply keeps going round and around in circles… ‘Boring away’! (He laughs and pauses again – looking around the room. He then seems to consider something particular before continuing) 

Is there anything I would say that is at all positive about this situation? … Well … you know … as far as it concerns your turn here, their newly acquired global forms of personal inter-communication now present them with many more opportunities to observe themselves – most obviously regarding their continual attempts to micro-manage how it is that they present themselves to others. But, and far more importantly … by having a better opportunity to see how it is that they are actually continually deluding themselves here …. By realizing how quickly they come to worship this self-image of themselves that they have created, as being their actual reality… And that they are using almost all of their energy here in maintaining .. in identifying .. with these manufactured avatars of theirs … There is then a possibility now, it would seem, of them acquiring the ability to perceive their … almost total … self-delusion here. (He pauses) … Even if they attempt to excuse this behaviour of theirs by proclaiming that they are fully aware these computer generated personas are only … ‘virtual’ (He laughs and quickly adds) and that ‘they’ are the ones that are ‘really in charge’. … Whatever they think that means! (He pauses to listen again).

And I might be imagining things here (He laughs) … And don’t hold your breath… But from time to time during my later time here, I would say that there now seems to exist at least the possibility that some less loosely controlled forms of relationships  are now, culturally ‘on the cards’ here – relationships that don’t depend for their validation almost entirely upon the imposition of their idiotic hierarchies; or for the presence of one of their various gate-keepers – these are the ones here that get to wear all the big hats…

But I’ll quickly add here that this form of activity, this loosening of the reigns, is also making large numbers of them very nervous … This uneasy experience many of them are now having that there might actually be ‘nobody at the helm’ as it were, who can tell them how, and what it is, that they should be doing for most of the time… A situation that is already starting to panic the previously established… and thus inertic by definition… power structures here – all of those ‘organized religions’, ‘class structures’, and ‘economic hierarchies’ ….

 … And I’d say that, for the moment at least, there also seems to be an emerging healthy  mistrust of information provided by their popular media outlets, together with a growing awareness of the power that these outlets have wielded here in the recent past, over a large segment of the population – and that so alter the general … direction … the flow .. of large numbers of people. … Although far to many here now also believe that this provides them with evidence of one gigantic conspiracy or other (He pauses) … And how much easier it would be for us all if there were really the case!!! (He laughs again) 

There also seems to be a growing suspicion among many of the radical thinkers down here that the various leaders of their ‘free’ and also their ‘unfree’ world’, are unable to cope with, or indeed are powerless to do anything about, the viral nature of … the ability of … a small determined number of them to indulge in some form of action that radically alters the cultural mores of even their biggest ‘Superpowers’ …

(He sits back into his chair  with a look of exasperation on his face. Before lifting his right hand – with the pencil still in it – to his forehead).

But look! … Perhaps if I change the subject here very slightly.. one more time .. Present something here to you from a different perspective …to try and see if I can help you understand all this a little better here! …(He pauses, and we can see him carefully considering the next thing that he wishes to say). Ok! … It might actually be better at this point then … if I say something about these so-called ‘minds’ of theirs (He settles back once again into his chair)

So! What is it that I maintain … that these so-called ‘minds’ of theirs … are? … (He pauses again) Or what is it that I say these ‘minds’ of theirs do… …Or better still – do for them … (He pauses again, only this time for slightly longer) … Or even better still again perhaps,”What is it that I maintain they claim that they are doing with these minds of theirs?” … (and then adds, in a slightly self-defeated tone – his voice tailing off) … Might be a better way of posing this…

(He is listening again But quickly starts to appear even more perplexed – bending his head backwards slightly while turning it from left to right slowly a few times, as if searching for inspiration)

Well … If you were in a hurry … And you wanted me to give you ‘the short answer’ here, then I could simply say, I suppose … That this ‘mind’ of theirs functions … for them … rather like an extremely inefficient, and out-of-date, problem-solving machine. … Or an even shorter answer – that they use them for ‘solving problems’… (He pauses once again to listen) …

Yes, you’re absolutely correct! .. I have been telling you here for the last twenty minutes or so that when it comes to that important problem they all have, not only do they refuse to try to solve it, they refuse to even recognize it! ..

