All things are modalities or precipitations of the Infinite Sentient Power which is the Godhead.

Eugene Halliday – Essays on God

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NOTE: ‘Godhead’. Translated from Greek -‘qeoths’ – ‘divine nature’ or ‘the quality of being a God’.

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Simply we may de­fine Love as the will to work for the optimal dev­elopement of the potentialities of being.

Eugene Halliday – Essays on God

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When love retreats, power advances.

Carl Gustav Jung

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All that there is is Sentient Power; and this Sentient Power is continually Working for the development of the potentialities of its being.

We are circumscribed modalities of this Sentient Power.

We are sentient beings then, and we claim to possess ‘consciousness’.

If we will to develop this conscious ability such that we can use it to function reflexively, we may ‘join in’ with this act of Working, and thus – as it were – ‘lend a hand’ here, in order to develop these potentialities.

If we will to do this Work, then we will ‘realize a profit’ in doing so.

If we will not to do this Work, Work will still be going on within us, but obviously it will not be done by us; and any development of those potentialities that do happen to take place under these circumstance will proceed at a slower pace. Far more importantly though, any profit arising as a consequence of any development here will not be-long to us… A state of affairs that we might like to think about if we suspect there might be something to the idea that there is an ‘accounting’, or ‘final judgment’ that takes place just after we pop our clogs … 

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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According to those who claimed to have known Eugene Halliday ‘early on’ (and the two people with whom I spoke to at length about this period would be Donald Lord who, during a recorded interview that I conducted with him told me, “I remember exactly when I met Eugene. It was just before his 33rd birthday.” – which would be in 1944 then; and Ken Ratcliffe, who met him after the War, and who related numerous stories, about their time together up until the mid-1960’s, to me) Eugene Halliday’s earliest published work would seem to be ‘Defense of the Devil’ – a copy of which is freely available for downloading from Josh’s site here:  http://www.eugene-halliday.net

‘Defense of the Devil’ does not seem, to me, to place the concept  ‘All that there is, is Absolute Sentient Power’, center stage. At least in the sense that it constitutes a ‘governing concept’. However, the evidence that Eugene Halliday’s later went on to ‘involve’ the use of his term ‘Sentient Power’ as a ‘governing concept’ can, I believe, be clearly appreciated in most of his subsequent written Work.

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I would just like to add a word of advice here about Eugene Halliday’s frequent use of the terms ‘Laws’ and ‘Rules’ in many of his texts. Whether or not you accept these claims of his, and why you might chose to do so, is entirely up to you. I simply want to say here that, in my opinion, should you actively decide to engage with these texts of his, it would be a good idea if first of all you did a little Work on your understanding and use of both ‘deductive’ and ‘inductive’ reasoning.

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So! … What is that question? … Then!

Well I would say that there are an endless number of questions that revolve around my particular governing concept – ‘All there is is Sentient Power’ – and that all I can really do here is supply you with a couple of examples, and hope  that you get the general idea.

  1. If all there is is Sentient Power, why did I wake up feeling grumpy this morning, if I felt OK last night just before I went to sleep?
  2. If all there is is Sentient Power, and I see a brick on the floor in front of me and say something to myself like, “That brick right there is a complete object ‘in itself’ .. And so it’s actually an example then of ‘circumscribed sentient power’ … What happens to the sentient power if I hit the brick with a hammer, so that there are now two separate objects that I refer to as ‘two half-bricks’ … Are there in fact now two circumscribed objects instead of one? Or is it just all about the way I chose to see them? … Is there some sort of weird reproductive process going on here? Does the sentience of the two new half-brick bits somehow ‘remember’ that they was once a single brick ? What’s going on here, and how does it work?
  3. If all there is is Sentient Power, what is my temporary forgetfulness all about?
  4. If all there is is Sentient Power, how do I explain my feelings of, say, ‘disgust’?

I don’t happen to think that these questions I have asked myself (or indeed any question that I could ask myself which begins “If all there is is Sentient Power…”) are trivial…ever! … If only because one of the answers to these questions might seem to refute my governing concept; or that, no matter how hard I tried, I might simply just be incapable of  answering it…

(And just so you know, I have actually Worked on the answers to the above four questions 🙂 …)

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The initial impression that I gained, particularly where it concerned Eugene Halliday’s written material, was that it was incredibly rich in the range of subjects that it attempted to ‘take in’. And also – and more importantly for me – Eugene Halliday seemed to be able to ‘link it all together’, or ‘connect it all up’, in what seemed to me to be a very straightforward way – although at that time I had no real ideas as to why it did so, but only the firm conviction that, from his standpoint at least, it did.

When I revisited this material, and began to subject it to more scrutiny, there were a number of directions taken, or points made, by Eugene Halliday, that I found I could not go along with. But this only served to engage me even more with his Work, because I now had to spend a great deal of time contemplating why it was that I didn’t agree with him, or why I was uneasy about something that he had written.

My, shall we call it, ‘confrontational interaction’ here, with some aspect or other of Eugene Halliday’s material in no way diminishes my respect for him. In fact I believe this was actually one of the reasons why he produced it.

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If you’re looking for questions that involve a governing concept such as ‘All that there is is Sentient Power’ then I can suggest one of the methods that I came to use. Which was to ask questions that began, “If all that there is is Sentient Power, what is it doing here when I (…. … )?”  And then to fill in the blank here with my response(s) to a): whatever news source(s) I happened to have reacted to, or b): whatever form of leisure activity I was engaging in, such as, for example, watching movies, TV shows, or even documentaries, or c): my immersion (my identification with) characters  in any novel that I happened to be reading… So no questions here about any obvious ‘creative activity’ of mine then… At least not to begin with.

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Finally here, I would like to suggest that you read the following essays by Eugene Halliday. Because, if you do, I believe there would then exist a strong possibility that you will experience what it is that I’m trying to convey here for yourself.

Words of Power by Eugene Halliday

The Structure Of The Psyche by Eugene Halliday

The Role of the Unconscious in Religion and Art by Eugene Halliday

The Pursuit of Power by Eugene Halliday

The Psychogram by Eugene Halliday

Psychotherapy Part 1 by Eugene Halliday

Notes On Engram Work by Eugene Halliday

IHS – Original pamphlet plus Meditation guide by Eugene Halliday

Essays by Eugene Halliday from the Cavendish Magazine and Healing Quarterly 1956 – 60

And finally, a text by Eugene Halliday, together with an audio-file of  Ken Ratcliffe reading it.

The Biofield by Eugene Halliday

Ken Ratcliffe’s reading of ‘The Biofield’ by Eugene Halliday

 

To be continued….

Bob Hardy
Portland, Oregon, USA

16th March, 2017

 

 

 

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

Christopher Hitchens

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

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WT…..?

by Bob Hardy

God has never
God does not
And God will never

Do requests

 

God has never
God does not
And God will never

Demand that you do stuff

 

God does not want

Any of your money

 

God does not require

Elected morsels of your flesh

 

But if
However

From time to time
You believe that you must

                      (And if you enjoy talking to yourself)

Then the occasional
Heart-felt “Thank you!”

Is more than sufficient here

 

You see

God just is

 

Further
More

And simply put

Everything happening

That really matters
In all of this

Is actually
Up to you

All of the time

 

And that’s how bad
Things really are

Down here

I’m afraid.

 

Have a nice day.

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

If it helps

         …..think of this post

                      ……something likebob-urobrous

this …….                        .

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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OK then… Here we go …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

……… Dither …… dither.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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To move on here …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“.. ‘Snakey Stuff’!! 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Snakey Stuff”!!! 

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

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

From ‘Field-notes for Armageddon’ by Bob Hardy

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

1).  A ‘Governing Concept’.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2).  A ‘Scheme of Inquiry’:

I would claim that this is also after Eugene Halliday.

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

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

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

3). A ‘Conceptual Framework’:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4). A ‘Mode of Presentation’:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Précis – Eugene Halliday – Hierarchy

Précis – Eugene Halliday – Islam

Précis – Eugene Halliday – Karlfried Von Durkheim

Précis – Eugene Halliday – Modern Physics

Précis – Eugene Halliday – Pseudo-Denys

Précis – Eugene Halliday – Sorcery

Précis – Eugene Halliday – Soul

Précis – Eugene Halliday – The Basics of Judaism

Précis – Eugene Halliday – The Body

Précis – Eugene Halliday – Zen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The next thing that I attempt to sort out?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To be continued …

December 2016

Portland, Oregon.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Not really … but thanks!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Here’s a bit more about these two words.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To be Continued ….

Bob Hardy
Portland, Oregon, USA

20th December, 2016.

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Herbert Henry Henson
From ‘Retrospective On An  Unimportant Life”

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

…. Magic!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And that word is ‘invest’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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LIVERPOOL JOKE

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

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System a)  To improve my chess skills. 

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

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

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

Nothing remarkable at all about this approach then.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fragment from “Field Notes for Armageddon” by Bob Hardy

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

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

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

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

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

End of Part One

 

To (hopefully) be continued… Soon  🙂

Bob Hardy

11th July 2016

Portland, Oregon, USA

 

 

 

If you do not know where you are now, you will have very little chance of getting to where it is that you imagine you would like to go next.

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I have never been particularly interested in the personality of messengers… and I was never looking for a ‘Father Figure’ either … or for a social situation…

I was simply looking for answers to my own questions… And in my search for them I always saw myself as primarily responsible for anything and everything that might happen to me as a consequence of my various attempts to find them.

Dealing with any relationships (imagined, casual, or otherwise) that may, or may not, have developed from time to time along the way, was – for the most part – of relatively minor importance to me in all of this …

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 What do I hear here most of the time (both ‘out there’ and ‘in here’)? … That would be the sound of a million rattles being tossed out of a million prams…

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On “Owning it” … and Materialism.

It’s fairly easy to understand a process whereby those who view others as being the originator(s) of ‘esoteric’ material/ideas etc. would come to view these ‘originators’ as subsequently ‘owning various ‘rights’ to these ‘creation(s)’ of theirs … Because … well … every created ‘thing’ must belong to … be the property of – to dispose of as they see fit –  ‘some’ creator or other… Mustn’t it? … … … … … Mustn’t it???

The consequences of the present Copyright Laws as they stand is sufficient to explain this … Which, after all, was the intention of the original Copyright Act – brought in at the time of Queen Anne by the Brits around 1710 during the early days of the ‘Enlightenment’ – and after which everything in the future (in Europe at least) was obviously, as a direct consequence  – going to be (so to say) ‘all plain sailing’ from now on… At long last … …

So! … “What a relief then!” … It’s all simply about ‘due process’ now … Just ‘the way it is’ – one might say… ‘Mechanical’, even… ‘Out of our hands’, so to speak… …‘Hallelujah!’ then … I suppose….

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There are those who both claim that Eugene Halliday’s ‘creations’ are, in some way, ‘Universal’ (with a capital ‘U’) while that at the same time maintaining that they ‘belonged to him’ … And subsequently, in a number of cases at least – and particularly for those who hold to this second view here – that this material has now somehow, almost magically, come to ‘belong’ to them! …. As opposed to say, believing that this material simply ‘emanated’ from him – but then, I don’t happen to believe that either.

For me, this material constitutes the ‘fruits of his labor’ – and I see him as subsequently making this freely available to all.

How others involved themselves with it – by Working with it; or attempting to own it; or distorting it to suit their own pursuit of power etc. thus becomes their responsibility entirely –as do any consequences that arise from this freely-entered-into involvement of theirs

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The problem with any belief to the effect that the ideas and concepts of Eugene Halliday ‘came through’ him; that is, that he received them in some way from what he referred to as ‘the field’ – is that this is a belief that can be held for the production of anything by anybody…

On the other hand, you could always defend the idea that he had become a vessel for these ideas by preparing himself somehow; or that he had ‘been prepared’ as a result of the efforts of others in his direct ancestral past – as a consequence of his birth and so, ‘in his DNA’ I suppose (so something of a ‘freebie’ then); or by some supernatural agency or other.

This viewpoint actually starts to becomes a little more entertaining when those involved here attempt to simultaneously advance some hashed-up version or other of these ‘received’ ideas of Eugene Halliday – while simultaneously attempting to make sure that everyone ‘knows’ that someone (or something) else was really responsible for ‘all this stuff’!…

I suspect though, that this is simply because there just might be troubling repercussions here, and …,”Well! … That would Never do!”….

A perfect example then, of that ‘monkey with its hand stuck in the jar’.

It is the difference between what it is that constitutes ‘knowledge’, as opposed to ‘wisdom’ that is crucial to any real understanding of the ‘why’ of ‘what it is’ that is going on here…

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There is overwhelming evidence to show that Eugene Halliday spend a great deal of his his time reading (I understand from a very reliable source that he did so every day) and then making notes about (or of even sometimes copying word for word) the variety of subjects contained in the many books that he read.

Regrettably though, most of the time he did not (or was even perhaps unwilling) to reveal the sources on which he based at least some of the ideas that he subsequently expounded upon, during the delivery of his various talks, or that he included in his various essays.

Nonetheless – whether you know directly of any particular source or not – it should still come as no surprise that the subsequent ideas he fashioned from these studies of his do reflect the original ideas that are contained in them. And thus they reveal, not only his own particular preferred interests (and biases), but also illuminate the zeitgeist (the ‘Aion’) out of which these ideas – so to say – ‘came to be’… The clearest examples here for me concern his comments regarding gender and race…

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I have never viewed Eugene Halliday’s material as somehow being ‘the last word on any particular subject’ or as ‘Universal’ (or even ‘universal’). And certainly not part of what is referred to as a ‘Perennial Philosophy’. (This is a relatively recent fashionable concept that went out of the window with Nietzsche as far as I’m concerned – who does a very nice job of rendering it not ‘incorrect’ but rather, ‘still-born’) …

In my view, there can be no such thing as ‘the last word’ (particularly here) and I would say that Eugene Halliday’s material was already in real danger of approaching its ‘sell-by date’ even before he died… … It’s about the ‘in-the-now living word’ only (and not the ‘blow-up doll’ version of it).

Eugene Halliday did – I believe – demonstrate this Working ‘in the now’. But the only real purpose this activity of his serves – as far this activity concerned others – was merely to demonstrate that it could, in act, be done… Which is to say that it is demonstrably ‘in the now’ possible to do … Regrettably though, ultimately one has to demonstrate this activity to one’s self – for one’s self…

Coming together to form ‘The Eugene Halliday Fan Club’ is not allowed here then… In former times this behavior would have been called ‘Idolatrous’ …

‘To respect’ here though, is something else – although one must ever be on guard for demonstrations of the bogus ‘Uriah Heap-ish sycophantic twerpery’ version of this – beloved by those who seek pleasure from their indulgence in all manner of those ‘diverse cringings’, that my more austere Protestant ancestors were so incensed by.

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The fruits of ‘Creativity’ can be viewed – in part at least – as an attempt to illuminate the ‘human condition’ (to supply ‘answers’ here, as it were), and so it is easy to see that ‘Gestating’ and ‘birthing’ can often serve as very useful metaphors for all this ‘artistic’ or ‘creative’ activity.

‘Creativity’ as ‘gestation and birth’? … ‘Woman’ viewed then as a biological supplier of ‘answers’ here perhaps? And if so then, of also providing a further example of the way in which ‘being seeks power over being’… In this case, the various attempts made at directly controlling, or of at least of directing – from behind the scenes – the future course of these ‘creations’ of theirs…

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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Many modern authors have written about amber and jet attracting chaff, and other facts unknown to the generality: and as a result of their labors, bookseller’s shops are crammed full.

Our generation has produced many volumes about recondite, abstruse, and occult causes and wonders … but never a proof from experiment, never a demonstration do you find. The writers treat the subject esoterically, mystically.

Hence such philosophy bears no fruit, for it rests simply on a few Greek or unusual terms – just as our barbers toss off a few Latin words in the hearing of the ignorant rabble in token of their learning, and thus win reputation…

Few of the philosophers are investigators, or have first-hand acquaintance with things.

From: William Gilbert ‘s ‘De Magnete’ (1600)

 

Philosophers interpret the world in various ways. (However) The point is to change it.

Marx on Feuerbach.

 

In the beginning was the word.

Gospel of John

 

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(He is now standing astride an old-fashioned bicycle and is dressed like a stereotypical Frenchman – with greased black hair: a thin black pencil moustache. He is wearing a striped sweater and beret, with a string of onions around his neck).

 “But Mon ami!… ‘Thinking’ is not just simply réflexion … There is no such thing as just… thinking, (He leans forward onto the handlebars of his bicycle and chuckles). Ce n’est pas possible … to simply just… ‘think’!

 Mais non!! (He snaps his fingers, and holds them up in the air)…. As soon as a thought is thought, it will have a qualité … a caractéristique … (He chuckles and says quietly) At least for you ….

 It… functions then! … And immédiatement!!!

 It provokes, or it reconciles; it appeals, or repulses; it ruptures and segregates – or it consolidates and reassembles…. (He gestures – holding his index finger in the air and shaking it – before saying slowly and in a measured way) … And so – whether you like it or not – it cannot help but … chaîne … ‘ow you say? … unshackle! … Or … contraindre… constrain!!….

 I tell you my ‘leetle’ friend… Even before specifying, or just simply sketching out, a future course of action – of saying what you sincerely believe it is that must be done. Even before encouraging, or merely sounding the alarm! …. ‘Thought’ – at whatever degree of its existence, … even in its very beginnings – is, in itself, an action! …. (He pauses, and leans closer, before continuing on dramatically) …. And it is always … Always! … a perilous act!…(He points directly forward, looking very solemn)

Particularly so … for the person directly involved!! Because it is they themselves, that are – in the now – ‘ordering power’!! … And… I tell you…Mon Ami … ‘Zis power can so easily turn around and bite ‘zem on ze derrière!!

(He turns around, moving off slowly before continuing on in a loud voice that drops away as the lights slowly fade).

You may believe it or believe it not… But this formulating of your thoughts that you like to do … …. There will be consequences for you, my ‘leetle friend’ …… Profound and unseen consequences (voice is fading) I am very much afraid … Mon Ami…

But that – none the less – you are still… solely responsible for!”

 (Black-out)

From ‘Field notes for Armageddon’ by Bob Hardy

 

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An Introduction to A Personal Approach to Working with Eugene Halliday’s Ideas

The remaining material for this post consists of a video recording, together with a separate ‘audio only’ version of the same material – much of which was contained in a talk that was delivered by me in the UK during August of 2014.

However, for the purposes of this particular recording here, I have significantly expanded and amended that talk.

I should also perhaps mention that while recording here, I am (and rather obviously so, if you are viewing the video recording) referring to my notes a great deal.

This recording however, does allow me to summarize much of my reasoning for ‘making Eugene Halliday’s material freely available’ when I did. But I now believe that this is a project that is rapidly approaching the end of its usefulness. At least where it concerns those who might have become interested in ‘these sorts of things’ during the earlier part of this second millennium. Because, in my opinion, the manner in which this subject will be approached, disseminated, and discussed, will become as radically different as the manner in which significant texts were approached, disseminated, and discussed during the period before the invention of the printing press compared to the one immediately after it. A period that continued (in much the same way) right up until the advent of the personal computer and universal access to the world-wide web. A new situate that I am certain is a major game changer here.

So, if you like, up to now my practical task here – initially at least – has had more to do with the medium (that is, providing access to a digital format) that the message itself (Eugene Halliday’s actual material).

But I can sense that it is fast approaching the time when I should be changing direction – particularly as I don’t think there’s that much more I can do here.

Anyway – here are the  links to that video and audio recording:-

Video: https: //www.youtube.com/watch?v=LxfqP1GjTM0&feature=youtu.be

Audio: A Personal Approach to Working with Eugene Halliday’s Ideas

To download this audio file to your computer, simply right click on this link and select ‘Save Link As’; or you can just click on this link in the normal way and it will then play on your computer (but you might have to wait a minute or so for it to load in).

If, for some reason, you would like a transcription of this recording, then please contact me by email at archive.query@gmail.com.

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I should also add here that I do not intend to post as regularly as I have been doing.. So, it should be with a ‘perhaps’ then that I’ll add…

To be continued… 🙂

Bob Hardy

27th Feb 2015

 

 

 

 

“Reality is that which, when you’ve stopped believing in it, doesn’t go away.”

Philip K Dick

+++++++++

 

“So!! (He nods) And now that you’re finally here! What then is the most important thing for you to bear in mind for the future? (He pauses for a moment, and begins to pace slowly – considering his answer. He turns around rapidly, before continuing on).

Well! …And as you now realize … Whatever it is that you eventually decide that you’re going to do next … The only way it’s going to be possible for you to actually make any real progress down here, is by Working… And you also seem to have grasped…finally .. that anything else you might do here, doesn’t (He pauses and looks upward as if seeking inspiration) … ‘really count’ … (He gestures to one side and lowers his voice) If I can put it that way… (He looks directly up and raises his voice slightly) Does it? …

Everything you do in your life – your reactions; all your decisions, however minor… Your… ‘unconscious complicity’… we might say … All this – deliberate or not – will inevitably produce some result … Some consequence … However trivial you might consider it to be …(He smiles warmly) If – in fact – you ever get around to considering it at all!…(He pauses and goes on to almost repeat what he has just said before making his final point).

However insignificant these consequences may appear to you … However unimportant … and …willed or not… these you will ultimately be held accountable for … Anyway! … (He thrusts his hands up into the air, and then slowly lowers them).

Look! … For the moment at least … let me add that I do sympathize with you here somewhat… But was it really all that surprising for you to discover that claiming you were unable (or more likely unwilling) to take responsibility for your life, doesn’t mean that – as a consequence of this ’inability’ of yours – you aren’t responsible for it?…

So why don’t just you try and get used to the idea? (He half sings) ‘Always look on the bright side of life.’ (He grins)…

Now that you find yourself here …Now that you’ve finally arrived at this point … You might just as well ‘have a go’! … Because… when all is said and done … What exactly would you say your alternatives are?

One of the real problems that you will need to tackle next then? … Or should I say – better – the only serious problem that you will need to bear in mind from this point on? – At least for the foreseeable future? (He purses his lips and at the same time tilts his head upwards).… Well… this would be that any attempt on your part to Work, will – almost invariably – only ever be successful after you have managed to convince yourself that you believed you already knew all about what it is that you have now, freely chosen … at last … to begin Working upon!… (He grimaces as if indicating how difficult that might be to grasp…He continues on slowly)

It is almost as if – on reaching this point – you have now come to realize that you already understand everything you need to understand…. And that any ‘wisdom’ you do believe you have been privy to in the past is not really going to be of any further assistance to you from now on … Because there is no longer anything else that you need to know.. (He begins to pace, picking up speed slowly). … To realize that any further effort here by you in this direction will simply make matters more complex for you than they need to be, and would … ultimately … only result in you simply squandering a portion of your remaining, finite, resources. … Resources that you will almost certainly need if you are to continue on here and attempt to make any more significant progress in all this, that is…

Bearing in mind of course that – as now you fully accept it’s only you who can decide whether or not to engage in these ‘efforts’; decide whether they are worthwhile or not, your problems will, almost invariably from this point on, present themselves to you – in a very reasonable manner – as something that ‘doesn’t really need to be engaged in’ … not right now… not ‘this minute’… anyway.

Which means of course that you are now in very real danger of actually going backwards…

You have reached the point where you must exercise real care in any future choices you decide to make. … You’ve been (He pauses as if considering his next words carefully) what might be called, ‘going up’ until now. And a certain amount of wasted energy and repetition is natural during this part of your journey… So – for the moment at least – there was always some justification for the things that you did … a legitimate ‘excuse’ for wasting valuable time and resources, as it were

… But you are now – if I can continue using this metaphor – beginning to move … ‘downwards’… Falling towards that … inevitable finalé … so to speak … And a consequence of this is that you will begin to experience states of – what might be called – ‘acceleration’ – such that your life seems to be ‘passing you by’ ever faster and faster…

And thus, even you can now see that – for most of the time at least – you are merely repeating yourself at ever more decreasing intervals … Sadly … but eventually then, you become … just … well … very … boring. …

And being boring down here is the ultimate …Cardinal … Sin… At least during this stage in the game – I’m afraid… (He looks around and begins pacing again, manifesting a air of staged concern, continuing to speak further, almost as an afterthought). And if you end up in this position then, regrettably, ‘your services will simply … no longer be required’ in all this (He stops and shrugs, half-smiling).

And the consequences of that … will be that the lever – the one that opens the lid of that crocodile pit you’ve been standing directly over all this time – will be pulled.. (He laughs, and puts his arms together, opening and closing the space between his hands as if imitating the movement of a crocodile’s mouth)..

Finally … for now… and not to put you off too much …I repeat … the ‘decision’ by you to embark further on this task of Working is no automatic guarantee that you will now make any… actual …progress …(He has stopped pacing and is now looking away. He turns suddenly) … At all! … But you are required to at least make the effort… If you really do want to figure in all this, that is.

(He is now standing still. He smiles warmly and – as if talking to a small child – says softly) So! … Are you sitting comfortably? (He pauses) Then we’ll begin!” (Lights fade slowly to black)

   From ‘Field-notes for Armageddon’ by Bob Hardy

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NOTE: Before continuing on here – I would ask those of you who haven’t done so yet to first take the time out to read ‘On My Decision To Include A Blog With This Archive’ which you can find here

In that short piece, I explain briefly (amongst other things) the nature of the obligation that I believe I placed myself under in late 2004 – sometime after I had began construction of the Eugene Halliday Archive…

I still maintain that the only legitimate approach to ‘making Eugene Halliday’s Work to become known world-wide’ can only come from accounts of efforts that are firmly, and obviously, centered around first–hand attempts to interact with this material of his. Rather, that is, than from any ‘ideas’ that various (self-appointed) parties – who have somehow decided that they know what Eugene Halliday ‘meant’ by ‘this’, or by ‘that’ – are dying to tell us all about.

In my opinion, I always found that he was more than ‘rather good’ at doing this for himself  🙂

Initially, at least, my sole intention was not to make Eugene Halliday’s work ‘known’, but simply to make it freely available. And although I did later go on to agree to help in this task of making Eugene Halliday’s work ‘known’ I will admit that I hadn’t really considered just how much effort this might actually involve me in; or indeed, if anyone else would be bothering to ‘lend a hand’ here themselves.

However, my situation re my commitment here has recently changed somewhat, and this new situation that I now find myself in will – to some extent at least – condition my future blog postings.

“I do my thing, and you do yours,” has always been my preferred method of proceeding with matters like this anyway, and attempting to describe, in detail, my interactions with Eugene Halliday’s material in – for example – the form of this blog, went very much against my natural (that is, inertic) inclinations… However, I quickly discovered that I it could serve as an excellent  ‘positive learning experience’ .

So ‘It’s all good!’ then 🙂 …

I would also like to add here, that if what you and I are both doing is similar enough, then I believe we will ‘resonate’ anyway. And subsequently then, the possibility that you and I might ‘join forces’ (for part of this journey at least) becomes a real possibility – without the need for any elaborate explanations; or for the memorizing of any special rules; or of involving ourselves in (yet another) pointless hierarchical social situation of one sort or another.

Actually, to date, my various accounts of these interactions of mine with Eugene Hallidy’s material have produced responses from one or two people that have already been of immense help to me in all this.. And it might even turn out that together, we will go on to produce something of value (however minor) for others …Or not… As the case may be.

That being the situation as I now see it – for the present at least … It’s ‘One more time!’ then…

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In my experience, there is very little new that can be learnt from being punched in the mouth by the same person for the second time.

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It has become more than obvious to me that many of those I have met who claim that they can ‘think’ – although I personally wouldn’t use that term for what it is that they imagine is happening to them here – are actually only ever engaged in rearranging their already firmly established prejudices, simply in order to convince themselves they are ‘now dealing’ with the (never-ending) situation that they find themselves continuously blundering into.

 

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

 

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I can’t recall a single instance during the past forty-odd years, when I was completely indifferent to what it was of Eugene Halliday’s that I happened to be listening to, or reading.

However, very early on in all this (at least 30 or so years ago) as I began to focus more and more upon a discrete number of his ideas, I found that I was also impelled to ponder the following questions, “What are the consequences to me of my involvement with these ideas, both in the short-term, and also ‘over the long haul’? .. Or, as the Liverpool version of this question might have it – “Great! … But .. ‘So what’?…”.

This attempt by me to throw some light upon what was going on here, wasn’t something that I experienced as arising from some ‘noble spirit of enquiry’ either. In fact it was far more the case that I found myself, more and more, being prodded in the direction of attempting to answer the following group of closely related questions: “Exactly who is having this experience .. What does this material mean to this ‘who’ … And why does it do so?” … … A group of questions that – essentially – only ‘I’ can supply the answers to… (Although that has never stopped me from ‘checking out’ what others might be up to here 🙂

The experience of having these questions almost permanently present in me, has led me to a number of conclusions about what it is that I believe is ‘going on’ here and ‘now’… And (not surprisingly) a significant proportion of any answers that I might have arrived at, have come to me in the form of ‘language’ …

If you like, you could say that I seem to ‘hear’ any answers that I get to them ‘in my head’ –and not surprisingly I believe, in English.

But I don’t experience any sense that this is ‘someone else’ here; I don’t experience it as ‘the still quiet voice of reason’ or anything spooky like that (‘receiving the odd message from ‘the beyond’..). Rather, I have always experienced this as just ‘me talking to myself’ (or ‘me interrogating myself’ might be a better way to put it).

Understanding the meaning of this ‘language that I ‘hear’; understanding these answers that I supply to myself, forms the major part of what it is that I actually do. And it is this activity I refer as to ‘Working’ … It is also what I believe Eugene Halliday was primarily engaged in. That is, I believe that this is what it was that he was essentially ‘all about’ …

The result of this ‘Working’ – at least as far as I’m concerned – is the experience of an increasing depth of meaning for me; an increasing awareness of ‘being’: an ever-more pronounced awareness that I am actively take part in an ever-evolving ‘in-the-now’; that I am more and more conscious of what i like to refer to as my ‘becoming’.

The major, essential component of this ‘active language’ for me, is that it is grounded in one’s ‘experiences’- and I eventually came to realize that this was actually something of a blessing – because it meant that the task in hand here for me was essentially a ‘finite’ one.

Today I would ‘ask myself’ the same group of questions that I posed above, somewhat differently, and in the following way, ”Exactly who is having this experience of being inspired .. What does it mean to them … And why does it do so? … Is it my ‘genuine’ self; is it my ‘authentic’ self; or is there someone else here ‘in the building with me’ at the moment who is having this experience?” .

And now (perhaps) you’ll want to ask “And what the Hell is that supposed to mean? … !!”

Well … supplying some form of answer to that question – I would claim – is the purpose of this blog of mine … In part at least 🙂

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I am currently in the process of recording a number of (reasonably short) videos for the next couple of posts. These will contain the material – somewhat amended – of a talk that I gave in the UK on the 17th August, 2014

These videos are numbered in sequence – with the generic title ‘A Personal Approach To Working With Eugene Halliday’s Ideas’.  ‘Part One’ will (hopefully) be available at the beginning of February.

To be continued ….

BOB HARDY

Jan 1st  2015

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

To begin then …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Only kidding! … … (No I’m not).

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

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

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

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

These two major concepts of his were:

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

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

To be continued then …

 

BOB HARDY

March 22nd  2014

 

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

Albert Camus.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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To continue on then …

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alex Elmsley.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And where it concerns your awareness of this resistance?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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To continue …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Mysterious’.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Mystical experience’.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Mystic’.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rufus M Jones

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To be continued……..

Bob Hardy

October 29th, 2013

 

Before continuing on…

I must stress here  … that the methods I have devised to assist me in any presumed understanding of Eugene Halliday’s ideas or concepts, were developed exclusively for my own use; and it must also be clearly (and unequivocally) understood that I make no claim whatsoever to possessing any kind of ‘universal authority’ here… Indeed, I fully appreciate that many might completely disagree with my approach.

Bob Hardy – from the ‘About’ page of this blog

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Nothing down here is ever quite what it seems… … ‘Par exemple’…

(The lights fade up slowly to reveal a plainly decorated room with pale green walls; and dark brown varnished wooden floor-boards that are partly covered by a threadbare, stained rug. The room is lit by a single bare electric light bulb, suspended from the ceiling. The furnishings consist of a coat-stand – on which hangs an over-coat; bowler hat; scarf; and umbrella; a small table, on which there is a kettle, a few cups, and a biscuit-tin, etc; an old-fashioned electric-fire. Against the back wall, in which there is a door, we can see a couple of green metal filing cabinets.

He is dressed conventionally in a wrinkled, shabby-looking cheap suit, and is siting on a revolving chair behind a cheap desk, on the top of which is an open file. There is a large, black, old-fashioned telephone to one side of the desk, and he is holding the handset up to his ear and mouth…

He appears to listen intently for a few moments, before finally looking up and frowning.. He begins to speak).

…No, no! … What I’m telling you, is that we have not yet discovered any sure-fire way of guaranteeing that they will understand any of the clues that have been left lying around down here… Most of the time they simply just don’t ‘get it’ at all! … (He pauses) In fact, most of the time they just don’t seem to ‘get anything’ at all! (He laughs) … And in some instances they will arrive at a conclusion that is so bizarre – (He breaks off suddenly and looks up as if searching for inspiration) …. I’m telling you – you just couldn’t make it up! (He laughs loudly, and then listens intently for a few moment before continuing)…  

Well, as I say, not very many of them have the faintest idea …. But there are a group of beings down here that the rest of them like to refer to as ‘Artists’ … And sometimes, the ones that they call ‘Poets’ do attempt to create ‘more serious’ works. Often making use of – for some unaccountable reason – specific metaphors … For example, English-speaking poets are very fond of inserting the names of various Greek or Roman gods – such as Zeus, Apollo, Juno, Mars, Aphrodite, Hermes, Mercury, and Venus etc, into their poems to give them a touch of dignity; or Hindu Ishvaras – like Krishna, Rama, Shakti, Shiva and Kali, to add that little dash of ‘exotica’ here … A convention that they probably like to imagine automatically confers some degree of ‘special insight’, or ‘heightened realism’ in situations that they have come to believe are really important … … Such as an account of some famous battle or other where they – yet again – slaughter one another in great numbers; or descriptions of what they imagine are ‘heightened states’; or of what it is that happens to them when they inevitably die; … or other such scenarios …

Anyway, one of their … what they call ‘geniuses’ in this particular field of ‘poetry’ … a field that actually just seems to me to be a fancy way of labeling the creative output of someone who is struggling to present the truth as they see it…(He pauses)

..Well, if you ask me, ‘telling the truth’ is a discipline that – unfortunately – most of them do not happen to be particularly good at. (He pauses)… Which probably explains why they tend to see those who attempt to do so as somehow … special … I suppose! (He pauses and listens intently again) 

Well no! … I don’t really know how it is that so very many of them have managed to get themselves in this mess either! (He pause and smiles) You tell me!…(He leans back in his chair before continuing) ….

Anyway, to get back to what I was going to tell you about …. I have to say that much of what this particular ‘poet’ of theirs has created is very … insightful ….But he does get so wrapped up in trying to keep the style of the thing going, that he manages to make at least one real howler…

But, on the positive side, I would say that this particular example does demonstrate very nicely what it is that we’re actually up against down here … (He leans forward, pauses, and passes his hand over his face as if thinking, before continuing)

This particular poet’s name was Dante Alighieri, and he was around approximately seven hundred of their years ago – about 1300 AD their time … just before their ‘Black Death’ …. You remember that….

Anyway, (He waves his free hand and arm dismissively) he was a native of Florence, Tuscany, in what they now call Italy, just at the beginning of what the local tribes in the greater area to the North and West of this particular locale later referred to as their ‘Renaissance Period’ ….And he wrote, amongst other things. something the he called ‘The Divine Comedy’ … (He pauses as if listening) Yes … I know! What a ‘spot on’ title that is !

… This ‘Divine Comedy’ was in three parts, and the first part was called the ‘Inferno’ – which is Italian for ‘Hell’ … And look! …I’ll repeat that I personally regard Dante’s imagery  – his vision of things if you like – how he ‘sees’ all this – as amazing!… And, that in my view, this piece of writing is, in the main … and generally speaking … an extremely interesting piece of work …

But, as I say, he does make this extraordinary howler… which is in Canto III of this ‘Inferno’ – where he describes coming across a cave in a wood, over which are written the following words …”Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate” … which translates as,” All hope abandon, ye who enter in!”  … (He pauses as if listening) ..

Well of course we know what he saw … But … just wait til I tell you what he thought he saw! …

He makes this entrance out to be the one you go through when you’re on the way to what they call ‘Hell’… And, once again by the way, his descriptions of what is going on in that place they like to imagine is ‘down there’ makes for very interesting reading… In fact at their stage of development at that time, I would say ‘ten out of ten’ for effort (He pauses, continuing on in a slightly louder voice)

But of course he’s got it completely wrong!!  …Because, had he stopped to think about it, he would have quickly realized that no one here could ever be induced to abandon their ‘crutch of hope’ until they were absolutely convinced that they will no longer need it!! … And maybe not even then!!  (He pauses to listen, before giving a short, snort-like laugh) …

Exactly!! Of course!! … It was the exit from Hell that he’s seen in his vision! … And – if he but knew it – this is actually the entrance to the other place!!… In fact, if you look at the etching that one of their later graphic artists – Dore – produced of this scene, you can see it shining through all the gloom! … (He pauses again, and the lights begin to fade as he finishes speaking swinging round in his chair to crouch over the phone)

I’ll say it again .. And I really do mean it! … You couldn’t make this stuff up if you tried! .. It’s things like this that make it almost worthwhile being down here! (Black-out as we hear the sound of the phone being placed back on the cradle) …”

 

Dante's Inferno - 'Abandon all hope ye who enter here'.

From ‘Fieldnotes for Armageddon’ by Bob Hardy

 

Now we must also remember another thing… Every being has come on earth for the express purpose of learning what it means to be a human being. We come here to learn.. and we’ve got no time for anything else.

Eugene Halliday – from his talk ‘Magic’

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Notes from a conversation with Zero Mahlowe  (2007)

All that there is …  is Sentient Power… Modalities of Sentient Power are: Power to contemplate – to think; Power to feel – to experience; Power to act – to will; Power as matter – substance.

We ask the following three questions about anything: Why? .. How? .. What?

‘Why’ is a  Psychological Question.  ‘How’ is a Mechanical Question.  ‘What’ is a Substantial Question.

