‘The better is the enemy of the good’
(14th Century Italian proverb)

 

“Look! (He throws his hands up in exasperation) Look!… I’m not saying that you’re going to have a problem… necessarily … just because it appears to me that you will keep insisting upon stapling yourself to every trendy, fashionable … ‘ spiritual fad’ … that happens to come your way …

Particularly as I will be the first to admit that one or two of these ideas may actually turn out to be of some real ‘temporal use-value’ for you … If only to show you that you’re still going in the wrong direction here! (He pauses again, looking down at his palms, before gesturing).

But if one of these ideas somehow manages to become permanent.. (He Pauses) … Such that you now believe you’ve finally ‘discovered’ a ‘rock’ of your very own that you can safely stand upon, as it were … A rock that constitutes some form or other of ‘imperishable’, or (He stops gesturing, but his head is still bend downwards slightly) – let’s use one or two of those other words that you seem to be really impressed with – such as  ‘eternal’, ‘immortal’, absolute’ (He is smiling now)…. And that now constitutes … then … some form or other of  ‘foundation’ for you? …

Well …  you can’t really blame someone else; or start complaining that you were ‘mislead’, when this edifice of yours suddenly begins to disintegrate … to disappear …(He looks up quickly and suddenly stops smiling)… Can you now? “

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

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“No! … I’m in charge!!”

The acceptance of some form of ‘authority’; ‘authoritative figure’; or ‘ideology’; or the imposition of some form of ‘authority’; ‘authoritative figure’; or ‘ideology’…. What’s all that about?

Well … ‘Authority’ can be ‘Imposed’ on you; or you can be ‘Seduced’ by it; or you can ‘Surrender’ to it; or you can ‘Sacrifice’ yourself to it; or you can ‘Decide’ to subject yourself to it, etc. etc.

Contemplating the endless variety of ways in which ‘Authority’ functions – in both my subjective experience of ‘my’ ideas, concepts, emotional states, etc; together with the way any external authority ‘out there’ seeks to determine how I interact with the objective world, has provided me with a great deal of information about any number of (for me at least) crucial questions. Notably “What do I mean by my choice; or when I say that I just exercised my ‘free will’?”

This post consists, in the main, of my take on both the personification, and also the experiential nature of, ‘Authority’… … Also included here is material that I believe to be connected with this concept of ‘Authority’ – such as the subject of ‘inertia’ … plus various other personally relevant snippets. And although perhaps, initially, the connections that I make here might not seem that obvious or particularly useful .. I would say that these sections are by far the most interesting here … 🙂

NOTE: Re my frequent use of single parenthesis (‘…’) or of upper-case lettering for the first letter of a word (which is more often than not a noun) in this blog. This is a device I often use when representing an ‘active word’ of mine… It more often than not indicates that the particular word in question is a non-substantive… That is, what it signifies is functionally real, but is not necessarily a ‘thing’ per se… It is by no means an exact way of doing so, but I have found that it works well enough for me…

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Examining the relationship of your-self to ‘Authority’, in any of the ways in which it presents itself to you, is one of the most straightforward ways of getting at ‘who’ it is that you really are…

What it is that has power over you, or that you have power over, is indicated by – in the main – all the members of that set of those ‘others’ that you might be in relation with. And, incidentally, I believe that you can also come to truly know yourself – or at least learn a great deal about yourself – by examining the set of all those things that you despise. (However this is another subject .. although, funnily enough, not entirely).

It is the place then where, for me, that ‘mirror of being’ can be found … Where I can see the essence of what, and who, it is that I am here – at least for most of the time. And where the root of those questions that begin with the word, “Why ……?”can be illuminated. Particularly where it concerns both my relationships with other beings, and the material world; and (more importantly) “Who, or what, is calling the shots here?”

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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Ever wonder why some people (many of them ‘famous celebrities’) remain in one form of psychotherapy or another (particularly the New Age, or amateur, variety) for years? … Here’s one reason, and in my opinion its a really good one. It concerns the view that some people have about what they fancy is, their ‘inner child’

Dependency in psychotherapy is generally understood as a father or mother transference and is viewed as a regression. Unfortunately the child/parent regression fantasy in psychotherapy can be damaging.

More often than not a client’s dependency reflects not the child but the invalid. Sometimes clients remain dependent upon their therapists for years – the child seems never to grow up. How can it? For we are not dealing with a child, but with an invalid – and his or her corresponding need to be dependent! …

One fails to realize that the absence of growth and healing points to the invalid, not to the child.

The child, we note … grows, and requires help only for a time.

From ‘The Emptied Soul’: On the Nature of the Psychopath (page 16)
by Guggenbruhl-Craig
Spring Publications 1980
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An authentic life is one in which you don’t flee from your destiny, but one in which you shape it, as far as you can.
 Rick Roderick, The Self Under Siege.
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(He continues on, his voice beginning to rise. Although by now he is clearly in a far more agitated state.) And by the way!!.. That ‘Commandment’ you were given … ‘Thou Shalt Not Steal’ … It doesn’t mean anything like .. say .. for instance …You’re dying of thirst, but you shouldn’t take water from that well there, because some asshole just told you that it belongs to him or her … (He is almost shouting now) Because that would obviously just be ***** ridiculous! … Wouldn’t it! (He pauses, and begins pacing from stage left to right before coming to rest, front center-stage – where he looks up into the lights for a second or two, before continuing on in a relatively normal voice)

No! … What that Commandment really means is actually … very .. simple. (He suddenly stands perfectly still and lowers his head, so that he is now looking directly at the audience, before continuing on in a somewhat animated and assertive manner) It just means … ‘You are not to appropriate the ‘Work’ of others … in order to then pass it off as belonging to … your … Self’!… (He looks down and continues on quietly – talking to himself) … Which could also actually have a great deal to do with your understanding of, or your breaking of, that First Commandment as well… Now that I come to think of it. (He smiles as he pauses, and then adds – almost in a whisper) And also all the rest of them …really(He relaxes visibly, looking up once more at his audience, and we hear him finally muttering through his teeth) Although it wouldn’t do to mention that to this lot though… (He chuckles – his face slowly breaking into a wide grin).

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

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Humanity, along with all other creatures, is the work of God. But humanity is also called to be the workman of God.

Hildergard of Bingen – Vita (II, 35)

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At some point in the past I realized that, at every moment, I was being presented with the opportunity to freely chose to Work… And my continuing belief in this realization has never been a problem for me since.

But how it is that I now go about seeking some justification or other for not doing so? …Well, that is a problem for me … In fact – and in a very real sense – it’s probably my only real problem.

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Over the years, I’ve observed any number of people attempting to slavishly copy others in the ‘How to behave spiritually’ game’.

Which leads me to the conclusion that they have far more faith in who it is that they are trying to imitate, rather than in what it is they are supposed to do – that is, to engage in some form or other of praxis. But (and of crucial importance here) a praxis that they could at least attempt to originate in and from themselves.

They seem to find it extremely difficult to derive any sense of certitude from anything that has roots in themselves. Manifesting an overwhelming sense of insecurity the moment that they attempt to stand on their own two feet.

Forever trying then, to be what others ‘in the know’ tell them that they should be or what they are …

And so ending up only really ever having known themselves by hearsay.

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That ‘Christ within’ idea? …Well it certainly doesn’t mean that somehow there’s ‘someone else here in the building with me’ or there’s ‘a little voice in my head’… Someone who is somehow playing a spiritual game of ‘hide and seek’ with me, as it were….

Would that things were that easy!

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My attempts at ‘Involving the Will’ are actually attempts by me to exclude chance from my life… Or – to put it another way – it’s making use of any power that I might possess in order to exercise some control over my otherwise inevitable fate.

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That hostility you experience towards others is hardly ever grounded in your dislike, or even in your hatred of them, but is almost always rooted in your particular devotion to, or in your worship of, or (more likely) your mindless adherence to, some external authority or other – be that authority a person; an ideology; or a ‘religious’ text.

Once you have subjected yourself to any external authority whatsoever, it then becomes a relatively simply matter for that authority to incite you. Usually by the simple process of feeding you a few carefully chosen words at the opportune moment; or (and far more mysteriously) by the simple process of you, yourself, feeding the same carefully chosen words to yourself at the opportune moment!

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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The way I go about things here almost invariably involves what others might view as far more than its fair share of what could be called, an ‘energetic-confrontational-approach’…  In fact, this is a technique of mine that you may have already noticed me using if you’re a regular reader of this blog … … It is, by and large, an intuitive method.

So then (initially at least) I don’t deliberately engage in ‘thinking’, or in any ‘ritualistic physical activity’… (However, perhaps I might begin to, say, ‘pace up and down’, but this is not a ‘deliberate’ act on my part – although I suppose it could be viewed as ritualist to some degree) … I simply ‘throw myself at things’, and allow myself to react here. And then attempt to observe my emotional reactions as they unfold (rise to the surface) – without identifying with them if I possibly can… (And good luck with that 🙂 ..).

If I can manage to do this, I will immediately experience an increase in all that ‘internal energy’ that has now (hopefully) begun to whiz around inside me… And if all now goes well, this will very quickly be converted by me into some form or other of intense internal discourse. One that I can (again hopefully) subsequently externalize in the form of a text (spoken or otherwise)… If, on the other hand,  it all goes ‘tits up’, then I will usually just get angry and frustrated – and will probably end up by throwing my dinner at the wall, or doing something equally as pointless.

By the way, this process is always accompanied by this increase in adrenalin, so it can be quite … exhilarating … (particularly if all goes well). But there is always the ever present danger of me now becoming addicted to this process (via this ‘adrenalin high’) – with all the attendant problems that this habit would then involve me in, etc . etc. …

There was a ‘procedure’ that I used to engage in – from sometime around the age of twenty-five up until I was in my early sixties – when, in order to ‘wake up’ in the morning, I would drink caffeine whilst listening to the morning news on the radio. This ritual would invariably succeed in irritating the hell out of me, and so make me aggressive – but I would also now be wide awake and full of energy. The problem now though, was that of separating out this energy and ditching the aggressive component or – to put it another way – attempting to break my continued identification with this overwhelming reactive response of mine, because I quite enjoyed it. And in the beginning this identification dominated my efforts so much that I was prevented from Working far more frequently than I succeeded in doing so.

But I did eventually became reasonably successful here, because I deliberately spent some time each day reminding myself of what it was that I was actually trying to accomplish!

So in my little world at least, all energy that is ‘called up’ is ‘tainted’ one way or another, and this is one of the pitfalls that I had to look out for when I began attempting to Work… And I had to try to develop the technique of ‘un-tainting’ this energy as it were, in order to involve it in what I ‘Will to do’ (which is, hopefully, to Work with it).

The negative quality of this energy (this ‘tainting’ or ‘adulteration’) is such that it will actually oppose me, seeking to impose its own authority on the process by flowing along all those previously established (by me and my ancestors) pleasure-orientated inertic patterns of reaction … And aren’t there loads of metaphors and allegories about that in popular culture, vis-a-vis  all those ‘good intentions’ that somehow never seem to make it to the light of day!

But – on the bright side – as I grew older, as I said, I learnt to be much more controlling of this process, even if initially, in the main, it was only because I was becoming more and more aware that this ‘adrenaline rush’  I was experiencing was now beginning to present me with any number of troubling ‘side-effects’, such that I now usually had to ‘go and have a little lie-down’ afterwards because I would begin to ‘feel a bit limp’  🙂 …)

It is of course possible to be just as reactive whilst appearing to be providing a measured, considered response… A type of inertic behavior that you will very frequently meet in many politicians and ‘gurus’… Beware! This response is just as mechanical. It’s merely more seductive, as you feel you’ve been ‘personally responded to’. You haven’t. The person providing this response has simply become very good at acting out this particular part.. And these are the beings you should really be on your guard against… ‘Slime-ball’ is the generic term for them – and you will become aware of a great deal of ‘slithering and sliding’ on their part as you manage to develop further here… It’s the common image of the ‘holy man’ that most people have (probably because it fits that stupid ‘benevolent big-daddy in the sky’ image that they’re so desperate for).. Focusing on the persona of John the Baptist  will help here… (Focusing on John the Baptist with a bad hang-over is even better).

If you are interested in all this, Eugene Halliday had much of interest to say about the negative aspect of this ‘rush’ … But I’m afraid that you’ll have to find this in his material for yourself.

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In my world at least then, all states experienced as overpowering are the direct result of a bio-chemical process – so none of those nine chakras, with ‘special energy’ flowing up and down the spine for me I’m afraid. Don’t get me wrong, I think ideas like this are quite picturesque in their own way – as are any number of other exotically, culturally based, metaphors and allegories… But I find that the overwhelming majority of them are hopelessly outdated and needlessly obscure. And I believe that if you are serious about moving forward here, then they will simply confuse matters for you – although you will probably be superbly entertained in the process… And others could very easily come to view you as a bit of a guru or a witchy-poo if you spoke about all this, and they didn’t have a clue… But this particular social situation – and I know that it is one you can now easily land yourself in – is simply yet another one of the (actually rather minor, or ‘beginner’) obstacles here in all this… The fact is, that there are any number of people out there who will attempt to convince you that there is far more relevance to culturally outmoded forms of ritualistic behavior than there actually is, and their talking about it with those who are fortunate enough to be ignorant about these matters can occasionally make them sound a lot more trendy and ‘with it’ than they actually are.

Where it concerns any information here then, for most of the time I’m only ever interested in its eventual ‘use value’.

So let me just say that I prefer a bio-chemical approach, or a more rigorous scientific one, to matters like this… But, and most important of all here, I would also add that I also fully appreciate that these preferred approaches of mine are however, in the end, simply yet another culturally-based metaphor. But they are ones that I find I can Work with far more efficiently than those involving, for example, lotus leaves; beings with elephant heads and human bodies; females with thousands of hands and arms; and blue faced youths riding around on chariots … or burning bushes, and ‘angels of death’ for that matter… etc. etc.

That is not to say that the study of say Astrology, or Tarot cards, doesn’t have it’s place here. But my overwhelming impression of those who do engage in these sorts of enquiries is that it produces in them an irresistible urge to ‘play the pseudo-mystic’.  And I can’t help strongly suspecting that this was the whole idea in the first place – to make themselves ‘more interesting’.

Regrettably this also goes for many with an interest in depth psychology (and even some with an interest in modern physics). But in these fields there are, thankfully, many who do not and who still project a profound (and for me far more agreeable) sense of wonder at it all.

And I should also add here that parables are another matter entirely for me – always providing, of course that I’m comfortable with their particular mise-en-scene.

So, in my case then, I always try bear in mind that, ‘All that there is, is Sentient Power’… a contemporary (but now slightly out-of-date) metaphor created by Eugene Halliday – along with his particular perspective on accompanying contemporary terms such as, for example, ‘energy’; ‘field’; ‘force’; ‘consciousness’, etc. etc. Because I find that they are far easier for me to deal with … and so far more efficient, and so far more profitable for me in the end  …  🙂 … But just as magical..

Anyway, this is what I do in order to – as quickly as possible – get to the ‘location’ of that ‘limit of the application’ (that ‘frontier’ or ‘border’) of any term that I am attempting to incorporate into my active language  …A technique of mine then, that metaphorically I could say I experience as me being a bit ‘short sighted’ and – as a consequence – requiring me to get up as close as I can to any ‘matter of concern’, as quickly as possible…

So this doesn’t mean I’m obsessed with ‘making my point’ or ‘proving I’m right’ or anything like that, because I have absolutely no problem at all in ‘giving ground’ either – if I believe that in doing so I will move on. Because that’s the the whole point of this exercise anyway, the only reason i’m involved in this way in all this. And it is something that, thankfully, I manage to almost never to lose sight of for most of the time.

And so this is all very much part of my ‘system’ then; of what it is that I am actually attempting to do… But – to repeat – I certainly wouldn’t necessarily recommend this approach to anyone else.

All of which (as I mentioned above) will, I hope, explain why much of what I have posted below about ‘authority’, might (on first glance at least) appear to some to be far too acrimonious…

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“This … You … that you were actually born as? … At what point in the game did you decide that it wasn’t really the ‘you’ that you wanted to be.. But rather … it dawned on you that in fact, with a little bit of effort you could just pretend to be whoever you wanted to be …

And so you decided to present yourself to the world as ‘someone else’ then… As someone … particularly … that you  ‘liked better’? … that you felt was ‘more deserving’..?

So then, instead of working for the development of your own potential, you decided that … as you were going to be  this ‘someone else’ – you were going to ‘work for the development of their potential’ instead (He pauses)

Look, it’s really not for me to say here… I mean, our motto is, after all, ‘Never try to educate a mug’ … But – and I know what I’m going to say now won’t really do any good … and that I’m probably wasting my breath here as usual … Can you not see that any decision of yours you decide to make here might have something really essential to do with all that ‘Honor thy father and thy mother’ business, and also with  ‘Don’t be going round worshiping idols’  (He pauses again) .. And further, that all that ‘Sins of the father’ business might not in fact be a condemnation of your present state –  experienced by you as a rather unfair or unjust burden –  but rather, might be far more like a helpful… a useful … piece of advice? (He smiles) One that might provide you with a  ‘little clue’ as to who it is – in part at least – that you really are …  if you Will …

Or do you think that these particular rules … these ‘Commandments’ … that you claim you received, were just ‘suggestions’ … Or that, in the case of these particular two, they simply mean something like, “You should always try to be nice to your mum and dad'” and that, “You shouldn’t have a statue of Baal parked on top of the fireplace in your living-room.” …

(He pauses again, before adding assertively) But don’t let me put words in your mouth! …(He pauses again) Tell me… Please… What do you think these particular …. ‘Commandments’ (He grins broadly) might mean? … 

(His grin quickly fades as he pauses, and looks up again directly.  Then, once again, he grins broadly, before speaking) … I’ll just leave that with you for the moment… If I may.”

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

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It is common for very infantile people to have a mystical, religious feeling. They enjoy this atmosphere, in which they can admire their beautiful feelings. But they are simply indulging their auto-eroticism. ~ C G Jung, ETH Lecture 11 Jan 1935, Pages 171.

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One positive consequence of my belief that Work is only taking place when I allow my essential authentic nature the ‘freedom to be’, is that it has allowed me to see very clearly that there must – and very obviously so – be any number of other ways of going about all this, if only because all beings have their own unique ‘essential authentic natures’ and might come from entirely different cultural backgrounds . … Which might mean that I could eventually come to view some of them as ‘traveling in the opposite direction to me’ so to speak, in order for them to engage in their own particular Working…

And, from time to time I can really appreciate that this is in fact how they are experiencing their ‘being here’, a realization on my part that is, incidentally, really good when it does happen.

And so for me if Working is, in the end, for the most part all about ‘who is doing what’ here, then this account of mine (such as it is) should be seen by you as merely an attempt on my part to document – as well as I am able – how it is that I do it; how I go about all this ….  …

And although I think that Eugene Halliday wasn’t particularly clear about this aspect of Working, he was the first person that I came across who was demonstrating that working could be done – and through my attempts to understand his talks and essays, that ideally Working was the only thing that should be done … That Working is what we are all really here to do … But that you can only freely will to engage in it … And also that you must arrive at that point in your life (that ‘gate’ as I metaphorically experienced it) where you can clearly see that you have been presented with the choice to do so.. And that – at this crucial point – this is a decision that only you ‘alone’ can make … … or not..

So then, ‘suggested methods’ from others are, as I see it, very often pretty much useless here in the end, if what you do is simply decide to take their suggestions on board ‘lock, stock, and barrel’. Because a crucial part of all this is that you have to arrive at the start of your own ‘journey’ (at that ‘gate’ of mine, in my case) by yourself, and under your own steam.  And even though you might ‘hear this call’ reflected off others in some form or other, it is only you who can then decide to provide some level of appropriate response to it…

Even if (like any good Buddhist) you soon after come to realize that this particular beginning of yours (that ‘gate’ of mine) wasn’t really there in the first place! 🙂

Here’s one of my favorite gates…

The Gate
Photo by Bob Hardy

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But if you do happen to come to some account or other of this ‘illusory nature of things’ ‘in the literature’ and not come to see see it for yourself?…. Well, sadly perhaps, it’s not some idea that you can simply ‘lift’ from one or other translation of some Buddhist text that you’ve been skimming over; or that you’ve heard about from some species or other of ‘enlightened Western guru’, or gleaned from some talk or other that you attended for an hour or so when you had nothing better to do, and that you now fancy you ‘understand’. …And it isn’t like some kind of fancy conjuring trick that you can ‘just figure out’ either… It has to be ‘realized’ by you (it has to be real – ized’ might be better)… That is, you have to have fallen for it first, and then know that you have … And that even though you have realized it, at some point (perhaps only a moment later) you have fallen for it again… So it’s an ‘illusion proper’ and not just a ‘trick’ that you have worked out and so doesn’t ever ‘work on you’ again.. To put it another way – you must have experienced the realization that the nature of the world is an illusion, but that before the cock crowed three times you were right back in it again.. And that this will keep on happening, no matter how long you beaver away at those yoga exercises… And you have to be totally OK with that..

So the idea here then, is that you have to actively search for your own ‘gate’ (or whatever); and having found it, you have to then realize that it wasn’t really there.

This is why, if I am seriously questioned about my own methods here, before I venture to provide any reply, my natural ‘energetic confrontational nature’ will initially require at least a brief account of how it is that the questioner actually goes about all of this for themselves; and not what it is that they have to say about the way in which they ‘think about’ how it is that I do so.

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But first!..

Investigating the creative output of others is – I believe – an excellent way of going about attempting to understand (or at least appreciate) one aspect of  ‘Authority’.. In this case, what it is (ideas, etc), or who it is (individuals, schools, etc.), that individual beings ‘Will’ to place themselves under in order to ‘be creative’ (another aspect here then of that ‘Governing Concept’ of Eugene Halliday’s) …

Although – if you get the general idea of my take on the ‘authentic’ and ‘genuine’ aspects of being – you’ll understand why I would also maintain that this ‘investigating’ on your part is no guarantee that any benefit here will see you subsequently ‘striking off in the right direction’ ..

Be that as it may … in my opinion, an excellent example of this creative output is the book, ‘Shakespeare King Educator’.

Authored by both Eugene Halliday and David Mahlowe – it presents an interpretation of Shakespeare’s plays from the point of view of Eugene Halliday’s ‘metaphysics’.

Here’s a pdf copy: Shakespeare King Educator – Eugene Halliday and David Mahlowe

David Mahlowe also gave a number of talks on both the ‘The Baird’, and also the theater (subjects very close to his heart). So here’s a selection of these that you might like to listen to as well:

Commentary on ‘A Winter’s Tale’ – by David Mahlowe

Theater and the Cosmic Drama – by David Mahlowe

Three Talks on Shakespeare – by David Mahlowe

The Incarnate Word – by David Mahlowe

I met up with David Mahlowe on a fairly regular weekly basis at Parklands (whenever I could make it) – between the late 1970’s and late 1983 – as a member of a group there. I also saw him somewhat infrequently after that whenever I was in the country, and I also exchanged a number of letters with him after Eugene Halliday died.

His wife, Zero Mahlowe, became both a friend and confidant of mine for a number of years during the period beginning some ten years or so after David’s death when I worked regularly with her for two (sometimes three) whole days per week at her home, on the production of audio versions of some of Eugene’s written work.

I also interviewed her extensively during this time about her life both before, and after, she met Eugene Halliday, and of course while she was married to David. I recorded much of this material, but there was also a great deal of it that she would only allow me to write down (and I have obviously never shown or discussed this material with others, as it was of a confidential nature). Zero did however allow me to pass on her approved edited recorded material that I collected from her for an ethnographic study that I was doing.

I mention all this here because a great deal of that first-hand material Zero Mahlowe so generously provided me with, served to endorse my own attempts at Working with those two terms, ‘genuine’ and ‘authentic’. Terms that – even back then – I had already intuited were perhaps being far too heavily influenced by my understanding of the Jungian terms ‘persona’; ‘ego’; ‘shadow’, and ‘Self’, and so didn’t quite ‘gel’ (were proving somewhat unsatisfactory) when it came to illuminating, or accounting for, my own experience(s) of myself.

I would just also like to add here, that I have no doubt both David and Zero Mahlowe were two of the very few people I have personally ever met who I would say had actually attempted to ‘Work’ with Eugene Halliday’s material – at least in the sense that I use that term. And also that Zero had used this term ‘Working’ (and had done so for decades) in exactly the same way that I had found myself doing, which was something of a relief for me – particularly as she went on to tell me she was absolutely certain that this was the sense in which Eugene also used the term… And finally, she also told me she had no doubt at all that – among those who claimed to be his ‘followers’, or whatever –  Eugene Halliday was well aware of who was, and who was not, Working,

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Alan Roberts gave a series of talks on ‘Shakespeare King Educator’ some eight years ago that you might also find useful here. Video clips of these can be found on his YouTube site. So here’s a link to the first one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03kHF1Wd49s . The rest of these talks will show up as links, down the right-hand side of this youtube page of Alan’s.

NOTE: Alan very recently sent me a great book (‘History In English Words’ by Owen Barfield. Published by Lindisfarne Press) that has a small piece in it about how Barfield sees words ‘coming to be’ …

The example Barfield uses is the word ‘quality’ – a word that he claims ‘is used by most educated people every day of their lives’ . He goes on:

…(Y)et in order that we should have this word, Plato had to make the tremendous effort (it is one of the most exhausting which man is called on to exert) of turning a vague feeling into a clear thought. He invented the new word ‘poiotēs’, ‘what-ness’, as we might say, or ‘of-what-kind-ness’, and Cicero translated it by the Latin ‘qualitas’..