So how can I say now that they use these minds of theirs to solve their own particular problems?..

Well, what is of supreme importance for you to understand here, is that when they suspect that they are going to be presented with a problem that they won’t like … at all!.. … Usually out of pride or hubris, or simply because it’s too painful for them to look at it – and leaving aside the important consequence here that this situation will often induce in them some purely physical symptom or other – often quite physically painful, and often quite dangerous and life-threatening! … They use this mind of theirs to first of all invent, and then secondly focus exclusively on, a problem that they believe they can solve.. Only now … do you see .. it’s also one that they would prefer to solve!! 

Because not only does this mind of theirs solve problems, it also has to create these very same problems in the first place… Conceptualize them. …Formulate them …. Do you see! (He pauses once again, sounding even more dissatisfied)

So they have this mind, that is … a problem solving device… but of course, as I’ve just said, it is also this very same mind that has to perceive these problems in the first place! .. So, in this sense, it is this mind of theirs that also brings these very problems to be, in this very mind …. that creates these problems in the first place!

And here’s another baffling point here! … This preferred problem that they formulate might actually might be much harder to solve – particularly so, from the point of  view of some other being here! (He pauses once again, before continuing on now in his earlier, somewhat exasperated tone of voice) Well! … Something like that … anyway!.. (He continues on quickly, speaking in a slightly louder tone of voice).

Look! I really do have to be going soon. I have a plane to catch.. So let me call a taxi here, and as soon as I’ve done that I promise I’ll phone you, or your partner, back again … Right back! …Promise! … And I’ll try to explain a little more of this.. But I really must be on my way very soon (He is in the process of returning the phone receiver, but while he is bending over the cradle he quickly adds) I have spoken with your partner already of course – who did seem to understand some of this, at least. Look! Tell them to try to think of something to ask me when I phone you in a few minutes. Something that will be useful to you both.. Ok?.. (He replaces the phone, and begins to move his luggage to the office door. He quickly returns to the phone, and – still standing – he calls for a taxi to come for him in about fifteen minutes. He then slowly sits back down on his chair, and rubs his face with his hands before phoning again. He listens intently for a few seconds; before quickly interjecting, as if he is interrupting).

Sorry! … … I don’t understand what you mean by that? … (He pauses again to listen) …OK! … Look! … Here’s a few other quick examples… of the sorts of things – particularly where it concerns our part in their affairs down here – that I maintain they ‘do’ with these ‘minds’ of theirs.” ..(He pauses, listening intently, and begins to tap the desk top impatiently with his pencil, before interjecting again – still using a somewhat exaggerated and exasperated tone of voice)… The way that they go about avoiding the tackling of some particular problem or other of theirs, do you mean? (He pauses and sighs) Well, OK! … If you think that will be of any use. (He pauses, sitting stock-still in his chair with his arm partly raised. He brings it down to the table top and begins speaking again)

Well as far as the particular lot that I’ve had to deal with this time around are concerned … A bewildering percentage of them – even those who do manage to get a glimpse now and again of the fact that there’s something very fishy going on down here, also – initially at least –  strike me as, even so,  spending a great deal of their time and energy in convincing themselves that this very real personal problem that they do have is, in fact … ‘trivial’ … Or at least that it isn’t very ‘important’ in ‘the over-all scheme of things’ here …That, “It’s not ‘very sexy’…” … as they’re fond of saying.  … ….

And that – by and large then, and as a direct consequence of this – they arrive at this self-judgmental view that their problem is, in fact, ‘trivial’ … (“Just one or two minor details here to sort out and I’ll be fine! ..  And I do really intend to get round to them very soon!”) … and so will now quickly go on to spend the greater percentage of their free time engaged in what they like to imagine is a far more important and worthy task, which has to do with ‘helping others less fortunate than themselves’! (he chuckles and snorts at the same time). … with THEIR particular important problem! …(He snorts again, only this time somewhat irritatingly, and adds)… You know, I can’t help feeling that I’ve told you all this a million times before! (He pauses and listens).