‘Why’ is concerned with motive, or purpose.   ‘How’ is concerned with process, or means.   ‘What’ is concerned with the benefit, or end result.

 Why do we wish to realize a given purpose? … For some benefit.

How can we realize this purpose? … By ‘such and such’ means.

What is this benefit that we wish to realize? … A particular state of consciousness.

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What we term ‘Human Evolution’ can be viewed as a movement of ‘Sentient Power’; as cosmic intelligence positing within itself ‘pluralizations’ or ‘beings’.

Each one of these posited beings has a purpose; which is that it will eventually be able to function consciously, deliberately, and by act of will freely from within itself – such that it will eventually be absolutely self-determinant, and absolutely reflexive … And when this has occurred, it will constitute an end to its evolution.

Various individual human beings, in the recent past, have been further along this evolutionary path than others, and so they can serve to provide us with an indication of future possibilities for human beings. For us in Europe, we can see this in the recent emergence of certain schools of psychology; in various accounts of ‘how it really is’ – generally subsumed under the broad umbrella of ‘mysticism’; certain schools of philosophy – particularly Existentialism and Phenomenology; in the rise of Quantum Physics as the ‘explanation’ for matter; and in the implications arising from the rapid rise of ‘virtual communities’ via instantaneous global communication on the Internet .. etc.

All these constitute, in the end, the various states of consciousness that are experienced by particular beings. These states can be viewed as attempts on the part of an evolving cosmos to precipitate itself into various states of individuation – a consequence of ‘grasping itself to itself’ – in order to create a plurality of conscious beings. 

The only way to arrive at any heightened awareness of the existence of this processes itself, is ‘to come to be what one really is’ … And the only way to do this, is by the – usually difficult and painful – process of ‘Working’.       

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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Although I’ve always enjoyed both listening to, and reading Eugene Halliday’s material; for a long time now my major purpose in doing this has been to use it solely as an aid to Working.

Thus, engaging in some form of consensus here (something that most of the others I have met – who claim to have had, either some kind of relationship to Eugene Halliday, or some ‘understanding’ of his ideas – appear to consider to be of prime importance) is of relatively little concern to me….A viewpoint of mine that might seem odd at first, particularly if I also add here that, ultimately, I am not particularly concerned as to whether or not Eugene Halliday would have agreed with any of the conclusions that I have drawn from my interaction with his material – or in anyone else’s opinions or conclusions here necessarily, for that matter…

Working can have very little, even perhaps nothing, to do with ‘agreeing’ …Working is about coming to ‘know; ‘or ‘see’; or ‘experience’  yourself … who you really are; and is not at all about what it is that you would like to ‘know’; or ‘see’; or ‘experience’ here  …

One of the common over-riding major obstacles to any attempt at Working, is the inability to make the decision that you will – ‘right now’ – attempt to move on… A state of affairs that, in my experience anyway, is usually the result of being unable to convince yourself that you now understanding some thing (or some situation) well enough for you to risk using it to ‘stand firmly on’ yourself – without being overly fearful that everything, as a consequence, will all somehow collapse around your ears (although this is what will happen eventually anyway … … … … I’m jus’ sayin’)..

If you do hang around though, this situation will very often – in fact more often than not – further devolve into a pointless discussion (with either yourself, or others) – in which all that you seem to be doing is endlessly dithering over a series of trivial intellectual objections that somehow keep cropping up … The real purpose of which is, of course, to keep you firmly where you are, with ‘your head up your own behind’..

This is a situation that I would say that you will just have to ‘get over’ – and I can only stress that, in my case, I am continually attempting to make sense of all this only in order to move forward… So the idea that there is a particular body of ideas; or a state of being; or a physical activity, that constitutes – in some bizarre and overriding way – how to do all this ‘properly’, or as ‘the only correct method’, is not something that I have ever been able to grasp – although I would maintain (if I am going to stick to the metaphor of ‘a journey’ here) that everyone engaged in this Working must eventually arrive at the same destination….

Another common pitfall here is to make a decision that you are going to be one of ‘God’s little helpers’ in all this – you know, to be ‘really useful’ here if you can … and present yourself as someone who is ‘sticking around’ in order to help others here in their journey…(You really do want to move forward of course, but you’ve made the ‘selfless’ decision that you’re going to be the ‘last one off the ship to climb into the lifeboat’ … Because that’s the ‘noble thing to do’ .. Isn’t it?)…  A contrived scenario of yours which now gets you very nicely out of the problem of attempting to get up off your own behind, and actually demonstrate the far more difficult problem of moving forward the odd micro-inch yourself…

If it helps, here’s another way of looking at this … It’s a bit like the difference between actively seeking to develop an appreciation for gourmet food, by investing heavily in the process of seeking out – and then frequenting – certain restaurants; as against, not only learning to cook this food yourself, but also developing the ability to concoct new recipes.

Metaphorically then, you could say that for me, Eugene Halliday’s body of Work functions as a light; or series of beacons, or markers, which indicate a direction for me that I might be able to take… A direction that could hopefully result in me moving forward (as opposed to moving sideways, or even backwards)…. But that the selection for any of the clothes that I chose to wear; the things I take with me; those other beings I chose to travel with; the way that I experience this journey (and consequently relate to it); or the various means that I employ in order to navigate the terrain – these are all my sole responsibility. And any consequences arising from my freely engaged-in choices here are to be born, solely, by me. …

My experiencing of Eugene Halliday’s material as ‘effect’ then, is the production of this ‘affect’ in me – of a belief that if I engage with this material further, it will assist in moving me forward…. So, although I do believe that a sense of gratitude is most definitely in order here, this position of mine does not support any notion to the effect that the purpose of engaging with Eugene Halliday’s material is merely to somehow eventually emerge here as – at best – some sort of ‘intellectual doppelganger’, or ‘Halliday-ian apologist’; or that his Work constitutes some sort of lacuna, and that what I’m doing here is somehow filling in the odd blank – as it were..

Anything else therefore, that might go on as a result of engaging with Eugene Halliday’s material becomes, in this final analysis, irrelevant … Thus, over a period of time, coming (perhaps) to be addicted to – what you like to believe is – ‘enjoyment’ in all this, would mean – from my perspective at least  – that you have squandered any profit you may potentially have been able to realize in doing so; and will now, instead, be either content to remain exactly where you are (in order to further ‘enjoy’ yourself) or, more alarmingly, now be moving backwards …. It’s like claiming that Christ ‘really enjoyed’ the decision he made to lug that cross around those twelve stations, before being nailed to it by a bunch of Romans … (Apologies if I went a bit deep on you there) …

This way of my ‘being in the world’ I have found very difficult to describe to others (and quite  impossible to ‘pass on’)… Such that, in my experience, I would have to say that you are either ‘like this’ or you aren’t … And, by the way, although I’m quite happy with this state of affairs, I would stress that I don’t view it as – in any way – particularly desirable or advantageous … and I certainly don’t view it as in some way ‘an essential requirement’ for others in all this… I just happen to experience my ‘being’ positively in this way  – at least for part of the time 🙂 … The few others who I like to think I’m sharing this journey with, are nothing at all like me … And indeed … would probably be deeply insulted if anyone suggested to them that they were.. (Hard to believe, I know, but there it is) …

But I do hope (although, in the past, I have paid far to much attention as to whether or not it is the case) that other(s) in the relationships that I have engaged in here will benefit also …  However, it did eventually dawn on me that ‘being concerned for others’ here made it very easy for me to justify not Working .. (“Too busy pretending to be ‘Mr Wonderful’…”)…  And I did come to realize that – once having committed myself – I have a tendency to ‘stick around’ in a relationship or a situation here, desperately attempting to ‘fit square pegs into round holes’ as it were, even though I might be being told by others (and if I bothered to stop for a moment, would see it clearly for myself) that this particular situation has long ceased to ‘go anywhere’; has long ceased to be of any practical use to any of those involved – particularly me! ….

On the other hand, for example, although I have found that much of what I have been engaged in during the past couple of years has turned out to be excruciatingly difficult for me deal with – in the end it I can see that I have learnt a great deal about myself from this exercise … So… I would have to say that there’s also an element of ‘you never can tell until you’ve tried it’ here!…

[NOTE: By the way, ‘Sacrifice’ (in what I take to be Eugene Halliday’s use of this word at least) in the situation(s) that I have attempted to outline immediately above is a different matter entirely… Something you might like to check out for yourself though – by making use of the ‘Search’ facility of Josh Hennesey’s transcription site, located a click away, here]

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So then, is Eugene Halliday in some way essential in all this?…  Well…Where it concerns you, that’s not for me to say  … But where it concerns me? … My answer would be a qualified, “Yes!” … In the sense that I made a decision to engage in, and Work with this material some time ago; and that in having done so, I am aware that this would obviously limit me – as this decision of mine served to define and fix (or locate) me metaphorically, in this specific area.

This decision of mine – that I believe I freely committed to – can have a serious down-side for others who might try it, particularly if they are inclined to be neurotic, and somewhat insecure – and so liable to be more obsessed about matters of self-worth, than of making progress…

Because, although it can be relatively easy for them to appreciate that they are being helped by someone like Eugene Halliday. Due to the nature of the ‘transference’, and the matter of ‘projecting’ (processes that are normal, and to be expected, in this situation) – they will tend to cling to the comfort afforded to them by the social situation that they now find themselves in, and thus it becomes almost impossible for them to move on … And they will, instead, rotate endlessly around the object of their desire in this relationship of theirs (in this case Eugene Halliday)…. This result is usually accompanied by some justification or other – perhaps the claim that they don’t know quite what to do (yet), and that they’re not ready; or that they believe that they have already somehow ‘arrived’ – and are now convinced that ‘moving on’ is not what the game is about…

And even if you don’t fall into this pitfall, one of the first things that you must attempt to understand (perhaps ‘intuit’ or ‘have faith in’ might be better) is that if you decide to Work (although you have always and everywhere been capable of doing so) part of what can happen to you – especially when you begin – is that it will seem to you that almost everything, and everyone you are in relation with, appears to be conspiring to prevent you… …  Just so you know …

So, hopefully, it will now be a little clearer for you to understand, that for me, going away on retreats; maintaining a special diet; engaging in various practices such as yoga; martial arts; marathon running; painting and drawing; astrology; homeopathy and other New Age pursuits; writing poetry; playing music; studying (either academically, or privately); becoming an expert in anything from Anthropology to Zoology; writing dictionaries, or constructing Etymologies; becoming proficient in a variety of languages; etc. etc… None of these activities – in and of themselves – are necessary for any attempt by you at Working … and that further, these activities do not in and of themselves (and indeed could not), necessarily constitute examples of Working… Because, if it were the case that these forms of activity did constitute Working itself, then there would be millions of people out there who would be doing just that… And – as someone who would claim to have ‘been round the block’ a couple of times – I like to think I would probably have noticed that there were far more ‘out there’ than the handful here that I have actually come across …

Regrettably for me then, being surrounded by any number of beings who are all engaged in these various situations and occupations, and who – it could be claimed by others – are Working then … has not been my experience here …at all! … …

[NOTE: But I do believe that the question, “Who is, or who is not, Working?” is one that is far more complicated than this; and that any answer given will risk presenting those attempting to provide one (and I would most definitely include myself here) as being, in some measure at least, hubristic – or, at least, of being in continual, immanent danger of being so …. So .. be sure you appreciate then, that – in the situation(s) alluded to by me in the above few paragraph at least – this is only the conclusion, experientially, that I have reached… And I am not maintaining – at all – that this should, or would, be your conclusion in the same situation(s)]

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I’m going to begin the final bit of this post by repeating that it is possible (in principle at least) for anyone to Work in any situation whatsoever that they happen to find themselves in … And that once all the preconceptions have been cleared away – which, unfortunately, is a process that can (in my particular instance at least) take decades – the actual technique to be used is very straightforward… You might even call it ‘simple’ 🙂

As I mentioned in my previous post, I would now like to start introducing Eugene Halliday’s Work itself here, with a view to facilitating some discussion about it on this blog’s forum.

Here then, is a short piece of his that was first published in the parish magazine of ‘St Michaels and All Angels’ in February of 1969. There is now a copy of this available for viewing, and downloading, from Josh Hessnessy’s site here …. Click on ‘Written Work’ in the Menu bar at the top of the page and you’ll find it there…. Incidentally the pdf version available for downloading here also includes a scan of the original article.

To make things even easier for you, I’ve also recorded an audio version of this essay which I have tagged for iTunes … Now – although I’d be the first to admit that my effort here is not exactly ‘Richard Burton reads Dylan Thomas’ – nonetheless I hope that  it will still ‘do the trick’ for you – if, say, you want to ponder on this essay when you’re ‘out and about’ in your car… Anyway here it is: The Idea of Sin by Eugene Halliday – read by Bob Hardy  To download this audio file to your computer, simply right click on this link and select ‘Save Link As’; or you can just click on this link in the normal way and it will then play on your computer (but you might have to wait a minute or so for it to load in).

If you’re relatively new to all this, I would suggest that you attempt, first of all, to pay close attention to your initial feeling-tone here. That is – to the degree of ‘yes’ or ‘no’ that you are experiencing – as this constitutes both the ‘polarity’, and the intensity, of your reaction; and also to your subsequent analysis of this reaction. Be conscious that you are attempting to use your own terminology here. Strive for self-clarity; for the development of your own ‘active language’ – either spoken or written – and which hopefully, from now on, you will be attempting to refine continuously.

NOTE: I have already mentioned before on a number of occasions that it is possible for your attempts here to consist of some other form of expression  (or ‘text’) … Not a written or verbal account then, but perhaps a drawing, or a painting … or even a little dance … etc ..

Any viewpoints of yours that do eventually emerge; and any conclusions that you draw; etc, etc; should then be involved into some form of praxis by you, if at all possible … Otherwise what you have created here will ultimately turn out to be just another burden at best; or a particularly well-thought-out opinion of yours on ‘The Idea of Sin’ that you cannot prevent voicing to others whenever the opportunity presents itself … Or – perhaps a little more distressingly – this group of ideas that you imagine you now ‘understand’ (because you have concentrated on them) will simply fade from memory… The rule here then being ‘Use it or lose it’ – as it were …. …. (But I would say that you shouldn’t be too concerned about this last part for the moment….. Not just yet anyway … 🙂 …)

The idea is not to just ‘understand’ the essay – that is, to ‘have’ it, or ‘possess’ it … (although this is part of it – in the beginning at least). … Your major concern here is to appreciate what your relationship is to it; how you were affected by it (by the process of recalling it for now perhaps, if you can’t do this ‘in the moment’ yet) and not just simply ‘what it means’ (as this phrase is understood in  common speech).

If you’re having difficulty understanding what I mean in this last bit… This might help a little…

If you are reading something that is in your native language – unless it is constructed entirely of a technical language – there will always be parts of it that you will (let us use this word for now) ‘understand’… So – if you read something like, “On rotating the ‘calamaleno spring’, the ‘whiz-banger’ should now start to vibrate,” … although you mightn’t have the fainest idea what a ‘calamaleno spring’ or a ‘whiz-banger’ is, you do know what the rest of the words signify … However the Swahilli phrase ‘Kufunga mlango’ would be completely incomprehensible to you – even though it translates into English as, ‘Shut that door’…

Your depth of understanding is not what is important here  … Halliday’s, ‘The Idea of Sin’, can easily be understood by two different persons in two different ways; indeed, it’s possible for one person to understand it in two different ways! … What you are trying to do primarily in this exercise, is to drag into the full light of consciousness, all the other stuff that’s going on inside you when you are confronted with this text … And the first step here is to realize (probably to your complete amazement) that there are all sorts of ‘other things’ going on ‘in there’…

So striving to understand this essay isn’t what we are ‘actively doing’ … What you’re doing is attempting to develop methods of WorkingAnd no matter what smart ideas you believe you have come across here – what ‘insights’ you believe you’ve gained – if this is all that’s going on, then you’re not Working… And this can be the case even if the results of your endeavors here resulted in you winning the Nobel Prize – because you can deliver ‘the very last word’ on ‘sin, sinners, and sinning’; or that you find yourself siting on a platform next to the Dalai Lama, availing ‘one and all’ of your deep wisdom… … I would bet that you will – almost certainly – still be fast asleep here, and further, that there is more than a good chance you have never actually been awake … ever…. 🙁

Things to try to be aware of in the moment – What comes up in you just from being presented with a title like this? ….  Is there any intellectual content in it: Is there any emotional content in it?: Is there any urge to act? (There will be all three by the way – but at this stage you might not be aware of this)…

When describing this state to yourself, attempt to create as much interest in it as you can … It doesn’t matter what this interest is.. In fact it doesn’t even matter what place in the essay you start with – just strive to ‘engage’ with the text – do not attempt to just ‘watch yourself ‘ (whatever that’s supposed to mean) … Get yourself a bit sweaty if you have to, but you must involve (that’s something quite different from ‘observing’) yourself… Because it is only this interest of yours in yourself (and nothing else) that will generate the energy required to precipitate you into any creativity here… If you’re successful, you will then produce something (no matter how trivial you believe it is) that will be in some way unique to you… And this process that you have actively and consciously engaged in, is what will make you an Artist – just like Mr Halliday … Maybe a fledgling one for the moment – as far as the world, and maybe even you, are concerned at least – but none the less, a real one.

And if you’ve ‘done this right’, you should feel some real sense of accomplishment and possibly excitement here – because you find you’re ‘enjoying’ (if I might use that word) the exhilaration of relating to something, and not just of ‘trying to think of something clever’ here, in order to impress others…

Maybe – at first – you will be a little protective of what you’ve achieved, and perhaps a little too sensitive to criticism, but you must learn to accept this – not everyone will think you’re efforts here are wonderful… And anyway, very shortly you won’t care about that, even if you decide to write down your experiences in something like a blog, and almost no one reads it.. Because although you must Work in the open in the world (that’s just how it is) what you will be seen to be doing – to almost everyone who imagines that they are observing you –  is not what you are really (good word that) doing … at all!! It might even seem profoundly obscure and somehow ‘special’; or perhaps even ‘secret’, and ‘arcane’ to others …  A situation that can result in you never having a minute to yourself if you’re not careful, as these others will be continually ‘earnestly’ wanting you to explain just ‘how you do it’ – every ‘nut and bolt’ – if they can get you to;  or get you to give them advice, or attempt to give you advice; or perhaps even argue with you about all this …

Simply put 🙂 … All that you are actually doing, is engaging in the process of revealing yourself to yourself; and striving for ever-more efficient ways of supplying structure and feedback here to yourself… So, as a consequence of attempting to do so as efficiently as possible then, you should strive to press into service here, anything whatever that is available and that you can use – at any one time – in order to ‘keep you at it’…

If someone else happens to find your approach useful, in their own attempts at moving forward, then so be it … But – because of the way things fundamentally are here – you can have no control over this .. You can force no-one here … And you cannot do this for them – even if you, or they, wanted you to… It can only be done alone … Having a friend along here will help – but you will only ever earn one of these if you’ve ‘put the time and effort in’…

So, in the end then…if it helps … you could say perhaps that, “Working has a lot in common with dying.”…

I will be posting something on the Forum about this essay of Eugene Halliday’s towards the end of next month, and I would be delighted if anyone reading this blog decides that they would like to join in…

To be continued…

Bob Hardy

30th September 2013

 

Hello viewers…

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

Anyway, here the first bit.

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

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

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

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

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

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When you’re interested – God’s interested

                                                                                         Eugene Halliday

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s what I expected, anyway….

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

And I thought all this was really obvious….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What on earth was going on here? …

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

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

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

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

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

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

And so then, as far as these ‘followers of Mr Halliday’ were concerned  ….It seemed to me that, instead of having problems attempting to understand – via a serious study of his creative output – just what all this ‘might be about’, and then involving this newly acquired understanding in various forms of praxis …  ‘Au contraire’ … it was all just … very … … peachy.

Which left me ‘right outside of the loop’ here. Because, from what it was that I understood Eugene Halliday to be advising me to do here in order to move forward, I was finding, practically, to be – at the very least – extremely difficult and demanding … and in some areas of my life, downright impossible.

But, as I say, the negative response to both the Archive, together with my subsequent experiences with others here, soon began to fascinate me… and I started to be intensely interested in the whole performance that was taking place here ‘right before my very eyes’ …

Because it very quickly dawned on me that this sort of behavior – that is, the attempt to control the dissemination of someone else’s ideas (particularly if these ideas were of a ‘spiritual’ nature) by some self-appointed group or other; or to de-contextualize this material and so ‘water it down’, such that it could now be marketed as a desirable and pleasant experience, was typical of man’s cultural experience(s) concerning (what others are pleased to call) ‘The Major Religions’ (and probably the overwhelming number of ‘Minor Religions’ too)… [That said, there are obviously other ‘cultural experiences’ here that are not nearly as ‘pleasant’ – but these, I would maintain, are still merely ‘the other side of the coin’]…

Monitoring all this then, provided me with all sorts of insights into what it was that might really have happened to the teachings of those others who had also ‘fought the Good Fight’ during our remoter (and recent) historical past…  At least in principle.

But on the positive side here, a close friend of mine pointed out to me that when I began in 2004 – perhaps for the very first time in recorded history – it was now possible for interested parties, without the mediation of any ‘self-appointed authority’, to conduct their own researches here. And to also be able to discuss their subsequent conclusions freely with whomever they chose… Thus developing their own personal approaches to the concepts of people such as Eugene Halliday, in complete freedom….

Interested parties could then decide for themselves whether or not those who claimed to be Working with Eugene Halliday’s ideas were actually doing so, in their opinion – by ‘simply’ checking any claims that were being made here with the actual source material  ….

And I have to say that I found this particular perspective on all this very appealing. Because I saw that it had the immediate advantage of providing me with a method of quickly ‘checking out’ whether or not any person that I was engaging with ‘in the moment’ here, had actually done any Work. Or had simply been attracted to these ideas for one nefarious reason or another; and that their enthusiasm was probably just some vacuous reaction of theirs at the time, and nothing – or very little – more ….

But could this new way of proceeding really be any better, or any worse, than what had been in place here for the past couple of thousand years?

Well, as I see it, even if it were the case that many here would still ultimately ‘mess it all up’ for themselves – a conclusion to all this that, I believe, is inevitable for all of us [And, “Yes!” That would also include Eugene Halliday] …All of these attempts to ‘go forward’ I believe – in the end – boil down to understanding, as well as you are able, the degree to which you have indeed ‘messed up’. Together with the belief – the strength of which comes about as a direct consequence of this very striving – that you might actually be forgiven for doing so… (I see that I might just have turned into ‘Baffling Bob’ again here, and gone all mysterious on you  … Sorry)  …

Many do live in hope… And perhaps – during the present aeon – the Zeitgeist is in the process of changing so rapidly, that man’s present traditional ‘hallowed institutions’ might, indeed, now be ‘on the way out’ … And that ‘something else’ might be coming in to take its place …. (I know … I just went mysterious on you there again for a moment)…

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My involvement with Eugene Halliday’s ideas has always stemmed from a belief that there was a decidedly practical slant to them…. And I always banked heavily on a conviction that I would surely … eventually … become so inspired by these ideas of his, that they might even succeed in getting me to off the couch, and into doing something positive…..

With regard to any advice from others about Working with Eugene Halliday’s material, there is only one requirement that I believe is essential here, and that is: this advice must have been embodied by those giving it.

And my own advice to you here? (!) … Do not be concerned about putting questions – to those who are attempting to pass on Eugene Halliday’s ideas to you – about their own particular, personal, experience(s), re the nature of those attempts by them to embody these ideas that they now claim to ‘understand’ and seem to want to ‘pass on’ to you: And do press them to tell you about just how it was that they went about this… And also to describe in some detail what it was exactly that happened to them subsequently as a consequence…..

Don’t be deflected either, by any sugary, sickly, conspiratorial ‘sagely pieces of advice’ trotted out by some self-styled ‘guru’ or other, to the effect that you should not, “Be afraid to gain your own insights here,” or something like that… Because you surely already know this, if you bother to think about it… It’s just obvious isn’t it? … Just keep insisting, “Yes, I know that! But what is it exactly that you actually did here yourself; what was the actual process that you engaged in yourself, in order to gain any insights here that you now claim to have?”

You can easily tell if these people are talking from fragments of Eugene Halliday’s Work that they’ve attempted to commit to memory – because they will usually dry up very quickly; or they will attempt to bring a fragment of an idea from another area – such as ‘Indian metaphysics’, or mention the odd philosopher (usually Plato) – but only ever in passing… And your lasting impression will be that whole thing never managed to ‘go anywhere’ ….

You are, in fact, listening here to – what Eugene Halliday refers to as – ‘con-fusion’ (The ideas being presented to you have been melted together – in the heat of that desire to impress you, on the part of the person speaking here) … Their intention here is to convince you (and tragically, often themselves) that they actually ‘know something about all this’… But the end result here is always the same… Everyone present ends up with a faint, polite smile on their faces … And a few hours afterwards (or earlier, more often) almost everything they heard here has faded from memory…

On the other hand, if the person giving the talk has embodied these ideas, on being asked your question here they will almost immediately – and confidently – attempt to reply… And you will normally now be aware of an almost unbridled enthusiasm – as they relay those very real, and crucially important, events from their life to you … And you will remember this.

Can you understand that they are not talking from memory here, but are talking instead ‘from themselves’. (I appreciate that this might be ‘difficult to get’ if you don’t – in some way – already know what I mean)… And so they will usually  be able to waffle on here for some reasonable time… There will be a little confusion perhaps – but this will be clearly experienced by you as a result of their enthusiasm’  … and you will have a definite sense that you have just been told something ‘real’ … Or – as Eugene Halliday would have it – you will have a definite sense that you have just been told something that made a difference to them

And you don’t need to develop that much sensitivity to feel this… But beware, because you might – if the talker has had a bit of practice here – be put into a passive state, just because you are being so superbly entertained…

Others here will have no scruples whatsoever about appropriating someone else’s experiences, and then relaying on to you these (pseudo) accounts as their own … They can even come to believe (tragically) that these events have actually happened to them (Weird huh?), like a certain kind of actor, who comes to wear their stage personae in their everyday daily life as well as during their performances on the stage ….

All of which isn’t really much use to you if you’ve gone along to hear something that you have been told will ‘move you forward’ here.. (Although you could always treat your attendance at one of these meetings as an exercise for ‘being here now’).

Listening to those who are relaying ideas purely from memory  – or that are ‘coming just from the head’ if you prefer – is not going to help you. Indeed those who make a practice of this are probably instead, attempting to draw you in into their ‘sphere of influence’ by making use of one form or other of ‘The Tacit Conspiracy’… or, to put it that more dramatically, ‘psychic vampirism’ … And when you’ve been sucked dry, they will simply move on to someone else.

Most of the time though, this sort of behavior is reasonably easy to spot with a bit of practice – because, if you’re paying attention (by watching your own reactions to all this here ‘in the now’ – like your supposed to) there will be too many instances of ‘the dots not quite joining up’ (because the person doing the talking has forgotten ‘this bit’ or ‘that bit’)  …

So, do be careful … This is a difficult game you want to play… Always be on the alert for danger signals… Such as a faint whiff of sulphur …

If some of this last bit sounds polemical  – ‘a bit over the top’ as it were – you might like to bear in mind that I have lived for the past five years or so, in Portland, Oregon, which is the New Age capital of the world … And I am, literally, surrounded by an army of yoga teachers; martial arts instructors; hypnotherapists; Buddhist monks; tarot card readers; acupuncturists; astrologers; regression therapists; wellness centers; zumba sessions; practitioners of Wicca, druidism, rosicrucianism; gnosticism etc. etc.; tatoo and piercing parlors; ‘medical marihuana’ dispensaries; Lesbian choirs; nude bicycle riding festivals; etc. et al,.. (to say nothing of the normal American ‘store-front’ churches; gang activity; and drive-by shootings; etc. etc)…..

And almost everyone I have met who is ‘doing this stuff’ here, shares one characteristic in common. Which is that they are all busy attempting to pedal information that they have clearly memorized from someone, or somewhere, else…

I do have to say though that I love it … And if I were asked to provide my own brief,  post-card description of Portland, it would be along the lines of, “Portland is  a ‘Spiritual Disneyland’ where people come to live in order to practice a variety of post-modern, ‘hyper-religious activities'” … … Perfect then for that ultimate ‘Celestial Pick-n-Mix’ … and to watch people ’embracing the truth in all religions’ as it happens …

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How I manage to pull it off.

The one, sure-fire way of Working with ‘Eugene Halliday’s ideas is to posit yourself as an object, and then generate intense interest in yourself as an ‘object of study’ – until you become the most interesting object in the universe ….

But you must – while doing this – strive as much as you are able to always be ruthlessly honest with yourself, and with what it is that you discover about yourself here …

And – if you are even going to hope to begin to do any Work that is – having discovered just how far below your own very exacting standards you are, you must, in truth, then attempt the very difficult task of actually loving yourself. …

This is why (if you don’t want to find yourself in the position of wasting masses of valuable time) it is of premier importance to always ask those you meet along the way, and that you suspect might actually be really serious about doing some Work, about themselves – as soon as you can …

Luckily for me, I have only ever come across a few people who appeared to me to actually be doing any Work, as I see it anyway…  [Perhaps I should change my deodorant?]…

Eugene Halliday in his talks and essays provides, at the very least, many practical ideas about how one should go about this Working … But this does not minimize the fact – in any way – that it is you, and you ‘alone’ (good word that), who has to actually do every single bit of this Work…

So that then, if I do claim to understand any part of all this, this simply means that I have attempted to involve that particular aspect of Working into some form of praxis – and can now speak of it out of my experience… Which is not the same thing at all as me talking about it, simply because I have come to present myself to others as someone who ‘knows what Eugene Halliday’s ideas mean’ …

From ‘NOCTURNAL EMISSIONS’
‘Random Dribbling from the Twilight World of the Undead’
by Bob Hardy
(A series of fragments from Bob Hardy’s notebooks – from the late-1970’s to date)

Here’s a couple of much better ways of putting this last bit:

To create as some painters might, with a palette of concepts instead of colors, systems of internal consistency, logical expressiveness, or even architectonic beauty, is not the office of philosophy, though such activities might prove to be a valuable exercise in preparing oneself for that function; which is to examine into and discover the rationale and reason d’etre of this world, of this scheme, in which our histories and indeed we ourselves as well as our philosophies all occur. The bona fide aim of philosophy to discover the world in which we live, think, feel, sense, dream, and philosophize, has been too often neglected in attempts to justify the intellectual stencil which some system or school wished to place triumphantly over the world, at the expense of omitting a whole host of fundamental experiences and testimony ….

From ‘Illumination on Jacob Boehme in the Work of Dionysius Andreas Freher‘ by Charles A Muses (New York. 1951)

It is through direct experience that we come to know ourselves. It is through full engagement in life that all our senses, feelings, and thoughts come into play. Doing is knowing – what we do we come to know, and what we come to know is stored in our brains as our baseline of learning. We can talk about swimming, read books on the subject and learn strokes on dry land – but until we get into the water, we have no direct experience of swimming. So it is with life: until we do, we do not know.

From ‘The Drama Within: Psychodrama and Experiential Therapy’ by Tian Dayton. (Florida 1994).

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And now … on to those ‘Emotions’…

NOTE: A crucially important component of Eugene Halliday’s material was, I believe, his various ideas on the ‘Four-Part Man’. But it is blatantly obvious … surely … that simply ‘understanding’ the couple of thousand words that he actually wrote on this subject does not constitute an end in itself …  So if it is the case that you’re simply inclined to say that you ‘know’ about Halliday’s ‘Four-part man’ because you’ve just read the text, then I would be inclined to believe that you have no real idea about what it is that he was on about here.

I believe that the ultimate purpose of Eugene Halliday essay here, was to get the reader to attempt to experience, in the now, these ‘four parts’ for themselves. And that, like everything else that Eugene Halliday produced for others, this ‘idea’ constitutes on aspect of his material that assists in the task of Working on ones-self….

If you agree with me here, it should be simple for you then to view my ideas below concerning ‘The emotions’, as being connected with the ideas contained in Eugene Halliday’s ideas on the ‘Feeling body’, at least…

To begin this part ‘proper’ then ….

… So …. Here I am, attempting to systematize various ideas that center around ‘The Emotions’ in order to assist me to – as it where – ‘find out just who I am’…. And I would say that some ability at least, to  – as Eugene Halliday’s puts it – ‘Be here in the ‘now’, will prove to be more than useful here; as also will be a reasonable grasp of the of his ideas that are contained in the essays, ‘Five Things To Do’ and ‘ Four-Part Man’.

This exploration of mine involved a fairly rigorous exploration of what it was that ‘emotions’ might be, and was split into two major areas. The first of these was concerned with descriptions of emotional states. And this exploration I found to be, in principle at least, relatively easy to make headway with. As (in my little world anyway) any creative text whatsoever (any painting; music; writing; etc) is constitutive of these descriptions… In other words, that is what they ‘really are’ to me….

 The second area, involved various explanations as to what it is that emotions ‘are’, was however, far more trickier for me.

 [NOTE: That ‘first major area’ of mine (involving the descriptive aspect of ‘emotions’) I would prefer to leave to you (at least for the time being), and instead I’ll go straight into a little more detail here about the ‘explanatory’ aspect of this system of mine].

 … In doing research into any particular subject, I’m inclined to make lists (due, in major part I believe, to my particular psychology). I then delve into a particular ‘item’ on my list until I believe I have ‘gotten what I wanted’ from it…. I then ‘move on’ to another item on my list… And I will repeat this process until I come to believe that I eventually have what it is I need in order to move on…

 Sometimes though, I might just get fed up with the whole thing, and simply ditch it… Sulk for a bit … And then try something else.

 My approach re ‘explanations’ here is centered – in the main – around the material produced at the three major symposiums on ‘Feelings and Emotions’ that have taken place in the West since 1928 – beginning with The Wittenberg Symposium (Clark University 1928); followed by the Mooseheart Symposium (Illinois 1948); and finally the Amsterdam Symposium (Amsterdam 2001). To this material I would add ideas from the field of Analytical Psychology, including (obviously) the ‘Collected Works of Carl Gustav Jung’  … (I do make use of a lot more material actually – but these examples are typical.. And so they  should give you a good idea of what it is that I do here).

By the way, I do not Work with the material that I introduce into this system of mine with a view to becoming an ‘expert’, or a ‘teacher’, in this particular field (in this instance, that would be the field of ‘feelings or emotions); rather, I use this material to provide me with as rich a perspective on this subject as I am able to grasp… So the matter of my agreement or disagreement here with my ‘research’ material is not of primary importance to me…. It’s a bit like studying for that first degree – you read what your tutor gives you to read and then turn out a paper to show that you understand them …

It is far more the case with me that I simply need ‘a place to stand on’ in order to ‘look around’ – before eventually (hopefully) ‘moving forward’ …

I’ll now ‘cut to the chase’ then, and provide you with this list of mine.

Clearly some of the topics here contradict each other, but that’s OK, because – as I say – I try to work within as wide a field of the subject-material that I’m looking into, as I am able.

I now select the particular topic(s) on my list that I ‘fancy’ the most – as these will usually be the ones that I can assimilate the easiest – and I then try to move on ‘up my list’ to the ones that I don’t really fancy at all … Until I either exhaust all the topics on my list or – more usually – give up, at some point along the way.

I have elaborated on two of the items in my list below (numbers 1 and 6) as I feel that these can best serve here to demonstrate – in part at least – the actual inter-action by me with material contained in the Eugene Halliday Archive… (At least where it concerns my ‘thinking about it’). And also, perhaps, how it is that I might personally develop these major areas of mine…

 1.    ‘Emotions’ don’t exist.

This position might seem to be in conflict with the project here – but actually it doesn’t.

The bad news here is that you need to read ‘The Concept of Mind’ by the British philosopher, Gilbert Ryle (it’s a bit like reading Wittgenstein, only the jokes are better) – particularly where it concerns Ryle’s very own concept of the ‘Category Mistake’.

The part of this concept in Ryle’s book to ponder on (or at least the part that I pondered on) is the example he gives of some ‘foreigner’ or other (like an American, say) watching a cricket match, and who doesn’t really have a clue as to what it is that’s going on here.

The batsmen, bowlers, and fielders are all pointed out to our visitor, and their various functions are explained satisfactorily, such that our visitor now understands them.

 But our visitor then says something to the effect that, “Well gee! I can see the batsman, the bowlers, and the fielders – and I understand all that – but where’s this ‘team-spirit’ that you Limeys keep going on about?”

There are a number of ways of thinking about this… The way I proceed here is to imagine that our visitor simply removes (in his, or her, mind) everything that has been explained to them that is not this ‘team spirit’… And, at some point, I imagine that our visitor will eventually be left with nothing to imagine. At which time they will exclaim something to the effect that, “There’s no team spirit here than I can see!” … or something like that.

However – because we Limeys do maintain that there is such a thing as ‘team spirit’ – this result must somehow be incorrect. And it is this error that constitutes, for Ryle, the above-mentioned ‘Category Mistake’. (Batsmen; bowlers; fielders; umpires, etc. then, do not belong in the same ‘category’ as ‘team spirit’ for him).

[NOTE: A version of this reductive approach is, I maintain, also used by the philosopher Daniel Dennett in his book ‘Consciousness Explained’ – where I believe it would go under the fancy academic label of ‘Eliminative Materialism’…].

By discussing ‘emotions’ in certain ways, it is possible – because the person speaking had made a ‘category mistake’ then – to maintain that there is no such thing as ‘the emotions’. …

By the way …In my view, this way of looking at emotion demonstrates – yet again – the crucial need to develop ones own active language. ‘

2.  Emotions are distinct things – in and of themselves

3.  You only experience emotions when you’re thinking or doing something physical.

4.  Your body changes continually, and so your emotion change continually.

5.  Emotions emanate from the unconscious, and are only ‘experienced’ when they ‘break through’ into consciousness.

6.    Emotions are ‘energy’.

This view of the emotions would be very much in line with, what I would claim, is one of Eugene Halliday’s central concepts – which is that ‘All that there is, is Sentient Power’.

The dynamic aspect of energy – a dynamic created by a ‘difference in potential’, such that this energy can subsequently ‘flow between’ these differences – can thus be held in order to ‘explain’ conscious affect – and thus to explain the emotions.

‘Energetic tension’ in this case then, is more properly viewed as a ‘metaphysical’ idea, and not as a ‘scientific’ one.