If you realize just how pivotal to me this ‘bringing-into-being’ of a word is in all of this, and can get at least some sense of just how difficult it is to do in practice, then you can understand why it is that I believe that this particular example of this process by Owen Barfield  illuminates what the essence of Working on one’s ‘active’ language is actually about.

I would put it this way. It was necessary here for Plato to ‘bring to be’, or to create, this particular component of his ‘active language’ by creating this new word. Out of what Barfield describes as, ‘a vague feeling’ – but which I would claim was actually far more like a ‘definite state of being’; a state which, at least up until that moment in the history of the West, had not been ‘trapped in language’.

This is a process that has nothing whatsoever to do with the production of ‘verbal labels’. Those attempts by various groups, such as the media, or the entertainment, or the automobile industries; or New-Age gurus etc. – to coin new words, or to simply debase existing ones (try ‘awesome’, or – for a really puke-provoking example, how about ‘conscious uncoupling’… A clue as to what’s going on here? … The use of that word ‘coin’, in the phrase ‘coin a new word’) …

All of which means that turning a passive component of your already existing language into an activate one should be a far less demanding effort for you, than creating an active word from scratch. If only because others will have done the Work for you… But of course you still have  learn to know how, and where, to look  🙂 …

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It is the peculiar and perpetual error of the human understanding to be more moved and excited by affirmatives than by negatives.—Francis Bacon

‘Confirmation Bias’ refers to a type of selective thinking whereby one tends to notice and to look for what confirms one’s beliefs, and to ignore, not look for, or undervalue the relevance of what contradicts one’s beliefs.”—Robert Todd Carroll, The Skeptic’s Dictionary.

I have lost count of the number of those I have met who imagine that they are ‘onto something’ or are ‘understanding it all’, or are even claiming to be ‘getting messages from beyond’, but who seem to be completely unaware that, until they develop an ‘active language’ (in the sense that I believe the example immediately above by Owen Barfield clearly provides) such that they can articulate clearly to other interested parties what it is that they claim they are experiencing – then their claims to be really ‘informed’ are of no more value here than those accusations they often go on to make about those people who don’t understand what they are saying; or claim that they are ‘being blocked somehow’ from seeing all these ‘obvious facts’ of theirs’:  or believe that they are ‘being deliberately ignored’ …

And I believe the reason why they behave like this is blatantly obvious: they conflate the degree of discomfort that they have experienced, and the magnitude of this past experience (and may still to some extent be experiencing) with the clarity of what it is that they imagine they (as a consequence of this experience) have now come to ‘know’..

So even though they are unable to express themselves clearly – not having developed the necessary ‘active components’ of their language here (to describe as accurately and succinctly as possible what it is that they have actually experienced) – they will still insist (for whatever excuse they imagine they have) that they ‘know’ something… Confusing this ‘knowing’ then with ‘experiencing’… As in their answer to the question, “What the hell happened to you then?” which always seems to be some variety or other of, “I don’t know, but it was great (or scary; or spiritual, etc) ..!”

Knowing that something happened is not the same thing at all as knowing about what happened, or why it happened – and it is certainly not the same thing as being able to express this experience clearly to others.

To get anywhere here, there are three states that you must go through, and then reflect upon:

1). The state you were in when you had this experience(s).
2). The state you were in later, that was very largely a consequence of your negativity. Due in large measure to the frustration at your inability to clearly conceptualize this experience, such that it could be clearly understood – either to yourself, or to others.
3). The state you were in when you finally managed to do so.

And here’s the really interesting thing about all this for me (because I probably won’t really care all that much about your ‘experiences’). How do you know when you’ve experienced ‘State 3)’ here? …Well, that will be when you discover that you have now significantly modified your remembered experience of ‘State 1)’ …! In other words, when you come to realize (by reflecting upon these three contingent states of yours) that you have succeeded in actually changing your past, by the simple (but by no means easy) process of articulating your previous experiences here satisfactorily to yourself  … …

Real magic then! 🙂

And … before I forget. What you should really do now – having experienced this ‘State 3’ – is immediately Work on understanding a little more about what it is that you now mean by that word ‘time’  … 🙂 …  Tie this word up then, so that it also now becomes a far more active component of your vocabulary. And if you still find that ‘time’ means the same thing to you that it always did, then I would claim that you haven’t in fact really experienced ‘State 3’ at all… You only imagine that you have..

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So anyway… ‘Authority’ then …. What are the questions here? … ….Well – and among many others – these would be: What is ‘authority’?; From whence does it emanate (what – as it were – is its archetypal nature)?; How, and by whom, is it assumed?; How is it experienced by those who ‘come under’ it?; How is it symbolically represented? .. etc. etc…

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By the way, Eugene Halliday had a great deal to say about the concept of – what he referred to as – ‘control’ – or (as he rather neatly puts it) ‘rotation about a common center’.

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ROUGH DRAFTS (No stage or scenic directions yet. Unedited speech only) 

“…In order for you to do what it is that you do (or have done), what is it that other beings in the world have to do (or have done)? … Because these particular relationships of yours – the ones that I’m betting you very rarely (if ever) think about (or even want to think about) – are among those that make up most of your real connection(s) to the world.. 

All those possessions of yours (some of which you might even claim you have had to ‘save up’ for; ‘sacrificed’ for; or ‘gone without’ for)  … …. What was it that was demanded of others (those that produced these ‘things’) in order for these possessions of yours to ‘come to be’…. That is, so that they could even exist – for there to even be the possibility then that you might, at some future time, own them … In order to enjoy them? …

Who was it paid that price for you?

If you don’t really want to look at things like this too closely … or for too long … (“What can I do about it? … This is just the way that it is.”) … Then I would say that you have very little possibility of understanding who it is – in the main – that you really are; or how far it is that you still have to go; and how little it is – in the end – that you have actually done, or are ever going to do here …

Try subtracting all these things from your life, … All your possessions; all your ‘qualifications’; all your family ties, and then tell me what’s left.. … Do you believe that there would still be a you… then?

And who might that ‘you’ be? … Can you tell me anything about this you? (He smiles) … The important stuff only will do (He pauses)

If you’re having trouble here providing an answer to this question … Try imagining these scenarios..

If you’d suffered some form of immense personal disaster… If you had to flee your home … lost all your possessions … all your relatives were killed (and you certainly know that this is actually happening to many people down here as we speak) who is it that would .. remain? …

Or.. further…. if, when you die, you actually do believe that ‘you can’t take any of this with you’.” … What at that point thenare you? … That moment after you take that ‘last breath’ of yours? …(He pauses for a slightly longer period, and begins to look quizzical)  

Do you believe that you might then be .. ‘free at last’ … of all this? …

And if you do …. That involvement with others that you indulged in…(He pauses again) How do you see the price that they had to pay in order for this ‘you’  to come to be? … This ‘you’, that ‘came to be’ as a direct consequence – in part at least – of ‘your’ relationships with ‘them’… Relationships that wove together that life of yours … that you then claim you felt somehow trapped in … But that – if you bother to think about – you had to have experienced… if only to have then experienced becoming free of it when your life ..was over ….

Or do you believe that essentially you are no-one, a sort of ‘unattached pureness’?… Some sort of ‘essence’ then? (He pauses before exclaiming) .. …In which case … In that final analysis … What the hell was the point of  your time down here then; what was all that really about ?.. Then?”

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“Where exactly does your breakfast come from?… Under what conditions are those who produce the roughage contained in that vegan diet of yours laboring? …

Those electronic devices that you like to play with… How do you feel about the child labor that was pressed into service in order for them to be manufactured?

Who … and just how many … had to suffer anonymously  in order for you to enjoy those material objects that you claim you ‘own’…. And that you – in your attempts to self-justify’ your ownership here –  claim that you, “Worked for,” or even, “Went without for.”  …

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“In the light of your efforts here then, Would you maintain that.. to you … all this is simply a manifestation of … ‘cosmic justice at work’?  For you?… And so that, in the end then this is all ‘quite fair’? ….  

That power… that ‘Authority’ … which the view you subsequently come to have of yourself here has placed  over ‘you’ – this ‘you’ that you have constructed … How would you begin to explain this power to yourself? … How did it come to determine you?  … What sorts of things would you have to do here in order to free yourself from it?(He is clearly beginning to have more and more difficulty proceeding here) …Because, if you were ever called to account for your being here… just exactly what sorts of … things … do you believe you … would be held accountable for?  …(He is now massaging his brow with his fingers almost continually – clearly searching for inspiration).

What would that mirror placed in front of you actually show you about your time here? How could it represent any ‘Authority’ here … at this judgement? … Do you see yourself being dragged reluctantly in front of some sort of Judge? …. Some agency or other, forcing you to consider all those things that have gone on in your life; of showing you with undeniable clarity just how much you ‘went along with it all’?

Whatever it is that can do that to you; that can do that for you… surely this would be this ‘authority’ you’re so fond of going on about!…(He has stopped pacing before turning to the audience. His voice returning to normal).

Or could it be far worse… Could it all ‘drop away’ and you ‘just see’ with blinding clarity exactly how you created all of this … By yourself… With yourself… For yourself.. 

But then of course, if you ponder on all this for too long, you’ll be able to claim that you’re simply another victim down here… Because …Look! … Doesn’t thinking about all this make you suffer already? .. Fill you with your very own existential angst … with your very own ’bouts of depression’?… …”

Fragments (Working On) from ‘Field-notes for Armageddon’ by Bob Hardy

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To learn who rules over you, simply find out who it is that you are not allowed to criticize.
Voltare

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(B)eing both intelligent and working class was usually a recipe for trouble.

In the lower orders – lacking academic aspirations – genuine intelligence manifested itself as a kind of cunning…

From ‘Jerusalem’ by Alan Moore  (Page 719)
Published by Liveright – 2016

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‘BUT THE LADY SAID!’

How to manipulate that clerk who works behind the counter at your local civic office… Particularly if you’re ‘getting on’ a bit.

Wear slightly ill-fitting clothes… It makes those in charge here (who are usually only ever junior clerks) nervous… You might also try wearing a tie. But position it badly – the knot of the tie should be a half-an-inch or so to one side of the top shirt button and maybe on the front of the collar on that side – but don’t overdo it too much.

A button-up cardigan, with either, buttons missing, or buttoned-up incorrectly, will also assist you here to look not only ‘mentally fragile’, but also – and more importantly – someone who is at least still attempting to stick to the rules.

Being, in-the-main, clean shaven – but with one or two small areas of your face that you have obviously ‘missed’ – works well here; as does wearing light colored trousers with vaguely suspicious stains on them (but don’t overdo this).

Be sure to be also clutching, what appears to be an impressive sheaf of documents or correspondence – slightly crumpled is OK… Dropping one or two now and again also adds to this picture that you’re trying to create..

When called by that clerk, immediately approach the desk, sit down, and simply keep repeating what it is you are trying to get them to do, no matter what is said to you. It also helps if you start in with this request of yours immediately upon your arrival at the desk…. And it’s even better if you can manage to start talking before the clerk here has acknowledged your existence…

If you can also manage it, act as if you might possibly start shouting, or crying, at any moment . The latter is best – but is far more difficult to pull off.

If, subsequently, it seems to you that you might be cornered by questions that are probing your situation far too thoroughly for your liking, then simply switch to repeating the following Mantra at every available opportunity, “Last week when I was in here, ‘the lady said’…,”  quickly followed by –  “She told me that I could … (adding that original request of yours) …” If questioned about the identity of this ‘lady’, be as general, and as vague. as you possibly can.

Very important here though – resist the temptation to ‘ham it up’.

This technique (or variations of it) can be astonishingly effective in all sorts of quite different scenarios.

A great way of gaining the upper hand here then… Of taking charge without appearing to … Or, if you prefer it, off assuming (of becoming) the ‘real’ authority in this situation – in that it is you who is actually dictating the subject here – the direction of that ‘script’ you have authored .. Although most of those who are watching you in action here would never realize that this is what is really happening.… (Situations like this also represent one of the really, really, important interpretations of that tarot card – ‘The Emperor’ – the one that most self-proclaimed experts in this field seem to believe represents some relation or other of the King of Denmark)… …

It is simply a mistake on your part to believe that someone who ‘speaks with authority’ is necessarily superior to anyone else in any way whatsoever… (But getting the rank-and-file to react as if they are is one of the oldest con-tricks in the world).

In many situations and relationships that we find ourselves in, who it is that is actually ‘writing that script’ is not always as obvious as it might at first seem – not even to those who are mouthing the words … and certainly not to outsiders.

So it is crucial to bear in mind here – when you find yourself listening to someone who everyone else is behaving towards as if they were in a position of authority, that this does not mean – in some way – what is being said has anything to necessarily recommend it …

What is imperative here, is that you pay particular attention to yourself when presented with the trappings of this assumed authority (by, for example, being aware that the person speaking is doing so from a specially constructed stage; or is continually making use of the ‘royal we’; or is surrounded by fawning sycophants; etc. etc.) …

And be sure that you understand this attempt by you to focus on yourself in situations such as this is actually an extremely difficult thing to do – at least when you first ‘give it a go’; and certainly when you are surrounded by others who are all ‘going along with it all’ here… A situation where you can, more often than not, find yourself losing confidence in yourself … (However, if you do happen to find yourself thinking, “Surely they can’t all be crazy?,” in situations like this … try picturing a ‘Nuremberg Rally’).

Most people you will meet are merely ‘players’, who are automatically haphazardly thinking through the same old patterns (or fragments) of ideas (hence ‘half-baked’), that tend to continually rise up in them  – usually as a consequence of their inability to resist dabbling in ‘that juicy part’ that they have either selected for themselves (and so cannot now stop identifying completely with); or have been seduced into playing; or – through the passive acceptance of social conventions are now ‘stuck’ with – and have subsequently come to realize in themselves.

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 who is, and who is not, in charge down here?

‘Authority’ … What is it? Where does it come from?… (Leaving aside obvious answers here such as ‘brute force’)…

Can you ‘do it on your own?’ That is, does the existence of any ‘authority’ at all always imply that there is more than one being hanging around somewhere? ..

Does it make sense to ‘claim authority over ones-self’ (not the same thing at all as ‘claiming sovereignty over oneself’ by the way).

And who, or what exactly, is it that finally gets to decide here; who actually gets to sort the hierarchy out; or is it a sort of natural thing, an ‘implicit order’? .. And is there, in fact, an ‘Ultimate authority’?

How does anyone arrive at a position to be able to say, “I am telling YOU that this is ‘the way it is’ ?” Or (if they’re really smart) “Perhaps you will allow me to make the following suggestion? … This is ‘the way it is’.” …

Or – even odder (and far more interesting as far as I am concerned) – how do these ‘authoritative figures’ often ‘come to be’, because others were intent on placing them in this particular position of authority – whether they liked it or not 🙂 

And – strangest of all perhaps – that these ‘authority figures’ are saddled with this position of authority,  even if it is central to their ‘message’, that those who claim any understanding here (their ‘flock’, as it were), can only make this claim to have arrived at this understand by becoming the sole authorities in their own lives!

And how do other factors at play here – those that contribute to the ‘geographically localized ascension’ of this ‘authoritative figure’ for instance, actually influence the formation of any subsequent hierarchy?

How do these factors actually ‘work’? That is, is there some causal chain of events here that can be documented?

How do we grasp this ‘coming-to-be’ – the eventual formation of this ‘group’ then?

A group complete with its own pecking order…

What, as it were, would constitute a reasonable account of the dynamic evolution of the social and cultural mores that are at play here?

And how does this ‘group’ then evolve further (if ‘evolve’ is the correct word here)? ..

How exactly is it that others are ‘taken into’ the fold? … And what, at this point, is the relationship between that original ‘founder’ (that ‘authoritative figure’) and the subsequent ‘carryings-on’ of those who are making some claim or other to be engaged in this ‘carrying on’?

Does it all come about (for all practical purposes at least) by, for example, the input of cash from an interested philanthropist? Cash that provides the necessary means of implementing some form of ‘structure’ here in all this (the acquisition of ‘premises’ perhaps). A benefactor who then – willingly or unwillingly – finds themselves assuming some sort of ‘Chancellor of the Exchequer’ position here. Such that – like it or not – they find that they now have a ‘say in things’; and even, perhaps, begin to ‘take a hand’ in the running of affairs here – such that they are now, to some degree or other, in a position to be able to ‘direct the course of events’, and so influence the contents of any subsequent ‘Mission Statement’? … (Or was that the whole idea on their part in the first place 🙂 …).

And although our authoritative figure is -as it were – still the ‘head honcho’, somehow the clarity of their position is now conveniently ‘muddied’. Such that any event here that subsequently appears to the rank-and-file, to have gone slightly askew, can now always be conveniently explained by pointing out the reasonable multiplication of all those various ‘at-odds’ ambitions; misunderstood handed-down instructions; or incorrect ‘personal’ interpretations of ‘messages’; etc. etc.  

And interestingly (and in the same way) who, and how, does any actual ‘second-in’ command’ (the ‘heir apparent’) come to be selected? … And how does the ‘next level’ after that – the ‘inner-circle’ that everyone involved here is so desperate to be members of – come to be? …

Who ‘inherits’ the various mantles of power here then? … And by what process is that achieved? .. Is it, say, by making attempts to demonstrate some degree of understanding re our authoritative figure’s various utterances etc; or is it by some quasi-legal process of  claiming subsequent ownership of them?

And what does any of this have to do with the actual meaning contained in those various utterances and writings of our ‘Authoritative Figure’? What, that is, does it have to do with any ‘Message’ that might be present here? … … 

If those who have chosen to involve themselves here go on to claim to then ‘know the same things’ as our ‘Authoritative figure’. How could this claim of ‘knowing the same things’ actually be possible if it were understood that there is an essential ‘experiential dimension’ to any ‘knowing’ of this sort? – And that, in fact, absent this essential experiential dimension – all that any claimant here can do is to learn (to memorize by rote) those scattered fragments of material here that have momentarily ‘taken their fancy’…

Would it rather not just simply ‘be the case’ that any attempt to propagate these concepts would have to necessarily begin with some form of personal account of their initial acquisition, their subsequent understanding, and their consequent embodying; an embodying that would in fact – to other interested parties – be clearly, and obviously, grounded in this experiential understanding.

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How, in short, do any gathering of sycophants ever come to ‘sort themselves out’ into some form of intelligible hierarchy here? … Or are their perceived self-appointed ‘rankings’ actually something else entirely perhaps?

Could it be that they have simply fallen under some sort of mechanical deterministic ‘cosmic law’? …. And that really, in the end – because they have not actually been doing anything – because they have never exercised their Will in order to do any Work – their imagined positions are no more that illusions. Similar to those patterns we imagine that we see when we stare for too long at clouds, or into a fire? Something then that we would like to see (products of our own imagination then) but that do not really exist? 

Well actually – and in a certain very definite sense – that is exactly what I do believe happens! .. And this, indeed, is a state of affairs that goes a very long way to revealing to me just how everything down here comes to be so perfectly the way that it is …  A combination of selfishly motivated aims, together with blind mechanical determinism.

How else would you explain how we got from Jesus of Nazareth, to: The Pope; the UK monarch’s position as ‘Defender of the Faith’; the modern state of Israel; your local bishop blessing an aircraft carrier; the Vatican library; the burning of witches; the Latin Mass; the ‘Virgin Mary’ up there in heaven with God; ‘Fundamentalism’; ‘Creationism’; modern banking practices; heaven, hell, purgatory, etc. etc – all of which are central to our, so-to-say, ‘Christian Culture’ here in the West (and I say that it’s even more **** up in the Middle and Far East). A culture that has – it is claimed – come about as a direct consequence of ‘His Message’… A current state of affairs then, about which He presumably would then say something like, “Well yes! Of course! Well done! How could it all have turned out any other way?… Carry on chaps!!”

But then, if you’re one of those who have already come to the conclusion that something appears to have gone horribly wrong down here, just how is it that you are now dealing with this revelation of yours? … And what exactly is it that now determines any subsequent decisions, or courses of action, on your part? What, in short, are you actually going to do about it?…

Perhaps you have discovered that, although this is all ‘very interesting’ and probably very important – even crucial in some essential way… Actually you’re far too busy at the moment to attend to it. Or, to tell the truth, you discover that, in the end, you don’t really care? 🙂

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But if there are those who are sufficiently impressed, sufficiently convinced by ‘authority’ (of whatever kind) to ‘spread this word’ themselves, in far-off exotic places such as Australia, or Portugal – absent any clear remit from whoever it was that originally authored this stuff – what has gone on here? … Has this come about simply as a consequence of these newly self-appointed experts, that next generation of ‘the keepers of this flame’ being dazzled  by the power, and then intuiting cunningly that presenting themselves as also ‘in the know’ will illicit a smile or two from the ladies ; of being somehow overcome by the appeal of certain ideas – of becoming victims then?… And if so, what is it in these people that these ideas actually initially appeal to? … Is it their desire, their hunger, their basic need, to know? … Or is it that they are chasing after the status that their subsequent propagation of these ideas appears (to them) to eventually confer… … Which, sad to say, is how I normally only ever tend to see them …

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How does that original ‘authoritative figure’ now come to be presented to any new public, by these ‘heir apparents’? …

For example, do actual concrete events, such as profound social changes have to take place that, it is believed, have been (it is claimed) in some way predicted; or have arisen somehow as a direct consequence of these ideas. Ideas that originated with these ‘Authoritative figures’… Because, for example, it is claimed by these ‘heir apparents’ that these ideas are somehow ‘fundamental to’ (are determining in some way) what it is that is going on down here; and thus serve to demonstrate the ‘truth value’ of our Authoritative figure’s pronouncements ..

NOTE: Re any ability to ‘peer into the future’…

I would say that, up until his death in 1986, Eugene Halliday had next to nothing to say about computers and ‘artificial intelligence’ et al., primarily because he knew next to nothing about the subject – as indeed (it seemed to me) was the case with the overwhelming majority of those who attended his talks…

Eugene Halliday certainly didn’t see this ‘internet – social networking etc. thing’ coming then – at least from all the available evidence that I’ve examined… In other words, he missed the single most profound change in the world at large that was taking place right under his nose…

(Even so, I would love to know what he would have to say about the subject today 🙂 …)

He did seem to me however, to be telling others (pre 1984) that WWIII was imminent or, at the very least, did not seem to me to assuage this belief in his (what shall we call them) ‘prominent’ followers. But what a wonderful way to bind like-minded people together into a ‘community’. Let’s face it, it certainly worked in Jonestown.

Actually it is always very interesting to me to witness just how often there is a complete absence of any prediction here, where it concerns really significant major events.  One obvious world-changing event that was ‘unforeseen’ by absolutely everyone, including all those astrologers; those in the know at various Institutes for Consciousness Studies: assorted ‘magician folk’ – ‘New Age’ and old; academics; economists; political theorists; military strategists; etc – was the collapse of the old Soviet Union… And as someone who was actually in Berlin at the time (and had already been there for a few days when it happened) I can tell you that absolutely no-one was predicting the imminent ‘Fall of the Berlin Wall’ either – not even those living in its shadow, so to speak… In fact, when I actually went to the wall on the day the guards left to see for myself what was going on, and talk to a few of the people there, it was blatantly obvious that the West Berliners etc. had been taken completely by surprise.

So I don’t believe that anyone can ‘see into the future’. In fact I believe that it’s a particularly imbecilic idea, and that what various folk are doing when they speak (there’s that language thing again 🙂 …), when they claim to be able to ‘predict’ (and I will admit that sometimes a number do appear to get things ‘sort of’ right’) has nothing to do with ‘seeing anything’, but that something else entirely is going on, and has more to do with speculation based on the collection of available data, or personal past experience (“I’ve been in this situation a couple of times and in my experience this ALWAYS happened next.”) …  And that would go for every single one of these claims for me by the way – except for one… The one where I say, “At some time in the future I will certainly be dead.”

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I should, perhaps, also take the opportunity here to mention that a very fashionable idea (particularly with young folk) during the 1960’s and ’70’s  was ‘The Dawning of the Age of Aquarius’.

In case you don’t know, Aquarius is a fixed air sign, with the obvious implication then that – as we moved into it during the twenty-first century – we would all, as a consequence, be ‘taking up residence in our heads’ – the place where we store all the information that we need – so to speak. And, as a consequence, things will then get so much cooler, because we won’t be getting so over-emotional about everything and getting hot and sticky, all the time 🙂 

Eugene Halliday did have a number of interesting things to say about this subject, although his focus seems, to me, to be that ‘The Aquarian Age’ will be – for all intents and purposes – the same thing as ‘The Scientific Age’, which isn’t my position here at all (see next para) In fact, my view re this ‘Scientific Age’ is that we’ve already almost completed it, and are actually in the process of leaving it behind. I would say that we are moving into, what could be labelled, more of  a ‘hyper-real scientific-age simulacrum’  – which you probably think is a bit weird ….

If you’re interested, you can download the audio-file of Eugene Halliday’s talk ‘The Aquarian Age’ from here http://eugenehallidayarchive.info/ You can also get a transcript of that same talk at Josh Hennessy’s site, here http://www.eugene-halliday.net/ 

I don’t see ‘The Dawning of The Age of Aquarius’ then, influencing our existence in the way that Eugene Halliday describes it. Or to put that another way – although I do agree in principal with much of what he does say, I don’t give his viewpoint the same degree of prominence in the unfolding of future events.