How do they go about doing this ‘helping’? … Well they construct various ‘theories’ about the way it’s all ‘supposed’ to work down here, and then supply various ‘reasons’ as to why it isn’t working.. From this perspective they can then very quickly go on to believe that they now ‘understand’ any and every thing… And it often won’t to very long after that, that they go on to claim that they have ‘answers’ for others here, because they believe that they now have some … what you might call … metaphysical justification …or remit … for doing so …  (He pauses, and takes a breath before continuing) ..

The way they will then go about this ‘helping’ is to verbally contextualize those ‘problems’ of those others here, in such a way that these can now be viewed as a demonstrating .. of providing proof if you like .. of the ‘working out’ (or not) of this particular ‘theory of everything’ of theirs. (He pauses)

Sadly though, these ‘new’ problems will almost certainly be largely invented. But more disturbingly they will now go on to be fueled by the production of numerous false memories – usually from the victims earliest years, and in some cases from what are claimed to be their earlier lives! …

This results in them now being contained in a psychological straight-jacket – with both parties now being totally dependent upon each other – although only one of them will be more than happy to admit it! (He pauses)  And another important thing to understand is in all this …is that these new problems are experienced now as better problems! … Supported  by all sorts of gibberish, and described by all sorts of lurid – and so then secretly thrilling, narratives! The victim here is now convinced that they are .. at last … someone of interest!! Thus it’s easy to see that the main function of these shared accounts is the elevation of the perception of the victim here in their own eyes; together with the satisfaction enjoyed by the ‘healer’! And as a consequence of that of course, everyone involved here is now completely hooked!!…(He pauses) 

And thus, and in a very real way, all concerned have succeeded in forging a perfect tacit conspiracy! Which is also endorsed by all the members of their particular group! (He pauses once again and laughs) …  With the end result that everyone involved here remains exactly where they’ve always been, or more probably have gone ‘backwards’!… But everyone concerned here will imagine that they’re finally ‘getting somewhere here’ at last !!!

The end result of all this brilliant ‘mind scheming’ then? … Well – and isn’t it obvious – the position that they have striven so desperately to place themselves in, and have focused most of their energy on, now functions to work directly against them..!!! 

 (He pauses to listen) 
… I know! It’s even got to be excruciatingly boring for me! … It’s tragic really I suppose… (He pauses once again to listen).

 Well! Don’t you know that I already realize how completely ridiculous a lot of this must sound to you!
(He half-laughs) If only they knew how much we would all really love them to be genuine ‘major players’ here…. Actually, to tell you the truth, I’d settle for one or two ‘part-time amateurs’ myself!

(He laughs again, and stands up. Bending forward with the phone to his ear  obviously preparing to end the call) … 
I know!! …. It’s all in my report … They’re up to seven plus billion of them now and counting.. They could get rid of half of them overnight – make a movie about it and write a few editorials and produce a few tv shows about it, and they’d have forgotten about it the week after …  Most of them should be thankful that they lack the necessary imagination to even begin to suspect what’s going on down here …. (He finally puts the phone down, and breaths a sign of relief , then looks up to stare directly into the audience. He picks up his luggage and moves to the door, opens it, before depositing all his luggage on the other side. After doing so, he turns around at the open door to face the audience. He begins to speak again, quietly – but we can hear what he is saying quite clearly).

 What a Tacit Conspiracy! (He shakes his head, and repeats in a slightly louder voice)…What a Tacit Conspiracy!! (He pauses once again, raising his arms and exclaims).. Everything here is a Tacit Conspiracy!!!  …(He turns around again and goes to exit through the door. But suddenly changes his mind and once again turns around to fact the audience. He looks from left to right, smiles, shakes his head, and exclaims).

Whatever happened to real love!” 

(He turns his back on the audience finally and exits through the door, closing it behind him). 

(FADE TO BLACKOUT – CURTAIN)

THE END.

From ‘Field-notes for Armageddon’ by Bob Hardy

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Much of what I now view as being ‘OK for me’, only came about as the result of a great deal of pondering over the material contained in Eugene Halliday’s many talks and writings. So then, I obviously – during this same period – came to view some of this material of his as ‘not being OK for me’.

Claiming that something or someone has become, or has not become, an influence in my life does – I maintain – involve a considerable amount of Work. At least it does on my part.

But equally I would not claim that someone had not been an influence on my life if I hadn’t, first of all, done them the courtesy of investigating their work beforehand. And if I hadn’t done this investigating? Well then I would simply say, “Sorry, but I’m not familiar with their work.”