Paul Bousfield, in his book ‘Pleasure and Pain’ (London, 1926), puts forward this idea by suggesting that pain (which is – broadly speaking – constitutive of Eugene Halliday’s, “No!”) is the conscious affect that accompanies this tension; and that pleasure (Eugene Halliday’s “Yes!”) is the result of its neutralization.

The beginnings of this homeostatic view of the human beings is (you might like to know) pre-Socratic … Anaxagorus maintaining that sensation depended upon irritation by opposites – which amounts to the same sort of thing.

So, if man is conceived of by Eugene Halliday as ‘Sentient Power’ (but as ‘circumscribed’ – and thus cut off from the ‘whole’ field of Sentient Power by this act of circumscription) then it now becomes reasonable, on this view, to say that any dynamic changes inside this circumscribed area that are produced, either internally (by thinking say) or from sensations that emanate from without, we will subsequently experience as ‘emotions’.

‘Science’ will evaluate this energy from without (by observing a being’s various ‘activities’ and then evaluating them) while the being itself will – by experiencing this ’energy flow’ from within, and by the development in itself of an aesthetic appreciation – reveal the ‘nature’ of this energy, by producing various ‘texts’ (philosophies; poetry; music; art; discourse; etc.).

Just how this ‘energy’ produces all this ‘internal stuff’ though, is the big question. But it would obviously require some form of collation between what is meant by ‘energy’ and ‘consciousness’, at least. …And unfortunately this also still leaves us with the problem of explaining how consciousness (as energy) behaves in ways that energy, in other forms (mechanical or electrical, for example) doesn’t.

However, if we view energy, in some way, as an immaterial abstract (which is how French natural philosophers of the time viewed Newton’s ideas of ‘energy’, ‘force’, and  ‘action at a distance’ – even going so far as to accuse him of introducing ‘supernatural’ ideas here), then it becomes a metaphysical hypothesis…. Which – you might like to know – A.N, Whitehead also put forward, in his lecture ‘Nature Alive’,

“The key notion from which such a construction should start is that the energetic activity considered in physics is the emotional intensity entertained in life.” (‘Modes of Thought’ (Lecture 8) – Cambridge.

Here’s a transcript of the whole lecture, if you want to read it – Whitehead 1938 -Nature Alive (Blog) )

Sentient Power’s ability to experience itself (in the case of ‘sentient beings’, this would be ‘emotionally’) I would argue, is the cornerstone of Eugene Halliday’s monistic ontology. For him, emotions are here, a subjective experience of the flow (or as he puts it, ‘vibrations’) of this universal ‘energy’, and which he refers to as ‘Sentient Power’.

‘Emotions’ then, could – on this account at least –  be said to occur as a result of some sort of ‘discharge’.

But we have not really removed a central problem to this viewpoint. Because, if we are maintaining that this ‘energy’ can be mechanical; chemical; neural; and even psychical, in nature, then we must account for its transformation (or ‘conversion’ might be more in keeping here) from one state to the other. Because we are, in affect, asserting here that – at a certain level, emotions becomes affects, and this greater degree of ‘energy’ will resonate with the ‘thinking’ body to produce mental affects (thoughts and ideas etc.); and also perhaps with the ‘conative’ body to produce physical affects (sexual arousal etc.).

So the problem here now becomes …”How exactly is it that the carrot I’ve just eaten changes into the  ‘emotional state’ I’m now experiencing whist watching this old Elvis Presley movie?” …Or, in another example … “How is my ‘mental activity’ (energy behaving as thoughts about various nasty things, say) ‘converted’ into the ‘emotion of  fear’?” …

And so on…..

7.  Emotions are actually what we are, and the thinking we engage in and the things we do with our physical bodies only arise as a result of this experiencing of these ‘emotions’.

8.  Emotions are ‘located in the brain’.

9.  Emotions are a consequence of ‘blood chemistry’.

10.  Emotions are the consequence of a stimulus and are thus ‘situation dependent’.

11.  Emotions are subject-object dependent. Emotions then are a consequence of the world as objectively posited by you, and so they aren’t ‘really there’.

12.  Emotions are a consequence of an earlier evolutionary auto-response, such as flight-fight etc.

13.  Emotions are those experiences that we can represent in language – less language then, means fewer emotions.

14. Emotions are the means by which the organism produces conflict within itself, in order to produce a course of action which resolves that conflict.

15.  Emotion is a disorder, a pressure from within that produces agitation and irresolution

16. Emotion is the force behind the creative act – the work of art having, at its root, a desire to resolve a pair of opposites, by synthesizing them and ultimately transcending them in the ‘work of art’ produced as a direct consequence.

POSTSCRIPT: Hopefully the material I’ve presented in the section immediately above has given you a better idea of how I might work with Eugene Halliday’s material; and how I might then subsequently attempt to incorporate the results, either into my own material, or into the material of others… I should stress here by the way, that I am not suggesting this method should be used by others….  Whatever ‘Works’ for you, is the rule here.

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Here are some notes of mine from one of my various notebooks that will, hopefully, set up the next section of this post.

If, from out of our own free will, we come to confer existence on some agency – that is, on some person, or some thing, or some body of ideas – such that we have now endowed that agency with a sustained potency. Then, even though we might subsequently like to believe that we can exercise power over it; sadly, it will more often be the case that it will exercise power over us

Beings will almost invariably reveal their true selves, when they have come to possess the real object(s) of their will – although I would now better refer to these as, ‘The object(s) of their desire’….

 At this point though, if you have developed the necessary ability through Working, it is now possible to see these beings as they really are – in and of themselves. Without the need for formulating any judgments; or of any ‘considering’, or ‘deciding’ on your part… You just ‘look’ and you can ‘see’…

 Unfortunately, I have found that this does not necessarily make it any easier to socially interact with these beings; or to formulate what it is that you see. Any more than your ‘seeing’ here makes the decision on your part as to your subsequent way of proceeding any easier….

But – ‘just seeing things the way that they are’ can help to strengthen your resolve to continue with your attempts to move forward … Should you decide that this is what you will to do.

From ‘NOCTURNAL EMISSIONS’
‘Random Dribbling from the Twilight World of the Undead’
by Bob Hardy
(A series of fragments from Bob Hardy’s notebooks – from the late-1970’s to date)

 

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(Scene: Lights fade up to reveal a theatrical ‘black box’ on the back wall of which is a sign that reads  ‘University Theater Club’ …

There are a few large black boxes dotted around the stage area on which are placed a number of coffee mugs; ‘working-on’ scripts and pens; and an assortment of sweaters and personal belongings; etc.

The impression to be created here is that of a bounded ‘working space’. The lighting can be random – except for those lights directed to the front of mid-stage and that serve to illuminate both him and the high stool on which he is perched.

 He is dressed casually (although perhaps a little too neatly) in an all-black outfit, which includes a turtle-neck fitted sweater. He has silver-grey hair, which is combed back and caught in a band at the back of his head in the form of a pony-tail. This pony-tail covers to some extent his bald spot, which we can just get to see from time. He has a darker, thin mustache, on his top lip, and also sports a small goatee beard.

He is holding a script on which we can just make out the title – ‘Romeo and Juliette’ by William Shakespeare.

 The impression he gives is that of being a (slightly hammy) director – in that his movements and manner are somewhat over-theatrical, and also vaguely androgynous.

He is in the process of addressing – what we cannot see, but we take to be – are  a number of his theater students. He begins to speak).

 We will begin by examining the role of the main characters here – that of the young lovers, ‘Romeo and Juliet’ – in an effort to appreciate a little more of how it is that this process of ‘performance’ plays out down here…. (He leafs through his script – as if examining it) … Because – as I’m sure those of you who have been posted here would agree – ‘All the world is.. most definitely .. a stage’ (He looks up and beams) As ‘the man himself’ so famously wrote. (He smiles, somewhat condescendingly, before continuing) ..

So let us now go on to examine what we maintain, are some of those ‘expected outcomes’ here… That is, at least as far as our average, reasonably informed theatergoer is concerned.

First of all, I would say that we could be fairly sure that those attending a performance of this play as members of the audience would be certain that our two major characters are both very young, and also very much in love with one another… And that they are also very eager to consummate their relationship…a.s.a.p! (He smiles with a faint leer) …. And that without our audience believing … or, at the very least, during the course of our performance – coming to believe that this is the case … (He looks up and smiles before exclaiming) … Then this play just wouldn’t work at all (He puts down his script and looks out earnestly)…. Would it?

That is to say …You can put this work by Shakespeare into any setting you that like …. Be that setting traditional…. contemporary … avant-guard ….. But if Romeo isn’t desperate to ‘have’ Juliet … And if she isn’t just as desperate to ‘let him’ (He pauses for effect) ‘have her’ … Then it just won’t ‘get off the ground’!

 Remember…. What we are attempting to understand here is what bearing this experience of being actors, and of being members of an audience – the one they refer to here collectively as ‘Theater’ – has on things down here … And on what they are pleased to call, their ‘real lives’….(He looks up, pauses, and grins broadly) Whatever it is that they imagine they are!

But, “Which is which?”… “Which is ‘theater’; and which is ‘real? you might – at some point in your observations of their behavior –  find yourself asking …(He pauses and sounds slightly conspiratorial)

And I feel it is a good time here to take the opportunity, and remind you that this is the reason why – while we’re all down here at least – we must wear our make-up  (He raises his voice suddenly and exclaims) at all times!… (He pauses over-dramatically and smiles, before continuing).

But our major advantage here is that – for the overwhelming majority of them down here at least – there seems to be an almost pathological inability to attend… to anything … To actually…  listen. …To focus … on what is going on….(He pauses)

But ‘attend’ to what?… ‘Listen’ to whom?” … you might ask (He looks ‘past’ his students and directly out into the audience ‘proper’, smiling broadly) ….

Why obviously … To themselves, of course! (He lowers his head somewhat again, before continuing)

Capture their attention, and they will … almost invariably … go into a passive state of one form or another… And… incredibly … many will still actually believe…  that they are, instead, ‘actively involved’ …That they are not ‘asleep’ at all… But are… on the contrary … ‘wide awake’! (He half rises off his stool and looks out at his audience in mock disbelief… as if asking a question).

(He sits down once again and picks up his script). Anyway… let’s try to use the characters in this play here… and attempt to throw some light on all this. (He continues to speak while examining his notes… He looks up quickly and says, rather sharply) … And No! … Sometimes I don’t know why we bother with all this either! (He begins to speak earnestly as if he has now begun ‘lecturing proper’)…Your assignment for this section of the module will be to write a short dissertation of about eight thousand words or so… But don’t worry … I’ll provide you with the outline of what it is that I want from you at the end of this unit.

Let’s get on now and examine the two actors playing these two roles…. And let’s call these actors Rolf and June for convenience (He puts his script notes down and looks up intently) And let’s say something about their private lives… (He pauses) I’m going to give you a list of scenarios … and take you through them all briefly to give you the general idea…(He picks up his script and begins)

Here’s the list then (He pauses, looking up from his script and gazing into the distance as if concentrating, before beginning to speak dramatically).

Scenario one: Rolf and June used to be married … to each other… But now they hate the sight of each other. They have just gone through an extremely nasty divorce…. They are both superb, dedicated actors (He pauses dramatically before continuing).

Scenario two: One of these two – Rolf and June – is madly in love with the other but no matter what they do, they cannot seem get the object of their affections to ‘notice them’  …. They are both superb, dedicated actors (He pauses dramatically before continuing).

Scenario three: One of these two – Rolf and June – is madly in love with the other but is married to someone else and has a young child, and is desperate to keep this state of affairs hidden in the hope that it will ‘blow over’ …. They are both superb, dedicated actors (He pauses dramatically before continuing).

Scenario four: One of these two – Rolf and June – is madly in love with the other but no matter what they do, they cannot get the object of their affections to ‘notice them’. However, the object of their affection does know, but is not interested …. They are both superb, dedicated actors (He pauses dramatically before continuing).

Scenario five: One of these two – Rolf and June – is madly in love with the other but no matter what they do, they cannot get the object of their affections to ‘notice them’. However, the object of their affection does know but is not interested ….Because they are gay but haven’t yet ‘come out’ – because they are in denial …. They are both superb, dedicated actors (He pauses dramatically before continuing).

Scenario six: Rolf and June are a ‘couple’… They have been seeing each other for some time now, but both suspect that the other is cheating on them – with their best friend… And so they engage in continual innuendo… They are both superb, dedicated actors (He pauses dramatically before continuing).

Scenario seven: Rolf has always been gay, and June has always been a lesbian – neither of them has every engaged in – or has ever had any desire to engage in – straight sex. … They are both superb actors (Once again he pauses dramatically before continuing) ….

Scenario eight: Rolf and June are crazy about each other, so much so that they just can’t leave each other alone…. (He pauses dramatically before exclaiming dramatically) They are both lousy actors. (He pauses once again, and puts his script down before continuing)

 OK! That should give you the general idea here …. Here are the questions… What would you mean here if you were to say to someone, something to the effect that, “I’ve just seen Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’… It was a really good/bad performance”?.. Or what do you mean if you go on to say something like, “Of course they didn’t really mean it – because they were only acting after all.”…. Which of the above scenarios do you think would ‘work; or do you think all of them would ‘work’? … Do you think any of them wouldn’t work? … Why? … What would you say ‘acting’ consists in? …. Describe someone you know who you would say definitely never ‘acts’ – and why it is that you believe this to be the case; or, why you believe that everyone is always acting .. or why you think that everyone always – at some time – acts …

( As he begins asking the above questions, the lights and sound start to fade slowly, until we cannot hear or see anything)

From ‘Field-notes for Armageddon’ by Bob Hardy

POSTSCRIPT: The piece above is still in the form of a rough draft, and is one that I put together in an attempt to explore the dynamics between: the emotions that are actively and objectively produced by role-playing, but within some form of scenario – this would be our actor here giving his ‘seminar’ on actors and acting; the consequential production of deliberate – and, if you think about it – fairly predictable emotional states in the (unseen) students that we assume are attending this seminar, and who believe that they will go on to produce their ‘interpretations’ about what is going on from their own – as it were – largely ‘uninfluenced’ positions ; in the ‘theater audience proper’; and finally in ‘you’, the reader of this piece…

It helps me to examine the interplay of emotional states, and to perceive them as more complex (which they are always becoming – because they are always as complex as you are capable of dealing with) if I view the various components here as being ‘fugue-like’. In this particular case for example, the emotional state produced by the major character could be viewed as the ‘exposition’; the students who – because they are deliberately positioned by me as being ‘passive’ here – provide a virtual ‘development’ (‘in absentia’ as it were) – by virtue of the fact that they are required to supply a dissertation that would effectively serve that purpose; and finally, a theater audience (or you the reader) who would each supply their own private ‘recapitulation’, in the form of their (and your) own privileged understanding here – based on the viewing, or reading, of this piece …. And then of course … there’s me – the writer…

However, I will admit, that perhaps I haven’t yet exactly made that point clear here… But I am Working on it.

The initial idea seemed reasonably simple for me to put in place. But the consequences that I keep coming up with created severe problems for me in the subsequent writing of it… Because the piece kept collapsing into one conclusion or other that I was either not happy with at all, or was so unprepared for that I couldn’t come to grips with; or that kept opening up, in me, into the propagation of a multitude of  ‘alternative endings’…

[Shakespeare does a superb version of this (in a different way of course) in ‘Hamlet’ .. Particularly with his ‘poison in the ear’ bit … But I’m guessing that you already knew that…  Didn’t you]..

One positive outcome for me here, however – and the most productive aspect of it for me up to now – was that as consequence of my conscious self-reflection of the process here ‘in toto’, I came to be aware of a great deal of  ‘meaning’ that centered around the two words ‘authentic’ and ‘genuine’ …. But once again ….. I’m afraid you’ll either get that; or you won’t…

Like I say, I’m still working on this (!)

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Finally, here’s another chance for anyone out there who is interested in working with Eugene Halliday’s ideas, to join in on the blog forum here.

… One of the initial problems faced by anyone attempting to understand the writings of someone like Eugene Halliday is that – in many cases at least – these writings presuppose each other. That is to say, they exist in a web of ‘referential inter-textuality’. Which means that, as a consequence, you have to be familiar with all the major ideas that are contained in each of his essays, before you can really understand any one of these essays in any depth.

This, I believe, is why many I have spoken with about Eugene Halliday prefer listening to the ideas contained in his talks, rather than engaging with those contained in his writings… But I have to say that I don’t think this really works most of the time – because when I question these people about what it is that they have gleaned from one of these talks, the overwhelming majority of them appear – to me at least – to have simply only ‘sort of’ dimly remembered one or two, by and large, disjointed fragments.

What I think is going on here, is that these people just find the talks more ‘enjoyable’ (more ‘entertaining’) than the writings, because they are not as dense, or nearly as demanding … Which is fine as far as it goes I suppose, but it doesn’t really seem to get them very far.

On the other hand, I would say that the harder you engage with Eugene Halliday’s writings, the more meaning you will get back from them. But I appreciate that these written presentations of his ideas can be very dense, and that they contain very few wasted works.

A further complication here is that I believe Eugene Halliday did not write a ‘magnum opus’; but that he only ever wrote essays and articles. However these do – in my opinion – all ‘link-up’ to individually comprise the chapters of one large book… Although I would also maintain that it is a book he never ‘finished’ [but as I don’t believe that ‘finishing it’ was ever his purpose here anyway, this is not of any relevance really].

Luckily though, there is an enormous volume of Eugene Halliday’s written work that was published in the parish magazine of St Michael and All Angels, and many of these do not require (that much) previous familiarity with his major ideas. They are all reasonably short…. And I’ve picked one here that I would like to start a thread on the forum about. It is – I would claim – somewhat extraordinary!  The title of it is ‘The Idea of Sin’ … and it first saw the light of day in February of 1969.

In my view, this short essay is extremely thought-provoking (to say the least), and in fact I would even go so far as to say that it isn’t ‘peachy’ at all … [And indeed, I experience a great deal of Eugene’s writings in this way – but have met very few others who agree with me].

So I’m interested in what anyone out there might have to say about this short piece. It’s not on Josh’s archive yet –  but I have produced a ‘working-on’ scanned copy of it as a pdf here if you are interested in joining in … or even if you’d just like to read it.

I would be really interested in any comments you would like to post on the forum here regarding this piece…

So I will be started a Forum thread in the very near future for this very purpose …And I would also like to tell you that as well as being available for ‘Sinning’, I will also be discussing one or two other taboo topics there, in the near future…

So if you’re interested…do take a peek now and then … if you can make the time …

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I should also tell you that I might not be posting for the next couple of months  – as I will, instead, be bumming around Europe… But then again. I might!… … So …

‘À tout’ … … Then!

Bob Hardy

30th July, 2013

 

NOTE: I was very busy doing other stuff during most of April, so, instead of trying to rush things, I thought it best if I posted the much shorter than usual piece below …

 

I have no doubt that Eugene Halliday was first and foremost a Christian, and consequently, that the majority of the subjects he wrote about were from this perspective.

From 1969 until 1986 (the year before his death) approximately 200 of his short essays – consisting of around 3,000 words each (and thus totaling well over half-a–million words) first saw the light of day in the pages of the monthly parish magazine of  ‘St Michaels and All Angels Church’, located in the North West of England – in what was at that time, ‘Manchester 23’.

Here is a complete (dated) list of these essays, prepared recently by Joan and Ron Ford Eugene Halliday for St Michael’s (1969-1986)

It might also be worth noting here that, earlier on in the 1950’s, Eugene Halliday also had a number of his essays published in two other local church magazines,  ‘The Cavendish Magazine’, and ‘The Healing Quarterly.’

I believe that one of Eugene Halliday’s major concerns was what I might call, the ‘spiritual dilemma’ of contemporary Western European man. And with this in mind I would like to suggest that you take the time to read Eugene Halliday’s ‘The Conquest of Anxiety’… This is available as a freely downloadable pdf file from Josh Henessy’s excellent site. Just go to the ‘Written Work’ section accessible via the Menu Bar located along the top of his site.

Josh’s Eugene Halliday transcriptions site  

Eugene Halliday devised his own unique exercise – one that I took an active part in over a number of years, between the late 1970’s and early 1980’s – and that I would claim was based on a decidedly European symbolism.

This is my own (somewhat sketchy for the time being) description of this exercise…  ‘My own’, because I’ve never heard, or seen, it described like this by anyone else. Indeed some of the descriptions I’ve heard bandied about by others who claim to have ‘been on this exercise’ themselves, makes me doubt whether we were attempting to do the same thing.

I also remember that the number of people who could work at any one time with this exercise was thirteen, but that never – at least during the time that I attended – was there any more than about eight people actively involved.

The participants, essentially, invoked a (variety of) emotional states, using their ‘active imagination’ (Eugene Halliday referred to this use of active imagination as ‘letting’).These emotional states were dependent upon the nature of the particular exercise in question. This was first decided upon, before being subsequently more precisely formulated, and finally pronounced aloud verbally, by the group. Individual members of the group then assumed particular aspects of this formulation by attempting to actively participate in it dynamically .

Thus, this exercise was not about ‘emptying the self’ if you will, but rather more about ‘filling the self’… This seemed to me to be a technique that was completely beyond the ability of many of those who were willing to take part. In my opinion, the majority of those present seemed unable to come to grips with the essential technique of ‘letting go’ – and as a result there was usually a great deal of ‘active conjecturing’ taking place, as opposed to  ‘active imagination’… Regrettably, the success of the exercise was dependant on the fact that no-one taking part was ‘faking it’.

For me the over-riding experience was similar to listening to someone playing from a written piece of music that – although the person playing it may have indeed written themselves in the (recent) past – claimed was being improvised ‘on the spur of the moment’. Although I would add, in their defense, that those taking part did appear to have convinced themselves – and so in fact believed  – that they were indeed improvising..

This exercise was, in my view, originally designed by Eugene Halliday to allow those taking part to experience a range of their own emotional states in a controlled scenario through the technique of improvising, using active imagination; while at the same time allowing them to simultaneously observe the range of emotional states emanating from those others taking part… The rough idea being to resolve this situation ‘in the moment’, and subsequently to – what I would describe as – ‘distill the essence of it’…

However,  although the majority of the various attempts at these exercises that I took part in over the years I would say were failures, they did provide me with yet another excellent version of – what Eugene Halliday referred to (and wrote about) –  ‘The Tacit Conspiracy’…(Also available on Josh Hennessy’s site, if you’re interested)

I have included a brief description of this exercise here, because I maintain that it’s easy to see ‘The Conquest of Anxiety’ is intimately connected with it – if you’re sufficiently ‘along the way’ here, that is… View this as a ‘little test’ from me then … If you like …

… Back to my birthday party…

 

To be continued…

Bob Hardy

30th April  2013

 

One interesting aspect of observing changes in my experiences of any particular ‘state of being’, is the manner in which my cognitive behavior is able to modify these states in subtle ways that can slip right past me….

For instance, I have recently realized that if I’m in a state of ignorance about something (and I would also go so far as to claim that this state of ignorance also contributed to my physical state – that is, to my present material orientation towards my objective reality in some fundamental way)… and I realize that I am in this state of ignorance; then although I might now still actually know nothing more about the subject in question, I no longer experience this state of ignorance in the same way that I experienced it before I realized that I was ignorant  …. ….. And even though I still don’t know any more about the subject in question (this absence of understanding here being due to this ignorance of mine)…. I also experience this subject  in a different way   … Which I think is really, really, weird.

From ‘NOCTURNAL EMISSIONS’
‘Random Dribbling from the Twilight World of the Undead’
by Bob Hardy
(A series of fragments from Bob Hardy’s notebooks – from the late-1970’s to date)

The illusion that having mental limitations places us under…
is one of having no mental limitations. 

NOTE: I use the word ‘idea’ to refer to that cognitive component of a particular ‘form/function’ I’m Working with…. That is, when I’m just ’having a think’ about it.

I use the word ‘concept’ to refer to that cognitive component of the ‘form/function’ of an experiential situation I have embarked upon. That is, something I’m actually doing (or I’ve decided I’m going to do) and that might contain any number of related ideas.

So, I’m liable to say things like: “But it’s only a bit of an idea at the moment,” or; “I really believed I had a great concept going there, but I just couldn’t seem to get it to work.”

… And I’ll sometimes use ‘idea’ and ‘concept’ in the same sentence.

 

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The main purpose of this blog is to provide an account of my interaction with a number of Eugene Halliday’s ideas that are contained in the many audio and text files – freely available for you to download here from the Eugene Halliday archive

To help you with your own investigations into this material, I would suggest that you visit Josh Hennesey’s excellent site here. This contains an ever-increasing number of transcripts of Eugene Halliday’s audio and text files, and, more importantly, all these files are ‘searchable’… Simply click on the word SEARCH – located in the Menu bar at the top of each page of Josh’s site – and then type in the word or phrase that you’re looking for in the space provided…[Typing in the word ‘feeling’, for instance, will – at the present time – provide you with about 67 detailed examples of Eugene Halliday’s use of this word].

Anyway … back to the topic in hand…

The subject of ‘feeling’ is, for me, an extremely complex one. Not least of all because of the common usage that many of the words I involve here signify to others.

Fortunately, the idea of Eugene Halliday’s that, ‘If you change the form [of something] you change the function’ – which I first came across in the mid-late 1970’s – became of real assistance to me in any Work that I was attempting to engage in here … And I began to take as much care as I could in constructing the particular pattern of words I would use to Work on embodying any ideas that I believed were really important to me where it concerned this subject of ‘feeling’ …

This was far trickier to pull-off than I first imagined, not because the ideas that began to form in me were that hard to accept, but because – of all the subjects I had ever taken an interest in Working with – this has been the one were the vocabulary involved has been the most troublesome…

My attempts at discussing the ideas of others here only tended to irritate the hell out of most of them. Because I would keep interrupting them, and insisting that they told me what it was that they ‘meant’ when they used certain words – as I realized that I didn’t really understand what they were talking about (and more importantly, I had an overwhelming suspicion that they didn’t either)…

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NOTE:  What is written below has come about as a consequence of investigations into my own integument, and my subsequent observations of the behavior of others.  … So, while I can tell you that this perspective ‘works for me’, I cannot of course say anything about it ‘working for you’…

And – once again – if you are going to contact me about these ideas, please do not simply tell me what your opinion is here.

… What I am interested in reading about are accounts of your own approach to this subject of feeling. Particularly if it differs significantly from mine, and also, provided that you supply a (sketchy will do) first-hand account of the subsequent experiential consequences of this approach of yours…

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To continue … This attempt at discussions with others about this subject of feeling had a very interesting side affect. In that I came to realize that, while I could eventually come to ‘see’ an idea that I had been working on – and could even write a short essay on it if I had to – when it came to explaining this idea to others, the ‘pace’ at which I was able to resurrect it slowed down considerably, altering my natural speech patterns so much so that I would begin to stammer… But, even so, whatever these ‘side-affects’ of Working were for me, I now measured my progress with any particular group of ideas – be they Eugene Halliday’s, or whoever – by the words that I believed I had now clarified and, to some extent at least, could include in my ‘active language’ vocabulary.

I was not really able to appreciate what was going on here until I began to teach professionally in the mid 1990’s … With the result that I am now quite certain that ‘holding forth’ on any particular subject has absolutely nothing to do with, say, ‘getting in touch with’, or ‘being in’, the ‘field’…. A commonly held view as to what it was that Eugene Halliday was doing when he gave one of his talks, by those who fancy they are ‘in the know’ here… Although, apart from saying something to effect that he was, “In touch with the field,” there seemed to be an almost total lack of any other information here from the overwhelming majority of those who maintained that this was the case (other than to accompanying this statement with some variety or other of ‘knowing look’ – presumably intended to indicate that something unfathomable was going on here … Which, I would tend to agree, was – but on their part, and not Eugene Halliday’s)… Having said that, I am a big fan of ‘being inspired’ … a state that I believe Eugene Halliday certainly was in, from time to time …But I see that as a completely different process…

… Like I say, it’s complicated…

Anyway, as a consequence – after some 35 years or of Working on various ideas and concepts in an attempt to further my understanding of ‘feeling’, I have come to appreciate that many words are commonly substituted for each other here in some way (particularly in common speech) such as, for instance: ‘awareness’; ‘sentience’; ‘feeling’; ‘consciousness’; ‘perception’; ‘sensation’; ‘emotion’; ‘reaction’, etc. etc. But that, in a Working situation, if these words are separated out and considered individually, they are capable of supplying a great deal of clarity (at least to me) where it concerns the need for a basic understanding of (what I believe is an approach by Eugene Halliday to) the problem of ‘being’ itself… However, if I’m just having a chat with someone, I do find myself sliding into ‘common usage’ very easily, and this does tend to complicate matters somewhat …

This account of mine here is not meant to (necessarily) tell you ‘exactly where I’m at’ at the present time with ‘feeling’… (And I certainly hope you haven’t gained that impression from my previous posts with regards to my present position on ‘active language’), and so what I will attempt to do now is tell you what my ‘starting position’ was with respect to my understanding of ‘feeling’, back in the late 1970’s, and then attempt to move forward slowly from there if I can…

However, I’m reasonably sure already that I won’t be able to make it to the present day, because I can already see that some understanding, and sooner rather than later, of what I believe is another of Eugene Halliday’s most important concepts – and that’s  ‘Sentient Power’ – will be required here ….

But back to ‘feeling’ … I first became interested in the theoretical ideas of C G Jung’s Analytical (or Depth) Psychology sometime during the late 1960’s (when I was in my late 20’s), so much so that I had read his Collected Works by the time that I first went to Tan-Y-Garth in the mid-late 1970’s… Consequently, I was well used to viewing things from the perspective of many of the concepts contained in Jung’s typological and topographical schemes… These would include a view of the psyche that included the physical body; the two ‘attitudes’ – ‘introversion’ and ‘extrovertion’; and the four functions of ‘thinking’ and ‘feeling’ (rational), ‘sensation’ and ‘intuition’ (irrational)…and – although not so important here, at least for the moment – Jung’s concept of ‘The Archetypes’ …. [If you want to know more about all this in a general sense by the way, then I suggest that you get hold of a copy of ‘Lectures on Jung’s Typology’ by Marie-Louise von Franz and James Hillman; and ‘Complex/Archetype/Symbol by Jolande Jacobi.)

So I will just say a little here about feelings being ‘rational’ (because this view seems to trouble the most people) … and what that meant to me back in the late 1970’s ….. and – to a large extent – still does.

Essentially, the ‘feeling’ function is the evaluative function.

States of being – such as anger; happiness; sadness, frustration; etc – are not ‘feelings’, – they are ‘emotions’ … (‘feeling’ and ‘emotion’ are two different words, with two [obviously] different forms, and that therefore properly perform two different functions)…

Simply put, ‘emotions’ (in the only situation where I would maintain that they have any ‘meaning’ to an experiencing subject, and that is, where they arise in human beings) require the mediation of language (and thus cognition) to ‘come to be’…. So that your own personally experienced list of emotions are the labels (in the form of words) that you use in naming (and perhaps also describing – either vaguely, or in some considerable detail) these various feeling ‘states’ of yours that you have, to some degree at least, become aware of, or have experienced.  To make this a little clearer, I’m not saying that our animal chums cannot act nervously or be fearful etc. etc.; what I’m saying is they cannot do so in any ‘meaningful’ way; and that further, because animals are not reflexive, they are not capable in principle of doing any Work … …. But then I don’t happen to believe that the overwhelming majority of people can be bothered to do any either … 😀

Having experienced various emotional states, we can all, potentially at least, subsequently describe the content(s) of these states to each other. Including perhaps the reasons why we are in them (“I’m very angry with you because you ….etc.”)… and eventually even develop our own complex aesthetic here… Such that we can indicate in speech – sometimes to a remarkable degree – exactly how happy, or sad, or angry, etc. we are, and why… even poetically, in a way that is denied the warthog; albatross; haddock; dug-beetle; Antirrhinum; etc et al… Although I have to admit that there is nothing more cringe-provoking for me than reading someone’s attempts at presenting their various ‘thoughts’ on the human condition in a way that seeks to seduce us into believing that these are derived from the author’s authentic experiences, although I am not saying that these accounts couldn’t be genuine, …. (Clue: ‘authentic’ and ‘genuine’ are two different words)…

Most importantly here, for me, then – emotions require cognitive input, but feelings don’t…

The degree to which we are happy, or sad, or angry etc. (that is, the ‘how much’ of the particular emotion) constitutes the feeling content of these states… And, crucial here, is that you are always immediately aware of your degree of feeling, without the mediation of either any mental or physical content …

If you are devoid of language, and consumed with rage, you are only able to express this emotional state of yours through your physical body – by making noises, facial expressions, body movements etc. – as any mother who is nursing a very hungry small baby will be able to tell you from first-hand experience; and also that dog owner, whose left leg – for some unaccountable reason – has become the center of a great deal of amorous activity on the part of Woofter, the family cocker-spaniel …A very interesting phenomena this latter one, as it can be used to illustrate the emergence of emotional states from instinctive states, and on up into the articulation of these states in language, from the relatively simple, and non-reflexive way in the case of lower primates etc., to the bewildering complexity of human speech … But my major point here is that there is no possibility of either the baby, or Woofter, reflecting on these states that they find themselves in, at least in the sense that beings who have acquired language skills are potentially able to… To repeat then – expressing an emotion other than through the body  – that is, with the cognitive function – requires ‘language’, or if you prefer, the production of texts, to do so…

Having once acquired language skills, it should be relatively easy for you to now appreciate why I maintain that you would never find yourself saying something like, “You know, I judged myself to be (or thought I was) in a state of profound melancholy last night, but actually I was ecstatically happy! … Silly me!” Or, “I was very, very, angry with you, but actually I found out later on that I wasn’t … I was only mildly angry with you.” … (Although you could say something like, “You thought I was very angry before! … Well you were wrong! … Because this is me when I am very angry!!!”… [Sound of crockery being smashed])…

So, your pronouncements about your emotional state – that is, the words you use to describe, or justify, or condemn, etc. it, has nothing to do with the certainty of your immediate actual experience of the intensity (value) of it….

I am not saying here that you cannot inhibit your emotional state, and indeed this can be a consequence of many things – your morality for instance; or your ability to engage in various fancied ‘spiritual techniques’. But any pronouncements here are still structured components of your ‘thinking’ (rational, logical, ‘spiritual’, fashionable, or otherwise) and play no part in any awareness of it, in the sense that you do not need this self-definition of your emotional state before you become aware of the intensity (or quality) of it.

Feeling does not require the mediation of language… That is, it does not require a cognitive component in order to ‘be’. You are aware of your feeling state immediately, and you are never wrong as to its value. But ‘value’ here only means ‘amount’ (or, as I prefer, ‘degree’). And this degree is situated somewhere along the axis from total rejection to total acceptance… Many ‘followers’ of Eugene Halliday I have spoken with about this appear to me to confuse this ‘positioning of feeling’ with what they believe he meant by “Yes-ing” and “No-ing” (In case you hadn’t noticed, ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ are two words by the way, and are thus components of your mentation, and not of your feeling) …

Animals clearly have ‘feelings’ (degree of response) but an Italian dog will not say, “Bellissimo!” to itself if you give it a chocolate biscuit, any more than a Rochdale Lurcher will say, “Ta very much Chuck!” in the same circumstance …. They will however ‘feel about’ the situation….  (But whether your pet slug, Ambrose, does, I’m not so sure….Although it can display reactive behavior)

And, as with any group of words used to elaborate upon a central concept (emotion) in order to, say, produce some kind of aesthetic, these concepts can easily become confused…. But please note that your ‘feeling states’ (or for that matter your ‘emotions’) are never, in themselves, confused, and they are thus rational – although emotions can become conflated if a particular situation results in you experiencing rapid swings from, say, ‘pleasure’ to ‘disgust’ during a relatively incrementally short period of time… I’ll leave it to you [and your relationship with Woofter] to come up with your own examples here.

This situation is further complicated when using common speech, as in sentences such as, “I felt really angry,” which implies that ‘anger’ is a ‘feeling state’…. It’s not… It’s an ‘emotional’ state…

So let me try now to explain how you might move forward here … Ask yourself the following question (and I’m not suggesting at all that your views here should be the same as mine)…., “Are my feelings rational or irrational?” … If you’ve thought about this at all, then you should be able to answer this question at some length without becoming hopelessly confused (and again, your approach here might be totally different from mine) … Now ask yourself, “Are my emotions rational or irrational?” and if your answer seems to be the same as your answer to the first question, then I hope you can see that you don’t in fact know the answer to either of these questions – because you do not understand that they are fundamentally different …

But recognize here also, that anyone can rattle on about a subject that they ‘know something about’, often at some length, from material that they have gleaned from others. And this can include, not only esoteric material, but material  (the subject matter of which would come under the general heading of ‘Psychology’) such as feelings and emotions. And this can often leave you believing that these people are, at the very least, knowledgeable here. But Working on those two questions I gave you above has very little to do with being smart, or trotting out something you’ve appropriated from someone else, or quoting the Bible etc…. and everything to do with your attempt to ‘know yourself’ – a pursuit which I have come to believe almost no one I have ever met attempts in their whole lives…. But then maybe I’ve always hung around with the wrong people … Capisce?….

Try to devise ways of attempting to perceive if those you engage in conversation with about these subjects speak from their own experiences (or ‘centers’) … If you decide that they don’t, then all you are going to get at very best is (yet more) information (which may or may not be useful)… But you will get no material which comes from them actually Working – as this material is qualitatively different … And if I can assure you of anything, it’s that, if you Work on yourself, at some point in all this it becomes relatively easily to spot when someone else is … How you handle your relationships when you can do so is, of course, your business… I will tell you though that dealing with those who imagine they are Working is very difficult  for me … but that I try to use this situation to do some Work myself … If that helps.

Cognitive effort, where it concerns Working then, is about developing concepts that mirror – if only for that part of the journey you are struggling with at the present time – your internal states… These attempts at description might not be as accurate as they could be, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that they are vaguer, or weaker… It simply means that, in this particular instance, you’ve missed the mark (clue there 🙂 ..)