I don’t want to go into my position here in any detail. But I will just mention (as just one example of my perspective here) I believe it is far more important to realize that, where it does concern ‘matters of the mind’, we have already moved to a situation where the overwhelming majority of folk here can no longer perceive (can no longer distinguish between) ) what we used to refer to (roughly up until the mid-1960’s’) as accounts of ‘The News’ – that is, those events that went on ‘out there in the world’, and that we were led to believe had some bearing on our daily lives – from the avalanche of ‘information’ that we are all now continually being bombarded with, and that now constitutes not only a major part of our entertainment, but also functions to pattern our social behaviour… So you are now liable to be asked by anyone, at any moment, about any incident that you have been told is taking place on that ‘Word Stage’ ‘out there’, and about which you are required to have either a ‘succinct’ (a word I am using here instead of ‘suitable car bumper-sticker’) fashionable reply for, or a radical opposition to (complete with either as much ‘wailing, rending of garments, and gnashing of teeth’, or ‘hysterical proclamations of joy’, that you can muster). You are also expected to ditch most of these ‘responses’ of yours (usually) in a matter of weeks, in order to ‘take up a sea of positive or negative arms’ for or against the next fashionable event ‘ that is about to collide with you from ‘out there’ … …

So, in my world, ‘News’ no longer exists … However, I would go on to then claim that I believe most of you out there are all so busy reacting to this barrage of ‘information’, that you have failed to notice its disappearance…. And that you will still insist on attempting to discuss what you believe to be this ‘News’. Particularly – at least as far as you’re concerned – those ‘important world events’ that you have been  suckered into believing ‘matter’ to you ..

A situation that, I will confess, I still find – to varying degrees – somewhat irritating… and in my darker moments, highly amusing … 🙂

And, in fact, I wouldn’t mind betting that the overwhelming number of ‘world events’ that you are so intent on maintaining are ‘crucially important’ to you – from the ‘death of the bumble-bee’ to the latest fashionable ‘disaster’ are no such thing at all…. In fact I would go so far as to say that if I claimed most of them were actually figments of the imagination of newspaper hacks, you would have no real way of demonstrating to my satisfaction that they were in fact definitely ‘true’, that they were ‘accurate accounts’. At very least where it might demonstrate anything in your life that you have actually experienced and that demonstrates this truth for you – other than the ‘thrill’ of entertaining yourself with these accounts … I wouldn’t go as far as to claim that we might all be living in a ‘Matrix-like’ simulation, but ‘Disneyland’ would be a far more accurate description for me – and a cheap run-down version of that would be an even better  one.

No exciting ‘Aquarian Dawning’ in my world then… simply the same old ‘same old’ …with a different hat on 🙂 …

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But to continue … …

Or is it perhaps that the various viewpoints that were originally expressed by this authoritative figure here are not so much ‘predictions’, but attempts at ‘Universal Explanations’ that appear to answer – in some way – certain troubling questions that are being asked of society in general. For example, “Why have things changed the way that they have, such that things have now become as they are?”

Because, obviously, if everyone was always OK with the way things are all the time. That is, that their reactions to life in general remained roughly the same – because they have somehow come to believe that they are living in, say, some sort of idyllic neo-conservative paradise (a kind of ‘yogic stupor’) – then as a consequence, nobody would bother paying any real attention to this ‘Authority’ figure at all (other than for their entertainment value) because there would be no real need too.

So, does our Authoritative Figure then put ‘ideas into the head of these people’ such that they come to be believe that things are actually not ‘quite right’ down here. And that, as a consequence of having these ideas planted in their heads, they now find themselves traveling down a road where they never seem to actually arrive at any satisfactory destination.

And thus – because these people experience themselves as now being almost completely ineffective here – they are continuously troubled by varying degrees by ‘guilt’, and so are now in need of ‘regular therapy’, or ‘reassurance’, from their ‘Authority Figure’?

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I really do get so fed-up with saying, “I suppose I could be wrong.” … Especially when, most of the time, I don’t happen to believe that I am… … …

Why do I do that!!!!

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This ‘authority’ that I see others placing themselves under… That realm (another great word) of dominance; sovereignty; supremacy – the place where we find the expert; the specialist; the aficionado; the guru; the sage… Where exactly is 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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Do those in authority simply present those who come within their sphere of influence with some version or other of a fairy tale … Some meta-narrative that their listeners find satisfying – provided that they don’t actually think about it too much?  Such as … “God made Adam and Eve. But Eve was very naughty, and so we’ve all been screwed up ever since… And because of this, what we now have to do (because it’s ‘The Law’) among lots and lots of other things – is make sure that we don’t shake hands with menstruating females; that we cut off the end of our dicks; and that we don’t eat pigs…”

I would have to admit though that this approach seems to succeed in doing the trick here far more often than it fails…

For some beings it would appear that these accounts come to be viewed as ‘obvious’; to have somehow – by some process or other – become ‘self-evidently true’. Particularly when they are dressed up in an archaic language (which I always think is a particularly stupid viewpoint – as obviously this language was not archaic at the time of it’s original use) ….

‘Precious’, ‘sacred’, ‘holy’, (and the ultimate – ‘actual word of God’) accounts then …

Regrettably perhaps, they aren’t anything of the sort for me. In fact I find almost all of them overwhelmingly obsolete in today’s Western world. That is, although I endorse the value of the ‘cargo’ (as it were) the vehicle being used to transport it is falling to pieces (another cheesy metaphor of mine there 🙂 ) … But I can easily understand why they were the best available at the time… And that also – in their continuing ‘relevance today’, I will say that they do provide a wonderful example of Eugene Halliday’s concept of ‘Inertia’ – which is a far, far, far, more complex concept of his than it at first might appear to be, but perhaps only in my opinion … 

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Now might be a good time to share my musings re whether there might actually be some form of ‘natural hierarchy ‘down here. Because, for me hierarchies form an integral part of my concept of ‘Authority’ – and so I find it useful to ‘think hierarchically’ from time to time.

So, from a hierarchical point of view, here’s how I saw Eugene Halliday used a ‘natural hierarchy’ to handle his attempts to Work with ‘others’ … Or how it was that he ‘sorted them out with regard to himself into some sort of order’ might be another way of putting this..

I believe that, in order to Work, Eugene Halliday had a system in place for filtering (sorting out) the scores of people that were attempting to avail themselves of his time, in such a way that these relationships subsequently required little or no excess or wasteful tending to on his part. And that it also made practical use of one of his favorite assertions – ‘Simple does not mean easy’… It was grounded in his insistence that all attempts to gain understanding here must arise out of one’s own actual experiences. (What it is then, that you can actually demonstrate; or have demonstrated in the past; or were required by him to demonstrate in the future; and that you can also provide some sort of cohesive, and coherent,  account of).

Thus, if you were one of those people who were desperate for a sign of recognition from him, and so spent some time putting together one of those (what you imagined were) ‘interesting’ (esoteric/spiritual) questions that would serve to present you in a ‘good light’. You would be very efficiently deflected with a short answer – usually one that involved some form of ‘mystical esoteric’ mumbo-jumbo – such as the ‘mystical meaning’ of various letters of the alphabet (which Eugene Halliday expertly morphed into whatever it was that he wanted any particular letter to mean at this particular time) followed by his advice to ‘do something to demonstrate to yourself that you understand this’ – which in the overwhelming majority of cases here of course the person seeking to involve themselves here never actually got around to doing. He would then finish off here by saying something like, “And do let me know how you got on here please.’ …

Of course the querent here would alway inevitably not realize that this had happened 🙂 .. (That Eugene Halliday had simply given them something – usually extremely straightforward – to actually do, and that their attempts to engage him in further conversation were now contingent upon the fact that had done it!) … which I thought was brilliant!! …

And although this was not the case with those who employed his services ‘by the hour’ so to speak… And in that particular scenario, more complicated events were taking place anyway – notably that (after talking to many of them personally and listening to audio-tapes of these session) in my opinion he not only offered advice to his ‘clients’, but also used these ‘therapy’ situations to Work on himself … An extremely efficient state of affairs then..

I will add here that I never spoke directly with Eugene Halliday at length … ever … … And I only ever asked him one direct question – his answer to which was, “That question was answered 2,000 years ago.”.. (!) .. This was because he seemed to be answering, or have already answered, the ones that I was really interested in during one or other of his previously recorded talks or  essays…I never felt inclined to attempt to engage him in unnecessary social chatter then – particularly as he always seemed to have his hands full as it was; neither did I feel any particular resonance with the overwhelming majority of those who regularly attended ISHVAL either – because most of them just seemed to be involved in playing some form of elaborate social game to me. …

I would add here though that, ten years or so after his death, I did discover one or two people who appeared to me to be grappling with his material, but not nearly as many as I would have expected – at least considering the number of years that many of them spent coming to his talks etc.

Anyway, observing Eugene Halliday employing, what I saw as, his technique of ‘screening’, and coming to realize just how successful it was, I thought it would be a great idea if I attempted to appropriate it for myself 🙂 …

So I did go on to make use of it, but in an entirely different field…

And so i would claim that this particular technique of his now has a very definite experiential component for me. And I must say that – as with other techniques that I believed I observed Eugene Halliday making use of – as soon as I’d tried it for myself for a short time, it seemed a very useful and rather obvious thing to do.

I found that this technique of his was very straightforward – always provided that you could manage to keep focussed on what you were aiming at. But, I repeat, any realization here that you are after will only ever come about after you take the trouble to apply techniques of his like this for yourself, and then reflect upon your experiences with them…

I’ll now try to describe my own particular experience here with this technique, as briefly as I can then. So you can see what I mean

I was always being asked to ‘give piano lessons’.. And although it was very easy money for me, luckily I didn’t need it… And anyway, I actually didn’t like ‘teaching piano’ … at all.

However, I always seemed to have one or two pupils that I would end up seeing ever fortnight or so – which sort of  served to ‘kept me in the market-place’ if you like (I found it paid for my petrol 🙂 …). And as a consequence (because I in fact was ‘out there’) I would be asked now and again by others if I would also give them lessons.

So I realized that I had to devise some way of ‘filtering’ would-be pupils (that most of the other ‘teachers’ in this area would then take on anyway, if only for the money) without offending anyone – if I could possibly manage it.

I should quickly add here that I was always prepared to help someone out if I thought that they were really interested in what I did , and that I thought had what it takes to be any good – but that was not my experience in the main…

My rules here were simple. I would always go to their place. I always had somewhere to go no later than one and a quarter hours after I arrived. And here’s the ‘Halliday bit’ … I would ‘give them a ‘lesson’, and tell them that they would be required to practically demonstrate that they had ‘got it’ the next time that I came… If they hadn’t ‘got it’ then they would receive exactly the same lesson from me again, but would still pay me in full… However, if they wished, they could audio-tape, or video, this ‘second-time through’  so that they would have no excuse for, “not having remembered this, or that, other bit.”…

In order to receive a third lesson though, they would now have to phone me to let me know that they had absorbed that previous one.

Most ‘pupils’ didn’t make it past two lessons – almost invariably because they simply would not put the necessary practice time in; or would claim that they ‘knew it’ but hadn’t quite got round to ‘doing it’ yet; or spent most of their time looking for short-cuts; or were more concerned with devising elaborate motives as to why it was that they, ‘couldn’t ‘do it’…just now.” – usually because they were embarrassed because when they saw me do it, “It looked (relatively) easy.”; or they just told me that, “This is the way I do it.” – in which case I would always reply, “Well obviously you don’t need me to help you then .. do you?”

Or they would be able to do sections of the material that I gave them in the lesson, but not others. In which case they would spend almost all their time on the piano going over and over these bits that they could already do…

In the case of one particular instruction that I always gave them, many had convinced themselves that it was of minor importance – which fascinated me because, although I always went to great pains to explain to them just how important, just how fundamental, it was, they somehow never managed to grasp this fact. And – it seemed to me – to have subsequently programmed themselves to be oblivious (in the absence of someone like me pointing it out – which tended to profoundly irritate them) to what it was that they were (not) doing.. A bit like Eugene Halliday’s rule that interested parties who wanted to ‘do what he was doing’ must ‘activate’ their ‘passive’ language then.

This single instruction from me was very simple – I told them that no matter what they were playing, they had to tap their foot ‘rhythmically in time’ while they did so.

What is even more mysterious here is that, even if I taped what it was they were playing and explained to them, or demonstrated to them, exactly how they were, at the moment, ‘rhythmically all over the place’ they simply refused to ‘have it’ – even if they agreed with me at the time!… But then you might be astonished at just how many so-called ‘professional musicians’ cannot play rhythmically either – and, even more mysteriously perhaps, have been able to get away with it for the whole of their careers!

Most beginners here really believed that they ‘wanted to do something’, but would nearly always convince themselves that what it was that they were doing – after the minimum amount of effort on their part – was ‘near enough’ (“Sounds fine to me, mate!”) And what it was that they couldn’t do, “didn’t really matter.” … They had constructed their own ‘hierarchy’ then, of ‘the relative importance of things that must be done here’…

But playing ‘Rhythm and Blues’ keyboards is, unfortunately for them, not at all simple. (Although the fact that you can program machines to organize sound in this way today has seriously complicated, or obscured, this basic fact… Something I refer to, by the way, as the ‘blow-up doll’ version, if you’re interested).

There is a great deal of preparation that needs to be done, and – as they had requested advice from me – I required them to actually practice what it was that I gave them to do …Being beginners though, they obviously often found it difficult. So most of them quickly gave up on what it was that I required of them, but even so, somehow went on to convince themselves that they were getting somewhere … somehow … And of course, in the privacy of their own heads (where they could exercise their own autonomy – could be their own authority) … they were! 🙂 …

And then, having clobbered together the ability together to perform some bizarre rendition or other here, they ‘moved on’ and joined together (or only ever ‘hung-out’} with others who didn’t know what they were doing either. Who then all went on to re-define the necessary techniques required here, such that – voilà! – they were now ‘recognized experts in the field’.. Which is how I see exactly what Western popular culture has done with Black American Blues music; Brazilian guitar music; and ‘Oriental Martial Arts’, etc., by the way… And also of course any number of non-Western – so to say – ‘esoteric practices’ 🙂  with, of course, the connivence of any number of self-styled non-Western ‘gurus’ and ‘senseis’ who are only intent on traveling geographically in the other direction – usually because they quite fancy having their own little group of European followers (invariably with a pronounced female contingent); owning a BMW; and going to discos … 🙂

Which suited me fine 🙂 …

To provide the briefest of explanations here. People like me who are viscerally affected by music (in my case predominately Black American, or Cuban, or Latin American, music), and that incorporates an essential, pronounced rhythmical component, are first made aware of this pleasurable experience via a pronounced positive feeling towards it in their physical bodies.. (Watch a baby that can’t yet walk, but has learnt to stand move up by using the table or some other piece of furniture, and play them some music from a popular music station on your radio, and you will see exactly what I mean… Music will also effect many domestic animals in this visceral way, by the way – particularly birds)… This pleasurable experience can obviously be re-enforced (you can work out how exactly you would go about doing this for yourself I hope). But, far more importantly here, it can also, at some point, be reproduced by the (originally ‘passive’) being who is having this experience. And acquiring this ability subsequently provides this being with a potentially ‘autonomous’ (interesting word) experience. However, in order to possess this autonomy, the means of doing so has to be acquired by Working, in order to gain that necessary ‘active’ technique(s)…

The only component of this technique that is present in the beginning here though is that ‘physical response’ I mentioned – which is always in the form of a repetitive physical movement (clue)… The student therefore must ‘work backwards’ as it were, from this already present physical ability (this innate response if you like) until they can ‘organize sound’ cognitively… At which point this ‘organizing ability , can now be used to ‘move outwards’ again, back into the body. The being can now, as it were, do two things at once! To put it simply, it can now ‘perform for its own enjoyment’… The cognitive component (the understanding of what it is they are doing); the emotional component (that ‘guide’, which gives them that rational aesthetic experience necessary to the inputting of more ‘feeling’ – of ‘yes’ or ‘no’) and the physical component (that response of their own bodies to their own efforts) are now co-ordinated – are now balanced – such that the being can now truly claim to be ‘rhythmical’, and not simply ‘know what rhythmical music is when they hear it’ or just be able to maintain that ‘they quite like it’…

So my instructions to beginners was never about me wanting to get them to just ‘tap their feet’, but to actually ‘involve their feet’ …. rhythmically!  – But I could never tell them that in the beginning because they wouldn’t ‘get it’ at all! Or even worse they might think they did!..

I will just add here that the overwhelming majority of males (at least the one’s that I know) don’t think it’s odd that, if they ask a girl to dance, then she can just sort of ‘fit in’ with what they were doing.. I, on the other hand, have always thought this ability was quite magical, and believed that I would really be getting somewhere if I could do something like that.. (Now you’ll either see the earth-shattering importance of my Working on this, or you won’t 🙂 ..) 

I would just add that the number of those who claimed to be ‘musical’ (you can substitute ‘yoga experts’ here) that attended Eugene Halliday’s meetings who were clearly ‘not rhythmical’, was extra-ordinary!! … And I will also add that I can tell if someone is rhythmical or not immediately – which some of you might find a bit spooky…

Why is all this so very important as far as I’m concerned, you might ask? Well, other than to say it is pertinent to all this (to say the least) I’m not going to tell you. Because if you can’t work out why for yourself (and relatively quickly), then- for the moment at least – you will never understand any of all this really anyway… Which isn’t to say that you might not ‘know’ a lot about ‘all this’ though – but that’s not the same thing at all… is it?  🙂

Had, though, I been ‘touting for business’; or I needed to ‘make a few bob’; or if I’d ‘wanted a reputation’; or if I was after ‘my own little gang of followers’, I would – of course – have gone about things in an entirely different manner. And would probably have started my ‘pupils’ (aKa ‘my flock’) off, by getting them to ‘playing the scale of C with one hand in one octave’ or something equally as useless, and then gone on for over 50 lessons or so, to ‘teach’ them lots of other irrelevant stuff – and eventually… Who knows? They may be able to remember so much of this stuff that they could even go on to become ‘teachers’ themselves… … … A bit like being one of those ‘yoga teachers’ then; or ‘Martial Artists’ who couldn’t fight their way out of a wet Echo …   🙂

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Back to the concept of ‘inertia’ for a moment …

To get a real hold on what Eugene Halliday’s concept of ‘inertia’ is about, I believe you must ground this word in your own experiences.

And, in attempting to throw some light on your own … ‘intertic tendencies’, I would advise you to beware of ‘amateur therapists’

Because if you do indulge in this form of relationship, understand clearly that it will be that ‘therapist’ who controls and oversees the ‘active’ component of this aspect of it, of this aspect your life. And it is they who will have been allowed by you to assume real ‘authority’ here. Because they will now be in charge of dictating that script that you both subsequently engage in, in the process of acting out this relationship – and in which you will always play the role of the ‘passive’ partner ..(Try and unpack the phrase, “I’m in therapy,” in terms of it’s hierarchy, and then ask yourself the question, “Will there ever be a time when I will assume the ‘active role’ here, or does a successful ‘course of therapy’ automatically assume that any relationship here (which by its very nature is ‘intimate’) will be terminated . And your analyst and you will then both move on with your ‘proper lives’?)

Your enjoyment of these ‘sessions’ will almost certainly be, in the main, because you imagine that this person is taking a’real’ interested in you, and so you feel yourself to be the center of attention (if only for a very short time, and for which you do pay for, one way or another) … Regrettably though they are far more likely to be indulging in their desire for power in relationships, and ‘you’ could just as easily be ‘anyone’… Although – and this I do find fascinating – they actually probably imagine that they are doing something else entirely!

How it is that you do put that story of your past together (and not someone else for you – although it’s possible for you to receive help here) is crucial to this understanding of inertia for you, by the way…. And if you do happen to come to any understanding here of this ‘past’, you then need to do what it was that Eugene Halliday insists you do, which is to change it … Not the events themselves, but whether you experience them ‘in the now’ as  ‘actively’ and not ‘passively’, and in my opinion this is really very hard Work.

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When Eugene Halliday was formulating ideas and promoting his concepts to groups of interested listeners (such that many even came to view him as almost infallible) – what, back then, was actually going on? … What changes were taking place in those who were subsequently turned into ‘subjects’ here? What is it that they ‘relinquished’ (or ‘appropriated’) – if anything? …

Or did he plant these ideas of his in ‘virgin ground’? …. That is, was a seductive picture of reality painted by Eugene Halliday for those who didn’t already have one of their own; or who didn’t like (or didn’t feel satisfied) with the the one that they already had, or the one that was imposed on them as children?…

Was it, in the end then, only ever really about satisfying appetites? … Some form of processed ‘mental food’, so to speak and (here’s a thought) possible (like the ingestion of mercury or lead in small does over a long period) highly toxic?

Was this all because he was so convincing (so seductive)? … But if he was, why is it that almost nobody that claims to have a ‘special’ connection to him can give a substantial, coherent, account of what it was that he was forever going on about? … And even if they ‘sort-of’ can, why is it that these people seem unable to suggest any method of proceeding with this account of his, such that it demonstrates that these accounts were, indeed, ‘Authoritative’ – rather than them simply being ‘transfixed in the moment’ by his rhetorical skill – hypnotized almost – and thus unable to provide an explanation as to why it was that the overwhelming majority who went to hear him speak for years on end, only appear to have the vaguest of ideas about the substance of what it was that he actually said … Any possible aid for them (if any) contained in his many talks having evaporated almost completely (and often almost immediately) after he had finished speaking… Sort of like seeds falling on the ground, sprouting far too early, growing too quickly and then being killed by the sun and lack of water? .. If, that is, you quite like the idea of referring to his creative output as ‘containing seeds’ … 🙂

Is this a common phenomena? … This inability to retain something seen and heard that – at the time – produced a significant affect (gasps of mutual admiration and agreement)… I would argue that it’s a lot more common than you might think….

Here’s an example of this inability to remember fairly succinct ideas from another area of peoples lives, that I would claim almost everyone is familiar with…. Although it’s not very ‘witchy-poo’ I’m afraid.

That comedian on TV the other night you laughed at almost continually until you were crying so hard that you could hardly breath – because the jokes were so very, very, funny… … All those marvelous jokes that you couldn’t remember the next day … !

Notice that you are liable to have slightly better recall though if you were watching a funny sit-com   .. Because, even though you were still passively watching here, you can still find it relatively easy to recall a ‘direction’ to the situation(s) presented to you (the particular ‘story-line’ in that particular episode last night) to the extent that is necessary here… And that you can subsequently, therefore, still ‘identify with ‘ – or ‘take part in’… That story (that fantasy) containing those events portrayed, such that you can re-run them the next day for yourself ‘in your mind’ if you wish .. These events – because they are in the form of a narrative – that you can, with far more ease, dredge up from your memory, along with the recall of that pleasurable state you experienced… It’s humorous aspect then …

And particularly so if you are relating this episode next day to someone else, say a friend, (“And then what happened was … Oh! It was really funny! …”) …

So, although these events did not constitute an actual lived (experiential) situation for you, this sit-com – in an imaginative sense at least – was still somehow ‘real’ for you … You ‘took part’ in it in such a way that it was memorized as an ‘experience’ of sorts… In the same way that you identify with that image you have created for yourself and others – only in this case you do believe it.

… I see all this as evidence for my view of beings possessing both ‘authentic’ and ‘genuine’ aspects of this being etc. … And which I believe I have provided ample information about in previous posts here … So I won’t be repeating myself on that subject here yet again – you’ll be glad to hear 🙂

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In my own case I was always acutely aware that I did not wholeheartedly totally accept Eugene Halliday’s particular perception of reality… But what his public expressions of this perception of his (both verbal and written) certainly did for me, was to make me realize that it was possible for any individual to construct their own view here (as he had done) by the process of attempting to embody some major concept(s) or other that they had adopted, and then Working through the consequences of doing so…. For example, by maintaining that – “If I have come to the conclusion that this is the way things came to be; then why is this now happening?” …(Because, say, if my view was correct, then it shouldn’t be happening) …

So then, I don’t believe that this attempt by Eugene Halliday to ‘make sense of it all’ was in any way ‘magical’ or ‘occult’ – as his own material appears to me to proceed directly from the particular overview he gained as a result of his various studies, particularly in the areas of pre-1900’s philosophy; science; and also his interpretations of various religious texts.

The most obvious concepts here would include those of field forces; energy; and consciousness.. Thus I don’t accept that Eugene Halliday was carrying on the tradition of keeping some ‘Perennial Philosophy’ going (an idea that I find, frankly, ridiculous), Rather, and far more importantly for me, I believe – for me at least – that he was demonstrating, in act (‘before my very eyes’ that is) – a perennial truth – which is that we can create our own world. And that this might, or might not, involve any particular philosophy, or set of beliefs, whatsoever..

Which is a far more magical thing to demonstrate than merely just the trotting out of mechanical, second-hand ideas… And which also explains to me why it is that I believe so many down here seem to have only ever succeeded in getting themselves stuck ‘right in 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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(We see him sitting at his desk, his jacket is over the back of his chair, his tie has been loosened and the top button of his shirt is open. He is speaking into an old-fashioned dictaphone, and he looks somewhat tired)

“The proof that there must be some hidden ‘secret truth’ in all this, seems to be based entirely on their readiness to admit that they have not – as yet – been able to find any evidence of its existence!