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

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Here’s an important concept I hold to that isn’t (obviously) influenced by the ideas of Eugene Halliday. But might rather be seen as having been strongly influenced by the ideas of Martin Heidegger… (However I really couldn’t confirm today if that were actually the case)… Here it is anyway.

The world that we individually live in, is our own particular ‘world of meaning’, and it comes to be (or – as Heidegger might have put it – is an ‘allowing to presence’) as a consequence of my intentions here.

It is a world that I also – by and large – have come to take for granted.

It will not be the same world as your world – or anyone else’s world for that matter…

The things that interest me will appear predominantly in it, with everything else being (normally) ‘in the background’ or even hidden. Unless (for example) something ‘in this background’ begins to assume what I experience as, say, a threat to myself. In which case this particular aspect of it will then ‘enter my world’.

The manner in which I have proceeded through my life using my own particular system of Working is seen by more that a few others to be unnecessarily ‘aggressive’ or ‘confrontational’ … But I would claim that it is neither of these. Rather, this is my ritualistic way  of ‘opening up’ to the world – particularly when, far more often than not, I strongly experience a reactive opposition here and would prefer not to ‘open up’ at all! ..

If you are Working yourself, then what I am describing here will probably be reasonably obvious to you… And if you’re not Working?… Then you will simply arrive at any number of opinions about what it is I’ve been writing about here. Which will reveal far about who it is that you imagine you are, than who it is that you imagine I am.

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When you tell me that something ‘means’ something to you, you are speaking about yourself. On the other hand, when you supply me with a ‘definition’, you are relying on a social and/or cultural consensus – something gleaned from your favorite dictionary usually and so, in a sense, this ‘definition’ is ‘imposed’ on this ‘here and now’ moment.

My ‘meaning’ can never completely become your ‘meaning’.

However we can at least agree on those ‘definitions’ of ours. And if we wish, we can even go on to produce our own dictionaries of these definitions (in which case this would obviously function more like a personal lexicon). But it might come to be that this lexicon of ours becomes the standard for significant numbers of other people, in which case it can then function as a dictionary.

Our ‘meanings’ though, can only ever ‘resonate’ with the others. But even if they manage to do this, it may often only be a limited temporal phenomena  – particularly if we do not share an intimate relationship.

If however, we do happen to share an intimate relationship, then we will together, almost certainly (and in our separativity) come to possess many congruent ‘meanings’ . ‘Meanings’ that have come ‘to be’ between us. And quite possibly a number of these will endure over long periods of time – maybe even for our life-times.

It is this sharing here, that is at the root of all empathy. 

It is my experience(s) though, that inevitably transforms my meanings’.

‘Definitions’, on the other hand, will (or should at least) only ever change by agreement. However the production of definitions are often sequestered by temporal power structures during any particular eon (think of the imposition on the general public of the term ‘political correct’) in order to serve the ends of those who are situated, or are desperate to climb, higher up the pecking order.

The motive for this appropriation is, of course, the acquisition of yet more temporal power by those who succeed in reaching the apex of that particular hierarchical triangle that happens to be in place during that particular eon. And in fact this particular form of appropriation is the only single essential component of these power triangles – and by which all other aspect of the control of their power proceeds from them. Positively, these definitions are at the root of  our ideas concerning our ‘compassion’.

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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Bob Hardy

Portland OR

26th January, 2019

 

Intro:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A¹: The Meaning of Objects.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anyway, to continue on here…..

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

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

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

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

“Shut that door!”…

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

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

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

(He continues)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From ‘Fieldnotes for Armageddon’ by Bob Hardy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Seven Spirits Of Jacob Boehme – David Mahlowe

The Four Complexions of Jacob Boehme – David Mahlowe

Jacob Boehme’s Election of Grace – Donald Lord

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

Eugene Halliday – Boehme Seven Properties

Eugene Halliday – Boehme Centre and Circumference

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Ribbit … Ribbit…”

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

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

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

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

An outcome that I view as extremely cool….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A³: Tell Me a Story

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

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

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

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

 

Coda.

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

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

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

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

Zugabe

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

 

To be continued …

 

Bob Hardy

28th February  2013

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