 And finally, you can study as many religious, scientific, artistic, philosophical subjects as you like – but if your motive for doing so is anything other than ‘knowing yourself’, then –  as I see it – you’re (still) ‘going nowhere’ …

In closing, here’s an example from one of my notebooks of a methodology I make use of when attempting to remember stuff – and that’s humor… More often than not in the form of ‘blue’ jokes… This is because I find I can remember it easier [and so, I believe, could Woofter, if he possessed language] – so be warned … Here’s a relatively mild one anyway from one of my notebooks that nailed, very nicely for me, one of the uses of the word ‘feeling’ in common speech.. The word is used here to describe sense data…

You can try and create a version of this joke by using words such as ‘I had a sensation of’ in place of ‘felt like’ … I don’t think that being more accurate with the words used here works as well… But that only gives me some ideas about the inertial properties of common speech… But don’t let me stop you trying…

…. Give it a go and ‘See how you feel’…

Two Welsh women, Mrs Jones and Mrs Williams were having a heated argument about Mrs Jones’ husband.

Mrs Jones:  “Mrs Williams! … I’ve got a bone to pick with you! I hear in the village that you’ve been going round telling all the girls that my husband, David, has got a wart on his ‘John Thomas’!”

Mrs Williams: “Mrs Jones!! … I said no such thing!! … … I did not say that your husband David had a wart on his ‘John Thomas’.  …. ….. I said it felt like a wart! ”

From ‘NOCTURNAL EMISSIONS’
‘Random Dribbling from the Twilight World of the Undead’
by Bob Hardy
(A series of fragments from Bob Hardy’s notebooks – from the late-1970’s to date)

Woof!! Woof!!

To be continued ……

Bob Hardy

March 31st 2013

 

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

 

[Joseph] claimed to be not only God, Christ, and the Holy Ghost, but other important personages as well. … Joseph claimed to have been all over the world … He went on to say that he was governor of Illinois
Were you governor of Illinois, or God?
“God … and I was also the governor of Illinois”
You were both”
“Yes!…I have to make my living you know.”

From  ‘The Three Christs of Ypsilanti’ by Milton Rokeach

 

There! …
There is no cave, it is gone
But where did it go?
I cannot find me….
Where am I?
… Lost!

From a poem by a schizophrenic patient – ‘Psychiatry Quarterly’-Vol XXX

____________________________

Not surprisingly – Yet More Stuff on Words…(mostly silent)

“..(He looks around) … I could ask you all that old chestnut, ‘What is the sound of one hand clapping?’ …I suppose … (He pauses, looking vaguely irritated, folds one arm across his chest,and  lifts the first finger of his other hand to his lips as he does so, as if deep in thought) 

(He removes the finger from his lips and continues) But to tell you the truth … I’m not really all that interested in hearing any of your answers…(He gives a resigned shrug)… Because … Well … I just know that I’ve heard them all before…

(He spins around suddenly, walking quickly downstage before addressing the audience in a much more enthusiastic voice) … But you know what?… (He grins widely, gestures animatedly, extends his arms, and almost shouting, repeats) You know what? … I would be very interested indeed! …. Fascinated in fact!… To hear any thoughts that you might care to offer up here… Where it concerns that far more vexing question (he quickly lowers his voice, sounding almost apologetic) at least as far as I’m concerned …(he pauses, his grin vanishes, and he pushes out his neck aggressively, before asking, loudly and quizzically) … … “What, exactly, is the sound of two hands clapping!”…(He stands motionless. Once again he is at the front of stage with his arms extended . Fade to blackout)

From ‘Fieldnotes for Armageddon’ by Bob Hardy

The last couple of posts focused, in the main, on the subject of the ‘spoken word’ –  a form of ‘organized sound’ that we commonly refer to as ‘language’ (or ‘parole’ if you prefer), plus suggestions by me as to what audio-files from the ‘Eugene Halliday’s Archive’ that you might like to start with. Obviously there’s a lot more in Eugene Halliday’s approach to the subject of language than the ideas contained in these two talks. But as one of the major purposes of this blog is the attempt by me to describe my particular, over-all, approach to Eugene Halliday’s material, I won’t be staying on any one particular topic for too long – at least not at this stage… So I’m now going to move on to the subject of the ‘written word’ – where it pertains to ‘active’ and ‘passive’ forms of language, that is ….

Which brings me rather nicely to subject of ‘the production of précis’ …

The suggestions by Eugene Halliday re the writing of ‘précis’ are contained in his ‘Rules for Ishval Members’ (Rules 2 – 6 inclusive), created by him sometime around 1966…  I have written something about these rules in my early blog posts… Anyway, here are these rules again:-

2. Each member shall, with due regard to ISHVAL’S purpose, and according to his capacity, undertake to convert his passive vocabulary into an active one, firstly by dictionary research into the etymology of his existing vocabulary, subsequently by extending this vocabulary as far as possible.

3. Each member shall, according to his capacity, modify his proced­ures of thought, feeling, will and action, in conformity with the new understanding arising from the conversion of his passive vo­cabulary into ever wider fields of significance.

4. Each member shall periodically offer to his fellow members the fruits of his studies and be prepared on request of the Chief Officers to précis these studies for the general benefit of members, and to lecture upon or discuss his findings and, conclusions.

5. Each member shall contribute, according to his capacity, to the general extension of the Institute’s work in whatever field it may find an application.

6. Each member, according to his capacity, shall study the basic scriptures of world religions, and the major writings of phil­osophers and scientists and artists, and  recognise  the value of making précis of these.

Did Eugene Halliday produce any précis himself? … Well until relatively recently, I had no idea whether or not he had. But then in 2006, quite by chance, I discovered that – over an extended period that must surely have spanned decades – he had produced an astonishing number of them …covering a variety of diverse subjects: science, art, religion, ethics, philosophy… There was even one on ‘The Tarot’…And if you had no real knowledge of the actual source material he had been working with, you could easily mistake these précis of Eugene Halliday’s for original works. … I believe that very few people were even aware of their existence, or – even if they did – what these documents actually were (that is, what was ‘going on’ here)… Indeed, at the present time, I still have no idea really, just how many people have seen these documents for themselves – or if, in fact, anyone else has …  Luckily though, I did manage to get the opportunity to look through a great many of them, and I can tell you that a considerable number were over four hundred pages long… I eventually scanned a dozen or so of them – not only as examples of Eugene Halliday’s ‘Work’ for my own research, but also because I had a gut feeling at the time, that these notebooks would never see the light of day, and would simply ‘disappear’ for lack of direction on the part of those responsible here. Regrettably, some twenty-five years after Eugene Halliday’s death, my understanding here is that these documents have still not been made available – even for limited viewing. … So here are my scanned copies of ten of these notebooks.

My purpose in making these scans available is twofold. First it is to demonstrate that, in my view, the degree to which Eugene Halliday was capable of applying himself to this task was considerable; and two, to clarify, once and for all, that he did not receive information in the areas of (for example) science, religion, art, philosophy etc. via some sort of ‘supernatural osmosis’ or ‘cosmic-information-field-transfer’; or because he was ‘an avatar, or ‘a chosen one’; or that he traveled to some ‘astral place of learning’ in a ‘trance’; or something equally ridiculous …. But rather, that he did it  – like any normal human being would do it – by getting up off his behind and applying himself … And that he cultivated this ability of his to do so, by methodically laboring at it for a significantly greater percentage of his waking life – across a period that must have spanned decades – than most folk are willing to devote to anything, even for a few days… However, although I would be the first to agree that this ability of his was remarkable, the use of this technique is certainly not that unusual – at least to the extent that some folk might claim… What was unusual perhaps, was the depth of insight that this ‘Work’ – which he labored at all his life – subsequently provided him with.

After examining these notebooks of Eugene Halliday’s I would advise you to spend some time in contemplating just how long it might have taken him to produce even one decent sized volume; realize that there were very many of these notebooks produced by him over the years; and then go on to consider that this activity represented only one aspect of his ‘Work’…. And finally, go on to realize that there is nothing supernatural about this ability at all….Incidentally, in my opinion, it would surely be a truly cruel thing to suggest to others that they ‘do as you have done’ if it wasn’t possible for them to do so, in principle at least, … due to the ‘fact’ (say) that you were in receipt of some kind of ‘special’, one-off, ‘celestial dispensation’ here … … Would it? … On the other hand, if you were at something of a disadvantage in life to start with (say you were … I dunno … severely disabled for example) then your advice here would surely shame at least one or two of those people who were forever claiming to be ‘followers of your teachings’ into attempting to do as you suggested… You might like to think about that when you have a spare moment or two … I appreciate though, that for most of the time at least, and for some reason which you can’t get ‘get your teeth into’, you’re ‘doing something else’, or ‘simply ‘just ‘too busy’ at the moment’ … ‘What a life’, hey? …

These précis were hand-written by Eugene Halliday; each notebook page being roughly the size of a unlined postcard, and written on both sides (which he has usually numbered)  …. I would say that he made use of a black biro. However, it is possible that he may have used an ink pen – but I couldn’t be sure. These pages were subsequently bound together by hand, using needle and thread, and over most of them, a cover was then glued. (I have also scanned these covers).

What was the source material of these précis … Well, I would suggest here – if you’re interested that is – that you can do this part of the research for yourself… I will give you two of them though, to get you started. The ‘Zen’ précis is from a Suzuki book; and the ‘Sorcery’ précis is from a series of books by Carlos Castaneda about the Yaqui shaman, Don Juan (notably the second book in this series)… There are also two smaller notebooks here – ‘The Body’ and ‘Modern Physics’ – and about the source material of these, I have no idea. … However, the subject material contained in the latter of these two notebooks is similar in content to other books for the non-scientist – such as Gary Zukav’s ‘The Dancing Wu Li Masters’ (1979), or Frijof Capra’s ‘The Tao of Physics’ (1977) ….

Anyway, here they are…. By the way, some of these files are small, but one or two – such as ‘Islam’ (wouldn’t you just know it!) – are much bigger:

Précis – Eugene Halliday – Zen

Précis – Eugene Halliday – Sorcery

Précis – Eugene Halliday – The Body

Précis – Eugene Halliday – Modern Physics

Précis – Eugene Halliday – The Basics of Judaism

Précis – Eugene Halliday – Soul

Précis – Eugene Halliday – Pseudo-Denys

Précis – Eugene Halliday – Karlfried Von Durkheim

Précis – Eugene Halliday – Hierarchy

Précis – Eugene Halliday – Islam

The amount of work involved in producing each of these notebooks is obviously considerable. But, even so, let me again make it clear here that I do not see this very ‘sensible’ piece of advice from Eugene Halliday – re the the study, and consequent production of a précis, of some particular subject or other – to be anything more than sound common sense. Particularly as it would not be unusual at all for any diligent student to have incorporated this approach to learning into their studying regime… Although, in my opinion, Eugene Halliday brings far more rigor to the task in hand than your average student (at least more than I ever did!)  … And thus, while this technique might be a component – even an essential one – in the task of ‘Working’ – it is by no means, in my view, the most important one….

Of premier importance to me also, was the realization (actually more of a ‘dawning revelation’) that the contents of Eugene Halliday’s précis material were not really of any use to me personally, particularly when it came to my own efforts at ‘Working’ … With the result that I now maintain it is not actually possible, in principle, to appropriate the fruits of anyone else’s ‘Work’ in order to increase the vocabulary of one’s own ‘active language’…. No matter how reasonable, or attractive, or ‘harmless’, that this idea might seem at the time…Although, obviously, your own clarification of a body of particular ideas can be achieved by reading, or hearing, someone else’s approach to the subject, particularly if the subject concerned is an already well-established academic discipline …. Which is really how we all personally decide whether or not that teacher of ours – ‘way back when’ – was ‘any good’ … Don’t we? … At least as far as our own ‘learning curve’ goes.

Indeed, I now view Eugene Halliay’s précis material in the same the way that I view the practice regimes of musicians, or the training schedules of athletes…  And while I would agree that it is encouraging to know that someone else out there has ‘gone the distance’, I don’t believe that studying Eugene Halliday’s own précis material will really do much more than that – at least not for individuals like me…

And where it concerns your own attempts at studying, and the production of précis material then?  ….Well … If you are interested in a particular subject, and if the manner in which you go about studying it is ‘agreeable’ to you. That is, you respond positively to the teaching-style of the teacher; the text-book(s) that you are required to read are written in an approachable way as far as you’re concerned; the technical words that you need to acquire are being presented to you at an assimilatable rate; and if you have been ‘taking’, or making, copious notes throughout the whole of this learning process, then you are going to ‘learn something’… obviously!… But none of this, of itself, automatically constitutes ‘Working’…

And if you give all this any serious thought at all, that should become obvious to you…. Because you will surely have met many people in your life who have engaged in this sort of activity … So you should be able to say how many of them strike you as – in any way – ‘enlightened’ … Or to look at this in another area – there have been a myriad ‘Yoga groups’ dotted around the country now for fifty-plus or so years now, with a collective membership numbering hundreds of thousands (if not millions)  – How many of those members that you have met strike you as enlightened beings, particularly? … Thousands… A few hundred … Scores … Dozens … A handful … One or two … … … None? …

Practicing techniques in order to be able to ‘cope’ with modern life; being a lot calmer; claiming to be ‘in control’ of things; being ‘in touch with your body’; waving your arms and legs about; etc. is all well and good, but it usually has little or nothing to do with ‘Working’ … Think about someone you might know who has studied philosophy, or theology, or medicine, or law, or physics, or a martial art; or who ‘works out’; or swims every day; or who has embarked upon some life-long specialized feeding regime. Do these people strike you – as a consequence of engaging in these activities to whatever degree – as knowing a great deal more about what is ‘going on here in this life’ than you do? That is, simply as a consequence of engaging in these activities? ..Because if you do, then you will have no problem in agreeing here that, “Those people over there clearly know what it’s all about, because they study arithmetic, the alphabet, ancient history; practice amateur boxing; never bathe; … and only eat beans.” … If, on the other hand, you would like to protest that this suggestion of mine here is, “Ridiculous!” , then what component(s) of other peoples activities is it exactly that you would label “The way to enlightenment’, and, as a consequence, earnestly seek to emulate? …. Do tell! ….

In my case, I soon realized that producing précis material (making copious notes about various subjects) wasn’t really doing that much for me. In fact I was becoming somewhat ‘bloated’ with all this studying .. And I started to believe strongly that I needed to step back a little from this whole ‘précis idea’, and attempt to view this activity as just a component of what it was that Eugene Halliday might be ‘doing’, or at least, had ‘done’ … And so I gave up on the idea that we all had to attempt to become ‘The Brain of Britain’ here, or someone like that …

I spent a long time pondering over this whole business… And this eventually produced more insights into my realization that the task I appeared to be compelled to engage in (like it or not) – including the problem of conceptualizing, in a clearer fashion, those questions of mine that I wanted answering, such that  I would be able to ‘beaver away at all this a bit better’ – appeared to be a completely different task from the one that (almost) everyone else I spoke to here appeared (to me at least) to be attempting to engage in … Admittedly, the initial experience that I had of all this – like everyone else who appeared to have enthusiastically ‘taken it up’ way back when – was that it all seemed to be very straightforward; reasonably clear enough to comprehend… and also extremely attractive (Oh dear!) …  But I quickly found, in my case anyway, that the whole thing soon became extremely illusive, slippery, and very ‘deep’ … And also incredibly irritating … at least for a great deal of the time! …

Luckily though, I eventually came to realize that the most important insight I needed to cultivate when attempting to acquire an ‘active’ language was not to simply begin studying ‘willy-nilly’ – making précis as I ‘went along’ as it were – but to, first of all, reach a position where I believed it was a lot clearer for me to see what this ‘active’ language, that I was attempting to acquire, might be…. This viewpoint had to also include an understanding of how this ‘active language’ might differ from the language that ‘knowledgable folk’ use to disseminate information to others… Because I didn’t believe now that Eugene Halliday was simply advising members (in these rules of his) to ‘know what they’re talking about before they open their mouths,’. Because I saw that many people could do this – particularly if they confined their utterances to their own particular ‘area of expertise’ … I say ‘luckily’ here, but it still took me a very long time to make any measurable progress …. and I’m still working at it ….

So – if I were to say here that the most important thing I came to view as crucial to the acquisition of an ‘active language’ was not necessarily an understanding of those texts that I was being advised to study – an understanding that was perhaps brought about with the assistance of my ‘précis production here (but, then again, maybe not) – but of far more importance here was my relationship to these texts. Because it is this relationship that constitutes any meaning that they might have for me….

This is why we don’t believe we are witnessing the ‘Second Coming’, when we see a seven-year-old lad from Tennessee on the TV, who can recite the Bible from start to finish, and then pull out any quotation asked for – on request – for an encore…. Because (I would suggest to you) he doesn’t seem to have the ‘correct relationship’ to these texts …

I will also add here, if you like, that I broadly support the idea that there is no privileged reading of any text, only the reader’s interpretation of it – and that we reap whatever benefits are due to us, purely from our attempts at ‘Working’ with it – that is, to embody it – by the process of engaging with it – in order to do just this ‘relating’ to it.

In my view then, this ‘précis technique’ of Eugene Halliday’s – where it concerns attempts to acquire an ‘active language’ – forms only a part of the system that he put in place in order to develop his own, increasing, self-reflexion. And so then, I am saying here, in effect, that I don’t believe Eugene Halliday was a ‘fully self-reflexive being’, but that he was continually attempting to ‘work on it’… The major difference I see between him and most others then? … He had ‘worked’ and they hadn’t … ‘Iz all’ …..

I believe that the essence of an ‘active language’ comes solely from its ‘experiential nature’ –  and it is only this experiential aspect which endows any being’s ‘active language’ with its unique, and particular, perspective on any particular subject… The realization of mine as to what the root of what ‘meaning’ was actually all about was crucially important to me …because I saw that it was the root of why it is that, underneath it all – and to quote my maternal grand-mother – “We’re all the same .. only different.”

‘Meaning’, from my perspective then, only emerges as a result of this ‘Working’ and, as a consequence therefore, a person’s ‘active language’ actually is them … it constitutes them … And it is not just some random body of information that they have taken a fancy to lugging around, unpacking it for display at opportune moments to hapless bystanders: a segment of their ‘personality’ or persona – as a component of ‘who it is that they like to think they are; and that they want to convince others that they are’ – then… Think here of your ‘fashionable atheist’… “liberal Westerner’ … ‘new-ager’ ‘…’yoga teacher’ … etc. etc.

So you won’t be all that surprised if I tell you that I eventually ended up deviating (considerably) from  Eugene Halliday’s  suggested, straightforward, methodology – the one that’s contained in those ‘Rules for Ishval Members’ that is …And began delving a little deeper into what it was that he actually wrote about, and spoke about….

This being the case, I will now attempt to explain the system that I ended up adopting – in part at least – and also my reasons for doing so … If I can, that is.

The first thing I would advise you to consider here, is whether or not the basic subject material that you have decided to currently ‘work’ on is already familiar to you at all. Because if it is, then your reactions to it will almost certainly be different to those reactions that you experience when you attempt to ‘Work’ with a subject that is new to you … My advice here? … Begin with a subject that you already know something about.

Why? … Well, my reason for suggesting this approach to ‘Working’, is that you will almost certainly find it relatively easy to immediately engage with this subject-matter personally, because you will already possess pre-formed opinions about it. And, consequently, you will feel an urge to express these, particularly if you disagree at some point with the ideas contained in the subject you have presently  decided to study … Crucially here for me, I maintain that these opinions you hold about this subject already constitute a part (or component if you prefer) of your being – because these opinions of yours possess ‘form’  (see previous posts of mine here for my meaning of this word)… But the chances are, that, for the moment, these ‘forms’ of yours will not contain much ‘active language’, and will probably, instead, be constructed from a clobbered-together bunch of prejudices; half-baked ideas; fashionable ideologies; sentimental junk; and topped-off with a sprinkling of dimly understood relevant technical terms….

Fortunately for you – at least as far as my way of looking at all this is concerned – this situation is exactly the one that you want… Simply because these opinions of yours carry an emotional charge… And it is these emotional charges of yours that we are really interested in here .. and that we really have to examine, evaluate, describe, and understand…

And look … If the subject being ‘Worked’ on already interests you, such that you might already know something (or even a great deal) about it. Can we take it ‘as read’, that by the end of this process you will know more – at least intellectually – about it, simply as a matter of course…. You can call this acquisition of any new ‘knowledge’ here ‘a bonus’ – if it makes you feel any better… ….To put this in another way – your muscles will be ‘toned up’ by the act of chopping up a large tree for firewood, although your intention was probably simply to ensure that you could keep warm… So then here, you could be said to have received a ‘bonus’ by virtue of the fact that you are, as a consequence of this activity, now ‘fitter’. And that this result was not something that was initially factored-in by you…(Yet another cheesy metaphor by me there… What a writer!) …

So … the idea here is to deliberately ‘bring up those emotional charges that are associated with your opinions’. Give them ‘free reign’, have ‘a bit of a rant’ if you like, use ‘active imagination’ if this will do the trick here – rather than focusing on attempting to ‘understand’ the particular subject’s intellectual content. But – and this is most important – you must keep a record of these responses of yours, describing your emotional responses…(I eventually used an audio-recorder for this, because I found I couldn’t understand ‘my own’ handwriting, when I came to interpret my own written attempts   … Creepy, hey?)

To start then, you might (sometime after you come ‘come down off the ceiling’ and have ‘settled down’ that is) like to attempt to consider a paragraph or so of the original text that you are working on, together with your recording of your reaction/response to it, and try to figure out why you were behaving in the way that you were …Because, although you can claim that the ideas contained in the subject under study, and also even (perhaps) those ideas you already hold here, did not actually originate with you; you cannot claim the same where it concerns your emotional responses –  these belong entirely to ‘you’… Unless that is, of course, you can construct a taxonomy here that satisfactorily explains why these emotional irruptions you experience are not, in fact, ‘yours’….

So – and more disturbingly now perhaps – however you chose to view these emotional responses then, they must surely still ‘inhabit the same building’ that you do. That is, they reside in your body (or being, or whatever term you prefer to use here – I use ‘psyche’, which for me includes the physical body). And that perhaps you might come to see that they influence – far more than you have been aware of up until now – your patterns of behavior…. And if that wasn’t bad enough, I should also warn you that these ‘psychic states’ you will experience here are also extremely contagious – so much so, that even your dog, or your cat, can be affected by them … (I’m not so sure about ‘Amanda the goldfish’ though…).

In my opinion, Eugene Halliday was referring to these patterns when he was using the late nineteenth century term, ‘engrams’, I prefer to use the later term, ‘complexes’.

The preamble to ‘Working’ proper, is, in my opinion, to labor at an understanding of those engrams/complexes that were constellated in your childhood – and this applies to those people whose childhoods were ‘a walk in the park’, just as surely as it applies to those people whose childhoods were the ‘stuff of nightmares’. These patterns are relatively easy to appreciate (which is why regression therapy is so popular) – but understand here that perceiving these early emgram/complexes does not, in itself, constitute ‘work’, although it does constitute, in part, the beginnings of some sort of ‘self-knowledge’. Which, while it is an essential component to all this, is not, by any stretch of the imagination, the main concern here. It might help if you see this  aspect of ‘self-knowledge’ as (here comes another cheesy metaphor) ‘cleaning out the cellar’ and ‘renovating the attic’…. Many people are quite content to finish here and, in fact, consider it to be ‘quite an achievement’. … But you don’t have to experience this particular feeling of self-knowledge very long to realize that – where it concerns you future behavior – it hasn’t necessarily improved things at all! … Indeed, with the removal of  this childhood pattern, which normally might have functioned for you as a crutch, or self-excuse, many go on here and blunder about even worse, becoming even more screwed up. …

But I never said that all this was going to be easy… I said it was ‘simple’ … But I also reminded you that ‘Simple does not mean easy’.

So anyway, if you’re still with me here …. Keep on repeating this process until such time as you can begin to see the pattern(s) that your responses make – as much as you are able to, that is… You will find that these patterns exhibit a definite ‘personality’ … a ‘structure’ … That they are in fact ‘beings’ …Just like you! …Your very own ‘little family’ in fact! …. And you will, finally, begin to recognize them….You might even decide to give them names, such as ‘Naughty Adrien’ ….or ‘Beohetmethemoth’ ….and imagine them looking like, say, a half-man/half-sardine …. or something.

 … The idea here then in studying texts, is that one should really attempt to ‘engage’ with them; to react to them … And I’m not just talking here about getting a ‘bad vibe’ either. You could be so entranced with the person supplying the material here (the one you find yourself  listening to, or reading) that you could be in an almost permanent state of ecstasy  – brought about, say, by both your delight in your ‘understanding of the material’, and in the ‘clarity’ of the ideas being expressed…. While, at the same time, being possessed of an irresistible urge to … How shall I put it? …’Acquiesce’….(Take that any way you like)

And this particular process – this separating out of the ‘cognitive’ from the ‘feeling’ (or ‘male’ from the ‘female’ – if you prefer a more esoteric, trendy, terminology) is – in my experience at least – extremely tricky and slippery, difficult, and sometimes even down-right dangerous thing to attempt to do …. Moreover, the degree of difficulty that is experienced emotionally – as frustration, anger, despair, pleasure, surrender, etc. – I also find to be very exhausting … And, in fact, I would even go so far as to say that, “If you don’t find this activity exhausting, then you must be doing it wrong!”…

My experience here was that the ‘happy, happy, joy, joy’ reactions were, far and away, the most dangerous for me ‘psychically’ ..Because I didn’t realize for a long time that this reaction simply prevented me from going any deeper – and so I didn’t experience this ‘positivity’ as a problem here for some considerable time …

To put all this another way, and perhaps to try and finally nail it for you… The ‘quality’ (good or bad; positive or negative: or however you want to refer to it) of your reaction is irrelevant to this exercise . The only things you are attempting to focus on here, and that is of any real importance to you, are both the states that you are experiencing here, and your subsequent attempts at evaluating them….

I find this exercise very hard to ‘pull-off’ myself – because everything that is not productive of lots of praise and encouraging taps on the head immediately; or that I can’t manage to do excellently, and without effort – exhausting … But you might also like to know details about one of my own special, secret, techniques for dealing with the affects of these serious, negative psychic attacks… And that is, to engage in -what I like to refer to as – ‘ritualistic-rest-period activities’…. Among the fetish objects essential to me here in this actively are, packets of digestive biscuits, and also copious amounts of tea … and it helps things along immensely here if one trains oneself to repeat (almost – but not quite) silently, the mantra ‘Zzzzzz’  (but only on the ‘out-breath’) for at least half an hour or so  – or at least until one is dragged back into the ‘World of Maya’ by the vengeful, malicious, voice of that ‘keeper of your conscience’, who appears to be insisting that, “You know it’s your turn to wash the dishes tonight, so why haven’t you done them yet?”; or by the salacious, dulcet, tones of some succubus (or incubus if they all happen to be too busy), tempting you unmercifully with the offer of (yet) another cup of tea…..More advanced techniques of mine here include having a game of Tetrus ‘running in the background’ on my computer at all times – but this assumes that you are now an advanced student here, and are familiar with a variety of dimly understood hermeneutic texts, such as, ‘Manual For Windows – Version 99 (or whatever)’, and also rigorously trained in the cautious use of sources of cosmic energy, such as ‘the mains socket’ – So it’s not for the faint-hearted, or for those of you who are in receipt of any form of free public transport… (As I say, “There are metaphors …. and then there are my metaphors.”)… …

Meanwhile …

Our initial starting point then, was to consider words from an intellectual perspective – their definitions and their histories (etymologies). And I hope I’ve made it reasonably clear to you that not only is this what every reasonable person might ordinarily do when they come across a word that don’t ‘understand’ and that has ‘tweaked their interest’; but also that this information will tell you little or nothing about the ‘meaning’ of a particular word …’Meaning’ is instead, metaphorically, situated ‘in the critical space’ between you, and what it is that the word represents… ‘Meaning’ then is your unique, particular, ‘relationship’ to a word… And its major feature – or the one that we now need to focus on here if you prefer – is it’s ‘feeling tone’…. Understand now though, that even after doing this, we have by no means finished examining what an ‘active language’ might be..

… Anyway,enough of all that. Here’s that piece of Eugene Halliday’s writing on the subject of words – first presented as nine short essays in the 1970’s, under the collective title of ‘Words of Power’     Words of Power

Here’s Ken Ratcliffe’s audio recording of the same material  Words Of Power (1 of 4)  Words Of Power (2 of 4)  Words Of Power (3 of 4)  Words Of Power (4 of 4) if you would also like to experience the added pleasure of listening to it while you’re skateboarding to work, or whatever else it is that you get up to when you’re wearing your ear-phones.

It starts with Eugene’s ideas on words themselves, and he goes on to write about their relationship to ‘power’ (‘they produce responses’ etc.) … There’s a very interesting bit (for me) on non-lingusitic forms of ‘texts’ .. Words are considered positively and negatively as to their affect… There is an examination of many words from this perspective of his; such as the meaning of ‘inertia’, ‘love’, etc … There is a piece on ‘words of powerlessness’ …. All this material is – refreshingly for me – presented from a Western philosophical, ideological, and ‘spiritual’ perspective… And there’s no ‘phonetics’ involved … (‘Oh, deep joy!’)…

This approach to ‘words’ that Eugene uses here is a lot more concise and useful for me then; and I found it far more practical as a tool in getting to understand more about what this ‘active language’ might be – particularly from the point of view of praxis – than any of his recorded material… And so, as a consequence, I tend to interpret much of his audio material from the viewpoint he expresses here in these nine essays … And if he moves too far away from this perspective in his talks, then I interpret this as him coming to the ‘edge’ of , or ‘demonstrating where’, the ‘limit of the application of  those terms’, that he happens to be speaking about at that particular moment, lie …

So, in his talks then, I experience Eugene Halliday as exploring his own linguistic ‘unedited space’ and revealing what it is that happens to him (to those like me, that is, who experience what it is that he is ‘doing’ like this) when he has reached the parameters of any particular concept… That is, the practical way in which he moves on to another concept (‘change the form of a word, change its function; change the words, change the concept’) in order to move forward… Any movement (forward) that Eugene Halliday achieves here, I believe, constitutes a successful attempt by him to objectify (to himself ) – within the confines of an ‘active’ language – that all there is, is ‘Sentient Power’. ….

I do realize that I could be accused here of attempting to tell everyone what this ‘Work’ of Eugene Halliday’s – that I experience him as striving to accomplish – was actually about for him. … But that’s my problem isn’t it? … It works for me, and really that’s the only reason why I’m doing all this … And, just so you don’t waste your own precious time here, and if you hadn’t caught on already – I am definitely not seeking endorsements from others in this matter…

Remember though – that I fully appreciate your experiences might be completely different from mine here, and if that is so, then I would be very interested to hear from you about your own experiences – those that you actually had, when you took these ideas on board, and attempted to put them into affect. What we might call your ‘consequential ideas’ perhaps…You can post them on the blog forum here; or contact me privately at archivequery@gmail.com if you’d rather.

I’m going to leave the study of texts re ‘Words’ here now, for the time being at least, because I believe that you will only understand what I’ve been on about here if you ‘Work’ with this material yourself. And that this will – in my experience – take you some time……

Oh Yeah.. You might like to know if I have any special reason for  my continual use, throughout these posts, of this word ‘Work’ or ‘Working’?… Well, yes there is, because – as I like to put it – it reminds me that, “It is only when you cease ‘Working’ that you can be said to have failed.” And looking at it this way ‘keeps me at it’….That being said though, it should also be clearly understood here that I also have no doubt I am still, of course, going to die – anyway.   … (I didn’t want you to think I had some ‘magic reason’ for doing all this; one that might have got your ‘hopes up’ unnecessarily, that is)….

Finally …  ‘And  now for something completely different’ …

I hope that it’s reasonably obvious by now (but I will point it out here anyway) that I did not engage with any of these ideas of Eugene Halliday’s ‘in isolation’ as it were….But that I was also, simultaneously, examining other concepts of his (and those of many others, I should add)… Including, what Eugene Halliday refers to as – ‘Sentient Power’. A concept that I see as the starting point of his approach to the eventual possible meaning of a more familar contemporary term – ‘consciousness’…. But, to say something about this interaction of mine in the next post here, I will have to start with both my perception of his approach to, and also (you’ve guessed already, haven’t you?) my subsequent problems with – Eugene Halliday’s repeated use of the ‘F’ word … … … … … ‘Feeling’.

To be continued………….

Bob Hardy

January 2013

 

Words are principles of order: ‘W-ORD’ is the entity that orders.

Eugene Halliday

The tendency is, not to work on what we have, but to want to know more, and more, and more, about bigger metaphysical problems – because it relieves us of the necessity for immediate work on ourselves.

 Eugene Halliday

You should think of the sentence, not as something you get by putting words together, but think of the words as what you get if you take the sentence apart…. The meaning of the word is the contribution it makes to the meaning of the whole sentence. – An idea attributed to Gottlob Frege by the America philosopher John Searle

———————————————————

 

I take ‘Work’ to be about ‘Doing’ …

So that, for example, even though you might believe that you are sincerely attracted to the concepts of people like Eugene Halliday, so much so, that you ‘study’ the works of these people regularly – even going so far as attempting to commit those ideas that have really attracted your attention to memory (in order, you imagine, to ‘understand’ them better) – you have not, in my opinion, been engaged in ‘Work’. … Any more than attempting to calm those see-sawing emotional states that you suffer from qualifies as ‘Work’ … Laudable though these activities might seem to you, or indeed to others who claim to be ‘in the know’ about these matters (for what I believe, are fairly obvious reasons).

 No … The way I see it, you have to get your hands dirty … But I do appreciate that you might disagree with me here.

Furthermore, if you do decide that you are going to do some ‘Work’, and then perhaps continue on, later, to describe your experiences – even if you only attempt to describe them to yourself – this should not give you too much cause for self-congratulation either. Because the chances are that you will almost certainly seek to present your accomplishments in a more favorable light than they actually deserve…. ‘Gilding the lily’ you might say….

That being said, formulating your attempts at ‘working’ may – if you ‘do this right’ that is – possibly even increase your active vocabulary…. But I wouldn’t say that it definitely does so … and even if it did … don’t expect the earth to move..

If you’re not sure what I mean here by involving yourself with these ideas, just ask yourself, “If I’d never heard of (for example) Eugene Halliday, what difference do I believe it would make to me now?”..

Your answer might be something along the lines of, “I feel a bit better about the whole dying thing,” or that, “I’m not nearly as guilt-ridden about everything, as I was when I was a staunch, practicing, Irish-Catholic,” or, “I wouldn’t have met nearly as many ‘interesting’ people.” – or, “I would never have taken up Professional Wrestling,” or “His ideas really gave me some very useful tools to help me with the task of ‘knowing myself’,” or, “I dunno really,” or something along those lines… But whatever your answer is here, try to be honest … And try to resist the temptation to exaggerate if you can possibly avoid it … Because the desire to exaggerate to yourself here is a sure sign that someone else in the building is running the show for you… And, in my opinion, this elementary problem is one of the first and – sad to say – major barriers, that the beginner must overcome if they are to make any initial progress here …

I haven’t actually ever heard anyone give a detailed account of the affect on them of working with Eugene Halliday’s ideas – at least in the way that I believe this needs to be done…. Although this doesn’t mean that they haven’t done so at some point…It’s just that I’ve never actually heard them…. I have of course talked to any number of people who are only too happy to tell me that they are, “interested in his ideas,” or that he was, “a wonderful and special human being,” … But that’s not the same thing at all … Is it?

To this end then, the piece below (that I have considerably edited for its inclusion in this blog), which was first put together by me sometime around 1995 – when it formed the basis of my approach to teaching a basic introduction to improvisation – is offered here as an example of what I take to mean, in part at least, ‘working’ with, and ‘working on’ these ideas.

It grew out of  – in the main – my protracted musings over Eugene Halliday’s ideas re active and passive forms of language (see my previous posts here for more information) over the previous fifteen years or so; together with various thoughts on the philosophical idea of ‘Intentionality’, contained in the work of John Searle, and (to a lesser extent) Daniel Dennett.(See Searle’s book ‘Intentionality’, and Dennett’s book ‘The Intentional Stance’, if you would like to delve further here).

The focus of this material is centered around, what might be meant by, the term ‘improvising’.

This material was designed by me to be delivered to students who were 18 years-old and older, and also to ‘mature students’. And while some previous musical experience was necessary in order for them to enroll on this particular course, I have edited my notes here in this post, so that this experience is not necessary for any understanding here by non-musicians  – although I do use one or two (very minor) ‘technical’ words later on – but again, understanding these is not essential here.

One of the major problems in teaching any subject to the beginner, is that of finding a suitable place to start from – some ‘common ground’ – something that they are already familiar with … (“My understanding is that you are here, and I am going to attempt to help you to get to there, if I can.”)

It is, on the other hand, relatively easy to begin, by simply impressing the new student with just how smart you are; or by loading them down with a lot of (useless) theory in such a way that, even though, by the end of all their studies with you they still can’t improvise, they can now (regrettably) join-in with that legion of ‘experts’ out there who are far more intent on relating their opinions and ‘explanations’ on this subject to anyone unlucky enough to be in the vicinity, than actually demonstrating this ability to improvise themselves.

Of course, had the student focussed on the right question here (‘kept their eye on the ball’ if you like) they would not have subsequently found themselves having had their arrival at some attainable (for them) goal, not only now somehow, magically, and indefinitely, deferred; but also of now finding it almost impossible to be receptive to any further practical advice on the subject, because they have become so ‘full to the brim’ with stuff, that anything which might help here is immediately drowned out by the sound of their own, continuous, internal, chattering ..

The question they should have been focused on?…. “All this is very nice, but am I actually getting any better at this improvising thing?” ….

And – by the way – the only question that any responsible teacher should be asking themselves here? …”What did the learner learn?”(to quote the vernacular).

As someone who took this latter question very seriously, I found myself in the position of having to come up with metaphors and allegories that actually worked for my students, as opposed to, say, having to continually justify the fact that, while I was sure that the material I was delivering was ‘true’, and ‘very good’, (in my opinion that is), it just wasn’t ‘doing the business’. … (“Very poor level of student intake this year,” etc. etc.).