“This tool, this ‘language’ that they all possess… That they create their texts from … Many of them seem to believe – and spend much of their life looking for – particularly in the case of those ‘Sacred Texts’ that so many of them are so fond of … something … some hidden message …. that someone, or some thing, or some agency .. has left behind …

And so much effort is then expended by them in tasks such as – for example – re-combining various fragments of these texts, or substituting different vowels to the words in these texts – in order to discover this ‘secret message’ …

This pursuit of theirs is referred to by them in many ways …. (He pauses).. ‘Occult interpretation’, for example .. or ‘Divine Revelation’. …. But of course they aren’t uncovering any such message at all… What they are actually doing, is creating entirely new texts, with entirely new meanings here, that were very often obviously not even implied in the original text…  (He pauses) … An act of creation then!!

And so it is obviously always possible for them to experience that joy which any creative act induces … (He carries on immediately, his voice rising).. But of course, in almost all cases here, that’s not what happens to them at all!

They instead become obsessed with the idea that they have found a ‘hidden, or secret, truth’ within this text, and will often spend the remainder of their time here attempting to prove this to others (He pauses and stares at the floor before continuing very softly)As if that was what really mattered in all this…(His voice rises)… At all!!”

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

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I have never been much of a fan of the, “I am weak but thou art strong,” view-point at least when it comes to understanding ‘Authority’… But I do fully appreciate that if one is really in need at various times in one’s life – when say, really dreadful personal things are happening – then crying out for guidance etc. seems to me to be a very normal, and very human, thing to do. … But not for every second of your existence!

Do we really have to ask for help from Jesus to decide what clothes to wear; what washing powder to buy; or whether or not ‘to take the car to the shops, or just walk instead’? …. 

So why not take some time out to realize just what it is that you are actually capable of  being responsible for…

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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Someone stands up on a box in the middle of Times Square, or Piccadilly Circus, and proclaims to anyone unlucky to be within earshot that they are ‘Representing The Supreme Authority’… But no one takes any notice of them…

What sorts of things would have to subsequently take place here for these ‘self-proclaimers’  to – as a direct consequence – be believed? …

A demonstration of ‘supernatural powers’ perhaps? (Always guaranteed to grab the attention of the ‘Great Unwashed’) …

In your case though, this demonstration of ‘supernatural powers’ would have to be witnessed by you first-hand; or delivered to you in an account that was relayed to you by: a) Someone you ‘trust’; or b) Your favorite news outlet; etc. etc. before you believed it … surely?

(I believe that formulating questions like this are a very important aid in ‘getting to know one’s self’)..

It’s far easier to answer the following question though, “How does it come about that ‘the police’ have authority?” … And that’s part of the trouble here… The answer that you would give to this question, in practical terms at least explains every other instance (excluding the ‘brute force’ one) where it concerns anyone else’s particular attempt to claim, or to assume, power… It crucially requires an investment on the part of you and others here – that you all agree to ‘recognize’ this position of power.

To repeat… How does it come to be that one person comes to have authority over another; or that one person comes to have authority over many; or that one group of people have authority over another group of people? … Lots of questions here then, that can lead to the investigation of all sorts of useful words to Work on (in that attempt of yours to acquire an ‘active language’) – such as, for example, ‘subject’; ‘subjective’, and so on; and thus: ‘object’; ‘objective’ etc..

I’ll just mention here once again that in the past I did spend a considerable amount of time Working with the words ‘authentic’ (which shares the same root as ‘authority”; and also ‘genuine’ (which shares the same root as General (in the military sense)… Because I was interesting in discovering what sorts of things contribute to the creation of what ultimately becomes both: a) ‘An Authoritative Text’  and b) – where it concerns a person – ‘An Authority’. But, in this latter case, not in the collective social sense (as in the case of say, a member of the judiciary) but rather in the ‘single-person sense’ (if I can put it that way).

Thus – in this sense at least – I would claim that Eugene Halliday ‘possessed authority’ … He, for example, made use of the ‘royal ‘We’..’ when referring to activities of the collective membership of Ishval – the most innocent use of this ‘We’ then, might be that everyone there was being reinforced with the notion that – where it concerned be particular little snippet that was being mentioned at that particular time – everybody was ‘on the same page’. And so no need to ‘ponder that particular snippet’ then … So an ‘authodoxy’ then … (Same root as ‘authority, by the way 🙂 …)

NOTE: A great exercise here, is for you to first of all explore how ‘accepting authority’ has been responsible – even if it is only in part – for you engaging in any number of activities that has been formulated by others… And when you’ve done that (so that, hopefully, you now appreciate how this happens in your own case) why not then try a much harder exercise, and try to recall if there has ever been any activity on your part that you can confidently claim was not a consequence of you engaging in activity that had not – in part at least – been formulated by others… And if you manage that one, then why not try going on to the really hard exercise here –  Imagining what engaging in activity that has not been formulated – in part at least – by others could actually mean .. 

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“And the real value of empathic relationships – as opposed to those self-congratulatory bouts of compassion that they’re so fond of wallowing in? .. Well of course there is always that possibility that these empathic relationships can be reciprocated … and also, that not only can they be with the ‘other’ in the way that the ‘other’ is experiencing the world; but the relationship can be such that it allows them to imagine what the ‘other’ would do if they were faced with the same situation that they were in… … That is, they can use empathy … the ‘other’ … to help free themselves from their own particular problem … But very, very, few of them ever manage to realize this..(He pauses) … And usually these abilities … ’empathy’ and ‘compassion’ … are only ever brought up by them in order to demonstrate to themselves and others just how … how … understanding … and thus clever … they are.. Which of course they imagine now places them further up that ‘spiritual pecking order’ of theirs… gives them more ‘authority’ (He pauses and grins) … But really all that’s going on here is that they are addicted to thinking of themselves as … caring deeply …. Whenever they can … Hence their addiction to what they like to call, ‘The News’ by the way…

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

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Briefly – Of the less than half-dozen or so concepts of Eugene Halliday’s that I have actually seriously Worked with (something that I quickly came to appreciate takes, for me at least, a very long time to get into) the following two have probably been the most important for me, with the exception of a number of  concepts that are contained in his ‘Tacit Conspiracy’ essay that is 🙂 … (But the elaboration by me of these particular concepts would, I believe, require me to write at least another half-a-dozen or so posts. And, for the moment at least, that constitutes a big ‘no-no’, I’m afraid) …

So just the two here then:

 1: ‘Working’ – as a way to activate your language.

If you have read my previous posts you will hopefully already appreciate that, in my experience at least, the approach that I originally took in order to tackle the problem of Working was not nearly as straightforward as I first thought it was going to be. Because I soon discovered that if I was ever going to get anything to ‘stick’ here – notably in order to be able to ‘develop that potential in being’ (Which, thankfully, didn’t necessarily require me to be nice to everybody all the time, or anything even remotely like that) – I had to subsequently involve what I believed were the various ‘fruits of my labors here’ into appropriate, customized, forms of praxis  … So ‘Walking the walk’, I quickly realized, was essential here then; as opposed to merely ‘Talking the talk’ … you might say.

As a positive consequence of this approach though, I would add that – if my experiences here are anything to go by at least – you can reasonably expect to be able to ditch at least 99% of those you come across who claim to be involved, or interested, in ‘Matters Halliday ‘ here – as the overwhelming majority of them are ‘into’ these matters for entirely different motives. This hard-line approach by you might – in the short term at least –  prove to be somewhat disappointing, but does have an extremely positive aspect, in that it illuminates just how difficult this view of Working’ of mine, is, and it also helps to keep you at it when the going gets tough’

Incidentally (if you’re interested in these sorts of things) this active/passive language concept of Eugene Halliday’s is, in my opinion, something very like Gurdjieff’s ‘Law of Three’. The third part of which (Gurdjieff’s ‘Neutralizing Force’) I came to see as very similar to my own way of looking at this (or so I like to think). That is – in my case – Gurdjieff’s term here – ‘neutralizing’ – was experienced by me, as my having ‘achieved a state of temporary balance that now enabled me to move forward’… So I don’t actually experience the results of Working as ‘Neutralizing’ anything: instead I experience a momentary state of ‘dynamic balance’ – which is, rather obviously I suppose, why I came to use the term ‘balance’ here.

NOTE – ‘Eugene Halliday – Lesson 101’: Changing a function (think of this as what it or what you actually do) changes a form.. Which – as a consequence – now requires those of us who are Working to provide a different label/word that we can then subsequently use in order to express more clearly the differentiated personal meanings/experiences that have arisen here .. So again, not ‘neutralizing’ for me then, but rather ‘balancing’. ..

So, in my case then, immediately upon a successful attempt at Working to transform something ‘passive’ (experienced as resistance to change, or inertia, or to engramic dispositions, or whatever term you like to use here)  into ‘active’ (assertive – now able to be used to push here), this instantaneously brings into being a state of balance that requires a movement ‘forward’ (at the very moment ‘the penny drops’ here, as it were); or you might like to say that it occasions a movement ‘upward’ – if you’re a fan of Gurdjieff’s metaphor here.

Or, to put this yet another way, more ‘power’ is now available to you – or more means  of ‘screwing things up’ are now at your disposal  🙂

This new situation that you see yourself in – which, you like to believe is as a direct consequence of your efforts here – enables you to (we might say for the time being) ‘now see things with a bit more clarity’… And you begin to notice that ‘being presented with a new experience’ is something that only ever happens to the overwhelming majority of people when they barge into something that was directly in their path; that they failed to see right under their very noses, even though it came complete with a great big flashing neon sign attached to it that was notifying them of the fact… And which is then, as a consequence, almost invariably – in their eyes at least – experienced as something that is ‘definitely not required’: or – if they like to imagine themselves as being more ‘refined’ – as ‘rather inconvenient at the moment’…. Because of course it might wake them up!

This ‘new’ situation (And by ‘new’ here I don’t mean something like ‘original’ or ‘unique’ by the way… I use ‘new situation” here to simply mean the ‘most recent situation’… So it could be one – in fact it probably will be – that has happened to you many times before – only you just didn’t notice the last twenty-five or so times that it did, because you were probably too busy fiddling with yourself)… Anyway this ‘new’ situation is one that you find will now immediately present you with yet more of your very own passive stuff. That you – once again – are required to Work on, by shoving actively against it with more of your active stuff; until once again you achieve a state of balance that impels you to, once again, move forward …

That, by the way, is what the ‘Time Process’ is all about for me. And why I experience many other people as somehow ‘being stuck’ here… Because even though they might be ‘changing’ – that is, growing more wrinkly by the day almost –  they’re not ‘transforming’… A different word again, do you see? With a different form then, and so it possesses a different function… etc. etc.

And what do you go on to do next? … “What’s the aim here of all this?” …Or, “Get to the point will you, I’m very busy!” you might say. Well, essentially, you keep on repeating this process until you die … That’s really what it’s all about down here for me… And the endlessly pursuit of ‘enjoyment’ or whatever it is that most people get up to? …. I’d prefer to leave that to our cat, ‘Juke’ because, to me, that’s all he ever seems to want to do – no ‘post-industrial 20th-century existential angst, as a consequence of living through the present phase of free-market capitalism’, or ‘gender confusion’ for him!!! …

NOTE: I’ve mentioned Gurdjieff here, because I think it’s about time that I ‘came out’ and made it clear that there were any number of beings about in the 20th century that I found very helpful to me. And I am not, and have never been, simply a ‘follower’ or a ‘pupil’ of any one particular person. I have rather (very deliberately) tried to take only what I believed that I needed – no more or no less – from wherever I happened to find it, in order to continue Working. And look – many of Gurdjieff’s ideas – such as ‘The Enneagram’; or his stuff about ‘rays’ and  ’emanations’; or ‘feeding the moon’; or ‘hydrogens’, were not really up to much in my opinion. But in the end all this really means is I didn’t find them useful to me… I have also found a great deal of material that was produced by Idries Shah to be useful to me  – but again, by no means all of it.

FURTHER NOTE: You might also find the following of relevance here: Of all the people that I interviewed extensively re Eugene Halliday, the person that had known him the longest by far (from the very early 1940’s in fact) was Donald Lord. And one of the things that interested me greatly in this account to me of his, was his insistence that “Eugene Halliday was NOT a teacher.”  … !
I had spent ten years of my life as a qualified lecturer (I mention this here only so that you can appreciate that I believed I knew what ‘teaching’ and ‘being a teacher’ was all about), and I found myself agreeing with Donald Lord’s, comments here. But as I’d never really thought about Eugene Halliday’s talks in this way until he mentioned this – I had never really ‘formulated’ what it was that Eugene Halliday was doing and, if he wasn’t teaching .. then what was he doing?”
Very soon after, I was discussing this with close friend of mine, and he immediately gave me a copy of this document below. And a great deal of what it was that Eugene Halliday was doing immediately became very much clearer….
You might like to read it – it’s not that long at all… It was put together by someone from a completely different culture almost 700 years ago, and it contained exactly what I needed here, because it very succinctly nails for me much (but by no means all) of what I had already intuited that ‘teachers’ and ‘teaching’ is really about.
Here it is: The Counsels of Bahaudin Naqshband ….. and it served to re-enforce my belief that those who were listening to Eugene Halliday giving his talks in the ‘right way’, were able to observe him ‘in the act’ of Working, as it were; and also why it’s an almost complete waste of time to just try and ‘learn’ or ‘remember’ these talks – particularly so if you have no real intention of Working yourself – but are simply trying to copy him.
If you like, it’s more the case that he’s demonstrating what it is that he ‘does’ (so you know then that something like this can actually be done) in order to encourage you to put together a system of your own so that you will be able to do it… for yourself .. So imitating Eugene Halliday’s hair-style hasn’t really got anything to do with it… Has it?

Incidentally, that concept of Gurdjieff’s (his ‘Law of Three’) was around long before Eugene Halliday’s ideas re Working to activate one’s language. And I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Eugene Halliday used this law to kick-start his own particular experiential approach to this subject of Working… Involving Gurdjieff’s methods into his own ideas re language then, which was a mode of praxis here that immediately appealed far more to me in that I felt I was far more able to involve myself in Eugene Halliday’s method, than involve myself in what I took to be Gurdjieff’s methods here – which often seemed to involve physically doing something – like deciding to remain standing all day, and then watching ‘what came up as a consequence’.

And this is actually what I eventually did with Eugene Halliday’s suggestion that we develop our own active language  … I customized what I took to be his way of doing things here and went on to construct a system that worked for me. And it seems to me that anyone who does actually do any Work automatically has to go on – from the ‘hand-up’ that they have been freely given here from other beings – and develop their own particular method(s)… Understand here that I’m not talking about ‘principles’ – although to others, you might seem to be expressing these in such a completely different way to the one that they’ve become passively used to hearing, that you appear to be talking about something else entirely. I’m talking about the fact that you will never know any of this unless you do it yourself, unless it is you. If you persist otherwise, you will simply jump from one thing to another as it takes your fancy. So, in short then, I believe that we must all write our own accounts here based on our own experiences.

So re ‘passive and active’ language then – ‘In the beginning was the Word’ – and after that, it seems to me, there was then a whole lot more ‘words’. So many of them in fact that we’ve been drowning in them ever since…

And what is it that you will be required to do when you’ve ‘heard’ these ‘words’? … Well … Work!

And the good news here is that we can already – every single one of us – actually ‘hear’ the words that we need to hear in order to progress at every moment of our lives – should we chose to stop for a moment and listen…But then we would have to go on to spend some of our time (initially at least) figuring out the consequences of what it is that our own unique particular ‘message’ requires us to do down here. Which will certainly be – we already suspect – something ‘real’ … and very possibly extremely inconvenient..

A dangerous situation to put yourself in that – at least according to Jacob Boehme… Because if you come to see, with any clarity, what it is that you need do..  And then you don’t do it… Well! …. That’s a whole different ball-game now isn’t it? … Because you’ve run out of excuses, and can’t claim any more that you, “Didn’t really know,” or that you, “Made a mistake, and you’re sorry.” etc… A situation that explains for me why it is that so many of those I have seen ‘searching for the truth’ sooner (rather than later) went on to engage in all sorts of fashionable ‘irrational behavior’ – which invariably seemed to involve (for us Westerners – at least at the present stage of the current zeitgeist) the attempt to emulate one form or other of dimly understood – and hence ‘seductive’ (“It’s all about the make-up and stage lighting folks!”) – exotic ‘Oriental’ practice or other.

So if you do start to Work – be careful, because you will end up getting exactly what you asked for, which will almost certainly be something that – in the moment – you’re not going to particularly ‘enjoy’… One reason for this by the way, might be that, at the moment, you have no real idea what the word ‘enjoy’ actually means. In fact I would be prepared to wager that you will almost certainly have conflated this word with the word ‘pleasure’ …And I would also guess then, that you have never Worked on either of these words … So … If you’d like to start Working … right now … then simply form a sentence about one of your previous experiences with some form of the word ‘enjoy’ in it, and then substitute some form of the word ‘pleasure’ for it – and then ask yourself if these two sentences really mean anything different to you. If they don’t, then obviously you don’t really know what either of these words mean… Do you? .. … And by the way I did just use the world ‘simply’ here, and not ‘easy’… …. … … And that’s all the help you’re going to get from me here 🙂

And I know that I probably doesn’t need to make this point – but I suspect that I haven’t actually put it as straightforwardly as this so I’ll like to take the opportunity to do so now … … To be passive to someone else’s active language is not the same thing at all as being receptive to it… I know – it’s obvious, if you bother to think about it at all.. You’d be surprised though how many folks I’ve met who pretend they’re being receptive when actually they’re being passive – but that’s probably due to the company I keep 🙂

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Most of the people I have spoken with directly about Eugene Halliday’s concept of ‘Active and Passive language’ – particularly when I first began here in 2004 (and this would be mostly those who liked to think of themselves as one of his ‘Friends’) do not seem to have ever heard of it. Or if they had, then they clearly though that it was only of minor importance; or that his advice re acquiring this ‘Active’ language of theirs was merely a ‘polite suggestion’.

The majority of those who did present themselves as being somehow familiar with this concept of his appeared to me to be very confused as to what the point of it was; and that ‘looking up the definition’ or ‘researching the etymology’ of a word, and then attempting to commit this information to memory, was pretty much it – rather like a superior form of that Reader’s Digest’ page – ‘Increase Your Word-Power’ then… Or – by far the commonest form of this confusion here – mistaking the acquiring an ‘Active’ language for that of acquiring an ‘Effective’ language – of acquiring a skill then (something like ‘being a better bridge player’) – so that one will now be a more effective member of that debating team; or will be able to ‘slither’ far more effectively by becoming an even more effective ‘smart-assed ale-house lawyer’ …

‘Effective’ language is not the same thing at all as ‘Active’ language.. ‘Effective’ language though, does have many very positive applications, as when, for instance, it is used by a decent teacher  – one you remember from your time at school as being ‘good’; negatively, it is used by any number of fashionable New-Age ‘gurus’ and ‘spiritual superstars’; by rabble-rousing politicians, and various other slime-balls – who invariably always seem to have a way of saying things that you ‘like’ – just before you are encouraged to endorse them, or to part with your money and buy something – such as a car bumper-sticker – replete with that asinine. pithy, witty ‘saying’ that you ‘quite like’; or the latest, fashionable ‘Mediation DVD’; or even to just get you to ‘spend your vote wisely’ …!…

By the way, if you experience moments, whilst you were, say, listening to your favorite speaker, when they appeared to have answered a question that was ‘just at that moment on your mind’, then this is almost certainly because they are using ‘effective Language’ and (I know you’re going to be disappointed now) they are certainly not ‘telepathically and sensitively ‘tuning in’ to you’ .. It’s just another example of ‘Cold Reading’ (a technique that was employed in the past by music-hall magicians, and is still being used today in a far more clearly understood and sophisticated form by all those ‘TV Psychics’ and the like, if you want to look it up)…

In my experience, the sign of being in the presence of a real ‘active-language speaker’ is to make me feel vaguely uncomfortable – rather as if I’ve just been caught in the beam of a headlamp taking a pee at the side of the road . …

I believe that Eugene Halliday could affectively make use of both modes of address – which has always been something of a problem for me… One that is usually mediated by reflecting on his essay ‘Defense of the Devil’… but not always… And I would say that this was due to his ‘Mercurial nature’, if you were insisting on me being polite about this, that is…

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THAT WORD ‘SEX’ 
All you ever wanted to know about it, but were too afraid to ask

Conflating, or confusing the function of two separate (although not perhaps entirely independent) terms is one of the more interesting ways in which commonly understood meanings can be manipulated by both secular and religious authorities. in order to control the discourse.

The following example is interesting because there is a strong sense in which it is possible to view this conflating and confusing (over the past two thousand years or so – at least up until the latter part of the twentieth century, when it does become pretty much indefensible) as ‘understandable’, or at least ‘non-deliberate’ … I believe that it is now necessary for all you folks out there to separate out these two terms – always assuming of course that you haven’t already done so 🙂

Here you are then – ‘Sexual activity’ and ‘Genital activity’.  

The conflating and confusing of these two terms has, I believe, been directly responsible for, or underlies, the appearance of a large number of – possibly more than any other single human activity – many of those social and cultural mores that have been put into place during the previous couple of thousand years in order to keep ‘the great unwashed’ in-line; and consequently then for all sorts of weird and wonderful patterns of behavior (‘customs’) that have been practiced down here ever since, at least in the ‘West, ‘and much of the Middle East, that is.

These would include (but not be restricted to) for example, your common-or-garden genital mutilation – by which I mean circumcision. That is: the removal of the female clitoris, or the male foreskin  (the latter being a practice that is, even today, claimed by some to be ‘hygienic’ – though not the former); together with the Pauline attitude (shoved down our throats of many of us from about the age of seven) regarding the whole business of guys ‘spilling their seed on the ground’ (or if you don’t know what that means, for a more contemporary way of putting this, try ‘chucking one over the wrist’ ), of ‘fiddling about with yourself down there’ and as a direct consequence, very quickly becoming blind, or at very least extremely short-sighted, or growing hairy palms… ‘Tipping the velvet’ was not so much disapproved of in our mainly patriarchal societies here in the West though, perhaps because the guys in charge were never quite sure what the girls were up to in general, and anyway they quite enjoyed watching.

I’ve often wondered just how many post-pubescent boys and girls would agree to ‘have it done’ today … I can just imagine the scene (Teenage boy or girl on computer video link to pal), “Sorry, I can’t go to the disco with you on Saturday because I’m having the end of my dick cut off (or my clitoris sandpapered away)… I know – it’s a bit of a bummer – but my mum and dad would be upset if I didn’t get it done!” …

By the way, there was a far more severe form of this that was practiced by a significant number of the so-called ‘early church fathers’  … That of self-castration… And let’s not forget the present day form of this – that of (a largely pretend, or alas often tragic) ‘celibacy’ – which is claimed to be practiced by officials of some of the same organizations… 

Simply put, ‘Sexual Activity’ (where it concerns human beings (as opposed to say all those trillions of little creatures – viruses, bacteria, and single-celled things etc – that are hanging around inside your body, who don’t engage in this activity because they can’t, and so are ‘asexual’ – which means ‘non-sexual’) is the combination of genetic material from two donors  – one ‘male’ and one ‘female’ – in order to introduce a new member of the species to this wonderful world. (NOTE: ‘Asexual Activity’ is strictly a ‘go it alone, do-it-yourself’ affair then).

And I think it’s obvious in this ‘sexual’ arrangement that most females were (and are) far more acutely aware of this state of affairs than men – who, even if they insist that what they’re really doing when ‘having sex’ is ‘reproducing’ (as opposed to say, having a great time) would not be believed by anyone (even themselves)…

But then along came ‘the pill’ .. which was then followed by even more interesting developments here! One result of which was that females can now do all this reproducing without the ‘help’ of men or, to be more precise, without any of that old-fashioned bonking taking place – by simply submitting to an IVF procedure at their local IVF clinic. In fact I can remember when, as a result of this procedure, hysterical lesbians were out there proclaiming that ‘woman no longer needed nasty horrible men’…

Unfortunately for the lesbians however, I’m afraid that further advances in science are also now threatening the ‘exclusive’ role of the female here. Because eggs can now be fertilized outside of the womb… And just how long do you think it will be before we can conduct this whole messy reproduction process, this ‘sexual activity’ some place else entirely’? … (You can actually see a move towards the acceptance of this way of couples combining their genetic material with the present day use by those who can afford it, and have left it a bit late perhaps, of surrogate mums).

‘Genital Activity’ – on the other hand – need have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with ‘Sexual Activity’ at all! … Which – although it was always was the case – was never quite clear, due to its ‘reproductive’ aspect. 

‘Genital Activity’ always involves an erotic charge. So if any idea, or any suggested activity, doesn’t turn you on, then (for the guys say) there’s no hope of ‘the little soldier standing to attention’.. and thus no possibility of any ‘Genital Activity’ taking place.

‘Sexual activity’ and ‘genital activity’ are for me, two very obviously different activities, primarily because they are obviously two completely different terms… In fact I would call one of them largely ‘active’ and the other largely ‘passive’ or ‘receptive’. However, exactly in what circumstances I did so, would depend entirely upon what mood you happened to catch me in at the time 🙂

Exactly where all this concerns the edicts of all those ‘World Religions’ and ‘right’ and ‘left’ wing political ideologies is at the moment extremely ‘muddled’ … Basically because those involved are stupid.

But when the dust settles, where (and why) will all this leave the subjects of reproductive rights and gay rights in a hundred or so years?  … I for one would love to know 🙂

Expanded from a number of entries contained in ‘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)

 

2: ‘Reflexive Self-Consciousness’.