The material below forms the outline of what I ended up delivering…. Let me repeat here that my expressed intention was simply to get my students off on a firm footing, by providing them with material that allowed them to approach some initial experiental understanding of this subject ….And my only reason for continuing to use this approach was that it worked for me during the twelve or so years that it formed (in part) the substance of my introductory unit for this module. …

The students found this material very easy to work with, and to subsequently expand upon – which was really the whole idea … They ‘got it’ immediately …and would often voice their amazement at the fact that something, which now seemed rather obvious to them, hadn’t been explained to them, using something like this approach, before! Of course, later on ‘down the line’ (so to speak) they discovered a down-side to all this, in that they realized they might not have the necessary discipline to get any further here – but, having swallowed the bait by admitting to themselves that they now knew how to proceed – they couldn’t delude themselves into believing that they had a decent excuse for not doing so … Which – I would add in passing – over the years, often resulted in some really bizarre behavior on the part of one or two of them … Something which I also believe is also blatantly obvious to observe in a significant number of those people who have ‘taken an interest’ (so to speak) in the ideas of folk such as Eugene Halliday.

Here’s the basic approach then. The idea here (which I would suggest is ‘easy’) is to get students to reflect upon aspects of their own use of, current, spoken language, and from this position, by conjecture, to consider if musical creativity (which is what improvisation essentially is – in part at least) might be practically viewed in the same way.

For convenience, I’ll use a ‘male subject’ in my example below.

I begin by saying that we are going to consider what we might mean, in general, by the use of the term ‘improvising’. I would not ask for a definition here, or define the word for the group, or give them any etymological information. We would just collectively throw ideas around for a few minutes (ostensively for me to get some ‘feel’ for ‘where they were at’ on the subject) the usual outcome here being that ‘improvising’ had something to do with ’embellishing’, or ‘improving’ even … or of just ‘sort of making stuff up that fitted’. This latter approach might also include some rudimentary theoretical stuff from the odd student. (“You have to fit the correct scale(s) to the right chords.”) etc.

I would them tell them that I would like to start here by asking them to think about ‘improvising’ in a way that I would guess they had never considered before …

I would tell them all to imagine that it’s mid-afternoon and they are out walking on their own, down a major street in town that is part of a bus route. There were the usual numbers of people about: the weather is pleasant enough; and in fact, everything is quite normal.

An attractive young lady in her late teens/early twenties is walking towards you, and as she draws near, she says something to you… You have never seen her before, and you had no idea whatsoever that you were going to be stopped by her…. In fact, you were so busy mulling over a minor problem  (what club you were going to go to that night) that you hadn’t even noticed her, and so you were taken by surprise when she said, “Excuse me?”

This had the affect of making you stop (and perhaps smile helpfully).

Before you have time to say reply, she continues, “Could you tell me where I can get a bus into town please?” ..

OK. … That’s the set-up…. It’s now the turn of the students, in the main, to do the talking, which is far better than having me rabbit at them for the next hour or so, in order to demonstrate how smart I think I am.

I get the ball rolling here by asking the group a number of questions. But I would begin by asking the students to think about this first one during the coming week.

When you are asked to reflect upon your responses to being questioned by others – about anything at at all – would you say that these responses of yours are all similar in some fundamental way – irrespective of how complex the question is – and that perhaps if you examined these responses of yours, they might tell you something about your fundamental character? … If so, how would you describe this ‘usual response’ of yours? (Inhibited; confident; hesitant; fearful; etc).

I would then quickly go on the put questions. such as the following ones, to the class:-

Always assuming you are going to reply to this young lady, what language would you answer her in?…Why?

If you had done a couple of years French at High School, would you have a go at answering her in that language, because, say, you quite fancied her, and you wanted to impress her?

Would you just give her a ‘normal’ reply – but attempt to imitate a popular film star’s voice while you were doing so?

Do you find, that in order to answer any question at all, you first of all have to go through all the words in your vocabulary, and then select the appropriate ones – carefully checking the definitions and etymologies of these words first, then putting them in the correct order ‘in your mind’  before delivering this answer? … Do you think that’s a really dumb idea? … .If not, why not?

Would you reply with a string of nonsense words because, say, you didn’t know what the correct answer was, but you ‘felt’ impelled to say something .. anything in fact?

Would you attempt to keep a conversation going? … Why? … If ‘Yes’, how would you go about it.

If you couldn’t answer the particular question that she asked you, would you substitute the answer to a different, but far more difficult question, that you did know the answer to? …Why not?

Do you think it would be possible for you to spontaneously answer this question in a language that you, up to then, knew absolutely nothing about? …Why?

What would you do if she had asked you in a language that you didn’t understand?

What would you do if she said, “Excuse me?” in a pronounced foreign accent, and then handed you a piece of paper on which was written ‘I do not speak English. I need to get the bus into town. Can you help me please?’

In working with that last question I would point out to the students, that it is possible here to introduce a ‘group concept’ of interaction/improvisation, by asking them to consider, that if they didn’t know the answer to the young lady’s question here, would they be happy to rope in the next person coming down the road, in the hope that this new person might be able to help, and would they then stick around to add support – because perhaps this new, more complex, situation had quite taken their fancy? … If a few more people joined in here, how do they see themselves fitting in? Would they want to be ‘in charge’ of this group? Do students believe that, as this group enlarged, some members would want to organize it, while others would just want to hang round at the back – not wanting to ‘get involved too much’ etc…. How would the flow of information be managed? …Who by? … Would you all suddenly stop and elect a spokes-person …. Why? …. Does thinking about this new situation start to ‘stress you out’? …. Why? … etc. etc.” If the students wanted to explore this scenario some more, I would tell them that this is a far more complex situation, but that I already planned to discuss it in the next unit of this module.

….. Hopefully the reader here  ‘gets the idea’… (Let me know if you don’t).

There’s a good few more questions you can use here, but the ones above should give you the idea…

At this point, it is relatively easy to get the student to appreciate that, even though they had no idea what it was that I was going to suggest to them here; no idea that it would involve some sort of ‘scenario’ to them in which they were required to speak; and that they had no idea what the subject of any speaking by them was going to be about until immediately after they were asked the question by this young lady; none the less they could see that they would have no problem responding instantly – even if they had never been in this particular situation before in their lives.

Students also readily intuited that there seemed to be a great deal of similarity between what they were required to do in this scenario, and how they would react to the problem of improvising – when called upon to do so – in a musical situation that they ‘were potentially equipped’ to take part in, should they wish to do so. That of, say, playing a guitar solo over a repetitive sequence – such as a simple twelve-bar blues pattern – with musicians that they had never worked with before..

I would then continue on, by suggesting that they tie aspects of this discussion into their ideas on ‘improvising’ – that is, in what they think this might now involve – with an attempt at an actual musical improvisation on their part – by using ‘The Blues’ as a basis, a common popular music form with a musical structure that almost everyone in the West can recognize the sound of.

I would tell them that, because they are already familiar with the sound of the twelve-bar blues, they already know – to some extent at least – what it is they are going to hear. Just as when they exchange social pleasantries with someone they have never met before, they know roughly what it is they are going to hear.

The particular way in which we speak, the sound of our voices, the way we use dynamics (load and soft), the way we mechanically repeat certain phrases, our local dialects or accents, all have direct correlations to improvising music. These components adding ‘individuality’ or ‘style’, and allowing us to recognize individual speakers/performers.

In order to communicate, we need to have a vocabulary, which we are continually adding to by the very act of engaging in social relationships, and not necessarily by deliberately attempting to remember ‘lists’ of words, or studying one or two words at great length – which is something that we might have done a lot of when we were ‘beginners’, as when we were still small children (the endless, “What’s that?” … “What’s that?” that infants engage in) or when we were attempting to learn a foreign language in school.

In my personal experience, we do a lot of our language acquiring ‘organically’ – simply by the act of  engaging in social relationships, or by watching TV, or by reading – and we do this from an extremely early age ..

To continue on here …. Consider the following. If you go to a music college today you will probably be taught to play along with this ‘the twelve-bar blues’, as a method of getting you to acquire this ability to ‘improvise’.

The way this is done is to teach you a little bit of theory – which would probably include some basic harmony (the simple chords and chord progression); melody (using something that contemporary music teachers have seen fit to  label the ‘blues scale’ usually), along with the ability to recognize, and respond to in a simple way, a simple mono-rhythm (usually a ‘blues shuffle’).

This material will be put together (‘conceptualized’ if you like) in the form of a ‘backing tape’, or computer audio file, which consists of a recording of this twelve bar blues pattern – minus any ‘improvised solos’ of course – repeated ad nausium.

So there you are with your backing tape – a simple twelve bar sequence, consisting of three chords played on a guitar or keyboard, together with this simple, arpegiated, chord sequence as a bass line, and a shuffle rhythm from the drums. … As this backing track is played over and over, you are supposed to play notes from that simple blues scale you have been practicing (or other scales depending upon how ‘advanced’ you are) on your instrument – this effort of yours here constituting your ‘solo’ ….

This approach is the most popular way of teaching ‘blues improvisation’ today, particularly to those musicians who don’t actually want to play the blues – but would like to know how to suggest that they do, by adding a little ‘bluesy flavor’ to their playing now and again … (You might like to think about this last bit by the way, as, in my view, it’s far more important to the bigger picture than you might first imagine).

So …According to, say, your guitar tutor anyway, that’s how you do it. … And you are also told that if you listen to any top-draw blues player (B B King say) you can use this system that you have learnt here in order to ‘analyze’ their solos (“In this part of his solo, what he is playing is this fragment of this scale, with some embellishment …etc.”).

However, there are one or two other major problems with this way of looking at things. For example:-

1)    Almost all of the great blues players (those from whom todays players look to for inspiration and also to steal licks from) that were around from roughly the turn of the last century until the late 1950’s would have had no idea what you were talking about when you said ‘blues scale’. So.. clearly, on our understanding of ‘what’s going on’ here – that is, from our confident pronouncement of our (‘relative’) ‘truth’ on ‘how one actually plays the blues’ – these musicians  didn’t ‘really’ know what they were doing… Which, I would maintain, is clearly stupid!…

2)    The second problem? Sir James Galway, an Northern-Irish laddie, who is a genius on the flute and has performed with, amongst others, The Berlin Philharmonic, is on film attempting to improvise over one of these backing tracks, and his attempts are embarrassingly bad !! … But .. We are certain that Sir James clearly ‘knows’ exactly what to do .. We believe also, that he has a phenomenal technique, and also, that – when it comes to performing with an orchestra – the man can ‘read fly-shit’ (to quote the vernacular)…  But, none the less, he finds that he can’t do this very simple, basic, ‘play-along’ thing .. In fact he admits that he can’t, during the course of this film. …And that isn’t really very satisfactory either, in our ‘scheme’ of things …at least for me it isn’t.

I’ll leave this here now, because this is where I would leave it with my students …except to finally ask them if they felt any easier about their understanding of ‘improvisation’ … Which is the same question I’d like to leave you with…

———————————

Here are one or two more reflections of mine on the idea of an ‘active language’ that you might, perhaps, find helpful …

How do you decide if someone you are listening to ‘possesses’ an ‘active language’? …

Let us say that you are sitting and listening to someone who is speaking about ‘matters esoteric’ and that you find what is being said is incomprehensible …even fanciful, and silly, to you … But the people sitting on either side of you find this same material revelatory and empowering. (You find this out because you talk to them about it afterwards, say).

How do you explain this? …Does the question,”Who is right here?” have any meaning? …How? … How would you process the answers from these other people here? … Would your answer here be conditioned by any practical experiences of yours as to what the concept of a ‘passive/active language might ‘mean’ to you? …. If so, what sorts of experiences might these be?

How do you decide then? … Would your answer here factor in: your degree of interest in the subject matter; the fact that what was said made you feel good; that you found yourself agreeing with what was being said… etc.

What would you think of a situation where someone insists that they had been listening to someone who possesses a really extensive ‘active’ language that has resulted in them going home, selling all their belongings, including the house, and then giving all the money to the Salvation Army. … Would your reaction be any different if they had sold everything etc. and then given the cash to the British People’s Fascist Party? ….

And the last one … Do you find yourself desperately, and automatically, looking for a meaningful, smart-assed answer, whenever you are asked questions like the ones above? …

——————————————–

In closing here, I’d like to give you an example of how I have approached ‘working’ on one aspect, of one particular word … I must tell you though, that I find the process extremely difficult to put into writing … However, I’m going to have a go it at here anyway… but you’ll have to bear with me ..

What I experience as someone else’s ‘active language is only ‘active” if it gets me off the couch and into doing something which takes me further along that path that I fancy I’ve committed myself to traveling along – improve my ‘being-potential’ if you like.

This experience must knock me off balance just enough, so that I can get enough energy from it to impel me forward a fraction – too much energy and I’ll just get confused; to little and I’ll be full of good intentions, but never quite get round to doing anything. And what Eugene Halliday refers to as the ‘three parts of [my] being’ (thinking, feeling, and willing) must remain as co-ordinated as I can manage… All this doesn’t happen to me that often by the way – but often enough to keep me ‘at it’, over the long haul….

So, I maintain that, if the affect of hearing someone speak to you does not develop your ‘being-potential’, then – in my view – the experience you have had, may well have been … ‘interesting’ … ‘pleasant’ … ‘enjoyable’, even … but the only criteria for you here, in cases like this will have been: a). How ‘interesting’ or ‘enjoyable’ …etc… was it? (“Most uplifting.” …”Food for thought there!” … “Moved me to tears!” …  etc …”) ‘, or b). How much of this experience you can remember that, at the time, seemed to be ‘smart’ or ‘helpful’ or ‘meaningful’ enough, such that you can relay it to others at a later date …Which will bolster the image, that both you and they have, that you are ‘someone in the know’…

Anyway, here’s an example of how I have worked, in part at least, on the particular word ‘form’.

‘Form’ is a word that Eugene Halliday made use of frequently…. I’ll miss out the part where I do the dictionary and etymological thing – other than to tell you that I do my ‘looking up’ here (and have done for a long time) using a digital version of the ‘Complete Oxford Dictionary’; a task that usually takes me all of about five minutes…and, I have to admit, doesn’t really seem to help me here…. Also, discovering that the word ‘form’ can be related to other words such as ‘shape’, or ‘to strike’, doesn’t get me moving either. Because, although I might find this information interesting in its own way I suppose, it is after all, hardly surprising – to me at least – that other ‘peoples of the world’ have their own word for ‘form’…. And anyway, it’s not as if anyone is claiming that the word ‘form’ is related say, to the word ‘lawn-mower’ – which I would really find interesting!…. Unfortunately then, as far as I’m concerned, considering these additional words only seems to provide me with (more) ‘information’ ….(“Hey! … ‘Information’ ….That’s a word that’s connected to ‘form’! … …  Look everybody!! … ‘Inform’ is ‘in-form’ ..I must remember that … It could be ….really useful … information …(?) …”). … ….

So, I use something else that Eugene Halliday said about words to keep me on track here; which was to the effect that, “If you change a word, then you change the form; and if you change the form, then you change the function.” … A nugget of wisdom that I fancy I can use…  And so, as a consequence, it’s strictly ‘one word at a time’ for me then.

Anyway, to make a start here …When I’m attempting to ‘work’ on a word, in order to make it more ‘active’ than it previously was, I do not first ‘think’ about the word itself too deeply – unless I am merely attempting to memorize information, or trying to do something strictly cerebral – such as trying to solve a mathematical problem, or the ‘Times’ crossword.

By far the most important consideration for me in developing any word  – such that it becomes an ‘active’ component in my vocabulary – is in the process of their actual initial selection by me… To this end then, I have the following little rule – It is only those words I use that I am satisfied can adequately describe my own experiences, which can subsequently become components of my own, personal, ‘active vocabulary’ … To put it another way, I attempt to add to my active vocabulary by considering only those relevant words that, as far as I am able, mirror, and illuminate, the ‘meaning’ of my experiences. … Because, I repeat, it is only these experiences of mine that can provide the substance (the ‘matter’) of those significant words (which I have used in this task) that can go on (perhaps) to become an ‘active’ component in my own vocabulary.

So it is not the ‘form’ of ‘words’ per se that, of themselves, produce (or pad-out) my ‘experiences’  – as this process of word assimilation can just as easily be used by me to manufacture mere opinions – or, more probably, wind… But it is only my experiences themselves that have the potential to produce those ‘active’ words; words that then ‘pin’ these experiences of mine in language… Or … You can only really talk ‘actively’ about those things that you have some experience of.

So I would maintain that the ‘meaning’ of ‘Form’ – where this word concerns my ‘active’ language then –  is my attempt to select those words that satisfactorily mirror my experience(s). Without experience then, I believe words are empty of ‘meaning’, but they will obviously still possess dictionary definitions and also etymologies, and they can still evoke  emotions, and still have the ability to inform – because groups of words produce concepts, and these can supply a being with ‘information’ – sometimes useful information – and this information can fly about inside a being, all over the place, and produce all sorts of interesting affects – but more often than not, it does nothing of the kind – it simply inflates what I refer to as the Persona (a component of what I refer to as the Ego).

‘Form’ from this aspect (hermeneutically) then, is ‘ the overall generic term I use for that collection of words (words order power) that illuminates the meaning of my experience(s) in language’, and it is not a word I use to describe ‘the shape of a triangle’ or anything like that …(I would not personally say,”‘the form of a triangle,” by the way, as the use of the word ‘form’ here seems to me to be ‘a bit over the top’) ..

The most interesting part of this subsequently for me though, is what now happens when I now hear the word ‘form’ being used by another person. Because I find that it’s now possible for me to quickly become aware of whether or not this word is grounded in this particular speaker’s experience(s); or if it is simply being used in an attempt to impress me, or supply some information.. If this is the case, the of course what is being said here can still be ‘true’, and might also prove to be useful.

‘Active language’ then, on this account, begins with experience. But as it is far more often the case that what is being said, is being said using ‘passive language’, what is experienced by the listener is, at best, ‘informed’ opinion, which is relatively easy to obtain by studying the work of others (an obvious example here would be the reading of a text book)  –  you only have to listen to any ‘expert’ to experience this, and for me this is qualitatively different from listening to  ‘active’ language.

The positive side of this way of looking at the acquisition of an ‘active language’, as far as I’m concerned? …

I realized a long time ago (because I find it obvious) that I am a being of limited experiences… Thus, from my viewpoint then, my ‘active’ language, will (thankfully) be limited to these experiences … The idea then of, say, attempting to become a ‘polymath’ or ‘renaissance man’ is not one that I find useful here  … and I prefer to leave projects like these to those who like competing in pub quizzes…

… I admit that it is possible to know a lot about a great deal …. but it is also blindingly obvious to me that it is also possible (and far more usual) to know absolutely nothing about one’s self… And this latter task is, I would argue –  in my case, certainly – the only valid reason for ‘being here’ … It’s ‘the only game in town’, you might say.

—————————————-

… Once again – it’s Your Turn…

In my last two posting, I first suggested that you might listen to Eugene Halliday’s talk ‘Words’ (recorded in Liverpool during the 1960’s), and then ‘Vocabulary’ (recorded some 10 – 20 years later, at an ISHVAL meeting)

I did post something on the blog Forum  re my own ‘interactions’ with ‘Words’ as promised, but I did not do so with the second suggested talk (‘Vocabulary’)… However, I will try to get around to this in the near future if I have time …

Anyway, here’s the third recording I’d like to suggest to you – it’s the final one regarding ‘active and passive forms of language’ from me here for the present, and it’s title is ‘The Value of Words’.

Like the first talk that I suggested you listen to, this one was also recorded in Liverpool during the 1960’s….

You can download an audio-file of this recording from the Eugene Halliday Archive Site. It is contained in the ‘Liverpool Archive Material’ section. Here’s the link:  Eugene Halliday Archive – Liverpool Audio Files

You can also download a transcription of this talk from Josh Hennessy’s site. Here’s the link:  Eugene Halliday – Transcripts of Talks

Next month I’ll be suggesting that you read something of Eugene Halliday’s on the subject of words

 

To be continued …..

Bob Hardy

December, 2012

 

“A particular offensive variant of the trickster shadow .. occurs when the man casts himself as the woman’s initiator, whereas in fact she is initiating him.”

Nathan Schwartz-Salant
 

Faust: “So still I seek the force, the reason governing life’s flow; and not just its external show.”

Devil:  “The governing force? The reason? Some things cannot be known; they are beyond your reach even when shown.”

Faust:  “Why should that be so?”

Devil:  “They lie outside the boundaries that words can address; and man can only know those thoughts which language can express.”

Faust: “What? Do you mean that words are greater yet than man?”

Devil: “Indeed they are.”

Faust: “Then what of longing, affection, pain or grief. I can’t describe these, yet I know they are in my breast. What are they?”

Devil: “Without substance, as mist is.”

Faust: “In that case man is only air as well.  [reads] What has made me thirst then to be instructed in those things that are more than thirst allows?”

Devil: “Your thirst is artificial, fostered by the arrogance in you. So look no further than all your human brothers do: sleep, eat, drink, and let that be sufficient.”

Faust: “Liar and foul traitor, where are the pulse and core of nature you promised to reveal? Where?”

Devil: “Faustus you lack the wit to see them in every blade of grass.”

From the script of the English translation of the 20th century
Czechoslovakian puppeteer-film animator Jan Svankmeyer’s
adaptation of the German play ‘Faust’, by Goethe….which
was a reworking of Christopher Marlowe’s English version
of a popular 16th century Central-European puppet-play .. !

 ___________________

 

What on earth have we all been up to?

For many Brits, from the late 1800’s of the fin-de-siècle and, I would say, up until the beginning of the Second World War at least, a belief in either vulgar ‘spiritualism’ (if you were a member of the lower orders and attended the odd seance or tarot reading for ‘a bit of a giggle’); or in a more refined ‘mysticism’, or the ‘occult’ (if you were higher up the pecking order and so might be a member of one of those ‘select orders’ such as ‘The Golden Dawn’), was (almost) mandatory.

Indeed, for much of this time, the ‘West’ – a culture that prided itself on being well into the ‘Enlightened’ phase of its development (the odd World War and occasional financial disaster not withstanding) – was a place where the imagination of its citizens could still indulge itself by day-dreaming about romantic fictions, like the ‘lost’ ancient mythical kingdoms of Atlantis and Lemuria, that were being promoted by self-styled ‘experts’ such as the American clairvoyant, Edgar Case; as well as roaming across large areas of a world that were still home to ‘primitive’, or ‘natural’, cultures – the inhabitants of which were apparently – according to those ‘in the know’ at least – still in touch with the ‘world beyond’.

These geographical areas included: ‘Darkest Africa’, with its ‘nature spirits’, malaria, ‘lost cities’, and cannibalism; Tibet, a country whose male citizens (at least) all appeared to be, either members of ‘The Himalayan Mountaineering Club’, or of some gigantic, mysterious, priest-hood – and let’s not forget the ‘Yeti’; the Australian outback, with its unique and exotic wild-life, its Aborigines with their unintelligible mythological ‘dream-time’, and later, Rolf Harris’s wobble-board; the desert of the nomadic Beduin, home to all things Ancient Egyptian, and of equally ancient sexually transmitted diseases;  the American ‘Untamed, West’ of the Red Indian, whose deceased tribal chiefs and powerful Medicine Men were employed by the ‘spiritual mediums’ of early-mid twentieth century Britain as ‘guides’ (with names like ‘White Cloud’), who apparently had ‘crossed over’, and so were now able to function as intermediaries  … (“Knock twice for Auntie Mabel.”) … I often wonder what eventually became of these unfortunate Native Americans. Did they all move on to ‘prairies new’ in order to hunt the celestial buffalo perhaps? … Or was it that they had simply become an embarrassment, or (heaven forbid) merely unfashionable?

During the period immediately following the Second World War (a period known as the ‘Cold War’) we witnessed the emergence of a belief in ‘superior evolved beings’ – usually sexless, and benign, or malevolent, take your pick – from other worlds. Most of them seemed to have been, from ‘first-hand accounts’ extremely ‘evolved mentally’ – which unfortunately, from the descriptions given, make them all look as if they were suffering simultaneously from, dwarfism; hydrocephalus; and a very bad case of ‘shrivel-dick’… Why it was assumed that advanced evolution would result in beings who eventually all looking like Daleks is beyond me ….    Along with this extra-terrestial stuff came the inevitable partner in this crime, ‘the UFO phenomena’, that thankfully, since the mass ownership of video cameras and smart phones, have all but disappeared…. On the other hand, at precisely the same time, our sworn enemies on the other side of the Iron-Curtain were desperately attempting to develop the psionic abilities of hapless members of its proletariat, and (of course) place these ‘abilities’ on a firm materialistic footing… None of all that Western, degenerate, esoteric rubbish – foisted on the helpless masses by a degenerate, running-dog, capitalistic elite – for the Politburo!

In the 1950’s a young man by the name of Cyril Henry Hoskins, from Plymton, Devon, UK – known to one and all as Lobsang Rampa – selected Tibet as his mise-en-scene and wrote a number of best selling paper-backs – with titles such as ‘The Third Eye’ –  containing various ‘accounts’ of Astral travel and of other ‘occult powers, possessed by the mysterious priests who inhabited those monasteries referred to somewhere in the above paragraphs .. His last book in this series, he claims, was dictated to him by his cat … Which, if nothing else, illustrates the distinct advantage over our feline friends that natural selection gave us. Human beings with hands that featured opposable thumbs allowing us to hold a pen, and so actually write the damn thing ..

This was followed in the 1960’s by, for example, the writings of Peruvian-born Carlos Castaneda, who, while still a student at UCLA, used his various accounts of the American South-West (notably Arizona) together with his notes on the ‘teachings’ of a Yaqui shaman by the name of Don Juan (a man who really seems to have known how to ‘role a joint’) to write a number of best sellers… Castaneda eventually received his PhD in Anthropology (no less) for these efforts.

The early 1970’s saw the wider UK  public embracing all things ‘martially artistic’ with the arrival in 1972 of Kung Fu, an American TV series that was imported into the UK, and starred David Carradine as the Shaolin monk Kwai Chang Caine, a kung Fu expert who was tutored by blind ‘Master Po’ (I was forever referring to him as ‘Blind Pew’ – which shows you where my head was at). The commencment of this series also coincided, roughly, with Bruce Lee’s arrival as a major player on the international movie scene – it was Lee incidentally who appears to have been the one who originally pitched the story outline for Kung Fu  to American TV executives before he hit the big-time …  

And while the ‘Martial Arts’, in and of themselves, are clearly not ‘spiritual’ (try getting your head round the fact that many Chinese Emperors preferred to employ Buddhist monks as their ‘heavies’, or ‘Imperial Guards’)  they did eventually get lumbered with some pretty weird stuff, particularly in the West – such as a way to become ‘non-violent’.. which always seemed a somewhat roundabout, and profoundly suspicious way, of going about this to me…i would have thought taking up knitting, or sky-diving would have been more appropriate here …. I will also mention that this was also the period when Richard Hittleman’s ‘Yoga’ series also hit the big time in the UK (but I’ve covered that in an earlier post).

And what about the rash of ‘alien abduction’ accounts we were subjected to – most of which included an extremely absorbing, micro-detailed, account of ‘anal probing’? … Accounts that seemed to proliferate rapidly via what I like to refer to as the, “I know somebody, who met somebody, who’s mother overheard somebody claiming etc. method”… This version of ‘mysterious happenings’ was very popular in the late 1980’s (and on into the 1990’s)…. Around about the same time that movies such as ‘Close Encounters..’, and TV series like ‘The X Files’ were extremely popular …and let’s not forget ‘Roswell’…or those mysterious ‘crop circles’ …

If we move forward into the second millennium, we can still find masses of this material being produced – from the accounts of ‘Indigo Children’; to the seemingly endless pseudo-science plagues we have been the victims of for the past few decades – many based upon a profound (and for jaded individuals like me – unintentionally hilarious) mis-representation of Quantum Mechanics. (“Yes, but how do you know there isn’t ‘somewhere’ where two plus two doesn’t equal four?” … … Ooooooh!)

And this is merely scratching the surface …

For me, it is psychological forces, rather than supernatural forces (which in my opinion are an archaic fiction) that are the prime movers here. But this doesn’t mean that I have accepted an all-the-way-down-rationalist-scientific epistemology that claims to refer to some ‘objective reality out there’, and that can, in principle, be ‘known’ by a subject, who, by ‘logical reasoning’ can express this reality simply by using words, which they have subsequently structured in order to provide themselves with the ontological basis that subsequently informs their epistemic beliefs… even if the words they use form the vocabulary of an extremely, difficult to acquire, specialized language, such as mathematics.

 So, as I say then …. I am not a ‘hard objectivist’ ….

What I see the scientific community doing, is positing their own version of an ‘objective reality’ as a form of dogmatic ‘certainty’ … because they have discovered that viewing existence in this way confers a high degree of predictability over those material events that they, as a consequence, now insist really, truly, truly, exist ‘out there’.

Such that … if I ‘buy into’ this particular scenario, that is … even though I now appear to have the advantage of being democratically perceived as one of the experiencing subjects here (which, I do admit, in principle at least, appears to have gotten rid of those problems that the authoritarian-hierarchical-religious/class-system approach we have all suffered under in the West for the past millennium or so, brought with it) – none the less still leaves me with my original problem … The problem that – although this is now ‘all very nice’ – regrettably I still do not experience myself as (at long last) having finally ‘arrived’ anywhere, or of being at the ‘foundation’ of anything … at least in the way that those pushing this stuff on me insist I now should be – although I do think it’s a great idea! ….

Rather, I experience myself as being even more firmly the prisoner of language, and of living in – an admittedly benign version of – Orwell’s ‘1984’ … So that I now, more than ever, ‘suspect’ that it is this language, of itself, that has produced this illusion (a subject very dear to my heart) that there is a stable, central identity (me) ‘in here’ which functions as a receptacle – a ‘finishing post’ if you will – for the accumulation of all this scientific ‘knowledge’ that it is claimed is quite definitely discoverable ‘out there’, through the  imposition on me, of a disciplined, subjective, systematized ‘representation’ by me, of this ‘objective reality’…. A wonderful example of DIY.

And that it is only by way of me blindly accepting that this process is able – in principle at least so I’m told – to construct the ‘Absolute Truth’ … (which actually … even if this were the case … is something I am certain that I am not personally equipped to deal with) which gives me this experience of any relative ‘certainty’ here, along the way… (By the way – a free word of advice – using words like ‘certainty’ nearly always turns out to be a lousy idea.)….

 … As one great Irishman was won’t to put it then, you could say that, “It’s the way I tell ’em!” – whoever this authoritative ‘I’ happens to be, at any one particular moment.

The actual view that I have of myself must admit then, that even though there are forces emanating from ‘out there’ (culture, customs, language etc.) that are pivotal to the construction of this ‘me’, these ‘forces’ do not appear (to ‘me’) to constitute any ‘universal truth(s)’…. But they are, rather, ‘simply’ relative truths …. More usefully viewed by me as power relationships … And that these are acting upon me as the ‘subject’ in all this.

So that then, a further component in the ever-present problem of ‘Working’ – as far as I can see, from this perspective at least – involves resisting, or reaffirming, or denying, or transforming, these relationships, through the exercise of (what I am pleased to refer to as) my free will.

Further, I seriously doubt that life would be bearable without some small area (at the very least) of ‘no-man’s land’ … an area that ‘comes to be’ as a direct consequence of this experience of ‘being’ that I have… An experience that is patched together from my very own pot-puree of relative truths, and which then constitutes my own personal side of the border of this ‘no-man’s land’ – this unresolved ‘distance’ between what it is that constitutes ‘the real’, and my experiences of it….

This ‘no-man’s land’ is a place where what I refer to as, ‘the soft-focus that characterizes this critical area’, makes its appearance. … A place that thankfully serves to mediate the affects of experiencing more than I am able to handle of ‘what is really going on’, but that, even so, I still find myself struggling against, whenever I  try to shrink it’s ‘size’ down still further – in my attempts to discover ‘deeper, truths’ … An attempt by me that only ever sees me experiencing ‘reality’ as something that is actively resisting these efforts of mine to ‘perceive it’, or ‘to come to grips with’ it …

 … But this struggle of mine is far more bearable to me than having to deal with the various versions of ‘the true picture’ that so many others out there appear to be either completely obsessed with, or worse, are determined to shove down the throats of the rest of us ….A version of events they desperately insist (and often. in the historical  past, by employing violence to do so; but more recently  by what I am pleased to refer to as a ‘smiley slime-ball’ approach) they are all ‘so certain’ is actually ‘going on out there’… … 

…. Talk about a ‘Tacit Conspiracy’! …

—————————————————–

From ‘NOCTURNAL EMISSIONS’
‘Random Dribblings from the Twilight World of the Undead’
by Bob Hardy
A series of Fragments from Bob Hardy’s notebooks – from the late-1970’s to date
 

… And Now It’s Your Turn … Again!

In my last posting, I suggested you might start with Eugene Halliday’s talk ‘Words’. This was recorded in Liverpool during the 1960’s, and I should mention here that the title of it – as with all the talks from that period – was not selected by Eugene Halliday.

The restoration of the source material that constitutes most of this section of the Archive  – which is available for free downloading from the Liverpool section of the Eugene Halliday archive –  was done by Ken Ratcliffe’s son-in-law, Richard Milligan, who, I understand, also selected the titles for many of these restored recordings.

Some 10 – 20 years later, at an ISHVAL meeting, Eugene gave the talk that I would like to suggest you listen to this month –   ‘Vocabulary’. I would add here that Eugene Halliday was almost certainly  involved in selecting this title, or at least of giving his approval to it.

On listening to this talk you might, for example, like to consider whether or not you find the that those major ideas which Eugene Halliday presents here, are consistent with those ideas that he presented in his early talk ‘Words’ .

As with the recording of ‘Words’ that I suggested you listen to in last month post, I will continue describing my own ‘interactions’ with this recording of ‘Vocabulary’, in the Forum section of this blog, sometime during December .

 

To be continued …..

Bob Hardy

November 2012

 

I came to realize that my passive … What shall I call it?  … ‘Ingestings’ … of the meaning of most of those words that I happened to be reading or listening to during any one ‘sitting’, took place so quickly that the process was – to all intents and purposes – instantaneous; and also, that the very complexity of the process itself was extremely difficult for me to observe ‘in the moment’.…

Furthermore, I now see that this is only half of the problem. Because I have come to understand that the inertic qualities of those ‘passive meanings’ that I ingested (probably because I ‘just fancied’ the ideas that they encouraged) actually served to reinforce my difficulties here….. That is – those ‘passive, ingested, meanings’  become a series of further obstacles that I had, in effect, imposed upon myself .

… And, as these latest, self-imposed, ‘passive’ components of my thinking processes simply clouded,  reinforced, and distorted, attempts by me to perceive the world with any clarity – so, ultimately then, they only served to further restrict my ‘free will’….

It is essential, therefore, that I at least attempt to take responsibility here for my inability to move forward…. That is, if things are ever really going to change for me. … But I am, first of all, going to have to admit that for the majority of the time at least, I have been going round in circles … … …  Surprise, surprise!

So … What to do? …

Any attempt by me to mediate these affects – even partially – seems to require an enormous amount of work on my part, such that making any real progress here doesn’t appear to be worth the effort involved …

However, I am encouraged, when I recall the following example of how this – in part at least – ‘self-imposed, conditioned, state’ that I know myself to be in, can be almost instantaneously illuminated – and so ‘loosened’ somewhat – by humor … And in the ‘space’ thus created for this brief moment, I get a glimpse my real ‘Self’, now almost entirely obscured behind that culturally inflated image I originally constructed simply to make it easier for me to navigate my way around others , but that now – for the most part – experiences the world in my  stead … … in my virtual absence  ….

Consider the following well-known ‘chestnut’… This is a piece of popular prose that is trotted out by many of those who fancy themselves to be ‘on the path’, in order to present themselves to others, as ‘deep’. … Those unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end of these (thankfully brief) recitations, will almost invariably nod their heads sagely, and with that requisite stereotypically pained, and pseudo-reflective, grimace, mutter something about, “The profundity of it all … “

‘The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
 Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
 Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
 Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it’
                                                        Omar Khayyam

Like many others that I have met, I appear to have conditioned myself to react towards material like this with a ‘pre-programmed’ reverence… A reverence that is, for my part at least, by and large bogus – but which I have fallen into the habit of identifying with … …

 … Anyway … Having previously ‘ingested’ this rhyme, together with all the cultural baggage that goes along with it. Imagine my delight, when – in this particular instance at least – the spell was shattered, and I was able to jettison my pseudo-admiration here, and (more importantly), be aware of myself ‘in the moment’ doing just that – as I witnessed a far more profound ‘version’ of this piece by ‘Eric and Ernie’ (no less), in one of their many ‘Ernie the Playwright’ sketches …..

Ernie: ‘The moving finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: …..
 
Eric: …… And writes another bit!’
                                                ‘The Morcombe and Wise Show’
                                                  (British TV Comedy series)

———————————

Never mind the letters contained in the written word.  What about the spaces?

God is now here

God is nowhere

 Never mind the letters, or the spaces either! What about the position on the page? …  …  Here, it is claimed (by some experts in the field at least) is the best-known shortest sentence in all of  ‘English Literature’….  It’s the beginning of Chapter One of Herman Melville’s ‘Moby Dick’ (or ‘The Whale’) … and its purpose is to introduce us to the ‘narrator’ of this tale:

 ‘Call me Ishmael.’

 But what would you make of this same sentence, if you found it on your desktop like this? 

Call me Ishmael

 

—————————————————–

From ‘NOCTURNAL EMISSIONS’
 ‘Random Dribblings from the Twilight World of the Undead’
by Bob Hardy
A series of fragments from Bob Hardy’s notebooks – from the late-1970’s to date.

 

… And Now It’s Your Turn

If you are interested in working with Eugene’s Halliday’s material, I’d like to suggest that you begin by listening to the recording of  his talk, ‘Words’.

See ‘how you get on with it’. It might be that you find that you can only understand parts of it; or that you don’t see the point of any of it; or you might feel frustrated because Eugene Halliday has made assumptions regarding familiarity with some of his other concepts, and so doesn’t bother to clarify them here – probably because those present at this talk were already familiar with them. … … So – where it concerns this talk – What is ‘missing’ in it for you? … What needs clarifying? … Is this how things in the world seem to you? .. Do you find yourself radically disagreeing with what Eugene Halliday is saying here? …. Is it all just ‘too confusing’ for you? … etc.

You can download an audio-file of this recording from the Eugene Halliday Archive Site, in the ‘Liverpool Archive Material’ section.

Here’s the link:  http://www.eugenehallidayarchive.info/audio_liv.htm

You can also download a transcription of this talk from Josh Hennessy’s site.

Here’s the link:  http://www.eugene-halliday.net/download_transcripts.htm

If you have any problems gaining access to this material at either of these two sites, you can contact me, regarding problems with the Archive here; or contact Josh, regarding problems with the transcripts here,  and we’ll do our best to get you sorted out

Here’s some additional, relevant, material from Eugene Hallday’s writings that you might like to bear in mind:

That words are built up of letters does not mean that the individual letters individually and separately are prior to the words or that which they signify. Words begin as sounds arising from the complex psychic states which move into expression in an expulsion of breath. The feeling assessment precedes the emotional expression which expels the breath and articulates it as words.  We do not define words by the letters which constitute them, but we define the words and the letters from the state of being which gave them utterance.

Before I write a word I hear it. Before I hear it, I do not know what it is, what it is going to be. It is a primary datum, a ‘given’ in my consciousness. Where it comes from is not defined, but that undefined has power to define, and does define the words that are heard and writ­ten. One is so used to accepting words ‘given’ in consciousness, and to accepting them as ideas or thoughts, that one tends to go straight to their sig­nificance, their reference value, and to forget that the words are there from the moment of their being ‘given’. We tend to think that our thinking is other than our mental ‘word-manipulating’.

Here’s another one:

A thing is said to be defined when its limits are detectable … When we define a word we are indicating the limit of its application. This is most important to understand. We do not define things with our words; the things are, if they exist, already defined by the fact of their existence. What we define when we define a word, is the limits of its application

… All things, situations and events which exist for our consciousness are defined by their existence. One of the groups of elements in our consciousness we call ‘words’. A word is an element in our consciousness which we use to order other elements. A word is a sound or sign other than itself. By a word we indicate on what elements of consciousness we shall concentrate our attention. The word orders the content of consciousness, and possibly of unconsciousness also.

I would add here that simply researching the definition and etymological root of words, will not magically  ‘move them over’ from the ‘passive’ area of your linguistic abilities, to your shiny, new, ‘active’ area. …. Because, if this were the case, we might find that we were forced to include – in the list of those people who possessed an ‘active’ language – those who were very good at ‘The Times’ crossword, for example …. and that would obviously be really dumb …  …. Even so, I did find this approach to be a perfect starting point for me, so  that’s why I’m suggesting it here … That … and the fact that I obviously, therefore, have no practical experience of starting anywhere else! … Plus, at the moment I am not aware of any accounts of others where it concerns their ‘starting point’ here – what concepts of his that they began with etc. … Although I have met a few others who clearly believe that they did start working with Eugene Halliday’s ideas some time ago and that they are now ‘somewhere along’ here … wherever they imagine that is ….

I believe that this method definitely improved my vocabulary skills (and I am sure that it will improve yours), but I also discovered that it was no guarantee for any necessary increase in my ‘active’ vocabulary … so I’m also guessing here that it won’t necessarily improve yours… Indeed, I believe that for this to happen, something else … vital … needs to be added to the mix… Mysterious alchemy indeed!!!

… Later with that though.

‘Inside the Eugene Halliday Archive’ Forum.

In case you may want to discuss your reactions to, or your ideas arising from, working with the talk suggested here – or with any other material of Eugene Halliday’s that I will be suggesting in the future, I have set up an area to do just this in the Blog Forum.

This forum is accessed by clicking on the tab that is located directly underneath the header picture which you will find at the top of this page.

To contribute to this forum, however, you must be a subscriber to this blog.

Josh Hennessy has agreed to act as a moderator for this ‘Discussion Area’

I will submit a post for this particular talk on the Forum, simply in order to get the ball rolling, and you are welcome to join in …..

To be continued ……..

Bob Hardy

October 2012

 
‘Interlude.’

 (This short piece should take no more than approximately five minutes.

 Scene: A slow fade-up reveals part of a military briefing room, the backdrop representing one of the room’s walls, the top half of which is painted a cream color, and the bottom half ‘bottle green’. This wall includes a door, a large window, and a dozen or so clothes-hooks on which are hanging six old-fashioned, military-style, caps. There is also a large, official looking, poster pasted onto the wall portraying the image of a young man’s head, wearing one of the military-style caps. He is smiling, with his mouth partly open. Directly underneath this image, in bold letters, are printed the words, ‘KEEP TALKING!’ .

From time to time, throughout the scene, we hear a number of explosions; sporadic gunfire; and vague yelling. We can also see occasional flashes through the window, which serve to further light up the scene.

 Just in front of this wall is an old fashioned large portable blackboard on which is written, in white chalk, the heading WOPUnder this, in slightly smaller letters, are the words – Words Order Power.

 Directly under this heading, in cursive script, are the following instructions:

 ‘Listen closely to the recording, and transcribe – in your regulation notebooks – this month’s list of words, together with both their respective spellings, and their authorized definitions.

 You must memorize these words, and then practice using them ‘in situ’ – before presenting a verbal account of your experiences to your group at the end of the current period.’

 There is a table in front of the blackboard, on which is standing a old-fashioned, large, military-style radio, through which we can hear Him reciting the following list of words – together with their respective spellings and definitions.

His voice sounds metallic, and from time to time the signal itself crackles and fades, before returning to full volume.  He begins reciting the list a few seconds after the fade-up is completed).

  • Acosmist: A-C-O-S-M-I-S-T – One who denies the existence of the universe or its distinctness from God.
  • Adhocracy: A-D-H-O-C-R-A-C-Y – Bureaucracy characterized by inconsistency and lack of planning.
  •  Adiabolist: A-D-I-A-B-O-L-I-S – One who does not believe in the existence of a Devil.
  • Adoxography: A-D-O-X-O-G-R-A-P-H-Y – Erudite writing about an unimportant subject.
  •  Aeolist: A-E-O-L-I-S-T – A pretender to inspiration or spiritual regeneration.
  •  Afflatus: A-F-F-L-A-T-U-S -The miraculous communication of supernatural knowledge; creative power of divine origin.
  •  Agathocacological: A-G-A-T-H-O-C-A-C-O-L-O-G-I-C-A-L – Composed of both good and evil.
  •  Agiotage: A-G-I-O-T-A-G – Speculation on the stock market.
  •  Agogic: A-G-O-G-I-C – Pertaining to the making of wax models.
  •  Agrapha: A-G-R-A-P-H-A – The collective name for phrases which are often quoted, and attributed to Jesus – who never actually said them.
  •  Altiloquent: A-N-T-I-L-O-Q-U-E-N-T – using high or pompous language.
  •  Amphigory: A-M-P-H-I-G-O-R-Y – A poem that seems profound but is really complete nonsense.
  •  Anonymuncule: A-N-O-N-Y-M-U-N-C-U-L-E – a petty anonymous writer.
  •  Anthropolatry: A-N-T-H-R-O-P-O-L-A-T-R-Y – Man-worship; the giving of divine honors to a human being.
  •  Apodyopsis A-P-O-D-Y-O-P-S-I-S – The act of mentally undressing someone.
  •  Aporia: A-P-O-R-I – The feeling you have when you can’t solve a problem
  •  Auriate: A-U-R-I-A-T-E – Pertaining to the fancy, or flowery, words used by poets
  •  Autodidact: A-U-T-O-D-I-D-A-C-T  – A person who has taught themselves
  •  Autology: A-U-T-O-L-O-G-Y – The study of oneself
  •  Autovoxiphillia A-U-T-O-V-O-X-I-P-H-I-L-L-I-A – Love of one’s own voice

 (There is a pause before the playback of this list begins once again) …

  •  Acosmist: A-C-O-S-M-I-S-T – One who denies the existence of the universe or its distinctness from God.
  • Adhocracy: A-D-H-O-C-R-A-C-Y – Bureaucracy characterized by inconsistency and lack of planning. … … .

 (As the list begins again, the scene gradually fades to black-out)

 From ‘Field-notes for Armageddon’ by Bob Hardy

Menu du Jour (Menu of the Day).

 Soupe de Mots (Word Soup).

 Just to remind visitors here: this blog contains accounts of my various attempts at interacting with some of Eugene Halliday’s concepts over the past 35 years or so. These concepts are contained in files of the various audio recording of his talks, and also in his writings; these are freely downloadable from the Eugene Halliday Archive….(For more information, please go to the ‘About’ page of this blog)  … I have found a number of Eugene Halliday’s concepts extremely important and useful to me, and many more of his ideas thought-provoking enough to engage me in subjects I believe I would not have considered examining had I not been introduced to them through his ideas .. .And I repeat, once again, that in my view Eugene Halliday was a remarkable, extraordinary, human being … and nothing more…

Note: To bear in mind here … My sense of the meaning of the verb, ‘to believe’, is ‘to live as if’. (After Eugene Halliday, and, to some extent, Austin Osman Spare).

Hopefully you will now be consciously aware – to some degree at least – that spoken language can not only provide you with information (facts; data; form; ideas; concepts, etc) but can also profoundly influence (and thus, possibly, control) your emotional states… Which, I suggest, should give you some cause for concern..!

I want to make my position very clear here, ‘speech acts’ will, at the very least, always produce changes in the listener’s emotional states.

In my experience, the individual will not usually be consciously (rationally) aware of this affect ‘in the moment’ (unless they have made a deliberate attempt to do so, by, for example, practicing techniques in order to acquire this ability), and so they will always be in a relatively passive state here – even if they are a participant in the particular dialogue in question.

But this state of affairs doesn’t necessarily mean that the other person speaking here has an ‘active’ language either. Rather, it is far more probable that they are both victims of the particular emotional state that they happen to find themselves in at the time … Although both are very likely to insist (perhaps vehemently in some cases), if questioned,  that they are in fact, “Completely in charge, and fully aware of what is going on, thank you!” …

I think it is far more likely though, that what they actually are, is ‘fully engaged’ – which is not the same thing at all, in my experience.

To put this situation ‘in the vernacular’, as it were: It’s not so much that they can’t wake up; it’s more the case that they don’t realize that they’re asleep….

In the specific case of my own experiences with this exercise, the ability to be aware of my own emotional ‘trajectory’ when attending to another person’s spoken language, took a lot of practice. … In fact, even when I had ‘decided’ that I was going to practice this exercise, it was a week or two before I could remember to do so at all – even very occasionally…. Never mind attempting to ‘have a go at doing it properly’… And even when I did manage to initiate any practice regime here, I would, almost immediately, fall flat on my face …  This state of affairs seemed to drag on for ages, but I eventually did manage to get the hang of it, and I would maintain that I am now a whole lot better at it .. Although I do have to monitor my social interactions even now, that is, if I want to ‘keep my awareness going’ for any appreciable length of time…(I am something of a ‘loner’ … But quite good at covering the fact up)… I still seem to get ‘wound up’ though, if I’m not careful … …Hard to believe that, I know, but there it is…

Of course, I found the task of monitoring my emotional states alone relatively easy to do, as I could practice this by sitting comfortably in a prepared environment with no distractions (such as the odd phone-call) to interrupt me; or in the time between going to bed and falling sleep. But I soon stopped using this approach to make progress, because it didn’t seem to be that useful to me in my day-to-day life. … And, more importantly, practicing in this way presented me with the temptation not  to ‘engage’, as, for me, one of the side-affects of doing this particular exercise was that I was very quickly developing the ability to become ‘detached’ … Not a good place to be in my case, I believe.

In practice, even in ‘real life’ situations’, you should very quickly experience some minor degree of control here – although you will not have any success at all if what is being said to you is having such a marked affect on you that you are unable to maintain your focus (you become too emotionally involved) – a condition that Eugene might describe as ‘identifying with the stimulus’.

And I should also tell you that this ‘awareness’ you’re attempting to introduce here will immediately become an active component of the experience itself – and, as a direct consequence therefore, will fundamentally alter the nature of this experience. (This ‘awareness’ you are consciously attempting to introduce here behaves rather like a  ‘catalyst’ – to use Eugene’s terminology).

My own technique here involved trying to filter out the ‘sense’ of what someone was saying to me if I could, and instead attempt to focus on other aspects of what I was hearing (changes in volume; changes in tone; changes in timbre; and the fluctuating change in the pace of the discourse).

NOTE: The question as to whether or not the person that you are listening to, in this scenario, might also be, somehow, passive (acting under the influence of their own changing emotional states) is not the issue here. But the short answer here is, that in the overwhelming majority of cases at least, “Yes, they probably will be” … There are, however, major, and very important, exceptions to this…. But that’s for a later post  🙂

Why did I decide to do this exercise? … Because in the ‘here and now’ I was becoming increasingly aware that these aspects of spoken language were of major significance in producing continuous emotional changes in me, and that it was essential for me to gain some degree of control here – if I was ever going to move on, that is. … I needed to become more ‘self’ conscious (that’s ‘self’ with a small ‘s’ by the way) – might be another way of putting it.

One positive aspect of this practice was that I found this growing awareness of the parameters of my own … ‘integument’ … here quite liberating… Although I couldn’t help suspecting that, somehow, there was a voyeuristic element to all this …

I am also maintaining here, that even if what is being said to you is, by and large, incomprehensible (so, in some sense, lacking formal content as far as you’re concerned) you could, none the less, still be experiencing (for example) profound irritation on the one hand: or a ‘warm fuzzy glow’ on the other.

…Another great way to practice observing this change of state in yourself, is to listen to someone speaking in a foreign language. (How many times have you heard someone say, for instance, that, “French sounded ‘sexy'”, or that, “German sounded ‘harsh'”?)

You can also practice your awareness of the power of the spoken word to profoundly influence you in ways that you are not consciously aware of in the moment, by comparing your reaction when listening to old people speak, to your reaction when listening to young people speak… That is, are you (perhaps before anything is said) affected by the speaker’s age? (Do you tend to feel, for instance, somewhat dismissive if the person supplying information to you is in their early teens but are more inclined to believe someone if they possess a more confident, mature, voice). How about gender? Do you find yourself reacting differently to the same information given to you by a male, and by a female. … How about when listening to someone from a different social background (that is, of course, assuming that you still haven’t yet managed free yourself from this form of, somewhat archaic, cultural conditioning) …

Finally, try listening and watching foreign films, and then notice, for example, how pleased with yourself you become when you’ve convinced yourself that you have, “Managed to figure out what they are saying to each other,” even though you will freely admit that you, “didn’t really understand a word!”

Looking at how language ‘operates’ in this way, might also help you to understand how it is that many of those people who enjoy watching ‘TV Scientist-Celebrities’ – those who are skilled in making use of simple metaphors to describe a complex subject such as Quantum Physics; but where it would be reasonable to expect a significant level of mathematical ‘know-how’ in order to understand any in-depth explanation (rather than a simple description) – can delude themselves into believing that they now, somehow, have far more of an appreciation of  the subject than is actually the case!

It is, I believe, relatively easy to check if you have a reasonable, elementary, grasp of a particular subject (say for example: ‘Religious Studies’, or ‘Art Appreciation’; or ‘Science’; or ‘General Philosophy’). And that is, to download copies of last year’s state exam papers (say, the relevant GCSE ‘O’ level papers) and have a go at answering the questions yourself. … And, as I’m sure you would expect any suitably engaged, 16 year-old, schoolboy or schoolgirl of average intelligence to be able to answer these questions, you clearly have a straightforward, ideal way, of seeing if you measure up to your own standards here  … And if you find that you don’t … Well ….Maybe you should think again about your level of understanding …..

From this very common example can you appreciate why I maintain – that for the overwhelming majority of people at least – the ‘feeling’ of knowing has a much stronger influence on their belief systems than the ‘knowing’ of knowing?. … And, as a consequence, that if you can manipulate their emotional experiences, you can get them to do practically everything. Think of being persuaded to become a member of the staff in a WWII concentration camp; or of being Swedish, and wandering around Newcastle, dressed as a Buddhist monk … Or, if you believe you’re immune from this sort of conditioning, imagine your reaction if the Dali Lama turning up for a TV interview wearing a leather biker jacket, T-shirt, jeans, cowboy boots, and shades … (Well of course he wouldn’t, would he? … Because he’s already got his own special uniform).

Consequently, a part of what I am doing here, is describing how it is that experiencing the results of these exercises for yourself will allow you to properly understand that dragging your normal, everyday, experiences (and not some artificial, contrived situation) into consciousness, is the only real way that you can move forward here…

In my own case, I have always found it far more difficult to monitor my  emotional states when I am speaking normally with others (as I tend to ‘engage’ very quickly) than when I was teaching, or when I was performing – where I found it relatively easier, because I think these scenarios are both, in some sense, artificial, controlled, contrived, and in part ritualistic…

So – ‘work’ towards the ability to focus upon the awareness of the emotional contents of your everyday  conversations …

OK … What’s next? ….

Well … what you now have to do, is to make a concerted attempt to reintroduce that formal, intellectual, component of speech-communication that you were only just, in the previous exercises, attempting to filter out !! .. The purpose of this? … To develop the ability to focus on two things at the same time…

Well… … …  ‘Sort of’, anyway…

I have to tell you now, I don’t believe that focussing on two things at once can be done in the ‘here and now’ …Rather, what you have to do is develop the ability to very rapidly switch between focussing on your awareness of any intellectual content that you are picking up, and on your awareness of how you feel about it.

In my experience, anyone can retrospectively review their ‘feelings’ towards a recent situation, and so provide an answer to the question, “How did you feel about that?” But I would not personally recommend this approach, as I have, almost always, found that the answer given will invariably have been heavily edited and revised by the person’s ‘persona’, to bring it in line with the manner in which they wish to be socially perceived. (By the way, I am using the term ‘persona’ here in its Jungian sense). What we must do here instead, is attempt to provide an answer to the above question immediately, in the ‘here and now’ – this answer will almost certainly be somewhat different … ‘funkier’ …you might say. … I would also add here, that any retrospective account will, almost certainly, only serve to reinforce those very negative aspects of personality that actually need working on; and that the person doing this revision is therefore, as it were, merely digging themselves into a deeper pit.

The ability to be aware of oneself ‘in the moment’ is a technique that I maintain Eugene Halliday provided his own instructions for developing, particularly in his essay, ‘Reflexive Self-Consciousness’, and I will be dealing with my ‘take’ on this essay in a future post…  I would mention here though, that my understanding of ‘Reflexive Self-Consciousness’ appears to me to be completely different, in both meaning and purpose, to most of the material that I have come across from others on this particular subject,  …. Anyway, that’s for a later posting.

The idea of  ‘passive’ and an ‘active’ forms of language has been around for a very long time by the way. The art of rhetoric was known to the Ancient Greeks, with perhaps Aristotle’s view – that it was the ability to develop an affective technique in ‘persuading others’ – which is the most familiar today. … But I have to admit here that this any in-depth study of this subject might have ‘slipped under my radar’ if it hadn’t been for, what I see as, the central position given to the understanding of this technique by Eugene Halliday … and also to have been able to observe him at first-hand exercising his obvious (to me) undoubted skill in employing it.

That said, perhaps the clearest (and I have to say the ‘creepiest’) contemporary example in modern literature for me, of this attempt to develop ‘active’ and ‘passive’ forms of language, is given in George Orwell’s ‘1984’, with its ‘Big Brother’ personality cult; ‘Thoughtcrimes’; and ‘Newspeak’ (a description of which, by Orwell, is contained in the ‘appendix’ of his novel)… But researching any accounts of, for example: ‘brainwashing techniques’; ‘indoctrination’; or an understanding of the formation of cults, such as ‘Scientology’; or (from a psychological perspective) the mechanism of ‘repression’ – from the viewpoint of ‘active’ and ‘passive’ forms of language, should all provide a wealth of useful background information here, if you care to research this subject further.

By the way, just because you might be becoming more aware that ‘speech acts’ contain ideas and concepts, doesn’t necessarily mean that you will understand these ideas and concepts; any more that being aware of changes in your emotional landscape means that these changes are, say, undesirable … The intention here is just to practice being aware that attending to a ‘speech act’ means that these two components of that ‘speech act’ are now present in you.  So it’s not so much about what the ‘actual’ contents of these ‘speech acts’ are then – it’s purely about your awareness here. That is, your conscious apprehension of that fact.

Anyway … It is of course entirely up to you how much work you do with Eugene’s concepts of ‘active’ and ‘passive’ forms of language; or how you personally view any attempts you might make here….But if you would like to discuss any of your own practical experiences arising from your attempts to work in this area, I would be happy to do so on the forum section of this blog.

Finally, for this post at least…Back to ‘Yes’ and ‘No’.

From your own perspective, and where it concerns your understanding of Eugene Halliday’s concepts of the ‘passive’ and ‘active’ forms of language, what do you make of the following two video clips? … …. … I understand from someone who lived with Eugene Halliday for over 20 years, that he was in the habit of watching TV from time to time; and that he would comment on the programs in ways that would make those watching with him almost believe that they were watching something else! … Can you ‘unpack’ your experiences when watching these two clips, and offer an explanation as to what is going on that gets you past the obvious, common, interpretation(s) ..

‘Take Your Pick’ – The Yes/No Interlude

“It’s A Long Distance ….”

‘Hubble bubble, toil and trouble’

To be continued …………

Bob Hardy

September 2012

 

 

(Scene: We see him, conventionally dressed, standing in front of a large presentation-screen. Onto this screen, from time to time – and with the aid of a remote control that he is holding in his right hand – he projects files from his laptop, which we can see on a small table situated to the left of the screen. When he wishes to change the file, he gesticulates extravagantly with his right hand. He addresses his audience through a modern wireless microphone, the end of which we can just make out to the side of his mouth. To the right of the screen is a large comfortable looking armchair that looks completely out of place, on which we can see a large book. As he talks to his ‘audience’ he walks continually from stage left to stage right. He makes use of both his hands and arms a great deal during his presentation, but his movements are clumsy. He turns to face the audience and begins speaking).

I find it interesting so many of you believe that the oldest commodity in the world is ‘sex’. … (He pauses and looks around)

So, you must obviously then – as a consequence – believe the oldest profession in the world is that of the ‘prostitute’… (He pauses once again) and that the oldest …. ‘professional ….positions’ – if I might call them that (He smiles) – must be that of the ‘pimp’ and the ‘whore’ … (He clicks his computer remote, and on the screen we see the image of a provocatively dressed young woman, standing next to a gaudily dressed older man. He is sporting a pencil-thin mustache, sideburns, and greased, combed-back, straight, black hair. They are both standing in an ornate doorway, which is bathed in red light. Raunchy music quickly fades up, and then down again. He continues speaking).

If … ‘hooking’ (He smiles to himself) isn’t the world’s oldest profession, and ‘sex’ isn’t the oldest commodity … Then, “What is?” You might ask…

Well that would have to be … and ‘be’, rather obviously in my experience … ‘knowledge’,

Thus, the ‘oldest profession’ is not that of the ‘prostitute’, but is rather, that of the ”Facilitator of Knowledge’ … And your earliest professionals were not the ‘pimp’ and the ‘whore’, but the ”wise-man’ and ‘high priestess’;  the ‘wizard’ and the ‘witch’; the ‘shaman’ and the ‘sorceress’ … the ‘teacher’, ‘trainer’, ‘adviser’, ‘tutor’, ‘guide’, ‘expert’, ‘coach’, ‘mentor’ …  (He clicks his switch and we see the photo of an old-fashioned English public-school teacher, holding a cane, and wearing a mortar-board and gown, standing in front of a black-board on which he is writing with a piece of white chalk. We hear the sound of English choral music, which fades as he continues)….

Which is, I suppose, the profession in which I would have to include myself  …. (He smiles reassuringly, and gives a bow)…And … you know … I’m really quite happy with that … label. … (He smiles again, but rather condescendingly).

Indeed, you might be interested to hear that not only have I read, but I have also completely (He pauses, and looks upwards, searching for the word) … ‘digested’ … the contents of every single book that has ever been written! …(He pauses, and nods energetically, and enthusiastically, before moving downstage to address the actual theater audience in a confidential manner)

… And also the contents of every single book that has yet to be written! … But I won’t telling them that (He nods his head towards his invisible lecture-hall audience) …We don’t want to scare them! …Yet! …. Do we? … (He turns to address his ‘lecture audience’ once more)

You might also be surprised to learn that you can turn just about anything at all into a commodity! … If you think about it in the ‘right terms’, that is! ….

And it is surely fairly obvious that ‘sex’ can be turned into a commodity! … If only because one of the major problems in life – at least for an army of hapless males ‘out there’ – has been in trying to figure out ways of how to ‘get themselves some’!..

Further, I would also suggest that this particular problem provides as good a reason as any to kick-start the beginnings of – what we are now pleased to call – the human attributes of, ‘thinking’, or of ‘being clever’, or even, of being ‘creative’ …

Because, in order to ‘get some’, you had to figure out a means of knowing ‘how to’! …Even if the only methodologies you could come up with – way back when – were what we would now consider to be somewhat …. inappropriate … Such as kidnapping, or rape, for instance.

So … anyway … here you are, with this pressing need to know just how to go about ‘knowing how’..

I should tell you right now, that this little difficulty of yours was tremendously important ‘down here’. In fact you could say that it was responsible for getting the whole … ‘ball rolling’ …Because your query, “Tell me please. How do I get some?” not only gave rise to a ‘questioner’ – that is, in this case, to ‘you’. … But also, simultaneously, gave rise to beings, who now appear – in your eyes at least – to function as ‘answerers’, or ‘experts in this field’ …

And these ‘liberators’? … Well, they were only too happy to release you from your ‘prison of ignorance’ here, by ...(He stops still for a moment and rubs his chin as if searching for the right words, looks up with a start, knowingly, and then continues) … By bringing ‘light to bear’ on the subject ‘in hand’ (He grins at the audience) and so provide you with exactly what it is that you need to know, that is – with ‘inform-ation’… ….

For a ‘small consideration’ of course! … Which might take the form of a request for something as simple as permission to be allowed to wear a special hat; or to be furnished with three free square meals per day; or to be a provided with a suitable ‘companion’ of one’s choice, to help ‘warm up’ those cold nights!…

This was, I maintain – fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you look at these things – also the start of a damned sight more here … But I won’t be going into that right now…

Our first ‘mentor’ here then, would have been the first being to realize that ‘Knowledge is Power’, and that power over others can be acquired by ‘letting it be known’ how this knowledge can be had.

The means of providing this ‘knowledge’ can take many forms, and the manner of its ‘delivery’ – so to speak – provides an important part of, what you must admit, is a very neat little trick. …  “Read this very expensive and obscure, ancient book, written in an extinct language, that needs to be interpreted by ‘one who knows'”… “Travel to the dwelling place of this very special person, who lives in this place that is very difficult to get to, and be sure to formulate your questions as precisely as you can” … “Perform this special magic Yantra, using this very secret – and expensive – Mantra,” etc.etc. …

My particular, special, all -time favorite method here? … … “Hey babe! … Yes, you! … Fancy a bite of this apple?” ……

But if you do succumb to these …. enticements … these little …. temptations …. What do you think happens to you then? Do you imagine that, after taking a small bite of the metaphorical apple, you immediately, as a consequence, now ‘know’ how to tie every single knot in the ‘Scouts Handbook’? … Or, that after availing yourself of a larger helping, there has now, somehow or other, been downloaded into your ‘mind’, the entire contents of Wikipedia … Or that, if you grit your teeth and ‘swallow the lot’, as they say – including the core – you will now, somehow, completely understand your ‘significant other’ … (He looks at the audience quizzically) … Eh? (He looks irritated and somewhat exasperated). ….No! Not at all, ‘my lovelies’! …That’s not what happens!

What happens, is that you become simultaneously acutely aware of what this ‘knowing’ is about, and so now you’re filled with terror – not only because you  dimly realize that there are an infinity of ‘things that can be known’ – if I could put it like that for now…but also, the probable extent of your complete lack in this department…. Which all serves to fill you with despair.

You will now either: attempt to dull this realization with ‘riotous living’; or you will become filled with an insatiable desire to acquire even more ‘knowledge’, and so ‘fill the gap’.

Consequently there is now a real danger that, depending on your appetite for this ‘knowledge’, you can be persuaded to do almost anything to get it! ….

Something else you might like to ponder here … Once you ‘know’ what you want – ‘getting laid’ for instance – this ‘want’ of yours – ‘desire’ would be a better word here really – can now clearly be seen in your eyes by someone who is already ‘in the know’ here – at least where it concerns this ‘particular want’ of yours…. Call this a ‘gift’ that ‘goes with the job’ if you like….

With the result that there is now the distinct possibility that you will ‘conveniently’ find yourself in any number of situations where: a ‘deal’ can clearly be struck’; a ‘pact’ can readily be made; or a ‘bargain’ can be suitably ‘sniffed out’ (He clicks his remote and we see a Gustave Dore print from Goethe’s ‘Faust’, of Mephistopheles talking Faust into committing himself to the infernal pact. Sombre Orchestral music by Gounod is playing in the background. He continues talking).

In fact, it appears that the clearer you are about what it is you want to know, the easier it is for some ‘supplier’ to close the deal. ….

The medium of exchange? …Well that depends…. But whatever this medium of exchange happens to be, it’s only real purpose here is to bear concrete witness to the fact that a movement – or flow, if you prefer – of power has taken place.

Because the only consequences that are of any real importance here are – as a contemporary student of the Philosophy of Language might put it – ‘the conditions of satisfaction’ and ‘the direction of fit’…..Or, to put it in less technical language – ‘did you get what you believed you wanted’, and ‘was the ‘supplier’ paid in full’? … … And, most importantly, which one of you was it that actually made the profit here! (He clicks his remote and we see the video-clip of a finger pushing the ‘total’ button on an old-fashioned till, the till opening with the ring of a bell, and then the sound of coins jingling together as the hand withdraws both  coins and notes from the till, and subsequently handing them over the counter. He continues). 

A commodity can often be acquired just by performing a simple ritual – rituals are only regimented forms of investment anyway – such as, for example, pronouncing the following words – in the right setting of course – “With this ring I thee wed.”… ….

The payment here? … Well, let me see, “First there’s the engagement ring … Then there’s the wedding ring … And finally, there’s the suffer … ring!” (He roars with laughter) ….

The significant point here, is that you wouldn’t be able to ‘cut’ any deal at all, if you were unable to formulate what it was that you wanted. …. So you, first of all, need to possess the ability to construct these formulations. (He clicks the remote and we see a short clip of an old fashioned mechanical calculator with its many cog-wheels turning. We hear ‘program music’ fade up and down in the background. He continues)

And for that you need ‘rules’ that can produce results, or, as I prefer to hear them called, ‘Laws’ …..  As one of you down here so succinctly put it … “First ‘The Law’…. and then ‘Sin’.” (He roars with laughter again, almost choking)

Oh dear! … Am I starting to get too serious here? … Too near the mark for your liking? … Tell you what! … How about a story then? … Eh? (He moves over to the right of the screen, and sits down on the armchair).

Are you sitting comfortably… Then I’ll begin …

First of all, can I say that it fairly obvious to me that there are a lot of clever people here … I’d go even further … I see that many of you display ‘above-average intelligence’…. And I imagine that a few of you, at least, would be very interesting to talk to …

Indeed, I’d say the amount of knowledge that you have all managed to collect over the centuries, and that you now have made available to ‘one and all’, world-wide, today, is truly staggering! …. (He sits back in his chair as if considering his next remark, and then leans forward).

But would I say that, as a consequence of all this ‘hoarding’, you were …. ‘wise’? …(He roars with laughter, repeatedly bending backwards and forwards on the armchair as he does so, before struggling to speak). Dear me! … Oh, dear me! No! … …Wise? … … …

Being ‘wise’ isn’t having a treasure-trove of knowledge ‘in your head’, which you can subsequently dispense to others, in order, say, to ‘help’ them’ …  It is, rather, a word that is properly used to describe a relationship that you have …

‘Wisdom’ is ‘Sophia’ and she is not ‘something in your mind’… She is ‘something else’ altogether! … (He sits still, as we begin to hear the sound of a solo piano fading-up in the background).

There’s a very old story about this young lady that might help me to describe all this to you in a clearer light ….

Are we sitting comfortably? (He looks around) … Then I’ll begin! (He sits back, and begins to read from the large book, the title of which we can now clearly see,is ‘Monthly Chats’. The piano music fades).

Once upon a time, long ago, there was a young beautiful young girl. This beautiful young girl’s name was Sophia.

Sophia did something very naughty, and because she didn’t want to be found out she ran away from home.

Eventually she found herself stranded in Ancient Egypt. (He clicks the remote at his laptop, and on the screen we can now see the figure of a young woman, wearing a Greek toga, surrounded by desert, in front of an Egyptian pyramid, and standing next to a camel. In the background we can see a number of suspicious-looking men),

She is abducted, and, as a result, becomes the property of a group of unscrupulous men, who, after ravishing her, force her into prostitution….

And so now, here she is, working out of an unsavory down-town Alexandrian bar and forced to ‘turn tricks’ – as we like to call it today. (He turns to his laptop and gestures with his remote. The screen changes to show the same young lady, standing in the same door-way that we saw in a previous picture. Only now, over this door-way, a sign is hanging, on which is written the words ‘Thoth’s Tavern’ together with the painting of the figure of a man with the head of an Ibis. Our young lady is standing in the door-way, dressed in a skimpy, see-through, short toga, next to the same gaudily dressed young man, with the same pencil-thin mustache, sideburns, and greased, combed-back, straight, black hair, but who now has the head of dog-faced baboon).

In her despair, she cries out for help …

Enter our young hero, who has been sent down to earth to rescue Sophia, (He clicks the remote once again, and we now see a conventional, contemporary, messianic figure, with arms outstretched, hovering just above the ground. This figure has long, blond, wavy hair, a neatly trimmed full beard, piercing blue eyes, and is wearing a white robe).

However, our erstwhile hero is having a hard time, because, as a consequence of drinking buckets of Egyptian home-brew, he is now suffering from amnesia … And not only has he forgotten that he’s supposed to be a hero, but he’s also forgotten who it is that he’s supposed to rescue….

So, for the moment at least, here he is, still indulging himself in heavy drinking, fooling around, engaging in drunken brawling, and all that other good stuff. …

Anyway, one night he happens to stumble into ‘Thoth’s Tavern’, whereupon he sees Sophia in her wretched state, and immediately falls in love with her. The result of this is that, in a flash, he recalls who, and what, he is.

Our hero immediately tears into Sophia’s oppressors, and completely demolishes them –  so freeing her. (He clicks the remote and we see a video clip of the famous Charlie Chaplin ‘Custard-pie fight-cum-brawl’ – complete with frantic piano music. He continues) ….

They make good their escape, and ascend once more back to where they originally  came from. (He clicks the remote again, and we now see a clip from a 1930’s Flash Gordon movie, showing Flash’s space-ship heading up through the clouds. At the same time we hear very scratchy accompanying music) ….

To keep this short, I’ll just add that they get married, and live happily ever after…..(He clicks the remote again and we see a clip of the bride and groom staring into each others eyes and smiling, to the sound of triumphant wedding music. As we hear the final chord the video clip does a slow fade).

Look….I’ve cut a few corners in this story, and changed it a little here and there to suit the modern palate, but I think you all get the idea. …(He gets up from the chair and puts the book back down).

First of all … before I tell you the point of this ‘story’, you must appreciate that you can only ever possess, at best, what you’re prepared to pay for …Most of the time you won’t even get that….

And one of the biggest mistakes you can ever make is to claim that you, or someone you know, ‘possesses’ … Wisdom.

You can’t do that!… You can’t ‘possess’ Wisdom! ….

I’ll repeat that … it’s very, very, very,  important. … You can never ‘possess’ Wisdom’ … … (He moves downstage to the footlights before saying, very clearly) … You can only ever  ‘Love Wisdom’. ….

‘Wisdom’ is freely given, and it is cherished by those who become, as a consequence of receiving this gift, ‘wise’. …

Thus, if you come to be ‘wise’….It will only be because you were truly ‘loving’….

If you ‘believe’ – that is, if you ‘live your life as if it were true’ – that you actually ‘possess’ wisdom, then what you are guilty of doing is turning Sophia into a whore. … into an object, like any other object – such as an idea, or a concept – that you can now attempt to trade for as many of those other things that you happen to desire … That you wish to possess…. For instance: for notoriety; for celebrity; for wealth; for political power; to be seen as ‘doing good’; etc etc. 

And what does doing that make you? …. It makes you a ‘pimp’ … or a ‘madam’! …

And because Wisdom is always freely given, this means that, at any moment, there is always the nagging possibility that ‘Facilitators of Knowledge’, like you and me could find ourselves redundant …. ‘Out of business!’ ……’On the dole!’ …”Hovering around the letter-box waiting for our ‘welfare cheque’ to arrive’! … ….What a bummer! ….(He clicks his remote, and we now see a black and white still of Vladimir and Estrogen, the two tramps from ‘Waiting for Godot’, standing next to the tree, on which is hanging a large red apple. They are both smiling).

On the bright side though …. We’ll probably be waiting for that to happen to us for a very, very, long time…

I, for one, can’t ever see it happening!….. (He stands completely still for a long pause).

Well? Shall we go? ….

Yes, let’s go. …. (He remains completely still on stage during a very prolonged  fade to blackout – except for a small solo spotlight which continues to illuminate the red apple on the screen)

From ‘Field-notes for Armageddon’ by Bob Hardy.

Eugene Halliday ‘In the flesh’ (continued). 

 The first time I saw Eugene Halliday speak ‘in person’ was in Parkland’s ‘theater space’  at one of the regular monthly Sunday-night meetings of Ishval. I turned around in my seat just in time to see him coming through the entrance doorway, descend the flight of stairs – that went past the seated audience – onto the floor space immediately in front of the stage, then up onto the  raised stage itself, before finally sitting down.

During this ‘entrance’, Eugene Halliday was physically supported by David Mahlowe, whose help was obviously needed  here.

At that time, I knew nothing at all of the fact that Eugene Halliday suffered from a physical disability, or (obviously) of the  cause, or extent, of this disability.

But, from a number of individual accounts I have heard since, I would say that, at some time during his early teens, Eugene Halliday contracted, what I believe to have been, poliomyelitis,  which left him with extensive damage to the whole of the left side of his body. Such that, not only had he completely lost the use of his left arm and leg, but he had also sustained a speach impediment which, although it was barely noticeable in those recordings made of his talks in the 1960’s,  can be clearly heard in subsequent recordings made during the mid 1980’s, up until his death in 1987.