A concept that is – at least in my experience of speaking about it with others –  invariably conflated with something like ‘Heightened Self-Awareness’… … Not the same thing… at all! … But it does go a long way to explain why it is that so many I initially met here ‘went on’ to engage in one version or another of fashionable  ‘non-Occidental’ practice or other (the more exotic the better); or indulge in some form or other of what they claim is a ‘creative’ or ‘artistic’ activity, and so still ‘failed to get it’. Because if you can’t see that there very could easily be an army of ‘ordinary housewives’ out there who, even though they’ve never heard of Mr Halliday or ever done ‘yoga’, are far more reflexively self-conscious than anyone you could ever imagine – then you’ve missed the point of all this entirely…Thinking of smelly fishermen, tax-collectors, and ladies of the night, might help you though – if you’re having a problem here.

On the other hand, I do fully appreciate that engaging in these practices can be beneficial, at least in helping to keeping the lid on one variety or other of rather common Western neurotic condition – such as ‘Post-Industrial Existential Angst’, or ‘An Irrational Middle-Class Fear of the Great Unwashed’ for example. However, all that these activities seem to be to me, are merely yet another form of (‘natural’) self-medication… And although engaging in them is something that, I will freely admit, is a far better method of controlling these conditions than random ‘pill-popping’, I would say that they are – none the less – still only yet another ‘prop’ to be used in order to manage (but not banish) a situation which I believe Eugene Halliday would maintain the overwhelming majority here have brought upon themselves. By spending most of their energy on realizing their ‘worldly ambitions’ – be these ambitions social, or artistic, or ‘spiritual’, or cultural (even to the extent of, say, joining the Armed Forces, or the Peace Corps); or economic; or the consequences of what I might call ‘their natural appetites’; or simply because they have, by and large, judged themselves to have lead a somewhat sedentary and largely pointless existence to date, and are now suffering from the consequences of doing so at some later stage in their lives.

But (luckily for me) I also happen to believe that this position most of us have placed ourselves in rather early on in our lives is exactly the one that is needed in order to begin to Work. (Eugene Halliday often referred to these various adopted life-styles as examples of behaving ‘prodigally’). Because, as all of these consequences stem from either the way in which we have chosen to live our lives; or that we maintain we have ‘just’ found ourselves to be situated in ‘innocently’ (“None of this is really my fault officer.”)…’, they still constitute overwhelmingly – and certainly, initially at least – the actual ‘concrete matter’, or the ‘stuff’, or the ‘prima materia’,  of our own particular real ‘situation’. A state of affairs that somehow must be faced if there is ever going to be even the remotest possibility of us ever making any real progress down here; of – that is – instituting any real change in order to ultimately initiate some (even minor) transformation; or – if you prefer – to go on to realize a real profit of any sort here, no matter how insignificant it might seem to us at the time.

Indeed, I would say that we must all, without exception (and here I would include Eugene Halliday) ‘come here to this gate, or entrance’ if we really want to have any chance at all of at least beginning to move forward here.

However, in order to do any of this really. That is, in order to move forward here, it has to be done reflexively. If, on the other hand you merely wish to throw that dart of yours in that treble-twenty slot on your dart-board nearly every time;  or desire to pursue a handsomely paid career in one form of questionable activity or other (“How’s that lad of yours doing?” Very nicely thanks!”); or (if you’re really sneaky) ‘devote’ yourself to ‘helping others’ – then you will almost certainly need to develop a great deal of ‘heightened self-awareness’, and you’ll also probably need to cart a lot of ‘information’ around with you as well.

And also – and probably more importantly here at least – from this perspective of mine, Eugene Halliday – as far as the rest of us are concerned –  can only ever offer you the fruits of his own Work in the form of an example here – which you may or may not be able to hear, and even if you do, you may or may not decide to act upon.  That is, he cannot, indeed he could not – in principle – do any of this Work for you. All that he can, or could do, is point you in the right direction (if you freely allow him to do so, that is). Which is why I believe – and have ranted on in this blog about at some length – that any attempt to simply appropriate Eugene Halliday’s material (even if one is deluded enough to believe that one is doing so in order to ‘pass it on’ to others) is an endeavor I believe to be based primarily on the acquisition of power – and so is essentially a manifestation of ‘greed’ – that is, its only positive aspect here, is that it provides a perfect example (for those who have the ‘eyes to see’) of ‘the inability to realize a profit, from what was initially imagined was going to be an apparent gain’. So it is then, regrettably, just one of the more obvious negative consequences  – one of the real dangers that is – of choosing to ‘be involved’ here. (See Jacob Boehme for more info re these dangers if you’re interested further).

Eugene Halliday did not practice Yoga, nor did he ever recommend it particularly, at least as far as I have ever been able to discover – and I spent a long time attempting to find out if he ever did – and this would include research by me on this matter that involved asking direct questions on this particular subject (“To your knowledge did Eugene Halliday ever practice anything that any reasonably-minded person would refer to as ‘yoga’?”) to many who knew him personally for decades – including someone who lived with him for over 25 years… And look, if he ever did actually ‘practice yoga’, don’t you think that those to whom this would have been ‘extremely important’ would have mentioned the fact at every available opportunity, as it would have automatically gone a long way to validate their own assumed positions in the ‘spiritual marketplace’ (all that ‘I sat at the feet of’ nonsense)  … “Eugene told me that, when he was doing this particular exercise that I am showing you now, etc ….” for example? ..

He did, however, speak about the particular subject of yoga on numerous occasions (a state of affairs that I believe confused a lot people). But then he also spoke at length, on many occasions, about other ‘esoteric’ subjects, including, for example, ‘Astrology’ and ‘Tarot’. And – where it concerns these two particular subjects – I can tell you that I have also never been able to uncover one single instance, or heard anyone who maintained that they were ‘close to him’ claim, that he ever ‘prepared a natal chart for them’, or the he ‘informed them about the future appearance of a tall dark stranger in their lives’ after gazing theatrically at a couple of  randomly selected cards for a few moments, either…

What he did do however – both publicly and in print – was to recommend any number of contemplative exercises though… But, during the intervening 35-plus years since I came across his material, I have to tell you that (apart from Ken Ratcliffe) I have never really heard anyone earnestly recommend these particular exercises because they found them to be so very useful to themselves – although a couple of those who do claim to be involved here have mentioned them in passing to others. However they have not, at least as far as I’m aware, appeared to have applied themselves to the same task… More significantly for me, no one that I have spoken with this has ever been willing to provide any form of personal account concerning the ‘fruits’ arising from engaging in these particular exercises where it directly concerns their own experiences with them. A situation that I view as distinctly fishy …..I will just add here, that I would be more than happy to share how it was that I found these exercises to be – but only with those who are prepared to do the same.

And just a further note here about my experiential understanding of the function of ‘reflexive self-consciousness’… I have never been able to shake the conviction (for most of the people I have discussed this with anyway) that they imagine ‘reflexive self-consciousness’ is not a perfectly normal attribute that we all possess but that most of the time we freely chose not to use, but rather that it is instead, some weird form of ‘super-power’… And that this completely mistaken view here is, in my opinion, reinforced by Eugene Halliday’s drawing – at the beginning of the ‘hard-copy’ of his essay – of a very nice looking young man with a third eye stuck in the middle of his forehead… Now I think that he probably drew this picture in an attempt to ‘use a sprat to catch a mackerel’; that is, this ‘illustration’ fitted in very nicely with the held commonly views of ‘consciousness’ at the time. But I believe it was a mistake, because it was also a commonly held view at the time (and regrettably still is) that somehow you can have ‘more’ consciousness, or develop a ‘higher form’ of consciousness – which I think is a really dreadful metaphor, and frankly a ridiculous idea.

Reflexive self-consciousness is a tool – so think of it like this if it helps… You have decided to stop using all your hand-saws, chisels, hammers, and hand-drills, and have decided instead that you are going to use your electric ones instead – you always ‘sort of’ knew you had these by the way, but you could never somehow manage to put your hands on them at the right time and then get them out of their boxes… … And although that particular task of your very own is still before you (and is still exactly the same one that it always was) you can now apply yourself far more efficiently to either tackling it (or avoiding it 🙂 …) with your ‘shiny new, and far more efficient tools’ … But if you happen to be traveling in the wrong direction? … Well you now just get to go even further, quicker… and deeper, into the shit… So ‘developing’ your ability here doesn’t mean say that, if you have a damaged leg, you can now magically somehow just ‘fix it’….  Becoming aware of your ability to respond self-reflexively to the situation that you find yourself in from moment to moment will not provide you with a short-cut here at all then, but only with an even greater response-ability.

So reflexive self-consciousness isn’t something that you can learn to do, like ‘meditating’ or ‘waving your arms and legs about, pretending to hit somebody’ – it’s something that all of us can chose to do at every moment – and that some of us (like me) believe has to be ‘done’, as often as possible… So it isn’t something you just are then – with no effort then; it’s something that you have to – by freely choosing to do so – consciously ‘bring to be’ … You can’t ‘learn to do it’ and then ‘it just happens’ because you’ve now ‘expanded your consciousness’ (or some such tripe) and have become a ‘superior and more-evolved being’ or when it happens it’s a ‘peak experience’ – it’s the form of praxis… And all that it really does is inform you correctly…

Thus – in my experience – being reflexively self-conscious ‘in the moment’ is actually a simple thing that really everyone can do, and that requires no special training, or information, or diet, or membership of any particular group or other … It just isn’t very easy… at all!! … Why? … Well … Because you will keep taking your eye off the ball.. 🙂 …

So, like Eugene Halliday then (apparently), you can claim that you never ‘lose’ reflexive self-consciousness even when you’re ill, and you can look the person you’re talking to square in the eye while you’re telling them so – knowing full well how they will take that statement… On the other hand I’m positive that no-one can do it while they’re asleep..

And as for merely reacting? Well I can certainly hear Eugene Halliday doing just that from time to time during his talks…

What actually beggars belief here is that others were quite prepared to make these sorts of claims for him, such as, “Eugene Halliday was completely self-reflexive.” – without having the faintest idea of what it is that they’re talking about.. Like some bizarre ‘out-take’ from Monty Python’s ‘The Life of Brian’..

Finally for this bit. A few questions for you …
1). This world that you find yourself in .. What’s it like for you? …
2). Could the behavior of two people in identical circumstance be observed by a third-party (this might be you) as ‘behaving the same way for all intents and purposes’, even though one of them was reflexively self-consciousness at the time, and the other one wasn’t? … How would you go about justifying your answer here? …
3). Is the Devil reflexively self-conscious? … Why? …

I would say that the answers that provide to these questions will tell you a lot about the subject of that book you might write one day, ‘Me and My Reflexive Self-Consciousness’ … Especially that first question :-)…

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 When you’ve been down one rabbit hole, you’ve been down them all.

Who’s really in control here? .. Who’s doing all this? … None of this could possibly be my fault! … I’m not responsible for any of it!

One of the weirder (and frankly hilarious) beliefs that any number of New Ageists hold is that ‘we mere earthlings’ are all the victims of some particular group of malevolent super-beings (usually one with some outlandish comic-book name or other). And that these ‘super-beings’ are intent on bringing things down here to one form of apocryphal conclusion or other by means of some particular variety of ‘fiendish plan’. A ‘plan’ that is – even as we sleep – in the process of ‘being hatched’.

Further (and here I would argue that we see can a neat demonstration of why it is that these ‘super-being’ couldn’t be all that bright, but seem to be just as dumb as the cranks who are intent on propagating these notions) that this ‘plot’ invariably seems to have been recorded on some version or other of ‘ancient manuscript’.

This ‘evidence’ etc. is then ‘explained’ by a veritable plague of contemporary interpreters, who claim, for one reason or another (and these include having been the victim of an alien abduction – invariably replete with details of a good old-fashioned anal probing; or have visited various other dimensions and nether regions while astral traveling etc) to be ‘in the know’…

Or that this evidence is, more remarkably perhaps, ‘readily available for public viewing’ – always provided that one applies the ‘correct’ interpretation that is…

This ‘evidence’ is very often located at one or more of those carefully manicured ‘archeological sites’ (maintained by either the government of the day, or the local tourist industry) scattered all around the globe, where on payment of the required entrance fee, holiday-makers can gorp at any number of numerous gigantic ancient monuments … For example: the pyramids; ancient temples in the Cambodian jungle; crumbing ‘sacred sites’ on picturesque remote Aegean islands; old-world, and new-world megaliths.

Or – if you’re not into all that old stuff because you like to believe that you’re ‘more up to date’ – the more contemporary ‘crop circle’, ‘ufo’ stuff, or ‘computer simulation’. 

As a consequence of this scenario – and rather obviously, I would claim – we can see that those ‘super-villains’ of theirs (who, it is claimed, have been running things ‘behind the scenes’ for millennia and smart though they are) have never been quite smart enough to get rid of this mountain of damning evidence; although we mere ‘victims’ here seem to have no problem at all in burning down whole libraries of those ‘secret manuscripts’; or of blowing up many of those monuments and sites; or submerging them in order to make ourselves a new reservoir; or covering them over with concrete in order to provide ourselves with a nice new car park – should we decide, on the spur of the moment that is, to do so.

And I will readily admit here that these ‘enlightened’ people are, to a major extent, all reasonably consistent – in that they all seem to be coming from the same place (but then so do STD’s I suppose) – by maintaining that none of these ‘super-visitors’ have ever come here to ‘do any of us any favors’. Their motives apparently were, and still are, always to the profound disadvantage of ‘us hapless earthlings’ who happen to live here – apart from that (inevitable) bunch of slimy collaborators and traitors, who have usually entrenched themselves in one or other of our governments, or are members of the board of some bank, or ‘multi-national’, or other, and that are so necessary in all this in order to assist in (so to speak) ‘moving this plot along’ here.

And if that all sounds like the outline of a possible script for the next Dr Who season? … Well, where exactly do you believe that these ideas originally come from if not ‘folk tales’.

In it’s contemporary version then, these ‘beings’ are inevitably members of that army of ‘Global Multi-National Neo-Fascist-Capitalist Bankers’; ‘The Illuminati’; ‘Shape-Changing Lizards’; Twisted Computer Geniuses; or good old-fashioned ‘Aliens’. And further – at least as I understand it – that the various exotic members of these ‘secret groups’ (who are all somehow ‘running things’, or at least ‘intent on eventually dominating the proceedings’ here) are supposed to be able to recognize one another without any trouble, whenever and wherever they happen to ‘rendezvous’ . That is, they instantly realize – upon meeting up with each other – that they are ‘on the same page’, as it were – without the necessity for engaging in some form of mutual interrogation, or of resorting to the use of some fancy handshake, or whatever.

A group of like minded beings then at the very least you might say – and thus definitely something of an extreme rarity down here then, at least in my book… Because attempting to organize any group of ‘normal’ people exceeding a couple of dozen or so in number down here, is invariably ‘chancing your arm’ – at least as far as my limited experience here goes. Unless, that is, you confine them in some way, by making use of a ‘rule book’, like say twenty-two of them engaging in a game of soccer – but even then it’s easy to see that cheating is the order of the day if it can be got away with …

And even if you do somehow manage to clobber something together so that you do indeed now have your own little ‘band of followers’, it seems to me that one of the essential rules of this particular game, is that you also need to (simultaneously) now clobber together (or at least to point out the existence of) another group of individuals, whose sole aim (it is suggested) is to oppose yours.

This is obviously done – and I do admit that it is an excellent way of going about things here – in order to ‘keep your lot in line’… And if you lack the resources to ‘find’ one of these ‘opposition groups’ that are so necessary to keep ‘your lot’ with their noses to the grindstone here? Well, the answer to that is very simple – you can always simply just ‘make one up’ (scapegoats and infidels are excellent examples here).. An approach that should actually work very effectively for you, because you have already demonstrated that you are very good at preaching to your converted flock in such a way that they believe everything you say. (A wonderful example there of how easy it is to manipulate those who only possess a ‘passive’ language then).

Regrettably though (at least in my somewhat grubby experience) the only significantly large group of beings who appear to be able to ‘self-organize’, without constantly monitoring each other, is that legion of pornography consumers out there, who appear to have been multiplying like rabbits ( 🙂 ) and do not appear to need to cross-monitor each other in order to check if they are keeping ‘abreast’ (pardon the pun there) of that rapid ever-expanding mountain of ‘desirable material’ out there that is being made instantly available to interested parties, on the world-wide-web  ….  A quick smirk – followed by an almost immediate ‘flash’ … (pardon the pun again) … of instant recognition then, you might say.

However, when I attempt to point this out to those who believe all this ‘conspiracy theory’ junk, they either very quickly go quiet and pretend that I didn’t say anything much of relevance or importance here; or they act as if I’m ‘trying to be funny’; or they accuse me of being needlessly hostile to their ideas – by introducing these ‘questionable types’ into, what is for them, a serious subject… 

I believe that what’s going on here is actually far, far, worse than any of these clowns I’ve alluded to above are capable of imagining. And that is, that there is not, and there has never … ever … been, anyone ‘minding the store’… And that it is all, in the end, ‘down to you’…

And what do I think of it all down here? … Well I think it’s perfect! … Exactly how it should be, given the way we have all been behaving here for the past thousands of years: and that there is absolutely nothing whatsoever supernatural about any of all this – at all! … Incomprehensible – at least for the moment  – perhaps…. But ‘spooky’? Definitely not!… We are totally responsible as a species for the mess we’re in, and everyone of us is in some degree complicit in all this… And any real and effective change is – for the time being anyway – next to impossible… There will be ‘good times’ and ‘bad times’ and those who like to imagine they are ‘in charge here’ will take full credit for the former – and simply blame the opposition (‘real’ or imagined) if it’s all just gone ‘tits up’ again.

And if I had to say what it is that I believe is going on down here? .. Well that would be that we are, for the most part, really just making it all up as we go along..

And the real cosmic mystery here for me then?… I would say that this would be that – in spite of all the madness about (and I freely admit that a great deal of it is very entertaining) – I have always had a profound and unshakable belief that, whatever it is that is taking place, it is – indeed – all ‘going somewhere’… But exactly where, I have no idea… So I will confess that I have an unshakable belief in ‘purpose’ then (even if, in the end for the time being at least, it’s only mine)….

But if I were, just for the sake of argument, forced to cautiously admit that there might be some form or other of ‘cosmic purpose’ (and I will tell you right now that this particular idea actually makes no real sense to me if I attempt to deal with it on anything other than a facile level)? … Whatever it is, it will not be that we are all required to jump down yet another one of those frigging rabbit holes – because I can do that already, myself, any damn time I choose. 

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At the risk of stating the obvious – I believe that our most valuable possession is ‘life’ itself. That is – to be clear here – my life belongs to me. It does not then belong to (for example) either ‘God’ or ‘Country’ – although I can decide that it does, for one reason or another.

Everything in my life is ‘contingent upon’; that is – something prior has to happen (in the case of my birth that would obviously be that my parents ‘got together’ some nine months earlier) …Except that is, for my death, which is not ‘contingent upon’ but ‘essential’ – that is, it is ‘inevitable’.

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My experience of others here is that the overwhelming majority of them are hell-bent on living as if this life of theirs belonged to someone, or something else, entirely! .. And that this ‘someone else’ – it seems to me – is, almost invariably, one variety of persona, or mask’  or other that they spend all their time and energy in maintaining; and that they wish they actually were; and are intent on presenting it to others as who it is that they ‘really’ are; . A sort of ‘Disneyland Ideal Character’ you could call it. 

Sadly then, many of them die without ever having really lived at all: without ever having realizing just how amazing it is simply to be here as themselves – warts and all…. And perhaps then, having realized this (rather obvious) fact, to go on to and tackle the task of really becoming a better person in themselves .. to themselves… To develop their latent Self-Reflexive ability then. To nurture their real talent(s) – something that we all possess while we’re here, in one form or other, to some degree. To realize … To become … To develop the ‘promise’ that we have always possessed then.

Some who are getting older here, will confess to you that they have now come to believe that they have wasted a great of their time down here ‘play-acting’ and really intend to, from now on, do ‘something about it’. But they now invariably find that they are continually biting off more than they can chew, because they can’t come to terms with the fact that they have to start this journey on ‘Go’ like everybody else down here does …

And the ‘load’ here – that you’re required to carry?  Well that only really consists in whatever it is that you can (almost) bear – no more and no less. So if you find this burden too light, or too heavy, then ‘you’re doing it wrong’. … Because only when you’re in a state of balance can you then over-balance, and take a step forward here (which is how you actually do walk, in case you didn’t know)… And you are going to need some help, at least, here  – which is why all this other lot are in here with you, cluttering up your personal dressing-room (the one with the ‘star’ on the door).

But it doesn’t really matter when you start; it only matters the degree to which you have knowingly opposed starting to-date – usually by insisting that ‘you’re not quite ready yet, because you’re (fill in the blank)….’. 

Your death then, makes of a life that has been lived in this way, really just (yet) another example of a squandered, or simply wasted, opportunity – and sadly, you will never really have existed – because you were too mean-spirited to let your real authentic self step out of that cage you have build for it and enjoy the sunshine now and again, and so flourish a bit.

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If people knew how many of them I view as not knowing why they’re really here, I think most of them would probably be somewhat amused, because they think I’m a bit of a ‘lad’ anyway… But if, on the other hand they knew just why I thought so, I think they might be very offended… I know that I might if I were them 🙂

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Selections 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 couple of my photos for you:

‘Genuine and Authentic’ by Bob Hardy (Diptych)

                                 

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The purpose of a mind is to produce a future

Paul Valéry

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” … (W)ell of course … to us, hallucinations are real…. But … what many of them like to refer to as ‘Schizophrenia’ down here then?  … What exactly is that? …

Well you would, from our viewpoint at least, say something along the lines that this is simply a ‘position’ … taken by certain beings – a position that commands a particular perspective … And by means of which they produce a particular type of individual.. … ‘Them’ – as it were…

(He pauses to listen)… No! … This type of ‘individual’ produces a narrative that is far more ‘hermeneutical’ in character  … A sort of ‘caricature’ of the present … And by ‘present’ here I mean ‘contemporary’ … But a narrative that is … somehow … an acceptable, mainstream, cultural, mythological one .. That manages to ‘resonate’ with other particular beings

Of course, if they manage to do this really well, what they produce can then easily catch the eye of those self-elected ‘gatekeepers’ … those arbiters of ‘good taste’ … Who could very easily ‘upgrade’ this material to a ‘mystical text’ or – at very least – to ‘a work of art’!”

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

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A perfect example of woolly thinking? … Believing that ‘The lion shall lie down with the lamb’ means the same thing as, ‘The lamb shall lie down with the lion’.

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… That lovely story about the ‘good shepherd’ who goes out searching for a lamb that got lost… Am I the only one that thinks the really important bit of this story is missing? … That bit at the end where it … sort of … goes … “And the shepherd gave thanks!… Because now, come Sunday, he would be able to carry out his plan to string this lamb up by its hind legs; slit its throat to drain its blood; cut it up into pieces; roast it; and then eat it…”  

Or (yet again) have I got that all wrong?


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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Transforming ourselves, rather than simply changing ourselves, is really really very hard Work…

But ‘transformation’ is a state of affairs that can – at least as far as convincing others (particularly when doing so concerns the attempt to present yourself as being some sort of expert in ‘matters mysterious and spooky’) – be relatively easy to fake.

If only because most people have never Worked in their lives, and so don’t really grasp the essential difference between ‘change’ and ‘transformation’…

‘A change taking place’ is something that’s going to happen in various areas of everyone’s life (such as growing older for example) in and of itself, whether they like it or not. So conflating and confusing these two words is a relatively easy to produce in them.

Particularly if you can develop a way of presenting those ‘changes’ (that are – in the main – going to happen anyway) as somehow being ‘transformations’… And the consequence of that for you will be that you now have a little flock of your very own that really does believe that they are, in fact, Working because they have definitely experienced a result as a consequence of your ‘instructions’ here. (“We will learn to control our breathing – which is very difficult – and so become calmer.”) … “It works!!” … Hey presto!! .. Add a few Sanskrit words together with a sprinkling of New Age paraphernalia (get them to buy your books; scented candles; special colored mat; a ‘Save the Warthog’ t-shirt, etc. etc) and you’ve cracked it… You are now ‘The Authority’ here!

NOTE: Nearly all of those that I have discussed ‘transformation’ with, have a great deal of difficulty differentiating this term from ‘change’ – particularly where it concerns their own being (“I can see that I might have changed, but I wouldn’t say I’ve transformed.” is a common comment). And in my experience the most common analogy they use to illuminate ‘transformation’ (in the absence of their own experience of it) is that of the caterpillar’s metamorphosis into a butterfly.
In many parlor games we are given clues, and ‘when the penny drops’ we ‘realize the solution. So – where it concerns these two terms ‘transformation’ and ‘change’; and anthropomorphizing the caterpillar/butterfly analogy, here’s a clue. Try (using active imagination) and verbalize the following:
What do you imagine the butterfly remembers of it’s time as a caterpillar (if anything at all). And does the caterpillar have any ‘ideas’ about its imminent transformation (what, if anything, does it imagine it will be like)?

I believe that it is essential that you come to experience the meanings of these two terms yourself by Working on them. They are two very useful terms that, for me, demonstrate the poverty of using only definitions and etymologies when investigating words, in that you will get something from these two methods but in the end this amounts to very little.