Eugene Halliday’s disability is central to my understanding of him as a human being. As I maintain that, as a consequence of this disability, it became a matter of necessity for him to establish, and subsequently maintain, a continuous, conscious, dialogue with his own body, in order to exercise the degree of control it had become necessary for him to employ, simply in order to function here. And as a direct consequence of this, he also acquired a unique, experiential, understanding of its inter-function, and complex interrelation with, both his ‘feeling’ and ‘thinking’. His subsequent ability to co-ordinate these functions to the extraordinary degree that he was able to so, is obvious – to me at least. So I won’t be wasting any of my time here by elaborating on it … Only to stress that it informs my opinion as to the legitimacy of any claim regarding the valorizing of any one person’s favorite physical pursuit as being something that Eugene Halliday specifically recommend we should all do  … I would recommend that instead, you follow his example, but caution that, “It aint what you do, it’s the way that you do it’.

This ‘first hand’ experience, that I believe Eugene Halliday went through, I see as informing much of his earlier writings; and it also explains to me his connection with the ‘Healing Ministry’ during the 1950’s, a period in his life when he also produced a number of significant ideas. it also explains to me his uncanny ability to empathize – that is, he was, as a result of working on his own internal states, able to ‘see others’, and so put himself in their place.

Why would all this have to be of such importance to me? Well … Because once I was able to focus on Eugene Halliday as a typical human being, it was very relatively easy for me to filter out all the mystical jumbo-jumbo that was (regretably), and still is, floating around ‘out there’ about the man. Instead I appreciated – where I was able – what a truly remarkable man he had ‘made himself to be’ despite his initial obvious initial, severe, disadvantages. …. Which served to give me some encouragement here, as it put me in the position where any claim by me that I was ‘having a hard time with all this’ made me sound like a spineless, whinging, wimp.

I’m going to leave this now…But here are (some of) my notes on one particular aspect of this subject – if you’re interested. Process: knowledge + understanding; describe + explain

“We tried to talk it over, but the words got in the way.”

(It’s all in the words … But then again, maybe it isn’t).

 I have mentioned, in a number of earlier posts, Eugene Halliday’s ‘suggestion’ from his Rules of Ishval, concerning the converting of one’s ‘passive’ language into an ‘active’ language.

This recommendation of Eugene Halliday’s constitutes, for me, the most important piece of advice that he gave, as it provided me with a methodology for arriving at some understanding, at least, of the concepts contained in his various writings and  talks.

Thus, the contemplation of my own language, and the subsequent attempts by me to activate as much of it as I have been able, has governed entirely (I now see) my degree of success (or failure) here.

According to Eugene’s recommendations in the original ‘Rules of Ishval’ it might appear that, by the judicious use of a dictionary, together with an etymological reference book, we can convert something he refers to as our ‘passive language’ into our ‘active language’. Please note, that he does not go into any specific details here as to what a ‘passive’ or ‘active’ language might consist in.

I could add here that this recommendation of his sounds simple enough, in fact, what could be easier? But the trouble is – that as it stands – it doesn’t work! …. Not for me anyway.

Having said that, I believe that almost anyone would still be better off as a result of trying out this exercise, even if they do not succeed in converting their ‘passive language’ into an ‘active’ one. And I would also add that, if you have tried out these particular rules as an exercise yourself, you will likely come to appreciate that there is indeed, a great deal more involved here.

Perhaps the most important aspect of these rules is the suggestion that this ‘active language’ is to be subsequently employed in the task of précis·ing major writings on the subjects of art; science; religion; etc etc. But I believe that, if you attempt to do so, this ‘definition-cum-etymological’ approach to language will soon land you in the following, paradoxical, situation.

After doing the required ‘definition/etymology’ background research for any particular word of our choice, you soon find that you have created another, far more complex problem regarding the definitions and etymologies of those words that have gone into making up this definition…. That is, how are you now going to proceed with those words that are contained in this (required) definition that are also ( still) components of your ‘passive’ language?”

In trying to figure a way out of this problem, I thought it might be a good idea to adopt some form of ‘reductionist’ or ‘minimalist’ approach here. Such that I should not first attempt to ‘activate’ words that might have merely captured my attention – such as, ‘form’; ‘antelope’; ‘function’; ‘fornicate’; ‘lawnmower’; ‘truth’; ‘truss’; ‘sawdust; ‘beauty’; ‘marmite’, for instance – but instead, I should seek out words that – for the sake of quickly describing them here – are  ‘sort of’ simpler, or ‘more basic’ – almost ‘proto-words’, if you like …. The serious problem I now had though – and had for a considerable length of time afterwards – was that of coming up with (even) one of these ‘proto-words’..

From the late 1970’s, until the late 1980’s then, I was aware that this was a huge barrier for me here. But I ‘kept at it’ because I didn’t see how I could really get any further until I’d cleared this up.

My feeling here was that there was something about all this that I still wasn’t ‘getting’ … although I suspected that what it was that I wasn’t ‘getting’ was right there under my nose; and that somehow I already knew all that I needed to know here to move forward. But that this information was in some other ‘area’, and I just couldn’t ‘see it’ from the point of view of my attempt at activating my own language skills. But this belief that I would find it, served to keep me searching for ways out of this dilemma, and this problem was always hovering there at the edge of my consciousness.

I suppose I could put a positive slant on this ‘little hiccup of mine’ and claim that perhaps I was simply learning to acquire ‘patience’  …. But it would be more correct, probably, to come right out with it, and admit that, in the main, I was just stumbling about …

Anyway, I did eventually get that break-through …but I have to admit that it did seem to come my way quite by chance…

Sometime during the late 80’s-early ‘90’s when I was working in Vienna – a city I was reasonably familiar with – my wife, Jean, and I took the opportunity to visit an exhibition that featured the work of the German Artist, Joseph Beuys.

One of the exhibits on display, was what Beuys referred to as, an ‘Audio Sculptutial’. This work was recorded by him in 1968, and consisted of almost sixty-five minutes of him speaking the words, “Ja, Ja, ja, Ne, Ne, Ne.” ..

The setting for this ‘Audio Sculptutial’ work, was a small, empty, room, in the corner of which was a medium-sized commercial audio-tape player (rather like a Ghetto Blaster).

Jean and I stood in the open doorway of the room and listened to the recording.

[NOTE: Regarding these two words ‘Yes’ and ‘No’. To save you the trouble of looking up their dictionary definition, and also their etymological roots, I have reproduced  this information here. It is taken from the ‘Oxford English Dictionary’  and ‘Origins’ by Eric Partridge .

YES . Definition: A word used to express an affirmative reply to a question, statement, command, etc. Etymology: Yea archaic for yes, comes, through ME ye or ya. Etc..

NO. Definition: word used to express a negative reply to a question, request, etc., or to introduce a correction of an erroneous opinion or assumption on the part of another person. Etymology: ME derives from OE .]

Not to labour the point, there doesn’t seem to be that much to either the definitions, or the etymologies, of  these ‘two little words’. …

Anyway … To get on with the tale …

As I listened to this ‘Audio Sculptutial’ of Beuys’, it hit me that what I was hearing was an example of that proto ‘active language’ that I had been searching for. Something was happening to me as I listened to the recording, that was a direct consequence of attending to Beuys’ voice …. I was being manipulated by his use of the words ‘Ja’ and ‘Ne’… But I was simultaneously immediately aware also, that the information contained in the actual words themselves – devoid of their mode of utterance that is – was next to nothing.

The central idea regarding ‘active language’ that I was to initially ‘work’ on for a considerable time afterwards, revolved around the experience that hearing ‘active’ language invoked in me…. I suddenly realized that there was a component in language that could be completely divorced from any particular semantic content, and (very much later) it also dawned on me that this component was contained only in the spoken form..

To illuminate this idea with an obvious example here – It is possible to be emotionally affected by listening to someone speak in a foreign language, even if you have no idea what the words themselves signify … Obviously you could get the ‘meaning’ completely wrong, but that is not the point I’m making here  – which is that you can be ‘passive’ (even in this instance) in your ‘reception’ anyway. …. That is, you can be manipulated emotionally.

I fully appreciate, by the way, that this is rather obvious. But, for me, so were many of the profound things that Eugene Halliday spoke of….  The trouble is that, even if they are ‘obvious’ ,  these ‘obvious’ ideas still have to be present in your consciousness before you can claim that they are ‘obvious’ … And as you can only ‘work’ with these ‘obvious’ contents of consciousness when you focus on them, they have to be there at the ‘opportune moment’. …

Which is why being ‘reactive’ never works here. Saying, “I already know that!” or “That’s obvious!” only serves to ‘switch the light off’, with the result that there is now no possibility of going further here at this time, and also that this idea has now already been in some real way ‘minimized’ as unimportant, or rather trivial, with the probable outcome that it will never be worked upon …

‘It’s all in the timing’ you might say.

Of course, I was later to shift my ‘working’ perspective here, as I contemplated this event in my life over the coming … well, decade or so actually … and I will elaborate on this later in the next post. But before continuing …. why don’t you have a listen to the recording yourself?

The important thing to focus on here is to be continuously aware of how your interior state is changing during the course of listening to the playback of this recording.

Those of you who can  sit for hours attending to your breathing, will obviously find this exercise ‘a walk in the park’. Here’s the link to this recording anyway:     Ja Ja Ja, Ne Ne Ne.

I have not been able to find any word(s) that have helped me to understand Eugene Halliday’s concept of an ‘active/passive’ language  that are more ‘basic’ to the whole field of ‘language’ than ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ ..

Some input from me here. …It wasn’t that my mind wasn’t ‘wandering’ when I listened to this recording – because it did! What was far more interesting to me here was that, although there was no obvious way I could connect these two words ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ to the thoughts that would arise as I listened to them, I realized that the emotive tone used by Beuys here was directly responsible for their appearance …… Deep, eh?

But, over and above anything else here, the most important aspect of this experience, by far, was that I found it relatively easy to reflect on this whole process as it was happening to me in ‘the here and now’, in such a way that the Ram Das phrase ‘Be Here Now’ took on a completely different – and more importantly – clear, experiential, element, which served to authenticate this whole process for me.

I could clearly perceive the part played by the artist in his use of active language; his control of my passive involvement as a consequence of my listening (of my ‘attending’, if you prefer); and the fact that unbidden thoughts were appearing (I was not ‘thinking’ about anything while I was listening).

The way in which his tone of voice  affected my positive and negative states was also reasonably easy to qualify and evaluate.

I believed that, where it concerned active and passive forms of language, I was, at last, onto something here, . The problem now, was to formulate, or systematize, this experience of mine into some mode of praxis, so that I could take all this further.

I was really excited by this discovery of mine … I believed it had (finally) opened a door for me, and that I could now develop an experiential position with respect to both the ‘affect’ and ‘effect’ of my vocabulary, and thus with the development of that ‘active’ language … At last! …..

…..And they all lived happily ever after…

Well now ….The above account of mine is the nice, tidy, lovey, censored, chummy-chummy, version of my interaction with this ‘revelation’ that I had in Vienna, over the following couple of decades – and so in one sense, at least, I could claim that it is ‘true’…. And anyway, the above account does, I hope, make that experience of mine somewhat easier to grasp.

But, actually, what did actually happen afterwards was nowhere near as tidy as that. Because, of course, in reality – come the next day … in downtown Vienna -. I had all but forgotten about my momentous revelation of the previous day. … And had gotten right back to having fun, playing’ the blues … and being in my more usual frame of mind at that time – which resembled a kind of  ‘selective amnesia’ ….

Such was my propensity for self-delusion though, that I believed I was now really, truly ‘on the way’ here … although I had in fact – so to speak – only just managed to open the door  … and had then. almost immediately, managed to trip up on the front step  …(Is it just me, or is that metaphor slightly better than my other efforts),..

So, where it concerned my discovery of the previous day, it was still, for the overwhelming majority of the time afterwards, simply ‘business as usual’ …In fact, for all the good that this ‘revelatory experience’ did me at the time, I might just as well have woken up the next day with no memory of anything … suffering from a hangover … in  Ancient Egypt!…

But at least now, I was finally ‘in the right area’… …And on reflection, unlike those ‘switched on’ episodes of a second or two that I had occasionally experienced after listening to one to Eugene Halliday’s talks ‘in person’ back in the early 1980’s. … ‘Down the line’ here in the early 1990’s, I was now experiencing ‘being awake’ for …Oh, I don’t know … maybe ten seconds at a time …. (Perhaps a little less, if  I were to be strictly honest with myself, though) …

So these ‘awake’ periods were, although marginally more frequent, still few and far between … But I was completely under the delusion that they were lasting much longer than they actually were, and that I was having for more of them than I actually was ….which, you can understand, complicated things ..

… Oh! What a angled web …. etc ….

I will carry on with this ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ thing in the next post …

Gripping stuff, hey? …

To be continued ……..  

Bob Hardy

August, 2012


 

(The stage is blacked-out. We hear a man singing and humming the chorus of a late-1960’s pop song. The lights fade-up to reveal the interior of an office. The singer is seated, center stage, at a over-sized desk-cum-lectern, the top of which is empty, except for an ornate. square, glass ink-well full of black ink, in front of which is a very large, old fashioned, quill penHe is wearing pince-nez spectacles, black-and-white oxford-style shoes, an old-fashioned, Dickensian black suit, a white shirt with an exaggerated stiff wing-collar, underneath which is a slightly over-sized, black, floppy bow-tie.)

But where do you go to my lovely
When you’re  mm .. mm in mm .. mm

(He looks up, as if seeing the sudience for the first time, before continuing on in a slightly louder voice)

Tell me the thoughts that surround you
I want to look inside your head …

(From time to time he writes in a large and expensive looking leather-bound book. As the scene opens he is holding this book up in front of his face, as if reading it. On the front cover we can clearly see, in bold, capital, letters, the words, ‘MONTHLY CHATS’. He puts the book down and picks up the quill-pen, which he will  from now on, when he writes in this book, frequently, and aggressively, dip into the ink-well.

All his movements are exaggerated, and in-between short periods of writing frantically, he stops to look up and begins talking loudly to himself – as if working out verbally what it is that he will write next. We can hear him clearly. 

Paragraph breaks in the script indicate that he has resumed his writing for the moment – unless stage directions indicate otherwise. 

He begins to speak, in a slightly condescending tone of voice).

I do so love some of those old ’60’s songs! … Don’t you?  …. I mean they’re so . . . . pretentious! … …. A bit like the ’60’s themselves really…But, to be fair, there did seem to be so much more going on back then, didn’t there? … So much more … happening! … And the future — it looked so-o … rosy! …Didn’t it? (He begins singing and humming to himself again, and briefly resumes writing)

But where do you go to my lovely
When you’re alone in your bed

M mmm mmm mm ……..”

And just where do you go to my lovely? … … Or I should say, “My lovelies?” (He laughs)…. Well, of course, you don’t ever go anywhere … really … do you? … It just  seems ..to you .. that you do! (He taps the desk with his pen) 

Because, actually … you are, in fact, permanently … … that is to say ‘only ever ‘… right here ‘under your own noses’  – so to speak … Aren’t you?… Or perhaps it would be pertinent – in this case at least – to say, ‘OVER your own noses!’ (He laughs, suddenly, very loudly, and almost loses his spectacles).

And that makes for yet another one of those really scary ideas that it doesn’t do for you to ponder over for too long. Doesn’t it? …One that’s inclined to make you fidget nervously, and mutter things like, “Well … Er… … Anyway!….,” – before doing your best to forget about the whole thing as quickly as possible … … Until the next time – that is!

I seem to remember it was a Greek fellow ….What was his name now? …. ‘Gorgeous’ Gorgias! .. Ye-es!…. That’s it! …. He came up with this same idea about two and half thousand years ago. … What did he call it now? …(He puts his finger to his mouth and looks upwards as if concentrating) … ‘Solipsism’!! …That was it! … You’re locked-up, all alone, inside what you believe is your head, and there’s no way to prove that you aren’t just ‘imagining’ all the stuff, including all the people, that are ‘out there’ …

And I can assure you, that no one ‘way-back then’ liked discussing this idea either!  … But to be fair, I do have to admit that – as an idea – it is definitely something of a ‘show stopper’!… ….

That’s because, in one sense … deep down … you already suspect that there isn’t anywhere ‘to go to my lovelies’ …. Not really! …Is there? .. You’re stuck where you are, so to speak! … And that makes you very nervous …  Because you might now have to start admitting to yourself that wherever ‘it‘ actually is … you’ve already … arrived …You’re already ‘there‘! …. … Or … if it’s the case that you’re not sure at all where ‘there‘ actually is, you’re quite sure you are … definitely … at least … ‘somewhere … or other’. … And, wherever else you might be,  it’s  certainly  not ‘out there‘! … … … Eh?

You’re even inclined to agree that you might be some kind of prisoner in fact – ‘locked-up inside your own head’ … wouldn’t you?  …. (He stares ahead vacantly for a moment, before quickly resuming in his agitated, exaggerated, manner)

And if you start to think about all this business too much …. you might find yourself becoming so traumatized by the whole idea, that it starts to become unbearable, and consequently you find that – like it or not – you’re just going to have to try to do something about it, and make ‘in here’ a suitable place ‘to be’.… And sooner, rather than later! …

So you now attempt to improve your situation ‘in here’ by – if I can put this metaphorically for you … ‘Organizing the attic’… or ‘Throwing away the trash’ … ‘Cleaning the den up a bit’ … or perhaps ‘Tickling up the spare room’ and ‘Rattling those pots and pans’; … or maybe ‘Trimming down the library’ …. and even ‘Weeding the garden’, before deciding that you really must ‘Re-vamp the basement!’…… (He pauses for a moment, as if out of breath). Yes indeed! … If you start to look at your situation  this way, then it definitely is ‘in here‘ that’s your real problem … isn’t it? …  And not ‘out there‘ at all! ….So come on then! …. For heaven’s sake! …Let’s ‘go to it’, ‘get at it’ … and start to ‘sort the place out’! … … That’s the spirit! …(He leans forward and pretends to frantically dust and polish the surface of his desk for a moment or two, before flinging himself across it and almost losing his spectacles again. He lies completely still for a moment, as if completely exhausted, eventually looking up again, before continuing).

On the other hand though – sadly – it’s just as easy to convince yourself that you really do have lots of things that you ‘simply must do’ ….but that you definitely have to do them ‘out there‘ instead … and not ‘in here’ at all!…

And let’s admit right away that ‘doing stuff’ out there’ has the advantage that it can be so much more …diverting! …. It can also add a great deal of ‘real enjoyment’ to your life, can’t it? …. All that moving around! …. Peering at things! … Indeed, these are the sorts of activities that seem to make life ‘worthwhile’ … almost … aren’t they? …

But the problem is that, in order to try to be a ‘go-getter’ in the big wide world ‘out there‘ … in the attempt, it’s more than likely that you’ll become a slave to those never-ending, interminable, meetings and discussions that never seem to ever really go anywhere …And you’ll also find yourself involved in the forging and breaking of innumerable alliances and relationships that you somehow continually keep drifting into … And what about those same monotonous day to day worries, over, and over, and over again! … Grinding you down! …

(He puts on an exagerated sad expression). Oh dear, oh dear … poor you! ….

On the plus side though, getting involved ‘out there’ … ‘Getting your hands dirty’, as you like to call it – can also sometimes turn out to be useful…. Because if you do attempt to apply yourself to all those tasks ‘out there’, then you quite often have to learn mountains of ‘useful’ stuff – and so it’s possible … perhaps … that you might even end up remembering some of it! … Such that you become ‘a person to take notice of’… Somebody with ‘an armory of facts and figures at their fingertips’, that can subsequently be ‘trotted out’ at will, to impress the neighbors with …

And if you really ‘apply yourself’? … Well, the sky’s the limit isn’t it? … Indeed, it’s entirely possible that you might even be invited to assume the mantle of the ‘local expert’ … The ‘know-it-all’! …. Our very own ‘wise-man’!…(He moves out from the desk and begins to pace up and down)

You know the sort of person I’m talking about, I’m sure! … He has a ‘bit of a reputation’ …He’s everyone’s favorite ‘Ale-House Lawyer’ … He’s the ‘ever-ready, willing, and able’, benevolent dispenser of ‘good advice’ and ‘sound common sense’. …and reckoned to be a ‘true friend’ to ‘one and all’ … Forever telling everybody and anybody, what it is that they should all be doing ‘out there’!….

I can hear him now … “Go on then! …. Of you go and you get stuck in!…Make a name for yourself! …I don’t mind … Really! ….  I’ll just stay here and hold your coat!” ……. 

Be the ‘expert’ … That’s it! …  … It’s so much more rewarding! … And when it becomes obvious, – even to you – that it’s well past the time for you to get up off your behind and do some actual work on yourself for a change, you can stick your chest out and say, “I know! …I really should ….  But as you all surely must have noticed by now, I have sacrificed all my time down here for the selfless task of ‘administering to you – my flock … My precious ‘charges’.'” …..(He grins, and looks directly out, addressing the audience)  …  

Sorry to say … but that’s not going to ‘cut the mustard’ for you at all! (He looks over his left shoulder and shouts)…. Next!!  (He sits down again and sticks the end of the pen in his mouth for a moment, then dips it in the ink, before holding it over the book while he  resumes talking).

And working the other side of the fence ‘out here’, by placing yourself at the receiving end of someone else’s  ‘good advice…Putting your faith and your future in the hands of another? … Well my lovelies! …(He pretends to take a deep breath, and continues to speak without pausing). I’m sorry to have to inform you, that this approach is no automatic guarantee of success here either! … Even if this ‘guru’ – that you imagine it’s been your blessed good fortune to ‘happened upon’ – did come ‘highly recommended’, and on ‘the best authority’. And that your success at ingratiating yourself here involved you in a great deal of effort to somehow wangle yourself a ‘special invite’, which, as a result, led you to believe that you had, at last, become the deserving member of some enlightened band of worthies – ‘The Elect’. The defining characteristic of which was that they had all somehow deluded themselves into believing that they possessed exclusive access to what they were pleased to label – ‘The Truth’…(He falls forward, as if out of breath, almost banging his head on the desk and losing his spectacles in the process, before continuing at a more normal pace).

Because  you soon discover that you can also easily delay things here, by simply continuing to come up with an endless series of ‘reasonable objections’ or ‘sincere questions’, whenever you start to feel that you might actually be required to do something….And, of course, you’ve still always got that ‘ace up your sleeve’ – the option to simply ‘blame the messenger’! So that it will always seem, to the casual observer at least, that your failure to ‘move on’ here is always someone else’s fault; and this, you protest, is really the only reason why you haven’t got off your behind yet. … “Honestly!:”   … 

But this lack of real progress on your part is hardly surprising, is it?  Particularly as you’ve been investing most of your energy into figuring out ways of  blaming other people … or faulting the treatment … Or – if you’re really good at all this –  of eating vast quantities of ‘humble pie’ by ‘admitting’ your inability to understand what’s going on here (“I’m so ‘not worthy’!…But I’m really trying!”) …In the vain hope that you will somehow be given a ‘free pass’ …because of your humility and  ‘sincere faith’ here.

But interestingly, however ‘badly’ you’re faring, you somehow always manage to ‘land on your feet’ ….. Now .. I wonder how on earth you manage to pull that little trick off? ….Let me guess (He pretends to answer his own question) “Who? … Little ol’ me? … I’m just lucky, I guess!” (He leers at the audience)

I know! … I know! … I do appreciate that you do so mean to get started! … But you want to be absolutely sure that you know what to do before you do it, don’t you?. …. “Hey! … That’s reasonable isn’t it?”… None of that ‘leap of faith’ business for you … “Just gimme the facts!” …

And then …..Tut, tut! …. “Oh dear! … It’s too late! …Never mind! … I did so want to get started here, but it just wasn’t to be!… Although, you must agree, I did … sincerely … try my very best! ” (He grins, and looks directly out, addressing the audience) ….. Sorry! .. …  That won’t work either! …(He looks over his left shoulder and shouts) Next!! 

What shall we do then? … What to do! … What to do! … Oh! What shall we do?  …(He stands up) …..

Well … I do have to admit that it appears you were only presented with a very limited choice of options here….. So if I could give you, perhaps, a flavor of how I see, and hear, all this …. It might help you to understand your situation somewhat.  …… …. Perhaps! (He grins) …. But please appreciate that it’s one thing for me to describe something like this to someone like you, and another thing entirely to explain it! … … That being understood, nonetheless we shall try … … My lovelies! (He moves out to the side of his desk)

 First things first! … In order for beings like you to become involved in anything at all, whatever it is you decide to do, you need to be convinced that – if you ‘apply yourself properly’ – you will realize a profit of some kind …. For our purposes here, it doesn’t matter what particular form this profit might take. It only matters here you understand that you will only ever attempt to do anything at all if it will secure you an apparent gain of some sort ….Like. for instance… (He gesticulates wildly as if searching for something to say)….Like a place in heaven! (He roars with laughter’ almost choking himself, and struggling once again to keep his spectacles in place)…. But whatever form this gain might take, it will obviously be an ‘increase in power’ for you … of some kind at least.

So …. Off you go! …Your options for moving forward here are, you believe – for the moment – that you can acquire this power either by ‘sorting yourself out’ ‘in here‘; or by absorbing information ‘out there‘ in such a way that you eventually ‘sincerely understand all things’ and thus will be ‘illuminated’; or alternatively, by dishing out your own brand of ‘special illumination’ ‘out there’ that you have ‘selflessly acquired for the benefit of  others, in the fond belief that this will turn you into some sort of ‘Spiritual Aid’ (or whatever) and this will thus garnish you with a significant number of ‘bonus points’  …

The trouble is, as you’ve discovered, you soon find that whichever of these alternatives you pursue … and however diligently  … you never seem to manage to get very far!… …(He wrings his hands and paces a little).

And in fact, your suspect that, not only have your actions here not seen you realize that profit you were striving so desperately to acquire, but rather instead, they appear (on the surface at least) to  have resulted in a considerable loss on your part …. In that you find you have squandered a great deal of your precious time for almost nothing … And this baffles you, because, when you began, you were so sure that you were committing your limited resources to realize – what you were so certain at the time was going to result in – an apparent gain…. (He peers out at the audience with a theatrically sad expression on his face, draws a large polka-dotted handkerchief from his trouser pocket, and blows his nose loudly, almost losing his spectacles again in the process) … 

Would you like me to tell you what’s going on here? … What  the direct cause of this ‘loss’ of yours is? ….What it is that is really going on?…(He pauses dramatically for affect, standing still, and then says, suddenly) 

All this is quite simply a direct consequences of  your greed …. And nothing else! … ‘Greed’ being simply this inability of yours to profit from, what you believed at the time would certainly constitute, your apparent gain!

Try to appreciate that you can have a greed for not being greedy, and that you can even develop a greed for acting generously … Feel youreself doing that …. Because everything that you apparently ‘acquire’…. That is, everything you are attracted to – even down to your ‘significant other’ ….. you seek to acquire simply in order to empower you! … And the fact that these ‘gains’ don’t empower you, just means that you’ve been greedy!

And there are so many of these … things … that you want! … Aren’t there? …..Material objects; various physical skills; aesthetic sensibilities; knowledge; relationships; control of other people’s time and energy; to be useful to others … The list just goes on and on! …

When you can see, and hear, all this as I do, there’s a possibility – but not a certainty, by any means – that you can at least appreciate what it is that you have actually been indulging in for so long …

And then you might come to view your behavior as possessing a sort of  ….cosmic humor . …. as being somewhat ridiculous … Mightn’t you? …You might come to see yourself as rather stupid in fact!

And you can then appreciate that this greed of yours is in fact a consequence of your stupidity … But – and this is where it becomes really mysterious – you can also appreciate that you are stupid solely because of your greed! . …And that’s a bit of a bummer, isn’t it? ….

But don’t worry my lovelies, at least  you’ve reached the point now where you might, at last, begin to realize, that what you are doing for most of your time down here, is going around, and around, and around ….. as if you had your head stuck up your own ass! … (He almost chokes with  laughter, nearly dislodging his  spectacles again)…. 

Your greedy because you’re stupid, and you’re stupid because you’re greedy! … …. Magic!(He sits down again and picks up his pen once more and becomes very serious)

But don’t imagine for one moment that just because you can now see yourself behaving stupidly … because of your appetite for these particular interests of yours … that these interests in themselves were necessarily intended only for stupid people! ….

I am trying to show you all this because I know that you see and hear the same things that I see and hear… The contents of consciousness are essentially the same for all reflexive beings … for the sane and the insane alike. …But also understand that everything that happens here,  in this game that we play ….whatever it is we do … depends entirely upon the attitude and strength of that consciousness – for each and every being involved! (He puts down his pen)

So, if I might presume to give you a word of advice. … (He puts his hand to the side of his mouth, as if talking to the audience in secret) Not a problem for me .. because I’m almost certain that you won’t act upon it ….

Commit yourself totally to looking and listening first, before you decide what course of action to take  … Then acquire definite ‘attitudes’ … Your own particular way of looking at things. …Develop some ‘character’  …Build yourself a backbone ….

Work on acquiring the biggest ego that you can. So that when you finally surrender … (and, if you only but knew, that’s really the whole purpose of all this) … you will actually have something of your own to ‘bring to the table’ here.  … A real profit of some kind; something that might even generate a little interest ….Something valuable to you … for you to ‘give up’ … For you to sacrifice! … (He picks up his pen and pauses, before speaking once more) … ….

(He pauses and cocks a hand to his ear) What’s that you say? …”Is this, then, what you might call, ‘Self-knowledge'”… … Do I hear you ask? …. ….. 

No, no, no! …Not at all! … That … is a completely different animal, my lovely! ….. (He looks over his left shoulder and shouts)… Next!

(He puts down the pen, stands up, and starts to sing again, while moving slowly towards the footlights at the front and center of the stage)

“I know where you go to my lovely
When you’re alone in your bed …”

(He stands still. He seems to have suddenly become very tired. His shoulders droop and he lowers his head. When he looks up, his whole demeanor is now much calmer, and he begins to speak again, using a slightly more reassuring tone).  You know, whenever I gaze upon the images of the faces you conjure up in your mind of those people that you revere  … (Slightly louder) ….It really is amazing .. But they always seem to look like me! … Or, if not like me, then like a very close relative of mine! (His voice goes suddenly quiet)….And you know … I have never been able to decide whether I find that flattering (He pauses)…. or intensely offensive! (He laughs, and then suddenly stands up very straight, spreads his arms wide, lifts up his head , and sings  the last two lines of the song with gusto) 

“I know the thoughts that surround yoo – ooo – ooo – ooo!..”

(He clicks his heels together, bows stiffly to the audience, and sings the last line – staccato) 

“CAUSE.. I.. CAN.. LOOK.. INSIDE.. YOUR.. HEAD!”

( Stage – Immediate  full black-out)

SONG: Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)
Words and music by Peter Sarstedt © EMI Music Publishing 1969 

From ‘Field-notes for Armageddon’ by Bob Hardy

Prologue 

 “For the stupid, everything depends upon circumstances” – Eugene Halliday.

I’m going to start here by fast-forwarding to the mid-1990’s, which was round about when I decided that it was about time to come off the road, stop enjoying myself so much, and attempt to get myself a proper job.

To that end I embarked upon a few years of, what is laughingly referred to as, ‘re-training,’ and in the process got myself a teaching degree (amongst other things) – a task that involved a great deal of reading up on, and pondering over, the teaching process – and particularly, in my case at least, where this process concerns, what is referred to in the profession as, the ‘needs’ of  the ‘Adult Learner’…

One of the more common situations that teachers of ‘Further and Adult Education’ very often come across, arises as a direct consequence of the uninformed opinion that prospective learners somehow clobber together regarding their particular ‘subject of interest’, and into which they are now about to (hopefully) invest both their hard-earned cash, together with a significant portion of their valuable leisure time.

The learner’s understanding of the contents of this prospective ‘subject of interest’ (an interest that quite often borders on an obsession)  is then, regrettably – at least initially, and for the most part – almost entirely imaginary.

Also, the realization of the degree of difficulty that will actually be involved in attempting to assimilate the real contents of this ‘subject of interest’, will be deliberately minimized. And our learner will, more often than not – at least initially – tend to override any vague misgivings, or even serious doubts, that they might have here, by simultaneously attempting to maintain an unbridled, over-enthousiastic, and clearly unsustainable interest, while all the time insisting that they do possess ‘what it takes’ to see them safely through to completion. ….

Well – as our learner here has largely imagined that they ‘sort-of know’ the over-all contents of their subject of choice before they start; and also, incidentally, that they have, as a simple matter of course, understood the respective roles and motives of both themselves and their teacher in this enterprise, their confidence is hardly surprising…. Is it?

Another fairly common obstacle the learner might also have to face when they begin applying themselves to their ‘studies’, and which they are, more often than not, particularly vulnerable to, is that of being mesmerized by (what is referred to in the teaching profession as) a ‘charismatic teacher’.

This mode of subject delivery (charismatic teaching) more often than not produces a distinctly unhealthy learning environment, in which the  personality of the ‘teacher’ rapidly achieves more significance in our learner’s scheme of things than the ideas and concepts contained in the actual subject material itself.

Indeed, when this is the case, often the most trivial, half-understood, fragments of some idea or other, will magically be transformed into ‘informed opinion’, to be trotted out at every available opportunity by the hapless learner in an attempt by them to convince others (and, more tragically, themselves) that they ‘really understand what’s going on here’. Usually by prefacing whatever it is that they feel compelled to say with the name of the teacher, followed by the words, ‘”said to me,” followed by some kind of – usually mangled, but thankfully extremely short – homily.

Further, more often than not, even though this somewhat unseemly stampede to join the ranks of ‘those in the know’ here is never quite realized by the learner, both parties involved (learner and teacher that is) somehow manage to simultaneously, and instinctively, develop the necessary skills required for avoiding anyone and anything that might ‘rock the boat’ here in this regard….. By the way, in my opinion this relationship is a wonderful, and somewhat exotic, example of  what Eugene Halliday referred to as, ‘The Tacit Conspiracy’.

And as, in the field of ‘Adult Learning (or, as it is sometimes referred to, ‘Learning for Life (!)’) the system that has been put in place here is structured in such a way that neither the facilitator of the subject content (the teacher) or the recipient (the learner) is under any real requirement to complete the process satisfactorily … things here can plod on endlessly … sometimes, even longer…..

This was, in retrospect (in part at least) the situation I now see that I was in when I first went to Parklands in 1979. Although, at the time, I had no idea that this was the case…. But that’s no excuse, is it?

I believed then, in fact, that I was ‘doing the right thing’, and was ‘moving forward here’; that I was ‘traveling in the right direction’, as it were. ….

Well it was obvious that I was  …. Wasn’t I?…

Well actually, no.

If I had been able to take stock of my position at that time, and able to focus on what Eugene Halliday was continually suggesting had to be done, then I would have realized that I had, in fact, absorbed next to nothing of the material of his that I already had in my possession! I had at least a dozen or so of his essays, together with a significant number of his recordings from his Liverpool talks. So why didn’t I work with them, before I went off to gather more – if it really was my expressed purpose to realize, what I perceived to be, an obvious ‘apparent gain’? …

My maternal grandmother could have told me. She would simply have said, “Your eyes are bigger than your belly!”

But I don’t believe that my actions here can be put down exclusively to greed. …and I would have to admit that there was also a good deal of my own stupidity involved here!

I was, at that time, in the habit of collecting, and subsequently working through, what many might consider massive amounts of ‘relevant material’ simply in order to clarify one small point that I was obsessing over in some particular subject or other that had ‘taken my fancy’, and which usually had precious little to do with any aspect of my personal development. So even here, in 1979, if I was to claim that I was being ‘positive’ or ‘engaged’ by going to Ishval, this ‘being positive’ would only concern my sincere attempts to gather information’. which – as I realized (but only a long time later) was not the purpose of all this at all!

Regrettably though, I would say that, at that time, I believed I was, “quite happy with the way I was progressing, thank you!” …although you might get me to admit that, “I might need a little adjustment ‘here and there’ perhaps… A spot of ‘fine tuning’ maybe,” … But, as I say, in the main……. I was  just fine!

How do I now picture what I believe was going on then? ……Read on!

Here was I in that ‘Garden of Eden’ busy tending to ‘in here’, completely unaware that it was also home to any number of other ‘inhabitants’ (some of whom were distinctly shady) who were only too pleased to let me ‘get on with it’, and have as many ‘meaningful experiences’ as I wished…. That is, they were happy to ‘keep shtum’ and doze away in the sunshine,  always providing of course, that ‘I’ didn’t attempt to ‘rock the boat’ …

(I suspect that the last paragraph here might be a bit too metaphorical – but it will have to do, for the time being at least)

Luckily though, by 1979 (when I was about 36) I had already realized that I wasn’t getting to where I wanted to be in other areas of my life, and as a consequence I had already begun a serious examination of my ‘learning techniques’ – which I was being forced to realize were just not ‘doing the business’ for me.

I was, in fact, becoming quite desperate, and had reached the stage where I was prepared to pay almost any price in order to ‘make headway’. Luckily for me, this natural single-mindedness of mine was to be a tremendous help  in providing a ‘center’ for a great deal of material – a significant proportion of which (but not all by any means) came from Eugene Halliday. And I was at last beginning an instinctive attempt to construct various primitive systems to assist me here, which provided boundaries inside which I could begin to formulate some minimal forms of praxis.

The situation that I would be launching myself deliberately into by mid-1983 (which involved the next 12 years of living abroad) also provided me with a much more efficient way of handling the compulsion to acquire information. As the self-imposed restriction to only collect information in order to assist me  in acquiring a particular technique, or to help structure a social praxis, meant that, without actually realizing it, I was acquiring as an extremely focused way of gathering, controlling, and monitoring my ‘gains’ – both apparent or authentic. …Or, in a nutshell, I was beginning to ‘Cut out the crap’, and become far more efficient – marginally at least ….But. on reflection, I would have to admit that this whole process was agonizingly slow …’Turgid’ might be better ….

So … Not so much greed here as before (glad to say) … but still plenty of stupidity.

I also quickly discovered that there was no ‘deferred payment scheme’ available, if I was to be serious about going forward here. Every single, solitary, minute gain had to be paid for, ‘up front’ .. immediately.

Luckily for me, and with no real effort on my part, I found that I seemed to have enough energy to spend on all of this… The problem was that this energy seemed to be shaded with a somewhat primitive purpose of its own, with the result that I had a great deal of difficulty controlling it! … Which is putting it mildly!!!  And as a consequence I would (as I like to call it) ‘leak’ all over the place…. … …  Surprise, surprise!!