But to become other than – at the moment – who we really are: that is, to develop our real potential, we must essentially, and initially, develop an awareness of who, and what, we are/were… in the first place!

Unfortunately, most of the people that I have met who appear to be the most desperate for some form of ‘change’ in their lives appear, regrettably, to possess little ability to even attempt this essential self-reflection (which is not the same thing as reflexive self-consciousness, by the way) .

If, like me, you’re ‘getting on in years’, you might find it useful to consider why all that studying you did earlier on in your life has been forgotten. And go on to realize that through all that striving of yours to ‘get somewhere’, you have (in a very real sense) learnt either nothing or, at most, very little… … I, for one, find the experience of this particular state of affairs in myself fascinating…But it doesn’t trouble me that much at all now, if it ever did – because frankly I don’t think it’s very important. What is far more important to me is that, through it all, I still have a profound sense of continuity; that I am essentially the same being I was when I was young, but that it was layered over, and from time to time almost obscured, by my various interacting with ‘out there’.

(Incidentally, does anyone who listened to Eugene Halliday believe that, if he were still alive, he would still be ‘cracking out the wisdom’ at 104. … … Perhaps dwelling on that might get you to see what I mean).

To continue here … Many are so dissatisfied with who they are, and still have no real idea that in order to change they must start with this ‘who they are’. Beings like this are at their most vulnerable and can very easily become the prey of those who are desperate for some sort of validation – this later group however being merely another manifestation  of  ‘not knowing’ but with the added problem for others, who get caught up in their net, that they are desperate to involving anyone they can involve in their own thrashings about… However it is possible that they can turn the light on for others, who will then experience a sudden realization as to what it is that is really going on.

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Here’s a couple of my  photos that I used to helped me to actively substantiate (or ‘ground’, if you prefer) the terms ‘Change’ and ‘Transformation’.

‘Change and Transformation’ by Bob Hardy (Diptych).

                                         

There is a great deal of ‘over-lap’ for me in the use of these two terms. These two central images that I carry around though (‘ in my mind’ as it were) help to get me to the correct ‘area’, or the ‘right starting place’, in order to begin contemplating some aspect or other of one, or both, of these terms.

I begin then  … by reminding myself here, something like this,

“Change …That’s like when an actor gets made up in that whirling (not really formed, but still circumscribed) dressing room – and emerges as ‘Richard III’ on Monday, and as ‘Obone kanobe’ on Tuesday etc. … … … ‘Transformation’ … Well that’s like ‘creating a unique new emergent that rises up out of the same old stuff ‘ …”

Not Shakespeare exactly, I know, but I find that I can now move on from here with relative ease … At least to begin with 🙂 …

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The manner in which I act. How it is that I proceed … Those concepts, ideas, desires, impulses that are at the root of determining what it is that I will do next, can all be more clearly understood; can reveal more of their essential nature, when Work is done with the words  ‘authority’; ‘inertia’; ‘genuine’ and ‘authentic’ (a word closely connected to ‘authority’) such that they become active.

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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Finally – and there’s no need to read it if you don’t feel like it – here’s another poem…

WT… ? (2)
‘Mind How You Go!’

by Bob Hardy


So … Anyway
This so-called life of yours

That’s the one you imagine
You’ve really lived

You do know that it wasn’t a rehearsal
For some other life
… Later

Don’t you?

So … Anyway
Was the you
That you were
When you were born
The you
That actually went on
To live this life of yours
Then?

Or
At some point
Did you feel
That you didn’t like that one
And so you decided
That you were going
To continue on here
By performing in another life
Instead?

Live a better one
In its place!
… As it were

And so
You Acted out the
you
That you believed
You would rather be

That is
The one you now imagined
You loved better
Instead


But

Perhaps now
You’re beginning to suspect
That actually
And as a consequence
You never really did
Much living at all

In the end

So what’s next then?

…For whoever it is
You’ve been here
Up to now

Well …

Actually

Nothing much really

At least as far as you’re concerned

You’re going to die

And that’s about it for you
And also
For every one of those others
Who were hanging out
In there

Because
That’s how it really works

And
You’ve always
Somehow
Suspected that
… Haven’t you?

But
Even so
You still
Went on
To decide
That if you kept you’re head down
While you were here

Then
You might somehow
Get away
With it all

How
Ever
Finally
You have been forced to realize
You don’t ever really
Get away with anything
In the end. 

Because
When all is said and done
That is what any future of Yours
Was alway for

It’s where
Whoever you were
When you got here 

Was always going
To be

But anyway …

And by all means
At your disposal

Carry on
If you wish

Because you are
Naturally free

To make every effort
In order to
Ensure that
In the mean-time

You do
In
Deed
Have a nice day

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Bob Hardy
Chezard, Switzerland

6th July, 2017

 

 

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 …….                        .

 

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

… 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

 

 

 

 

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

 

[Joseph] claimed to be not only God, Christ, and the Holy Ghost, but other important personages as well. … Joseph claimed to have been all over the world … He went on to say that he was governor of Illinois
Were you governor of Illinois, or God?
“God … and I was also the governor of Illinois”
You were both”
“Yes!…I have to make my living you know.”

From  ‘The Three Christs of Ypsilanti’ by Milton Rokeach

 

There! …
There is no cave, it is gone
But where did it go?
I cannot find me….
Where am I?
… Lost!

From a poem by a schizophrenic patient – ‘Psychiatry Quarterly’-Vol XXX

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Not surprisingly – Yet More Stuff on Words…(mostly silent)

“..(He looks around) … I could ask you all that old chestnut, ‘What is the sound of one hand clapping?’ …I suppose … (He pauses, looking vaguely irritated, folds one arm across his chest,and  lifts the first finger of his other hand to his lips as he does so, as if deep in thought) 

(He removes the finger from his lips and continues) But to tell you the truth … I’m not really all that interested in hearing any of your answers…(He gives a resigned shrug)… Because … Well … I just know that I’ve heard them all before…

(He spins around suddenly, walking quickly downstage before addressing the audience in a much more enthusiastic voice) … But you know what?… (He grins widely, gestures animatedly, extends his arms, and almost shouting, repeats) You know what? … I would be very interested indeed! …. Fascinated in fact!… To hear any thoughts that you might care to offer up here… Where it concerns that far more vexing question (he quickly lowers his voice, sounding almost apologetic) at least as far as I’m concerned …(he pauses, his grin vanishes, and he pushes out his neck aggressively, before asking, loudly and quizzically) … … “What, exactly, is the sound of two hands clapping!”…(He stands motionless. Once again he is at the front of stage with his arms extended . Fade to blackout)

From ‘Fieldnotes for Armageddon’ by Bob Hardy

The last couple of posts focused, in the main, on the subject of the ‘spoken word’ –  a form of ‘organized sound’ that we commonly refer to as ‘language’ (or ‘parole’ if you prefer), plus suggestions by me as to what audio-files from the ‘Eugene Halliday’s Archive’ that you might like to start with. Obviously there’s a lot more in Eugene Halliday’s approach to the subject of language than the ideas contained in these two talks. But as one of the major purposes of this blog is the attempt by me to describe my particular, over-all, approach to Eugene Halliday’s material, I won’t be staying on any one particular topic for too long – at least not at this stage… So I’m now going to move on to the subject of the ‘written word’ – where it pertains to ‘active’ and ‘passive’ forms of language, that is ….

Which brings me rather nicely to subject of ‘the production of précis’ …

The suggestions by Eugene Halliday re the writing of ‘précis’ are contained in his ‘Rules for Ishval Members’ (Rules 2 – 6 inclusive), created by him sometime around 1966…  I have written something about these rules in my early blog posts… Anyway, here are these rules again:-

2. Each member shall, with due regard to ISHVAL’S purpose, and according to his capacity, undertake to convert his passive vocabulary into an active one, firstly by dictionary research into the etymology of his existing vocabulary, subsequently by extending this vocabulary as far as possible.

3. Each member shall, according to his capacity, modify his proced­ures of thought, feeling, will and action, in conformity with the new understanding arising from the conversion of his passive vo­cabulary into ever wider fields of significance.

4. Each member shall periodically offer to his fellow members the fruits of his studies and be prepared on request of the Chief Officers to précis these studies for the general benefit of members, and to lecture upon or discuss his findings and, conclusions.

5. Each member shall contribute, according to his capacity, to the general extension of the Institute’s work in whatever field it may find an application.

6. Each member, according to his capacity, shall study the basic scriptures of world religions, and the major writings of phil­osophers and scientists and artists, and  recognise  the value of making précis of these.

Did Eugene Halliday produce any précis himself? … Well until relatively recently, I had no idea whether or not he had. But then in 2006, quite by chance, I discovered that – over an extended period that must surely have spanned decades – he had produced an astonishing number of them …covering a variety of diverse subjects: science, art, religion, ethics, philosophy… There was even one on ‘The Tarot’…And if you had no real knowledge of the actual source material he had been working with, you could easily mistake these précis of Eugene Halliday’s for original works. … I believe that very few people were even aware of their existence, or – even if they did – what these documents actually were (that is, what was ‘going on’ here)… Indeed, at the present time, I still have no idea really, just how many people have seen these documents for themselves – or if, in fact, anyone else has …  Luckily though, I did manage to get the opportunity to look through a great many of them, and I can tell you that a considerable number were over four hundred pages long… I eventually scanned a dozen or so of them – not only as examples of Eugene Halliday’s ‘Work’ for my own research, but also because I had a gut feeling at the time, that these notebooks would never see the light of day, and would simply ‘disappear’ for lack of direction on the part of those responsible here. Regrettably, some twenty-five years after Eugene Halliday’s death, my understanding here is that these documents have still not been made available – even for limited viewing. … So here are my scanned copies of ten of these notebooks.

My purpose in making these scans available is twofold. First it is to demonstrate that, in my view, the degree to which Eugene Halliday was capable of applying himself to this task was considerable; and two, to clarify, once and for all, that he did not receive information in the areas of (for example) science, religion, art, philosophy etc. via some sort of ‘supernatural osmosis’ or ‘cosmic-information-field-transfer’; or because he was ‘an avatar, or ‘a chosen one’; or that he traveled to some ‘astral place of learning’ in a ‘trance’; or something equally ridiculous …. But rather, that he did it  – like any normal human being would do it – by getting up off his behind and applying himself … And that he cultivated this ability of his to do so, by methodically laboring at it for a significantly greater percentage of his waking life – across a period that must have spanned decades – than most folk are willing to devote to anything, even for a few days… However, although I would be the first to agree that this ability of his was remarkable, the use of this technique is certainly not that unusual – at least to the extent that some folk might claim… What was unusual perhaps, was the depth of insight that this ‘Work’ – which he labored at all his life – subsequently provided him with.

After examining these notebooks of Eugene Halliday’s I would advise you to spend some time in contemplating just how long it might have taken him to produce even one decent sized volume; realize that there were very many of these notebooks produced by him over the years; and then go on to consider that this activity represented only one aspect of his ‘Work’…. And finally, go on to realize that there is nothing supernatural about this ability at all….Incidentally, in my opinion, it would surely be a truly cruel thing to suggest to others that they ‘do as you have done’ if it wasn’t possible for them to do so, in principle at least, … due to the ‘fact’ (say) that you were in receipt of some kind of ‘special’, one-off, ‘celestial dispensation’ here … … Would it? … On the other hand, if you were at something of a disadvantage in life to start with (say you were … I dunno … severely disabled for example) then your advice here would surely shame at least one or two of those people who were forever claiming to be ‘followers of your teachings’ into attempting to do as you suggested… You might like to think about that when you have a spare moment or two … I appreciate though, that for most of the time at least, and for some reason which you can’t get ‘get your teeth into’, you’re ‘doing something else’, or ‘simply ‘just ‘too busy’ at the moment’ … ‘What a life’, hey? …

These précis were hand-written by Eugene Halliday; each notebook page being roughly the size of a unlined postcard, and written on both sides (which he has usually numbered)  …. I would say that he made use of a black biro. However, it is possible that he may have used an ink pen – but I couldn’t be sure. These pages were subsequently bound together by hand, using needle and thread, and over most of them, a cover was then glued. (I have also scanned these covers).

What was the source material of these précis … Well, I would suggest here – if you’re interested that is – that you can do this part of the research for yourself… I will give you two of them though, to get you started. The ‘Zen’ précis is from a Suzuki book; and the ‘Sorcery’ précis is from a series of books by Carlos Castaneda about the Yaqui shaman, Don Juan (notably the second book in this series)… There are also two smaller notebooks here – ‘The Body’ and ‘Modern Physics’ – and about the source material of these, I have no idea. … However, the subject material contained in the latter of these two notebooks is similar in content to other books for the non-scientist – such as Gary Zukav’s ‘The Dancing Wu Li Masters’ (1979), or Frijof Capra’s ‘The Tao of Physics’ (1977) ….

Anyway, here they are…. By the way, some of these files are small, but one or two – such as ‘Islam’ (wouldn’t you just know it!) – are much bigger:

Précis – Eugene Halliday – Zen

Précis – Eugene Halliday – Sorcery

Précis – Eugene Halliday – The Body

Précis – Eugene Halliday – Modern Physics

Précis – Eugene Halliday – The Basics of Judaism

Précis – Eugene Halliday – Soul

Précis – Eugene Halliday – Pseudo-Denys

Précis – Eugene Halliday – Karlfried Von Durkheim

Précis – Eugene Halliday – Hierarchy

Précis – Eugene Halliday – Islam

The amount of work involved in producing each of these notebooks is obviously considerable. But, even so, let me again make it clear here that I do not see this very ‘sensible’ piece of advice from Eugene Halliday – re the the study, and consequent production of a précis, of some particular subject or other – to be anything more than sound common sense. Particularly as it would not be unusual at all for any diligent student to have incorporated this approach to learning into their studying regime… Although, in my opinion, Eugene Halliday brings far more rigor to the task in hand than your average student (at least more than I ever did!)  … And thus, while this technique might be a component – even an essential one – in the task of ‘Working’ – it is by no means, in my view, the most important one….

Of premier importance to me also, was the realization (actually more of a ‘dawning revelation’) that the contents of Eugene Halliday’s précis material were not really of any use to me personally, particularly when it came to my own efforts at ‘Working’ … With the result that I now maintain it is not actually possible, in principle, to appropriate the fruits of anyone else’s ‘Work’ in order to increase the vocabulary of one’s own ‘active language’…. No matter how reasonable, or attractive, or ‘harmless’, that this idea might seem at the time…Although, obviously, your own clarification of a body of particular ideas can be achieved by reading, or hearing, someone else’s approach to the subject, particularly if the subject concerned is an already well-established academic discipline …. Which is really how we all personally decide whether or not that teacher of ours – ‘way back when’ – was ‘any good’ … Don’t we? … At least as far as our own ‘learning curve’ goes.

Indeed, I now view Eugene Halliay’s précis material in the same the way that I view the practice regimes of musicians, or the training schedules of athletes…  And while I would agree that it is encouraging to know that someone else out there has ‘gone the distance’, I don’t believe that studying Eugene Halliday’s own précis material will really do much more than that – at least not for individuals like me…

And where it concerns your own attempts at studying, and the production of précis material then?  ….Well … If you are interested in a particular subject, and if the manner in which you go about studying it is ‘agreeable’ to you. That is, you respond positively to the teaching-style of the teacher; the text-book(s) that you are required to read are written in an approachable way as far as you’re concerned; the technical words that you need to acquire are being presented to you at an assimilatable rate; and if you have been ‘taking’, or making, copious notes throughout the whole of this learning process, then you are going to ‘learn something’… obviously!… But none of this, of itself, automatically constitutes ‘Working’…

And if you give all this any serious thought at all, that should become obvious to you…. Because you will surely have met many people in your life who have engaged in this sort of activity … So you should be able to say how many of them strike you as – in any way – ‘enlightened’ … Or to look at this in another area – there have been a myriad ‘Yoga groups’ dotted around the country now for fifty-plus or so years now, with a collective membership numbering hundreds of thousands (if not millions)  – How many of those members that you have met strike you as enlightened beings, particularly? … Thousands… A few hundred … Scores … Dozens … A handful … One or two … … … None? …

Practicing techniques in order to be able to ‘cope’ with modern life; being a lot calmer; claiming to be ‘in control’ of things; being ‘in touch with your body’; waving your arms and legs about; etc. is all well and good, but it usually has little or nothing to do with ‘Working’ … Think about someone you might know who has studied philosophy, or theology, or medicine, or law, or physics, or a martial art; or who ‘works out’; or swims every day; or who has embarked upon some life-long specialized feeding regime. Do these people strike you – as a consequence of engaging in these activities to whatever degree – as knowing a great deal more about what is ‘going on here in this life’ than you do? That is, simply as a consequence of engaging in these activities? ..Because if you do, then you will have no problem in agreeing here that, “Those people over there clearly know what it’s all about, because they study arithmetic, the alphabet, ancient history; practice amateur boxing; never bathe; … and only eat beans.” … If, on the other hand, you would like to protest that this suggestion of mine here is, “Ridiculous!” , then what component(s) of other peoples activities is it exactly that you would label “The way to enlightenment’, and, as a consequence, earnestly seek to emulate? …. Do tell! ….

In my case, I soon realized that producing précis material (making copious notes about various subjects) wasn’t really doing that much for me. In fact I was becoming somewhat ‘bloated’ with all this studying .. And I started to believe strongly that I needed to step back a little from this whole ‘précis idea’, and attempt to view this activity as just a component of what it was that Eugene Halliday might be ‘doing’, or at least, had ‘done’ … And so I gave up on the idea that we all had to attempt to become ‘The Brain of Britain’ here, or someone like that …

I spent a long time pondering over this whole business… And this eventually produced more insights into my realization that the task I appeared to be compelled to engage in (like it or not) – including the problem of conceptualizing, in a clearer fashion, those questions of mine that I wanted answering, such that  I would be able to ‘beaver away at all this a bit better’ – appeared to be a completely different task from the one that (almost) everyone else I spoke to here appeared (to me at least) to be attempting to engage in … Admittedly, the initial experience that I had of all this – like everyone else who appeared to have enthusiastically ‘taken it up’ way back when – was that it all seemed to be very straightforward; reasonably clear enough to comprehend… and also extremely attractive (Oh dear!) …  But I quickly found, in my case anyway, that the whole thing soon became extremely illusive, slippery, and very ‘deep’ … And also incredibly irritating … at least for a great deal of the time! …

Luckily though, I eventually came to realize that the most important insight I needed to cultivate when attempting to acquire an ‘active’ language was not to simply begin studying ‘willy-nilly’ – making précis as I ‘went along’ as it were – but to, first of all, reach a position where I believed it was a lot clearer for me to see what this ‘active’ language, that I was attempting to acquire, might be…. This viewpoint had to also include an understanding of how this ‘active language’ might differ from the language that ‘knowledgable folk’ use to disseminate information to others… Because I didn’t believe now that Eugene Halliday was simply advising members (in these rules of his) to ‘know what they’re talking about before they open their mouths,’. Because I saw that many people could do this – particularly if they confined their utterances to their own particular ‘area of expertise’ … I say ‘luckily’ here, but it still took me a very long time to make any measurable progress …. and I’m still working at it ….

So – if I were to say here that the most important thing I came to view as crucial to the acquisition of an ‘active language’ was not necessarily an understanding of those texts that I was being advised to study – an understanding that was perhaps brought about with the assistance of my ‘précis production here (but, then again, maybe not) – but of far more importance here was my relationship to these texts. Because it is this relationship that constitutes any meaning that they might have for me….

This is why we don’t believe we are witnessing the ‘Second Coming’, when we see a seven-year-old lad from Tennessee on the TV, who can recite the Bible from start to finish, and then pull out any quotation asked for – on request – for an encore…. Because (I would suggest to you) he doesn’t seem to have the ‘correct relationship’ to these texts …

I will also add here, if you like, that I broadly support the idea that there is no privileged reading of any text, only the reader’s interpretation of it – and that we reap whatever benefits are due to us, purely from our attempts at ‘Working’ with it – that is, to embody it – by the process of engaging with it – in order to do just this ‘relating’ to it.

In my view then, this ‘précis technique’ of Eugene Halliday’s – where it concerns attempts to acquire an ‘active language’ – forms only a part of the system that he put in place in order to develop his own, increasing, self-reflexion. And so then, I am saying here, in effect, that I don’t believe Eugene Halliday was a ‘fully self-reflexive being’, but that he was continually attempting to ‘work on it’… The major difference I see between him and most others then? … He had ‘worked’ and they hadn’t … ‘Iz all’ …..

I believe that the essence of an ‘active language’ comes solely from its ‘experiential nature’ –  and it is only this experiential aspect which endows any being’s ‘active language’ with its unique, and particular, perspective on any particular subject… The realization of mine as to what the root of what ‘meaning’ was actually all about was crucially important to me …because I saw that it was the root of why it is that, underneath it all – and to quote my maternal grand-mother – “We’re all the same .. only different.”

‘Meaning’, from my perspective then, only emerges as a result of this ‘Working’ and, as a consequence therefore, a person’s ‘active language’ actually is them … it constitutes them … And it is not just some random body of information that they have taken a fancy to lugging around, unpacking it for display at opportune moments to hapless bystanders: a segment of their ‘personality’ or persona – as a component of ‘who it is that they like to think they are; and that they want to convince others that they are’ – then… Think here of your ‘fashionable atheist’… “liberal Westerner’ … ‘new-ager’ ‘…’yoga teacher’ … etc. etc.

So you won’t be all that surprised if I tell you that I eventually ended up deviating (considerably) from  Eugene Halliday’s  suggested, straightforward, methodology – the one that’s contained in those ‘Rules for Ishval Members’ that is …And began delving a little deeper into what it was that he actually wrote about, and spoke about….

This being the case, I will now attempt to explain the system that I ended up adopting – in part at least – and also my reasons for doing so … If I can, that is.

The first thing I would advise you to consider here, is whether or not the basic subject material that you have decided to currently ‘work’ on is already familiar to you at all. Because if it is, then your reactions to it will almost certainly be different to those reactions that you experience when you attempt to ‘Work’ with a subject that is new to you … My advice here? … Begin with a subject that you already know something about.

Why? … Well, my reason for suggesting this approach to ‘Working’, is that you will almost certainly find it relatively easy to immediately engage with this subject-matter personally, because you will already possess pre-formed opinions about it. And, consequently, you will feel an urge to express these, particularly if you disagree at some point with the ideas contained in the subject you have presently  decided to study … Crucially here for me, I maintain that these opinions you hold about this subject already constitute a part (or component if you prefer) of your being – because these opinions of yours possess ‘form’  (see previous posts of mine here for my meaning of this word)… But the chances are, that, for the moment, these ‘forms’ of yours will not contain much ‘active language’, and will probably, instead, be constructed from a clobbered-together bunch of prejudices; half-baked ideas; fashionable ideologies; sentimental junk; and topped-off with a sprinkling of dimly understood relevant technical terms….

Fortunately for you – at least as far as my way of looking at all this is concerned – this situation is exactly the one that you want… Simply because these opinions of yours carry an emotional charge… And it is these emotional charges of yours that we are really interested in here .. and that we really have to examine, evaluate, describe, and understand…

And look … If the subject being ‘Worked’ on already interests you, such that you might already know something (or even a great deal) about it. Can we take it ‘as read’, that by the end of this process you will know more – at least intellectually – about it, simply as a matter of course…. You can call this acquisition of any new ‘knowledge’ here ‘a bonus’ – if it makes you feel any better… ….To put this in another way – your muscles will be ‘toned up’ by the act of chopping up a large tree for firewood, although your intention was probably simply to ensure that you could keep warm… So then here, you could be said to have received a ‘bonus’ by virtue of the fact that you are, as a consequence of this activity, now ‘fitter’. And that this result was not something that was initially factored-in by you…(Yet another cheesy metaphor by me there… What a writer!) …

So … the idea here is to deliberately ‘bring up those emotional charges that are associated with your opinions’. Give them ‘free reign’, have ‘a bit of a rant’ if you like, use ‘active imagination’ if this will do the trick here – rather than focusing on attempting to ‘understand’ the particular subject’s intellectual content. But – and this is most important – you must keep a record of these responses of yours, describing your emotional responses…(I eventually used an audio-recorder for this, because I found I couldn’t understand ‘my own’ handwriting, when I came to interpret my own written attempts   … Creepy, hey?)

To start then, you might (sometime after you come ‘come down off the ceiling’ and have ‘settled down’ that is) like to attempt to consider a paragraph or so of the original text that you are working on, together with your recording of your reaction/response to it, and try to figure out why you were behaving in the way that you were …Because, although you can claim that the ideas contained in the subject under study, and also even (perhaps) those ideas you already hold here, did not actually originate with you; you cannot claim the same where it concerns your emotional responses –  these belong entirely to ‘you’… Unless that is, of course, you can construct a taxonomy here that satisfactorily explains why these emotional irruptions you experience are not, in fact, ‘yours’….

So – and more disturbingly now perhaps – however you chose to view these emotional responses then, they must surely still ‘inhabit the same building’ that you do. That is, they reside in your body (or being, or whatever term you prefer to use here – I use ‘psyche’, which for me includes the physical body). And that perhaps you might come to see that they influence – far more than you have been aware of up until now – your patterns of behavior…. And if that wasn’t bad enough, I should also warn you that these ‘psychic states’ you will experience here are also extremely contagious – so much so, that even your dog, or your cat, can be affected by them … (I’m not so sure about ‘Amanda the goldfish’ though…).