So I would have to say that my attempts to control things here (to develop that center in myself) would, during the subsequent 15 years or so, prove to be an extremely rocky ride, as various other beings ‘in the building’ (which is another overall term I like to use to describe this state of being of mine) took exception to my ‘cutting them out of the picture’ and would lie in wait to ambush me – in an attempt to commander all the energy flying about –  and ‘twist my arm’, by tormenting me with ideas of how to indulge myself in all sorts of goodies …What a life!

That’s my excuse anyway …

Working with Eugene Halliday’s material then would only start to make some, intermittent, kind of sense to me after more than a decade – which would be around 1989…. But during all this the time leading up to this I had no sense that I wasn’t making much progress at all. It wasn’t like I was hanging round holding my head in my hands and feeling suicidal. Far from it!… But I would say that, where it concerned my ability to ‘Work’, I had, at best, simply been ‘marking time’.

But to get back to Eugene Halliday and my attendance at his talks at Parklands.  What on earth was it that I imagined I was going to get from seeing him ‘in person’? … Would ‘it’ (whatever ‘it’ was) all somehow be ‘easier’? … Would I experience some sort of magic, in the flesh, resonance, where it concerned my assimilation of his ideas? … Would there be some magical transfer of ‘the truth’ by occult osmosis? … A ‘touch the hem of his garment’ sort of thing?. ….

As I have never believed that anything like this was ever possible, or that in the future could be possible, the answer to these questions is a definite negative.  …. But that begs the question still … Which is, “So what then did I expect?”

As I hadn’t formulated that question at the time (that is, I didn’t interrogate myself as to my reasons for attending Ishval) the answer, I’m afraid, is going to be a bit woolly. But I would say that I went to Parklands in 1979 because it wasn’t apparent to me what Eugene Halliday was ‘doing’ when I heard him speaking on those recordings of his talks…. (I didn’t have the same problem with his writings, by the way).  It did not seem to me that these talks were ‘prepared’, but I did not believe that they ‘just came out of thin air’ either….. So I wanted to see what it was that he ‘did’… I wanted to see him ‘in action’ ….

I thought that doing so would make a ‘difference’ I suppose. … And I now believe that what in fact I had to learn was that it didn’t … That there was no magic trick …  That it was the ‘same old, same old’ in fact …And that Eugene Halliday was not handing out ‘free lunches’, and suggesting ‘short cuts’  here, although many of those who I spoke to about his ‘Work’ clearly believed he was.

The attitude of others to Eugene Halliday’s material, by the way, was a big problem for me – at least when it came to my attendance at Ishval – and it would be the major reason why I eventually stopped going … Because I decided that if I was serious about my intention to move forward, I would have to do something else…far more radical than simply engaging in what were, in reality, pseudo-social activities that the participants had somehow persuaded themselves were ‘meaningful’, ‘mysterious’, and ‘mystical’.

My appreciation of just what it was that Eugene Halliday was ‘doing’, was first of all that he was doing it right in front of my eyes. But what that was is very difficult for me to try to explain to others.. However, in case you think I’m just blagging you about this – I’ll have a go.. …

What is it that I would now say, in part, that he was doing? … I would say that he was attempting to make a monumental task appear to be a little more palatable to anyone who professed an interest in taking it on. And that he was also fully aware that his success rate here would be very near to zero …And that this was OK with him because he really knew that this is the way it really is. … …. That’s some of how I see it, anyway.

I could say, I suppose, that as far as I was concerned back then, going to Parklands was ‘harmless enough’, and that there were certainly ‘activities’ I engaged in there which proved to be of genuine use to me, but I was only able to see why much later on – an definitely not at that time.

But that’s how complete and seductive my illusion was at that time that I was somehow ‘Working’. … My illusion that I was ‘doing something substantial’ … When – and only decades later – it became clear to me that I’d been doing very little at all! … Because I simply wasn’t able to do anything at that time!… And I have only been able to come to terms with these ‘wasted years of mine’ here, by eventually seeing all this as a part of a necessary process for me. Something essential that I had to go through, if I was serious at all about my own … ‘evolution’ – shall we call it.

This ‘Parklands’ period constituted for me then – but not at all in the way I had expected – an extremely valuable experience. One that would later be of tremendous use to me – but only at the right time.

The ‘remedy’ here was, as it invariably always was, ‘simple, but (definitely) not easy’. … All the pieces necessary for  me to begin ‘working’ were already in place. These were: my desire for power; my greed; and my stupidity. … Or, to put it another way, this was my very own personal mountain of crap …And all I had to do was begin digging …(Oh, these dreadful metaphors!)

And what essential skills did I need to acquire in order to move me on here?  …Just the ability to watch, and to listen, properly.  A piece of advice that my wife, Jean, had already given me … a long time before I’d even heard of Eugene Halliday …. But that’s real love for you!

Anyway … On with the tale!

Going Nowhere Fast – Parklands and Ishval

At the time of my first visit to Parklands I knew next to nothing about the ‘set-up’ there (or, if anyone had told me what it was, I hadn’t taken any notice, or I had simply forgotten). I only knew that ‘Parklands’ was the name of house somewhere near Manchester, and that Eugene gave monthly talks for the regularly organized monthly meeting of the ISHVAL membership, and this usually took place on the last Sunday of each month (at that time I thought that Eugene was the speaker at all of these Sunday meetings, which in fact wasn’t the case).

I learnt later (because I asked a number of people) that sometime around 1966, Eugene Halliday, together with his second wife Margret (who I understood from Ken was an invalid) had moved into Parklands, together with David and Zero Mahlowe, who had agreed to help them both. But I can’t remember exactly who told me this, or when. Although I was working with David Mahlowe  by 1980, so I must surely have known by then that he, at least, lived at Parklands.

David’s wife, Zero, was to give me detailed information about this period, but this would have been a lot later – around 2006 .

My understanding up until the time that I first visited ‘Parklands’ in 1979 was that, before ISHVAL at least, Eugene Halliday had spoken predominantly  to small groups of people – perhaps 20 or  so (although I didn’t know it to be a matter of fact). That he began giving these talks at his home in Manchester to interested people – who, at that time I imagine, would have been referred to as ‘Bohemians’ – sometime during the beginning of the 1940’s (maybe even earlier). That he continued giving these talks through the late 1950’s and into the early 1960’s; that he took a summer break and went to the Isle of Man where he would also give talks on the beach. That this later period came to include (weekly?) visits to Liverpool in order to talk to a small regular group – the IHS – at the home(s) of Ken Ratcliffe, who recruited this IHS  membership, and also organized the meetings, and who had previously lived in Manchester, where Eugene lived; and from listening to recordings of these Liverpool meetings, that this small group, at least, enjoyed (importantly in my view), some degree, of a one-to-one interaction with Eugene himself – where it concerned the subject(s) under discussion at any one particular meeting.

This impression of mine came, by and large, from listening to the recording of those talks at Liverpool; from information supplied by Ken; and also from the manner in which I interpreted the approach Eugene had adopted in some of his writings, such as ‘The Hippy Love Philosophy’ (here’s a copy folks) Eugene Halliday – The Hippy Love Philosophy and ‘The Zodiascope’ (here ’tis) The Zodiascope – Eugene Halliday I felt that the general ambience at these meetings was, by and large, both sincere and ‘comfortable’, with an ‘austere warmth’ to the proceedings – although I  felt that there was a certain detatched authoritarian aura emanating from Eugene himself.

It was this impression of mine that is probably the main reason why I was so hugely disappointed with my visits to Parklands to hear Eugene give his ISHVAL talk. The ambience at Parklands was, for me, nothing at all like this. Instead it seemed to me to be overly formal, with many of those present in the audience not appearing, to me at least, to be really ‘getting it’.

I can still vividly remember my first impression of the interior of Parklands, with its Art Deco ‘fixtures and fittings’. But this was not because I was impressed by them (although I was), but for an entirely different, and far more personal, reason….

The decor at Parklands rekindled early childhood memories in me of visits to my maternal grandparents’ house in Liverpool, and of sitting in their living room, leafing through a large souvenir brochure from the late 1930’s, produced to commemorate the maiden voyage of one of Cunard White Star Line’s ‘Queens’ (I can’t remember now if it was the ‘Mary’ or the ‘Elizabeth’) that had been presented to my grandfather. Within this brochure’s heavily embossed golden covers were full-page photographs of the interior of this magnificent vessel, together with many fold-out smaller photos of the furnishings, which were crafted in that same Art Deco style.

I was fascinated by the images in this book as a small boy, and I must have poured over them for hours. Indeed now, even after some sixty years have passed, I can still experience an echo of the numinous feeling I experienced then, whenever I now examine the grain in a piece of walnut veneer; or the markings on a slab of green striped agate; or if I study the imagery contained in a Symbolist painting.

So my experience of attending an Ishval meeting at Parklands in 1979 – I realized even at the time – was colored somewhat by this childhood experience of mine.

The original architectural design of Parklands included a ballroom space, and when Eugene et all moved in, this had been converted (with the help of Alan Roberts, I understand) into an auditorium – complete with proscenium, mahogany stage, and lighting system.

As Parklands was some thirty five miles or so from where I lived I usually got a lift there, and as a consequence travelled with three other ‘chaps’ (although sometimes my wife, Jean, would come along also, if we could find a babysitter).

The conversations that took place in the car when we were returning home from these talks were interesting in that, although everyone was at pains to point out just how wonderful and illuminating the talk we had just attended was,  it became clear that very little of it had been actually remembered! And this was only an hour or so after the end of the talk!

The conversation would usually go something like this,……………..

“Hey! Wasn’t that great tonight?”

“Yes, I agree …. I don’t know how he does it!” ….”I felt he was talking directly to me!” … “He was answering questions for me that were there in my head!” …. etc.

“Do you remember what he talked about tonight?”

“Yes! He started of by [this would be a phrase or even a single word, delivered here with much confidence and enthusiasm] , and then went on to [This would more often than not, be a couple of sentences which would quickly peter out, becoming more and more disjointed in the process]——-“

Very quickly the excited chatter faded away, to be replaced by an uncomfortable silence, punctuated by ‘Umms’ and ‘Errs’, as we all strove to recall what it was that Eugene Halliday had actually talked about, and that we all clearly  were at great pains to claim was so revelatory and important to us….All except for one of us that is… He would rapidly go through all the major points of the hour-plus talk!

How did he do this? … Simple! ….He had taken notes, and was reading them out to the rest of us!

That this was slightly bizarre behavior did not seem to register with him at all! … And obviously it was impossible, in this particular circumstance, to know if he actually ‘knew’ anything … If you see what I mean.

So I decided to ‘ambush him’ during our jouney to next month’s talk. And to that end, I devised the following ‘little test’. I also wasn’t sure if there might not have been another process at work. A sort of ‘unconscious digestive process’ (an idea that I later discovered the Ishval crowd was particularly fond of – but alas has never really appealed to me), and that we might discover, say one month later, that the information contained in the previous month’s talk had in fact been duly processed ‘somewhere’, and was now freely available to us for regurgitation. (My advice here – file that idea in the same box that you file Father Christmas).

Anyway – back to my ‘little test’…

“Do you remember that last time we went?” (That’s me talking to the other three passengers – and trying to be as casual as possible).

“Yes.” (Chorus)

“Can you remember what the talk was about?” “

I would ‘join in’ here and contribute first – to get the ball rolling as it were. And we would subsequently all contribute a simple senctence or two in reply here, but that was it! … Then it was back to the ‘umming and arring’, I’m afraid!

…. But now the original three hapless nitwits were joined by a fourth – the one who had read the substance of the last talk from his notes …..

This practical, experiential situation, was a fundamental component in my understanding of any number of important words, including ‘memory’, ‘knowing’, ‘learning’ (for example). And on many occasions since  I was to contemplate this particular situation – and also, what I have since come to realize, were masses of similar, parallel, situations.

How were the rest of the 150 or so members of the audience at Parklands doing with this material, I began to wonder? ……….(No prizes for your  guess as to my answer to this question here, I’m afraid).

The central important issue here for me became not ‘what Eugene Halliday said’ or ‘how wonderful those who attended his talks maintained Eugene Halliday was’. It had become far simpler than that. The only issue to me, of any importance here had become, “What did the learner learn?”  Followed by, “What were we, the audience, supposed to do as a consequence?”; and ‘How to explain all this?” ….

Finally, in this post, “How were these talks ‘stage-managed’.” (I should point out here that – that by 1979 – I had accumulated a great deal of professional experience in this area, so I was more than able to spot a stage-managed ‘entrance’)) …

Well, the audience at these meetings would all be seated comfortably before the talk began, at which point Eugene would make his entrance from the back of the theater, down the steps of the central isle, passing the rows of seated audience members as he did so, onto the stage.

Here’s a photos of the entrance to the theater taken from the theater floor; and also one of the stage itself.

Parklands Theater – Entrance and Steps

Parklands Theater – Stage

Eugene Halliday had to lean very heavily on David Mahlowe’s right shoulder in order to do this because, I realized with a tremendous shock, he was quite severely disabled. .. And until I saw him ‘in the flesh’ this first time, I had no idea that this was the case! ..

Why I didn’t know about this disability before, I do not know – but it immediately cleared up a number of questions for me, including the fact that I always believed that I could detect a slight speech impediment.

Over the years I have heard any number of bizzare theories as to how this disability came about, the most common one circulating amongst the Ishval attendees was frankly downright creepy, as it seemed to me at least, to claim that it was a ‘supernatural’ event

In my opinion, after hearing various accounts of Eugene Halliday’s life that – it was claimed by those who told me – came originally from the man himself, concerning the period immediately following the onset of his disability (which I understand was sometime during his early teenage years) it sounds to me like he was the victim of a severe bout of Polio, a viral infectious disease. This was still quite common even when I was a young child in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s, and the sight, during that period, of children wearing leg-calipers was not unusual at all.

During the intervening three decades or so since I first saw Eugene Halliday, I have come to realize just how central to my particular understanding of him this dissability was…Particularly how I perceived the way that he completely understood there was a great deal of power to be acquired, simply from learning  to develop the ability to be acutely aware of our own processes (physical, mental, and feeling) – and which I believe began in Eugene Halliday with the practical imperative to develop conscious control of his own damaged body motor-functions.

In the next post I’d like to take a breather, and try to describe in a little more detail some ideas that I came to regarding: the acquisition of an ‘active’ vocabulary; and a little of how that informed my viewpoint of what Eugene Halliday was ‘doing’ when he gave a talk….and maybe a few other bits and bobs …’ Til then …

To be continued ……….

Bob Hardy

July, 2012

 

… “All the world’s a stage” then? …. Is that what you think? …. Well, it might seem that way to you – but it doesn’t to me!… ….

… I have to admit though … I like the Bard’s take on things a whole lot better than that Greek story about the cave … and the fire … and the shadows on the wall….  and  how what was really going on (including all the good stuff), was going on ‘behind your back’ … And to top it all, how you were chained to a wall so that you couldn’t just turn around and take a peep! …(He moves towards the middle of the room, pushes up his jacket sleeves, holds his hands up with an exaggerated flourish towards the light-bulb hanging from the ceiling, and produces, in rapid succession on the far wall, the shadow of a dog’s head, followed by a duck, then a rabbit, and finally a man with a cigarette in his mouth) … Makes you all out to be a bunch of second rate ‘Peeping Toms’ … if you ask me! ….. (He pauses and looks thoughtful for a moment) … But like they say, “If the cap fits,” … I suppose! (He looks over, smiles thinly, and shrugs).

And that whole ‘cave’ bit … Don’t you find that it’s got a really depressing ‘we are not worthy’ feel about it?  .. 

But then, a lot of you down here really do enjoy going in for all that ‘humble pie’ stuff, don’t you?… Or, at least, you like to pretend you do! …. … I just cannot, for the life of me, understand why you believe it does you any good! … Personally, I find all that ‘diverse cringing and groveling’ you go in for – your ‘religious practices’, as you like to call them – intensely irritating … (He scowls, and stares ahead vacantly for a moment with a solemn  expression on his face as if lost in his own thoughts, before suddenly jerking his head up and smiling broadly)… But I digress!.. …

I’d say – if you’re the least bit interested -that I see the way things are down here as being much more like one of your ‘Blockbuster Movies’! … The ‘Big Picture’!… Or ‘The Main Feature’!  (He laughs loudly)

… Although, now I come to think of it, ‘Multi-Part Serial cum B-Movie’ would probably be more like it …

You know the sort of thing! …  “Don’t miss our ‘three-score and ten’, thrilling, fun-packed, all-action, cliff-hanging, episodes! ….  … Will our hero escape certain death at the hands of the evil villain? … Will he rescue our beautiful heroine? … Will he have time to save the world before dinner? … … Don’t miss our next exciting thrill-packed episode!!!… Coming shortly to a cinema near you!”….

(He stops suddenly, before carrying on in a slightly less enthusiastic manner)… Although of course, ‘thrill-packed’ – for the majority of you taking part down here at least – is probably stretching it a bit!… (He folds his arms and, looking reflective, puts a finger to his lips, and pauses for a moment, before muttering almost to himself) … … A bunch of extras in a third-rate ‘soap’ would probably be a lot more accurate …(He stops again for a moment before suddenly exclaiming) …Whatever! … ….Anyway …looking at things in this way highlights, very nicely, one of those little pranks that so many of you are fond of getting up to, from time to time,  down here,  …  

You see … although, most of the time, you can’t be bothered to ‘get it together’  anyway, and you don’t usually begin taking notice of anything at all until well after it’s half-way through – you still just can’t resist clobbering together your own prequel … Your very own seamless version of events! … Something that pads-out your ideas about all the earlier stuff you missed out on … That you just didn’t ‘get’, the first time round …

Not content with that, this fabrication of yours – which you quickly convince yourself is completely accurate down to the smallest detail – is then foisted upon anyone unfortunate enough to ask you your views on what it is that you think ‘life and everything’ is all about …. You, of course, can’t wait to tell them that you know … because you’ve convinced yourself that you’ve seen it all clearly!

More often than not though, these ‘theories’ of yours are usually just a poorly clobbered together, largely erroneous, personally biased, series of pseudo-events and half-truths that you have deluded yourself into believing now constitute an accurate chronicle of events – even though you have only just (that is, very recently) made most of it up! (He laughs and gestures disbelievingly, shaking his head slowly) ….

You then compound this problem, by insisting on referring to this cock-eyed version of events of yours, as your ‘sincere beliefs’ … Mainly because you imagine that this label somehow confers some kind of automatic, additional, authenticating kudos, on both you and your ideas….

But even you will have to admit that this belief of yours has been produced with at least some – what we might call here – ‘hind-sight’ on your part … (He laughs) Which brings us back – in a manner of speaking – to our ‘Greek cave’ story! … Regrettably though, this ‘hind-sight’ of yours does not constitute a particular instance of you having  ‘looked behind you’ to see ‘what was really going on’, but is, instead, yet another example of you ‘seeing what it was that you wanted to see’! … … What we like to refer to as a ‘projection’ – and which, of course, makes you the ‘projector’ here! ….

Luckily for you though, this ‘belief’ of yours can also be quickly discarded when you get tired of it (or more usually, when it becomes unfashionable) by simply exclaiming (using the appropriate tone of voice), “Oh dear me, no! … I don’t believe that now! … I know that I used to … But I don’t any more!” …. Which of course now clears the decks for you to present ‘one and all’ with your very latest – but unfortunately for you, equally batty – brand new set of  beliefs ….

…. But, credit where its due! …I have to say that I find all your antics here incredibly entertaining! … And particularly so, if you managed to convince others of your ‘beliefs’ …

And if you really do manage to get your ideas across… That is, if somehow they prove to have real ‘mass-appeal’ … Well! You might even hit the jackpot, and get to start a new World Movement….  You know!… A new religion … or even a new World War! … Which in my book should certainly get you nominated for an Oscar – at the very least! (He puts his hands behind his back and begins to pace up and down, gesticulating in an enthusiastic manner).

… Get lots of the ‘right people’ on board to begin with! … That’s the thing! …  What you need to start with is an ‘exclusive’! … Divide people up into an ‘us and them’ … You can just invent the ‘them’ if you like – but do remember to keep the plot reasonably simple… You don’t want to give people too much thinking to do! … ‘Believers and non-believers’ – that’s it! … Tell people that what your doing ‘isn’t for everybody’ …. Give all the believers badges, secret names, and various positions! …Make them feel special! … Create a hierarchy!…(He laughs suddenly). Hey! Even I’ve got one of those! …. Give it all a touch of  ‘je ne sais quoi’! … Then it will be relatively easy for you to get your ‘little flock’ to make all kinds of value judgments about all those ‘others’ who, you maintain, disagree with ‘our’ version of events …That’ll serve to make ‘us’ all feel so much more worthy and important! …(He begins to shout) .. Onward and upward! … Storm the ‘Pearly Gates’! … (He stops abruptly and becomes motionless, speaking quietly to himself) … Ooops! … Steady on now! … Calm down! … (He moves to the chair and sits down, rests his elbows on his thighs, and clasps his hands together, before continued in a normal voice)

And having a story about the the ‘why and wherefore’ of everything is such a comfort isn’t it? ….

On the other hand though, it can be an incredible ‘downer’ … I know!  … Because you might  all now end up believing that everything has been ‘written down’ from the beginning- it’s all been decided from the year ‘dot’ … And so now there’s just no escaping one’s fate  …. But at least  now you ‘believers’ do have a kind of ‘cosmic purpose’ – in some sense at least, I imagine  … Don’t you? … (He smiles encouragingly)

At the very least, you and your fellow believers can now all claim to be ‘going’ somewhere – even if now it’s only for what seems, on reflection, to be a rather short, micro-managed, somewhat pointless, stroll! … and at least take some comfort in the idea that ‘someone up there’ is ‘minding the store’ so to speak, which does serve to give all this some kind of meaning…If you like that sort of thing….

And this has the advantage that you now have someone who can tell you all what to do; a ‘Director’ – as it were… Who already knows every single thing that’s going to happen to you … Including all the possible ‘why’s and wherefore’s’ … the complete deck-of-cards … the whole shebang …. before it all happens! …. So – it makes life easy – now you just have to ‘do as you’re told’, and ‘no excuses’! …

But Hey! Don’t let’s knock that! … For many of you, I know that this is a far more preferable  story than what you imagine would be the sheer, stark terror of ‘no purpose at all’, … or  … it’s all ‘just for the fun of it’ … as it were! …..

Whatever is really going on down here though … for my part – full credit where it’s due! … … Your antics make for such wonderfully entertaining viewing … even though I say it myself! … I wouldn’t have missed a single moment for the whole world!! … Indeed, I’m proud to say that I don’t believe I’ve missed a solitary second now for  …. (He smiles to himself) ….sometimes it seems like … …. simply ages and ages!

If it’s like a movie, then who gets to write all the stuff? … Well! You’d probably accuse me of trying to ‘mess with your head’ if I told you that, actually, it was you …. So I won’t say ‘you’ then… I’ll just say ‘It’ … instead ….

And you can call ‘It’ almost any thing you like …. (He begins walking away slowly) … “A rose by any other name” ..  … (He stops suddenly in mid-step) … Now who wrote that? …. …

 From ‘Field-notes for Armageddon’ by Bob Hardy

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Setting The Scene – ‘Parklands’ and ISHVAL (Prologue).

This particular period – the one immediately before going to Parklands for the first time – has been really difficult for me to put together here.

I could simply have related an account of my first visit to Parklands when I went to listen to Eugene Halliday give one of his ISHVAL talks, adding my impressions as I went along. But I don’t think that would be of much use here. So instead, I’ve divided this post into two parts.

In ‘Part 1’, I have attempted to recall what I thought about ISHVAL before I actually visited ‘Parklands’; and in ‘Part 2’ I’ve described, in part, an outline of my method, and also my perspective on, those ‘Rules of membership for ISHVAL’ written by Eugene Halliday, that I first saw as important for me at that time, and which I have worked with ever since – together with a number of subsequent ‘thoughts arising’.

Part 1.

One of the real problems I had throughout the period when I attended ISHVAL meetings (from late 1979 until early 1984) – and even later, when I began working on the archive in 2004 – was that I never really  understood what it was that ISHVAL was about!

As I knew that ISHVAL had been registered as a charity since 1966, I imagine that you might find my lack of understanding here surprising, particularly as I attended many of ISHVAL’s monthly talks, and also took part in one of its particular activities for a number of years.

So I am going to attempt to explain the ‘why and wherefore’ of this before continuing with an actual account(s) of my attendances.

I’ll begin by answering the following question, “Up until late 1979, when I first stepped foot in ‘Parklands’, what did I know about, and think of, ISHVAL?”

Well, to tell the truth, I hadn’t much thought about it at all at that time! .. I knew that the word ISHVAL was an acronym for ‘The Institute for the Study of Hierological Values’: I was a bit vague about the word ‘Hierological’; I had been told that Eugene Halliday gave regular monthly ‘talks’ there; and that ISHVAL had a membership (but I did not know, back then in 1979, how to join – and, in fact, I have never been able to find out since).

I also assumed that, as ISHVAL contained the word ‘Institute’ – and as that word enjoys a somewhat restricted legal, official use as a title – then the law relating to the use of the word ‘Institute’ would clearly apply here, as my understanding was that ISHVAL was, in fact, an ‘official body’. I made some notes on this use of the word ‘Institute’ in this context some time ago, and  I’ve included them here.

ISHVAL’S use of the title ‘INSTITUTE’

Far more significantly at that time though, I discovered that a number of Rules had been provided for the membership of ISHVAL by Eugene Halliday. Although the ‘recommendation’ after the last rule (number eight) was rather disconcerting – at least as far as I was concerned…

How did I know about these rules before I had ever been to ISHVAL? … Well, Ken Ratcliffe provided me with a copy of them before I actually went there. …. Here they are:

RULES OF THE INSTITUTE FOR THE STUDY OF HIEROLOGICAL VALUES.

 1. Each member shall, according to his capacity, make clear to himself the purpose of ISHVAL, that is, the study of hierological values.

 2. Each member shall, with due regard to ISHVAL’S purpose, and according to his capacity, undertake to convert his passive vocabulary into an active one, firstly by dictionary research into the etymology of his existing vocabulary, subsequently by extending this vocabulary as far as possible.

 3. Each member shall, according to his capacity, modify his procedures of thought, feeling, will and action, in conformity with the new understanding arising from the conversion of his passive vocabulary into ever wider fields of significance.

 4. Each member shall periodically offer to his fellow members the fruits of his studies and be prepared on request of the Chief Officers to précis these studies for the general benefit of members, and to lecture upon or discuss his findings and, conclusions.

 5. Each member shall contribute, according to his capacity, to the general extension of the Institute’s work in whatever field it may find an application.

 6. Each member, according to his capacity, shall study the basic scriptures of world religions, and the major writings of philosophers and scientists and artists, and recognise the value of making précis of these.

 7. Each member shall aim to coordinate and harmonise the results of his studies with those of all other members, and to see in every other member another expression and vehicle of ISHVAL’S purpose.

 8. All members shall, according to their capacity, undertake to cooperate on special study projects which by their nature be beyond the powers of any single member of sub-group of members.

 Thes rules were formulated and agreed upon at a meeting of members held on 29th. January 1967. The meeting decided that the rules should be accompanied by this recommendation – “These rules are not obligatory but are recommendations for preferences.”

I thought at the time that these rules of membership were reasonably clear, and as a consequence I made a number of – what I still consider to be – innocent, and reasonable, assumptions. Notably, that anyone claiming to be a member of ISHVAL would obviously be extremely familiar with these rules, and that they would also – so I also reasonably believed – be attempting to carry them out.

These rules were, I understood, composed by Eugene himself, and I have included here a copy of what I believe to be the first completed draft – together with what also appears to be an earlier copy, one that includes a number of hand-written alterations. I have also included a copy of Gerhard Noahkes’ notes taken at a talk given at ISHVAL on the 29th January 1967, which appears to have included a presentation (given, I assume, by Eugene Halliday himself) of these rules.

Rules of Ishval (scans)

During the 32 years since I first set foot in Parklands (1979), I have never heard these ‘rules’ being discussed, or even mentioned, by others … Which, I feel, is surely unusual?

Indeed, when I brought the matter of ‘The Rules of Ishval’ up at a ‘Friends of Ishval Meeting’ some time after 2004 it seemed to me that most of those present had never even seen, or heard, of them (I provided photocopies of these rules).  Although one enterprising person present at this meeting was very quick to point out the part where it states that, “These rules are not obligatory but are recommendations for preferences.” ….  …!

Presenting my impressions re the attitude of others here – that is, where it concerns recommendations made in writing by Eugene Halliday for those who attended ISHVAL – is not one of the purposes of this blog. So I will simply state here that, in my view, no amount of obsequious sycophantism can make up for actually doing some real ‘Work’ …  and I will leave it at that..

My own involvement with ISHVAL as a charity? Well, I did not in 1979, and still do not now in 2012, understand either the ‘Aims’ or ‘Purpose’ of Ishval’  … Although I did attempt some understanding here, and put together one or two notes on the subject for that purpose.

Aims and Purpose of Ishval – some notes

I would like to add that I was also particularly drawn to a paragraph in a Covenant made by Freemans Ltd to ISHVAL, and dated December 1966, which reads:

“Hierogical means pertaining to the values contained in the traditions of all peoples: in art, religion, philosophy, and science. Ishval is primarily concerned in studying the orientation of these traditions towards Christian values. (Italics mine)

You can make of that what you will!

Anyway, I simply did what I always do in situations like this. I worked with what I could use.

The rules that captured my attention?  They would be: a slightly amended rule number 2; rule number 3; and number 6.

2. Each member shall (………) according to his capacity, undertake to convert his passive vocabulary into an active one, firstly by dictionary research into the etymology of his existing vocabulary, subsequently by extending this vocabulary as far as possible.

3. Each member shall, according to his capacity, modify his procedures of thought, feeling, will and action, in conformity with the new understanding arising from the conversion of his passive vocabulary into ever wider fields of significance.

6. Each member, according to his capacity, shall study the basic scriptures of world religions, and the major writings of philosophers and scientists and artists, and recognise the value of making précis of these.

These three ‘pieces of ‘personal advice’ from Eugene Halliday’ (because this is how I soon came to view them) have proved to be immensely valuable to me, in providing a methodology for much that I have attempted to understand here since. And I cannot stress how important the concept of Working to convert one’s passive language into an active language, has become to me.

I think it is also important to point out that Eugene Halliday did give a couple of talks at ISHVAL meetings that relate to the question of what ISHVAL is. These include:

        • Hierology
        • On Ishval

You can get freely downloadable copies of these from the The Eugene Halliday Archive and freely downloadable transcripts of these two talks from Eugene Halliday – Transcripts of Talks

Part 2. (Some thoughts on ‘Active Language’)

As my purpose in writing this blog is primarily an attempt on my part to help others who are interested in working with the material contained in Eugene Halliday’s archive material, I have taken this opportunity, to provide below, some information regarding my approach to, and thoughts on, his concept of an ‘active language’.

Let me say right away that the the concept of an ‘active’ and ‘passive’ form of language includes a (admittedly, rather obvious) dynamic, in that, when being used by two people in a discussion involving any one particular subject, your ‘active language’ here, may be ‘passive’ to my ‘active language’ here. Or – to put it another way – if this is the case. then I know more (or appear to know more) about the particular subject under discussion than you do. Although this might not always, in and of itself, be what others would consider the ‘correct’ outcome here, as there might be a number of other important factors at work. Including, for example, the fact that I may hold a superior social position to you, or that I might simply be your boss at work. In which case it might appear to others, on the surface at least, that my vocabulary is more ‘active’ than yours’- or, to put it another way,  my utterances might ‘carry more (cultural or social) weight’ than yours here, and so ‘win the day’.

It might also be useful to you here, to also consider expletives from the point of view of ‘active’ and ‘passive’ language use. Because these are used, by and large. to add ‘power’ to what is being said. I would also add here, that as most expletives are sexual in nature, I am sure you can work out for yourselves how this aspect of power can be appropriated through the medium of the sign or symbol (in this case language), and put to other uses ‘elsewhere’.

I fully appreciate that obtaining consensus as to the definition(s) of any word(s) is obviously important. This, after all, is why we have the OED. This consensus demonstrates, not only that it is possible for words to possess such universally agreed upon definitions, but it also demonstrates ‘the arbitrariness of the sign’ (a concept in Semiotics that is well worth investigating here). The etymology of a word on the other hand, is also of importance, in that it provides a historical trajectory of a particular word’s usage, and also how that word’s collective and cultural meaning can morph, evolve, and sometimes (more alarmingly) devolve, over time.

Work on familiarizing yourself with Eugene Halliday’s approach to the formulation of his various ideas and concepts, by listening to his talks, and focussing – not only on the subject of any particular talk – but also on trying to develop a feel for his particular use of language.

This approach, I believe, will eventually give you a real understanding of what he means by ‘active language’ – which, contrary to what others here might tell you, is not acquired simply by looking up the definition of various words in a dictionary, and doing some research into their etymology.

When you feel that Eugene Halliday is ‘speaking’ to you, even though he is talking to a number of people at the time, you are experiencing his ‘active language’. Try to focus on this experience of yours simply as an experience, and try to figure out what it is that is going on ‘in you’, rather than in what the words ‘mean out there’.

You can obviously research what these words ‘mean out there’, by simply looking into their definitions and etymology yourself. And I would imagine that you might be prompted to do this by saying something to yourself along the lines of, “What did he say there? I don’t know what that word means.” (which is the usual way of saying, “I don’t know what the dictionary definition of this word is.”).

But begin to appreciate that this ‘looking up’ of words is, by and large, just a form of intellectual activity – and represents only one component in any understanding here.

I should also mention that the experience of hearing anyone making use of their particular ‘active language’ is essentially the same for all listeners. And I would describe this experience as an overwhelming sense of ‘truthfulness’ in what is being said. However, be warned that this ‘truthfulness’ is by no means guaranteed!

I have also observed what I believe are a number of stereotypical responses by a variety of people (who I will now refer to as ‘listeners’, or ‘the listener’, here) when coming into contact with someone who makes deliberate use of an ‘active language’, and I will now attempt to describe one or two of these responses below.

Unfortunately, a quite common result here is that the listener becomes addicted to the ‘active language’ of one particular person, with the result that this person can assume some sort of ‘supreme authority’ over the listener’s life, and, as a consequence, it becomes possible that this person will also be viewed by the listener as possessing extraordinary (or even magical) powers. Eventually this person may even assume almost total control, or, willing or not – be made responsible for the manner in which the listener functions, particularly the way in which the listener now believes that they ‘think’ – although, interestingly enough, the listener may be completely unaware that this has happened!

‘Special’ these people might well be – and the listener might well find themselves to be truly inspired by them, and that’s OK.

But, whatever else it is that the listener believes this person can do, what this person certainly cannot do is initiate some sort of ‘magical transfer of understanding’ from them to the listener, without any expenditure of  effort on the listener’s part.

This burst of ‘inspiration’ that the listener feels, and which I believe can be very real and extremely valuable, will, regrettably, certainly fade – and sooner rather than later! Which can result in the listener now requiring another ‘fix’ here.

This habit of ‘listening’ can become so important to the listeners life, that they may now attempt to move from being reasonably satisfied with listening to recordings, or from hearing the person speak ‘live’, to attempting to manufacture a situation where they can gain ‘private access’ to that person, usually by presenting themselves as ‘having specific problems, or really pertinent questions’ that require ‘special answers and/or individual consideration’. And if the person ‘in charge’ encourages this kind of behavior?  Then let the listener here be wary!

This is my (short-hand) take on the essential dynamics here, “A person with an ‘active language’ has done some ‘Work’ – a person with a ‘passive language hasn’t.”

This situation will not change, no matter what the person with the ‘active language’ does. It will only ever change when the listener decides, by an act of free will, that it is going to change. Unfortunately, this will involve the listener in a monumental amount of painstaking ‘Work’ – a requirement from them that they will have often already intuited is required, and that, as a consequence, now leads them to construct various scenarios in which they ‘decide’ that the situation as it now stands is, for the moment at least, fine – and that they will ‘really’ get round to ‘doing something positive here’ at a later date.

Tragically though, it is quite often only after a great deal of time has elapsed (sometimes even decades) that the penny might really drop. Usually though, in this case, there is now so much inertia present in the situation that there is no longer enough free energy available to affect any release here. It feels to the listener, that doing so will somehow negate the whole meaning of their lives. This is not true, but real help will now be needed here if anything positive is going to be done.

If the listener is not very careful here then, not only will they find themselves going one step forward, quickly followed by two steps back, but they will also find it increasingly difficult to extradite themselves from this situation, because they now believe that they have invested  so much of their ‘valuable’ time, and what they imagine is ‘real’ effort here….and this serves to keep them endlessly ‘in the loop’.

But, lets face it, if it is the case that they haven’t done any ‘Work’ here, then they can’t really claim to have ‘invested’ anything, can they? What has really been happening to them is that they have been superbly entertained, and as a consequence of this they became addicted to the ‘program’, and are merely ardant ‘fan'(-atic)s.

It might be prudent here to bear in mind another piece of excellent advice that Eugene Halliday was very fond of  – “Nothing for nothing, and very little for a half-penny.”

You might like get some further background on this phenomena by doing some research into  ‘Transference’ and ‘Counter-Transference’ – an extremely common, and well understood, part of the psychotherapeutic process.

Tragically, my experience in talking to others who have ‘fallen under the influence’ of Eugene Halliday’s ‘active language’ is that, although they seem to me to clearly understand very little of what he said, they somehow believe that, even if they don’t, that this is all somehow fine! … And as long as they were able to ‘bask in the sunshine’ of his presence, this was ‘surely’ sufficient, and so they seemed to be content! … I would like to make it very clear here, that I view this sort of relationship as distinctly unwholesome, and also extremely dangerous!

My own understanding, which has come from a great deal of study and reflection on what Eugene Halliday has to say about language and its use, is that it is personal meaning, and personal meaning alone, that constitutes the active component of any word you use. If you do not know what you mean by a word (although you might have memorized its definition, and researched its etymology), then that word is merely a passive component of your speech – that is, it carries little, or no power, or conviction. So, it is essential that you, first of all, know what it is that you mean when using a particular word – and it is not at all essential, at this stage at least, to know what Eugene Halliday means when he uses the same word.

I also maintain that it is futile to attempt to ‘learn’ Eugene Halliday’s ‘active language’, w