In my opinion, Eugene Halliday was referring to these patterns when he was using the late nineteenth century term, ‘engrams’, I prefer to use the later term, ‘complexes’.

The preamble to ‘Working’ proper, is, in my opinion, to labor at an understanding of those engrams/complexes that were constellated in your childhood – and this applies to those people whose childhoods were ‘a walk in the park’, just as surely as it applies to those people whose childhoods were the ‘stuff of nightmares’. These patterns are relatively easy to appreciate (which is why regression therapy is so popular) – but understand here that perceiving these early emgram/complexes does not, in itself, constitute ‘work’, although it does constitute, in part, the beginnings of some sort of ‘self-knowledge’. Which, while it is an essential component to all this, is not, by any stretch of the imagination, the main concern here. It might help if you see this  aspect of ‘self-knowledge’ as (here comes another cheesy metaphor) ‘cleaning out the cellar’ and ‘renovating the attic’…. Many people are quite content to finish here and, in fact, consider it to be ‘quite an achievement’. … But you don’t have to experience this particular feeling of self-knowledge very long to realize that – where it concerns you future behavior – it hasn’t necessarily improved things at all! … Indeed, with the removal of  this childhood pattern, which normally might have functioned for you as a crutch, or self-excuse, many go on here and blunder about even worse, becoming even more screwed up. …

But I never said that all this was going to be easy… I said it was ‘simple’ … But I also reminded you that ‘Simple does not mean easy’.

So anyway, if you’re still with me here …. Keep on repeating this process until such time as you can begin to see the pattern(s) that your responses make – as much as you are able to, that is… You will find that these patterns exhibit a definite ‘personality’ … a ‘structure’ … That they are in fact ‘beings’ …Just like you! …Your very own ‘little family’ in fact! …. And you will, finally, begin to recognize them….You might even decide to give them names, such as ‘Naughty Adrien’ ….or ‘Beohetmethemoth’ ….and imagine them looking like, say, a half-man/half-sardine …. or something.

 … The idea here then in studying texts, is that one should really attempt to ‘engage’ with them; to react to them … And I’m not just talking here about getting a ‘bad vibe’ either. You could be so entranced with the person supplying the material here (the one you find yourself  listening to, or reading) that you could be in an almost permanent state of ecstasy  – brought about, say, by both your delight in your ‘understanding of the material’, and in the ‘clarity’ of the ideas being expressed…. While, at the same time, being possessed of an irresistible urge to … How shall I put it? …’Acquiesce’….(Take that any way you like)

And this particular process – this separating out of the ‘cognitive’ from the ‘feeling’ (or ‘male’ from the ‘female’ – if you prefer a more esoteric, trendy, terminology) is – in my experience at least – extremely tricky and slippery, difficult, and sometimes even down-right dangerous thing to attempt to do …. Moreover, the degree of difficulty that is experienced emotionally – as frustration, anger, despair, pleasure, surrender, etc. – I also find to be very exhausting … And, in fact, I would even go so far as to say that, “If you don’t find this activity exhausting, then you must be doing it wrong!”…

My experience here was that the ‘happy, happy, joy, joy’ reactions were, far and away, the most dangerous for me ‘psychically’ ..Because I didn’t realize for a long time that this reaction simply prevented me from going any deeper – and so I didn’t experience this ‘positivity’ as a problem here for some considerable time …

To put all this another way, and perhaps to try and finally nail it for you… The ‘quality’ (good or bad; positive or negative: or however you want to refer to it) of your reaction is irrelevant to this exercise . The only things you are attempting to focus on here, and that is of any real importance to you, are both the states that you are experiencing here, and your subsequent attempts at evaluating them….

I find this exercise very hard to ‘pull-off’ myself – because everything that is not productive of lots of praise and encouraging taps on the head immediately; or that I can’t manage to do excellently, and without effort – exhausting … But you might also like to know details about one of my own special, secret, techniques for dealing with the affects of these serious, negative psychic attacks… And that is, to engage in -what I like to refer to as – ‘ritualistic-rest-period activities’…. Among the fetish objects essential to me here in this actively are, packets of digestive biscuits, and also copious amounts of tea … and it helps things along immensely here if one trains oneself to repeat (almost – but not quite) silently, the mantra ‘Zzzzzz’  (but only on the ‘out-breath’) for at least half an hour or so  – or at least until one is dragged back into the ‘World of Maya’ by the vengeful, malicious, voice of that ‘keeper of your conscience’, who appears to be insisting that, “You know it’s your turn to wash the dishes tonight, so why haven’t you done them yet?”; or by the salacious, dulcet, tones of some succubus (or incubus if they all happen to be too busy), tempting you unmercifully with the offer of (yet) another cup of tea…..More advanced techniques of mine here include having a game of Tetrus ‘running in the background’ on my computer at all times – but this assumes that you are now an advanced student here, and are familiar with a variety of dimly understood hermeneutic texts, such as, ‘Manual For Windows – Version 99 (or whatever)’, and also rigorously trained in the cautious use of sources of cosmic energy, such as ‘the mains socket’ – So it’s not for the faint-hearted, or for those of you who are in receipt of any form of free public transport… (As I say, “There are metaphors …. and then there are my metaphors.”)… …

Meanwhile …

Our initial starting point then, was to consider words from an intellectual perspective – their definitions and their histories (etymologies). And I hope I’ve made it reasonably clear to you that not only is this what every reasonable person might ordinarily do when they come across a word that don’t ‘understand’ and that has ‘tweaked their interest’; but also that this information will tell you little or nothing about the ‘meaning’ of a particular word …’Meaning’ is instead, metaphorically, situated ‘in the critical space’ between you, and what it is that the word represents… ‘Meaning’ then is your unique, particular, ‘relationship’ to a word… And its major feature – or the one that we now need to focus on here if you prefer – is it’s ‘feeling tone’…. Understand now though, that even after doing this, we have by no means finished examining what an ‘active language’ might be..

… Anyway,enough of all that. Here’s that piece of Eugene Halliday’s writing on the subject of words – first presented as nine short essays in the 1970’s, under the collective title of ‘Words of Power’     Words of Power

Here’s Ken Ratcliffe’s audio recording of the same material  Words Of Power (1 of 4)  Words Of Power (2 of 4)  Words Of Power (3 of 4)  Words Of Power (4 of 4) if you would also like to experience the added pleasure of listening to it while you’re skateboarding to work, or whatever else it is that you get up to when you’re wearing your ear-phones.

It starts with Eugene’s ideas on words themselves, and he goes on to write about their relationship to ‘power’ (‘they produce responses’ etc.) … There’s a very interesting bit (for me) on non-lingusitic forms of ‘texts’ .. Words are considered positively and negatively as to their affect… There is an examination of many words from this perspective of his; such as the meaning of ‘inertia’, ‘love’, etc … There is a piece on ‘words of powerlessness’ …. All this material is – refreshingly for me – presented from a Western philosophical, ideological, and ‘spiritual’ perspective… And there’s no ‘phonetics’ involved … (‘Oh, deep joy!’)…

This approach to ‘words’ that Eugene uses here is a lot more concise and useful for me then; and I found it far more practical as a tool in getting to understand more about what this ‘active language’ might be – particularly from the point of view of praxis – than any of his recorded material… And so, as a consequence, I tend to interpret much of his audio material from the viewpoint he expresses here in these nine essays … And if he moves too far away from this perspective in his talks, then I interpret this as him coming to the ‘edge’ of , or ‘demonstrating where’, the ‘limit of the application of  those terms’, that he happens to be speaking about at that particular moment, lie …

So, in his talks then, I experience Eugene Halliday as exploring his own linguistic ‘unedited space’ and revealing what it is that happens to him (to those like me, that is, who experience what it is that he is ‘doing’ like this) when he has reached the parameters of any particular concept… That is, the practical way in which he moves on to another concept (‘change the form of a word, change its function; change the words, change the concept’) in order to move forward… Any movement (forward) that Eugene Halliday achieves here, I believe, constitutes a successful attempt by him to objectify (to himself ) – within the confines of an ‘active’ language – that all there is, is ‘Sentient Power’. ….

I do realize that I could be accused here of attempting to tell everyone what this ‘Work’ of Eugene Halliday’s – that I experience him as striving to accomplish – was actually about for him. … But that’s my problem isn’t it? … It works for me, and really that’s the only reason why I’m doing all this … And, just so you don’t waste your own precious time here, and if you hadn’t caught on already – I am definitely not seeking endorsements from others in this matter…

Remember though – that I fully appreciate your experiences might be completely different from mine here, and if that is so, then I would be very interested to hear from you about your own experiences – those that you actually had, when you took these ideas on board, and attempted to put them into affect. What we might call your ‘consequential ideas’ perhaps…You can post them on the blog forum here; or contact me privately at archivequery@gmail.com if you’d rather.

I’m going to leave the study of texts re ‘Words’ here now, for the time being at least, because I believe that you will only understand what I’ve been on about here if you ‘Work’ with this material yourself. And that this will – in my experience – take you some time……

Oh Yeah.. You might like to know if I have any special reason for  my continual use, throughout these posts, of this word ‘Work’ or ‘Working’?… Well, yes there is, because – as I like to put it – it reminds me that, “It is only when you cease ‘Working’ that you can be said to have failed.” And looking at it this way ‘keeps me at it’….That being said though, it should also be clearly understood here that I also have no doubt I am still, of course, going to die – anyway.   … (I didn’t want you to think I had some ‘magic reason’ for doing all this; one that might have got your ‘hopes up’ unnecessarily, that is)….

Finally …  ‘And  now for something completely different’ …

I hope that it’s reasonably obvious by now (but I will point it out here anyway) that I did not engage with any of these ideas of Eugene Halliday’s ‘in isolation’ as it were….But that I was also, simultaneously, examining other concepts of his (and those of many others, I should add)… Including, what Eugene Halliday refers to as – ‘Sentient Power’. A concept that I see as the starting point of his approach to the eventual possible meaning of a more familar contemporary term – ‘consciousness’…. But, to say something about this interaction of mine in the next post here, I will have to start with both my perception of his approach to, and also (you’ve guessed already, haven’t you?) my subsequent problems with – Eugene Halliday’s repeated use of the ‘F’ word … … … … … ‘Feeling’.

To be continued………….

Bob Hardy

January 2013

 

Words are principles of order: ‘W-ORD’ is the entity that orders.

Eugene Halliday

The tendency is, not to work on what we have, but to want to know more, and more, and more, about bigger metaphysical problems – because it relieves us of the necessity for immediate work on ourselves.

 Eugene Halliday

You should think of the sentence, not as something you get by putting words together, but think of the words as what you get if you take the sentence apart…. The meaning of the word is the contribution it makes to the meaning of the whole sentence. – An idea attributed to Gottlob Frege by the America philosopher John Searle

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I take ‘Work’ to be about ‘Doing’ …

So that, for example, even though you might believe that you are sincerely attracted to the concepts of people like Eugene Halliday, so much so, that you ‘study’ the works of these people regularly – even going so far as attempting to commit those ideas that have really attracted your attention to memory (in order, you imagine, to ‘understand’ them better) – you have not, in my opinion, been engaged in ‘Work’. … Any more than attempting to calm those see-sawing emotional states that you suffer from qualifies as ‘Work’ … Laudable though these activities might seem to you, or indeed to others who claim to be ‘in the know’ about these matters (for what I believe, are fairly obvious reasons).

 No … The way I see it, you have to get your hands dirty … But I do appreciate that you might disagree with me here.

Furthermore, if you do decide that you are going to do some ‘Work’, and then perhaps continue on, later, to describe your experiences – even if you only attempt to describe them to yourself – this should not give you too much cause for self-congratulation either. Because the chances are that you will almost certainly seek to present your accomplishments in a more favorable light than they actually deserve…. ‘Gilding the lily’ you might say….

That being said, formulating your attempts at ‘working’ may – if you ‘do this right’ that is – possibly even increase your active vocabulary…. But I wouldn’t say that it definitely does so … and even if it did … don’t expect the earth to move..

If you’re not sure what I mean here by involving yourself with these ideas, just ask yourself, “If I’d never heard of (for example) Eugene Halliday, what difference do I believe it would make to me now?”..

Your answer might be something along the lines of, “I feel a bit better about the whole dying thing,” or that, “I’m not nearly as guilt-ridden about everything, as I was when I was a staunch, practicing, Irish-Catholic,” or, “I wouldn’t have met nearly as many ‘interesting’ people.” – or, “I would never have taken up Professional Wrestling,” or “His ideas really gave me some very useful tools to help me with the task of ‘knowing myself’,” or, “I dunno really,” or something along those lines… But whatever your answer is here, try to be honest … And try to resist the temptation to exaggerate if you can possibly avoid it … Because the desire to exaggerate to yourself here is a sure sign that someone else in the building is running the show for you… And, in my opinion, this elementary problem is one of the first and – sad to say – major barriers, that the beginner must overcome if they are to make any initial progress here …

I haven’t actually ever heard anyone give a detailed account of the affect on them of working with Eugene Halliday’s ideas – at least in the way that I believe this needs to be done…. Although this doesn’t mean that they haven’t done so at some point…It’s just that I’ve never actually heard them…. I have of course talked to any number of people who are only too happy to tell me that they are, “interested in his ideas,” or that he was, “a wonderful and special human being,” … But that’s not the same thing at all … Is it?

To this end then, the piece below (that I have considerably edited for its inclusion in this blog), which was first put together by me sometime around 1995 – when it formed the basis of my approach to teaching a basic introduction to improvisation – is offered here as an example of what I take to mean, in part at least, ‘working’ with, and ‘working on’ these ideas.

It grew out of  – in the main – my protracted musings over Eugene Halliday’s ideas re active and passive forms of language (see my previous posts here for more information) over the previous fifteen years or so; together with various thoughts on the philosophical idea of ‘Intentionality’, contained in the work of John Searle, and (to a lesser extent) Daniel Dennett.(See Searle’s book ‘Intentionality’, and Dennett’s book ‘The Intentional Stance’, if you would like to delve further here).

The focus of this material is centered around, what might be meant by, the term ‘improvising’.

This material was designed by me to be delivered to students who were 18 years-old and older, and also to ‘mature students’. And while some previous musical experience was necessary in order for them to enroll on this particular course, I have edited my notes here in this post, so that this experience is not necessary for any understanding here by non-musicians  – although I do use one or two (very minor) ‘technical’ words later on – but again, understanding these is not essential here.

One of the major problems in teaching any subject to the beginner, is that of finding a suitable place to start from – some ‘common ground’ – something that they are already familiar with … (“My understanding is that you are here, and I am going to attempt to help you to get to there, if I can.”)

It is, on the other hand, relatively easy to begin, by simply impressing the new student with just how smart you are; or by loading them down with a lot of (useless) theory in such a way that, even though, by the end of all their studies with you they still can’t improvise, they can now (regrettably) join-in with that legion of ‘experts’ out there who are far more intent on relating their opinions and ‘explanations’ on this subject to anyone unlucky enough to be in the vicinity, than actually demonstrating this ability to improvise themselves.

Of course, had the student focussed on the right question here (‘kept their eye on the ball’ if you like) they would not have subsequently found themselves having had their arrival at some attainable (for them) goal, not only now somehow, magically, and indefinitely, deferred; but also of now finding it almost impossible to be receptive to any further practical advice on the subject, because they have become so ‘full to the brim’ with stuff, that anything which might help here is immediately drowned out by the sound of their own, continuous, internal, chattering ..

The question they should have been focused on?…. “All this is very nice, but am I actually getting any better at this improvising thing?” ….

And – by the way – the only question that any responsible teacher should be asking themselves here? …”What did the learner learn?”(to quote the vernacular).

As someone who took this latter question very seriously, I found myself in the position of having to come up with metaphors and allegories that actually worked for my students, as opposed to, say, having to continually justify the fact that, while I was sure that the material I was delivering was ‘true’, and ‘very good’, (in my opinion that is), it just wasn’t ‘doing the business’. … (“Very poor level of student intake this year,” etc. etc.).

The material below forms the outline of what I ended up delivering…. Let me repeat here that my expressed intention was simply to get my students off on a firm footing, by providing them with material that allowed them to approach some initial experiental understanding of this subject ….And my only reason for continuing to use this approach was that it worked for me during the twelve or so years that it formed (in part) the substance of my introductory unit for this module. …

The students found this material very easy to work with, and to subsequently expand upon – which was really the whole idea … They ‘got it’ immediately …and would often voice their amazement at the fact that something, which now seemed rather obvious to them, hadn’t been explained to them, using something like this approach, before! Of course, later on ‘down the line’ (so to speak) they discovered a down-side to all this, in that they realized they might not have the necessary discipline to get any further here – but, having swallowed the bait by admitting to themselves that they now knew how to proceed – they couldn’t delude themselves into believing that they had a decent excuse for not doing so … Which – I would add in passing – over the years, often resulted in some really bizarre behavior on the part of one or two of them … Something which I also believe is also blatantly obvious to observe in a significant number of those people who have ‘taken an interest’ (so to speak) in the ideas of folk such as Eugene Halliday.

Here’s the basic approach then. The idea here (which I would suggest is ‘easy’) is to get students to reflect upon aspects of their own use of, current, spoken language, and from this position, by conjecture, to consider if musical creativity (which is what improvisation essentially is – in part at least) might be practically viewed in the same way.

For convenience, I’ll use a ‘male subject’ in my example below.

I begin by saying that we are going to consider what we might mean, in general, by the use of the term ‘improvising’. I would not ask for a definition here, or define the word for the group, or give them any etymological information. We would just collectively throw ideas around for a few minutes (ostensively for me to get some ‘feel’ for ‘where they were at’ on the subject) the usual outcome here being that ‘improvising’ had something to do with ’embellishing’, or ‘improving’ even … or of just ‘sort of making stuff up that fitted’. This latter approach might also include some rudimentary theoretical stuff from the odd student. (“You have to fit the correct scale(s) to the right chords.”) etc.

I would them tell them that I would like to start here by asking them to think about ‘improvising’ in a way that I would guess they had never considered before …

I would tell them all to imagine that it’s mid-afternoon and they are out walking on their own, down a major street in town that is part of a bus route. There were the usual numbers of people about: the weather is pleasant enough; and in fact, everything is quite normal.

An attractive young lady in her late teens/early twenties is walking towards you, and as she draws near, she says something to you… You have never seen her before, and you had no idea whatsoever that you were going to be stopped by her…. In fact, you were so busy mulling over a minor problem  (what club you were going to go to that night) that you hadn’t even noticed her, and so you were taken by surprise when she said, “Excuse me?”

This had the affect of making you stop (and perhaps smile helpfully).

Before you have time to say reply, she continues, “Could you tell me where I can get a bus into town please?” ..

OK. … That’s the set-up…. It’s now the turn of the students, in the main, to do the talking, which is far better than having me rabbit at them for the next hour or so, in order to demonstrate how smart I think I am.

I get the ball rolling here by asking the group a number of questions. But I would begin by asking the students to think about this first one during the coming week.

When you are asked to reflect upon your responses to being questioned by others – about anything at at all – would you say that these responses of yours are all similar in some fundamental way – irrespective of how complex the question is – and that perhaps if you examined these responses of yours, they might tell you something about your fundamental character? … If so, how would you describe this ‘usual response’ of yours? (Inhibited; confident; hesitant; fearful; etc).

I would then quickly go on the put questions. such as the following ones, to the class:-

Always assuming you are going to reply to this young lady, what language would you answer her in?…Why?

If you had done a couple of years French at High School, would you have a go at answering her in that language, because, say, you quite fancied her, and you wanted to impress her?

Would you just give her a ‘normal’ reply – but attempt to imitate a popular film star’s voice while you were doing so?

Do you find, that in order to answer any question at all, you first of all have to go through all the words in your vocabulary, and then select the appropriate ones – carefully checking the definitions and etymologies of these words first, then putting them in the correct order ‘in your mind’  before delivering this answer? … Do you think that’s a really dumb idea? … .If not, why not?

Would you reply with a string of nonsense words because, say, you didn’t know what the correct answer was, but you ‘felt’ impelled to say something .. anything in fact?

Would you attempt to keep a conversation going? … Why? … If ‘Yes’, how would you go about it.

If you couldn’t answer the particular question that she asked you, would you substitute the answer to a different, but far more difficult question, that you did know the answer to? …Why not?

Do you think it would be possible for you to spontaneously answer this question in a language that you, up to then, knew absolutely nothing about? …Why?

What would you do if she had asked you in a language that you didn’t understand?

What would you do if she said, “Excuse me?” in a pronounced foreign accent, and then handed you a piece of paper on which was written ‘I do not speak English. I need to get the bus into town. Can you help me please?’

In working with that last question I would point out to the students, that it is possible here to introduce a ‘group concept’ of interaction/improvisation, by asking them to consider, that if they didn’t know the answer to the young lady’s question here, would they be happy to rope in the next person coming down the road, in the hope that this new person might be able to help, and would they then stick around to add support – because perhaps this new, more complex, situation had quite taken their fancy? … If a few more people joined in here, how do they see themselves fitting in? Would they want to be ‘in charge’ of this group? Do students believe that, as this group enlarged, some members would want to organize it, while others would just want to hang round at the back – not wanting to ‘get involved too much’ etc…. How would the flow of information be managed? …Who by? … Would you all suddenly stop and elect a spokes-person …. Why? …. Does thinking about this new situation start to ‘stress you out’? …. Why? … etc. etc.” If the students wanted to explore this scenario some more, I would tell them that this is a far more complex situation, but that I already planned to discuss it in the next unit of this module.

….. Hopefully the reader here  ‘gets the idea’… (Let me know if you don’t).

There’s a good few more questions you can use here, but the ones above should give you the idea…

At this point, it is relatively easy to get the student to appreciate that, even though they had no idea what it was that I was going to suggest to them here; no idea that it would involve some sort of ‘scenario’ to them in which they were required to speak; and that they had no idea what the subject of any speaking by them was going to be about until immediately after they were asked the question by this young lady; none the less they could see that they would have no problem responding instantly – even if they had never been in this particular situation before in their lives.

Students also readily intuited that there seemed to be a great deal of similarity between what they were required to do in this scenario, and how they would react to the problem of improvising – when called upon to do so – in a musical situation that they ‘were potentially equipped’ to take part in, should they wish to do so. That of, say, playing a guitar solo over a repetitive sequence – such as a simple twelve-bar blues pattern – with musicians that they had never worked with before..

I would then continue on, by suggesting that they tie aspects of this discussion into their ideas on ‘improvising’ – that is, in what they think this might now involve – with an attempt at an actual musical improvisation on their part – by using ‘The Blues’ as a basis, a common popular music form with a musical structure that almost everyone in the West can recognize the sound of.

I would tell them that, because they are already familiar with the sound of the twelve-bar blues, they already know – to some extent at least – what it is they are going to hear. Just as when they exchange social pleasantries with someone they have never met before, they know roughly what it is they are going to hear.

The particular way in which we speak, the sound of our voices, the way we use dynamics (load and soft), the way we mechanically repeat certain phrases, our local dialects or accents, all have direct correlations to improvising music. These components adding ‘individuality’ or ‘style’, and allowing us to recognize individual speakers/performers.

In order to communicate, we need to have a vocabulary, which we are continually adding to by the very act of engaging in social relationships, and not necessarily by deliberately attempting to remember ‘lists’ of words, or studying one or two words at great length – which is something that we might have done a lot of when we were ‘beginners’, as when we were still small children (the endless, “What’s that?” … “What’s that?” that infants engage in) or when we were attempting to learn a foreign language in school.

In my personal experience, we do a lot of our language acquiring ‘organically’ – simply by the act of  engaging in social relationships, or by watching TV, or by reading – and we do this from an extremely early age ..

To continue on here …. Consider the following. If you go to a music college today you will probably be taught to play along with this ‘the twelve-bar blues’, as a method of getting you to acquire this ability to ‘improvise’.

The way this is done is to teach you a little bit of theory – which would probably include some basic harmony (the simple chords and chord progression); melody (using something that contemporary music teachers have seen fit to  label the ‘blues scale’ usually), along with the ability to recognize, and respond to in a simple way, a simple mono-rhythm (usually a ‘blues shuffle’).

This material will be put together (‘conceptualized’ if you like) in the form of a ‘backing tape’, or computer audio file, which consists of a recording of this twelve bar blues pattern – minus any ‘improvised solos’ of course – repeated ad nausium.

So there you are with your backing tape – a simple twelve bar sequence, consisting of three chords played on a guitar or keyboard, together with this simple, arpegiated, chord sequence as a bass line, and a shuffle rhythm from the drums. … As this backing track is played over and over, you are supposed to play notes from that simple blues scale you have been practicing (or other scales depending upon how ‘advanced’ you are) on your instrument – this effort of yours here constituting your ‘solo’ ….

This approach is the most popular way of teaching ‘blues improvisation’ today, particularly to those musicians who don’t actually want to play the blues – but would like to know how to suggest that they do, by adding a little ‘bluesy flavor’ to their playing now and again … (You might like to think about this last bit by the way, as, in my view, it’s far more important to the bigger picture than you might first imagine).

So …According to, say, your guitar tutor anyway, that’s how you do it. … And you are also told that if you listen to any top-draw blues player (B B King say) you can use this system that you have learnt here in order to ‘analyze’ their solos (“In this part of his solo, what he is playing is this fragment of this scale, with some embellishment …etc.”).

However, there are one or two other major problems with this way of looking at things. For example:-

1)    Almost all of the great blues players (those from whom todays players look to for inspiration and also to steal licks from) that were around from roughly the turn of the last century until the late 1950’s would have had no idea what you were talking about when you said ‘blues scale’. So.. clearly, on our understanding of ‘what’s going on’ here – that is, from our confident pronouncement of our (‘relative’) ‘truth’ on ‘how one actually plays the blues’ – these musicians  didn’t ‘really’ know what they were doing… Which, I would maintain, is clearly stupid!…

2)    The second problem? Sir James Galway, an Northern-Irish laddie, who is a genius on the flute and has performed with, amongst others, The Berlin Philharmonic, is on film attempting to improvise over one of these backing tracks, and his attempts are embarrassingly bad !! … But .. We are certain that Sir James clearly ‘knows’ exactly what to do .. We believe also, that he has a phenomenal technique, and also, that – when it comes to performing with an orchestra – the man can ‘read fly-shit’ (to quote the vernacular)…  But, none the less, he finds that he can’t do this very simple, basic, ‘play-along’ thing .. In fact he admits that he can’t, during the course of this film. …And that isn’t really very satisfactory either, in our ‘scheme’ of things …at least for me it isn’t.

I’ll leave this here now, because this is where I would leave it with my students …except to finally ask them if they felt any easier about their understanding of ‘improvisation’ … Which is the same question I’d like to leave you with…

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Here are one or two more reflections of mine on the idea of an ‘active language’ that you might, perhaps, find helpful …

How do you decide if someone you are listening to ‘possesses’ an ‘active language’? …

Let us say that you are sitting and listening to someone who is speaking about ‘matters esoteric’ and that you find what is being said is incomprehensible …even fanciful, and silly, to you … But the people sitting on either side of you find this same material revelatory and empowering. (You find this out because you talk to them about it afterwards, say).

How do you explain this? …Does the question,”Who is right here?” have any meaning? …How? … How would you process the answers from these other people here? … Would your answer here be conditioned by any practical experiences of yours as to what the concept of a ‘passive/active language might ‘mean’ to you? …. If so, what sorts of experiences might these be?

How do you decide then? … Would your answer here factor in: your degree of interest in the subject matter; the fact that what was said made you feel good; that you found yourself agreeing with what was being said… etc.

What would you think of a situation where someone insists that they had been listening to someone who possesses a really extensive ‘active’ language that has resulted in them going home, selling all their belongings, including the house, and then giving all the money to the Salvation Army. … Would your reaction be any different if they had sold everything etc. and then given the cash to the British People’s Fascist Party? ….

And the last one … Do you find yourself desperately, and automatically, looking for a meaningful, smart-assed answer, whenever you are asked questions like the ones above? …

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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

 

NOTE: The short piece below is taken from the Appendix of ‘Field-notes for Armageddon’, where it serves as a plain English guide to assist the actor portraying the character ‘Trish. [In the actual performance itself, ‘Trish  speaks with a pronounced North-West English accent, and employs local  idiosyncratic patterns of speech]. 

(Scene: An office space. ‘Trish is working alone, inside a small office booth. She is sitting in front of a computer, and is wearing a headset, complete with microphone. On her desk is a flask of coffee, and a packet of sandwiches. Her handbag is on the floor, and in it we can just see the top half of two knitting needles protruding from some unfinished knitting. From the general background noise, we can infer that she is surrounded by a number of similar booths). 

(‘Trish begins speaking in a hushed, theatrical, whisper, her voice returning to normal in a moment or two) Marg! … Marg! … It’s me! ….’Trish! ….. ‘Hello stranger’ yourself! … … … … No! … I don’t think much of us working on different shifts either…

Anyway … there’s no calls logged-in at the minute… Not much happening tonight… All my regulars must be down at the pub! (She gives a short shrill laugh)… So I thought I’d give you all my news  … It feels like we haven’t had a good gab for ages! …. Must be two months or so – at least!….. (There’s a longish pause while ‘Trish listens to Marg. As she does so, she opens her pack of sandwiches, and pours herself a drink from her coffee flask)

 Yes I am! ….. Oh it’s really fab!….  It’s one of those Senior Citizen’s Courses down at the college…. Yeah, that’s right, it’s free if you’re a pensioner….. And I really love it! … It’s one of the few thing about being over 60 that I can really say I like!  … …. ….

 Anyhow, the course I’m doing is called, ‘Religions Of The World’ … … You know how I’m always saying I should go back to church! … … I haven’t been to confession now for years … Sometimes I feel real guilty! …. …  And I quite like this new Pope ….. …. …. What? … …. …

No. … It’s only twelve weeks long, and at the end of it you have to write something about what Gerad, our teacher, has been telling us all about… Then he marks it for you, and gives you a grade …. ….. Hopefully it’ll be a good one! (She giggles) ….

Gerad? …It’s German I think ….No he isn’t!… You cheeky thing! …. …Well … … He is nice I suppose! … … … In his 40’s I’d say…

What am I going to write about? …. …. Well I’m not sure a hundred percent yet … ….. But I’m going to call it ‘Journeys’, I think.

My idea is that Jesus …. Buddha ….. Mohammed  …. In my opinion they all started their life somewhere nice and safe, and ended up in the middle of loads of trouble … ….

Jesus was from a small village called Nazareth … … and he ended up in the middle of  Jerusalem – which hadn’t long been conquered by the Romans, and was full of hairy soldiers …. He went there just to try to get people to behave better … and he goes and gets himself crucified! ….

Buddha … … Well he was born a prince, and he lived in a palace with everything he wanted …. and one day he just upped and left … Ended up walking round India. … No money … Nothing – except the clothes he stood up in … and a begging bowl … Imagine that! … After being a prince! …Giving it all up just to try to help people understand their lives…

And Mohammed … Well, when he was a young man he was married to a rich widow much older than himself. I think they bought and sold carpets  … Anyway … he gave all that up to make all the Arab tribes stop worshipping stone idols … And when he’d done that, he took them all off on a holy war to spread the word … and nearly conquered the flipping world! …. Very dangerous … and he could so easily have got himself killed for his trouble… ….

Anyway, these three started off by living somewhere safe … Something strange happened to them … and they decided to get into something … somewhere else … that was very dangerous…..Do you see what I mean Marg? … …

Gerad says that the ‘strange thing’ that happened to these three … was that they all had a ‘special’ experience …and that Gerad says is called ‘transformative’.

And he says you can get some idea of what this ‘transforming’ is about, if you imagine what it was like for human beings the first time that they tasted meat that had accidentally fallen into a fire…. They got something that tasted completely different from the taste that they were used to .. And it was much better … not like raw meat at all! … And that they could never have imagined – just in their minds like –  that it was going to taste like it did … just because it had been in the fire ….  … To them, it was like something had actually come into the meat from outside it  … 

They probably explained it to themselves though, by saying that this new taste came from the fire like magic – from ‘the spirit of the fire’ maybe…  … Or something like that ….. Anyway!! … …’Transformation’ is sort of like that….

On the other side … there’s lots of people today who are trying to be religious, or want to be holy. … They either join some group or other; or dress up in fancy clothes; or get into something foreign and ‘mysterious’.  But it seems to me that all they really want to do is be different, and just get away from all the trouble that they tell everybody is going on … The wars, and the climate, and the population, and everything… Which, most of the time, isn’t really trouble at all for them particularly. … But these people still want to run away from it all … It’s like they don’t want to deal with what’s really going on now – even though they’re responsible – like all the rest of us – for the mess we’re all in…. It’s like they’re running away … Traveling in the wrong direction, y’know? … It’s like they’re trying to get away from it all … ….To hide …

What Marg? … ….

…..Well, one of the things we call these places is ‘Retreats’. … Isn’t it Marg?… … …

Anyway, Gerad says that these people who are running away, and all that, might well be having experiences… …And so, OK then! …And this means that they might well have changed a little bit. …But Gerad says that being changed isn’t at all the same thing as being transformed!

Seeds change into plants, but plants were already there …In the seed … So like … seeds just sort of turn into what it is that they’re supposed to turn into under the circumstances.   Gerad called that ‘linear change’ …  

So if they’re a seed that has plenty of sun and water, then they grow; but if they’re in a very dry, dark, place then they don’t do very well at all! . …But whatever they do, they can still only change into what they’re supposed to be .. …. Like, whatever else happens to them, apple seeds don’t suddenly turn into pear trees ….Do you see what he means Marg? ….

And also … In the year, when your birthday comes round on the same day, you’re changing just because you’re getting older, and that’s like what Gerad calls ‘cyclic change’…. The Seasons, and all like that.

Anyway…Gerad says everybody and everything changes anyway, whether they like it or not  … We grow older, and lose our teeth  …but very few of us are transformed  … I know what he means …. but I can’t really put it into words yet … …

Anyway, I think some people are going in completely the wrong direction, when they’ve convinced themselves that they’re going in the right direction – just because there’s been a change! …. That’s my idea anyway! …

Oh hell! … Sorry Marg! … Must dash … There’s an incoming call … It’s a client, and I’d better answer quick!… I’ll have to try and keep him on the line for more than the usual two or three minutes as well … I’m way behind with my score for this shift… … Oh hell! … Here’s the friggin’ supervisor now … I’ll have to get off quick… I’ll try to call you back later …. …Bye! …Love you too-oo!

(‘Trish quickly switches through to her client, and begins to speak with an affected ‘girlie’ voice) …. ….. …..Hi there! …. This is “Naughty Schoolgirls On-Line’!…. My name’s Tabitha! (she giggles). … And what would you like to talk about … You naughty boy!  … … … “

 From ‘Field-notes for Armageddon’ by Bob Hardy

Setting The Scene – Part 3 

This post covers the remaining period (from the mid-1970’s until sometime in late 1979) during which my wife Jean, our friend Martin, and myself would travel, once a week, from Merseyside, to Tan-Y-Garth Hall in North Wales.

Our purpose here was to take part in an informal discussion group that was hosted by Ken Ratcliffe. The major purpose of these weekly sessions (which did not follow one another in any systematic way) was to examine various ideas of Eugene Halliday’s. Thus, I had reached a point where I was now discussing a number of Eugene Halliday’s ideas with other interested parties….

However, it seemed to me that none of those involved here really understood these ideas in any integrated way. And our discussions appeared to always remain strictly at the level of intellectual inquiry – usually focusing on what ‘such-and-such a contemporary scenario’ might look like from the point of view of ‘such and such an idea’ of Eugene’s.

Even so, being presented with the opportunity to structure my own thoughts here was an extremely valuable experience for me. Because, by talking over various concepts of Eugene’s with others (such as those contained in the ‘The Four-Part Man, or ‘The Tacit Conspiracy’ for example), I had the opportunity to verbalize my own reactions and organize my own thoughts here.  And as a direct result of  (what I like to think of anyway) as this progress, there were now a few areas of Eugene’s material where I thought I was beginning to discern some sort of vague, over-all, cohesive structure – but this feeling was really far more like a strong ‘hunch’ …

I realize now that what I was also searching for was, more or less, a ‘point of entry’ … “How was one to get started here with all this material? …Where, and what, was  ‘Chapter One’, or the ‘Introduction’, here? … And if ‘this’, or ‘that’, was the place to begin … Why was it?”…

My recollection of these discussion sessions is reasonably clear to me, even now. However, if I simply attempt to relate what took place there to you, I don’t think this would really clarify things. But perhaps if did so allegorically, you might get a better sense of the over-all picture. …

Discussing Eugene’s ideas at these meetings was like being presented with a big ball of string, which we would all, collectively, attempt to examine, by first taking hold of the end that happened to be sticking out, and then carefully unravelling it, while attempting to describe it. Only to discover that, after a few feet or so, this piece suddenly came to an end. … But, “No problem!”,  …. Because we could see that there was now a new end sticking out, and so we took hold of that, and off we went again…. Only to find that the same thing kept happening repeatedly… (Think Zen here …. and “How long is a piece of string?”).

It was relatively simple to examine (or study in detail) the individual pieces of string themselves, and they were usually very interesting, but I did not seem to be able to connect them together in any satisfactory way. ….

However, I felt strongly, even then, that all these separate pieces were somehow joined together in some fundamental sense, but I couldn’t yet see how …

So, for the moment then, these ideas were all separate. But at least they had all been collected together into one place (into this one big ball of string as it were) – which was something ….

These ‘discussion sessions’ normally took up the major part of our mid-week evening’s activities. But during the time that was left (for what you might call then, the ‘second half’ of the evening) we would all head upstairs, to the ‘Meditation Room’, in order to do a spot of, what Ken referred to, as ‘Yoga’.

Please bear in mind that my sole purpose in traveling to Tan-Y-Garth was to take advantage of the opportunity being offered there by Ken Ratcliffe to discuss these ideas, and so I wasn’t interested in anything that did not, to me, have a clear connection to either Eugene Halliday’s talks, or to his writings.

First though, and in an effort to shed some light here on my view of ‘Yoga’ in general, and also to provide some background material (at least for this post) I will recount here one of the many ‘experiences’ that I had been indulging in, some good few years before my involvement with Ken et al at Tan-Y-Garth…..

…… It’s the early 1970’s, and it’s a mid-Sunday afternoon. I’m at home, lying down on my bed, on my side, and staring at the edge of my copy of Cervantes’ ‘Don Quixote’ (illustrations by Picasso) which just happened to be lying on the top of my bed-side cabinet.

I am staring at the edge of this book (the longer edge directly opposite the spine) which was colored with small green and red blobs – rather like an old fashioned ledger book.

As I stared at these dots, they suddenly ‘lined up’, and presented me with a colored, pixilated, frieze of Don Quixote on horseback, complete with lance – somewhat similar to Picasso’s famous black and white cartoon illustrations of this figure.

To make matters even weirder, this freeze then began to move slowly along the side of the edge of the book  – each individual figure of Don Quixote (plus horse and lance) slowly disappearing around the edge at the right end of the book, just as another identical figure came around the left end of the edge of the book to take its place!

This was all fine with me, because I knew exactly what was happening… I was hallucinating…

About half an hour previously I had ‘dropped’ a tab of ‘acid’ (LSD), and – in the vernacular of that time – I was now embarking on a ‘trip’.

I will not describe any of my ‘tripping’ episodes in any detail here, as there is already enough available literature on the subject, and my experience(s) were, I would say, typical.

I ‘tripped’ quite a few times during this period, I always ‘tripped’ alone, and I always found the experience to be unique and extraordinary. But after about a year or so, I suddenly stopped ‘dropping acid’ regularly, and, in fact, I very rarely used psychedelics at all after that period. …. The last time was well over 25 years ago  …. Why did I stop? …. Well I couldn’t really say, and indeed, it’s something that I have often wondered about from time to time since, myself! …

Why am I relating all this to you here? …. Because my own experiences of ‘altered states of conscious’ would obviously inform my evaluation of other people’s claims to have experienced ‘altered states of consciousness’.

As far as I am concerned here, I had no doubt at all, even at that time, that whatever it was that I was experiencing was as a direct consequence of my ingesting Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD), and that this radical change in my own particular ‘perception of reality’ was a consequence of the physical state of my organism during that time, and was not some (quasi) mystical ‘stand-alone’ ‘transcendental’ experience.

Thus, I did not view these ‘trips’ of mine as ‘opening a doorway to other realities’; or believe that I had miraculously ‘travelled to another realm’; or that I was  ‘accessing hitherto un-accessed ‘centers’ in my body’, or that I was ‘flying about outside of my body’, or anything remotely like that (although these are some of the states I imagined I was experiencing under the influence of LSD) … I was – even when ‘tripping’ (except for one notably extremely negative experience I had) – always aware that I was deluded, and that I was under the influence of a drug. … Nonetheless, I have to say that I enjoyed these ‘experiences’ of mine immensely, and I would even go as far as to say that they were …’groovy’.

More importantly, although these experiences did provide ‘research material’ about what ‘I was’, they did not – in and of themselves – answer any of those damned questions of mine (see previous post) in any fundamental way. Nor did I discover that I could now, for instance, suddenly speak fluent Chinese; or that I had grown a couple of inches overnight; or that I could now play the trombone without prior practice; or that I now knew the name of that winning horse at Lingfield in the 2.30 race tomorrow; or that I knew who I was; or what I was; or where I was; etc. etc. Any more than that sentimental drunk who, after hanging their arm around your shoulder, and slobbering loudly and incoherently in your ear about how much they have always, “really liked you”, has suddenly become permanently transformed into a more empathetic human being, simply as a consequence of downing ten pints of Guinness.

These experiences, however, did go a long way to structure my understanding of any claims that were being made for any ‘altered states of consciousness’ by others, be these ‘altered states’ the result of taking various ‘drugs’, or ‘self-induced’ in other ways – and at that time particularly, these ‘others’ seemed to include almost ‘everyone and his dog’.

So then, I had no problem admitting, in one of these states at least, that it was easy to hold the belief, “We’re all connected, man”. And that this connectedness was, “The way it really was, all the time, if only we could always experience it like this.” That is, presumably, even when we inevitably returned to our everyday (and for the present at least) wretched, and miserable state, when we ‘came down’ – as we liked to call it.

Interesting though (and conclusively for me), those I have spoken to about their use of LSD (and there’s been quite a few over the intervening years) , and who have experienced a near-psychotic ‘bad’ ‘trip’ (and yes, I’ve had one of those too) have never claimed that this ‘bad trip’ was actually ‘the way it really was’… Indeed they all seemed absolutely certain (and grateful) that, as far as it concerns this one particular ‘journey’ of theirs anyway, it definitely was not ‘the way it really was’!  …..

But – and speaking again from my own experience – surely the major reason that these ‘bad trips’ were so ‘bad’, is precisely because, at the time you are experiencing them at least, you really do believe that they’re real, and this nightmare you’re in is, in fact, ‘the way it really is’…. And that this is, surely, the only reason why the experience of a ‘bad trip’ is so terrifying! ….

The point I’m attempting to make here? ….. Well, if you maintain that your ‘bad’ experience was one that you claimed later was actually ‘not real’. Why would you claim, or believe, that any other ‘altered state of consciousness’ was real? … Well, the answer here is surely simple and obvious enough – it’s because you liked it…. it made you feel good …

In my opinion though, it is those negative experiences, and not all the ‘nice’ ones, that need to be focussed on here in order to provide any real explanation for this whole business of ‘altered states’ …..

 By the way, people in the grip of these negative states for long periods, or in some cases permanently, are the ones that society, more often than not, labels ‘insane’ – because what these people claim that they are actually experiencing, the rest of us are very sure is, in reality, a ‘delusion’ …

In some non-Western cultures, however, these people are still often seen as ‘being possessed’ by spirits – indeed you can often read various contemporary accounts, in your daily newspapers, of this taking place in locations such as ‘Darkest London’,   … And we also, in our recent historical past, also used to believe that this was the case – and so we would do stuff to these people … like burning them alive……. ….  It’s a funny old world, isn’t it? …

By the way, if you’re interested further in this subject, and you fancy reading up on a some contemporary background information here, I can recommend these two (reasonably recent) excellent anthropological studies:

  • In Sorcery’s Shadow – by Paul Stoller and Cheryl Olkes. 1987 (It’s about sorcerers in the Republic of Niger)
  • Net of Magic. Wonders and Deceptions in India – by Lee Siegel. 1991 (It’s about magicians, and other various charlatans, in India)

As far as I’m concerned then, any ‘altered states’ of consciousness, whatever their nature (‘good’ or ‘bad’) – induced by any method of altering the physical state of the body – are delusions. … And I certainly do not hold the view that ‘trippers’ or ‘meditators’ experience some variety or other of a ‘transcendental vision’. …

More importantly, on the practical side, I did not experience the inducing of any ‘altered state’ here as assisting me towards any real understanding of what I believed was the complex inter-weaving, by Eugene Halliday, of those concepts that were contained in his recordings and essays …Although I had no trouble seeing that some ‘altered state’ or other could delude me into feeling OK about not understanding them! … But that was not what I wanted …

But to get back to events at Tan-Y-Garth for a moment … And to those meditations sessions that the discussion group were engaged in during the second part of the evening..

What we did essentially, was to sit with our legs crossed in the darkened room while Ken spoke to us, using his ‘yoga-teacher-speak’ voice. He would ask us to calm our breathing by counting (I think it was up to six, but I couldn’t be certain) while drawing an ‘in-breath’ (through the nose), hold this breath (while counting six) and then let out our ‘out-breath’ (through the mouth) while counting six again. The idea being, if I understood  all this correctly, that doing this would eventually calm our minds – essentially because we were not now following any of our thoughts, (“Just let them all go”).

Unsurprisingly, or so I thought, after ten minutes or so of doing this, we had all, indeed, ‘calmed down’ somewhat…. So much so, that one young man, who was always present at these sessions (at least when I was there) would almost invariably ‘nod off’ and begin to snore quietly … before eventually gently keeling over.

After calming us all down, Ken might then ask us to, say, imagine we had placed all our negative ideas and attitudes in a ball, and then picture ourselves throwing this ball to the other end of the universe (or something, essentially incomprehensible, like that).

I found it impossible to take any of this seriously. And I certainly didn’t experience what we were doing here as, in any way, ‘yoking’ or ‘joining back’ to the ‘supreme spirit’, or whatever else anyone here told me that the word ‘Yoga’, was ‘supposed’ to mean. …. But that’s not to say that others didn’t believe that this is what they were experiencing, I am just saying that it just didn’t do anything like that for me ….

More importantly, as I say, I could not see what on earth any of this ‘meditating’ had to do, at all, with what I had heard Eugene Halliday talking about in his recordings, or had written about in his essays.

I must once again also stress here that my only interest in going to Tan-Y-Garth was to network with anyone at all who maintained that they were working with Eugene Halliday ideas, and that I had no interest whatsoever in ‘Yoga’ per se.

… To make matters even more confusing, Ken Ratcliffe didn’t even attempt to connect what he was ‘leading’ the discussion group through in his Meditation Room to anything involving Eugene Halliday’s ‘Work’ – other than to vaguely suggest that, in some way, this ‘calming ourselves’ we were engaging in upstairs, would somehow assist us in our understanding of those rather difficult ideas we were struggling with downstairs.

However, my view of the subject of ‘Yoga’ was now about to change somewhat. …

I discovered that Eugene Halliday had written some very interesting things on the subject of  ‘meditation’ (and more particularly – as far as I was concerned – on ‘contemplation’)…. And that he also wrote about the subject  from a perspective that I had no difficulty in appreciating, as it was completely in line with both my cultural, and religious, backgrounds (I was born in Liverpool, UK, in 1943, and I was christened ‘Church of England’). …

A pamphlet, written by Eugene Halliday, (and that was, I believe, the first one produced by the IHS) some 20 or so years earlier, contained – along with an essay giving a brief outline of the IHS’s purpose, and a list of future pamphlets that the society was planning to publish (printed on the last page) – a set of meditation exercises that were written especially for the IHS by Eugene Halliday himself, at the request of Ken Ratcliffe. …

Anyway, here’s the pamphlet – it’s a largish file, so it might take a minute or two to open on your computer.

IHS Pamphlet – Brief Resume of IHS purpose plus Meditations + Appendices

I was surprised to discover that none of the exercises contained in this pamphlet were being used by Ken in  those ‘meditation session’s’ that he conducted with our discussion group. … Although there were pamphlets available at the Hall during that time, in which Ken had reproduced one or two of these exercises … So why, I wondered weren’t we doing them?…. I’ve given my own opinion about this, later on in this post …

Even more significantly in my opinion, in mid-1973 (which is a few years after Ken moved from Liverpool to Tan-Y-Garth) I discovered that Eugene Halliday had written a series of fourteen essays for the St Michael’s Parish Magazine, Manchester, the title of every essay being  ‘Christian Yoga’ (followed by ‘Part 1’, and continuing, in monthly installments, up to ‘Part’ 14). ….And here it is …

Christian Yoga by Eugene Halliday

These ‘Christian Yoga’ essays were collected together and published as part of an IHS book, the title of which was ‘Yoga’. This book was in three parts. The first part was a reprint of Eugene Halliday’s essay, ‘Reflexive Self-Consciousness’ which Ken writes of, in his introduction to this book, as “deal(ing) with the rationale of the purpose of yoga”; the second, “a number of exercises for application”, which are described as “the Eight Stages of Hindu Yoga”; and the third is the complete ‘Christian Yoga’, about which Ken writes, “shows a very close parallel between Hindu and Christian Yoga” (really?), and which (for reasons which he does not clarify here) he changes the title of, to “Yoga in the Western Tradition”. … !!… ?

Here it is anyway…

YOGA (IHS)

Today, it is the ideas that are contained in two publications of Eugene Halliday’s (above) that inform any understanding I would claim to have regarding what it is that ‘Yoga’, as praxis, was – at least as far as Eugene Halliday was concerned. And I also see these ideas here as fitting in with many of his other major ideas that were contained in  his essays.

I am fully aware that Eugene Halliday has commented upon, or elaborated upon (sometimes in some detail) any number of diverse subjects, including various forms of ‘Yoga’ practice, but I do that believe at all, that it follows he recommends we engage in,  or even that he necessarily endorsed, these practices.

My main point in what follows, is that, in order to claim that you are influenced by Eugene Halliday – where it concerns your own practice of what you might, for some reason or other, wish to refer to as ‘Yoga’ – then the meditations, and also the contemplation exercises, contained in these two publications of his, are the ones that you would (very obviously in my opinion)  surely be practicing.

NOTE: In my view, it is important, at least when attempting to discuss the ideas and concepts of people such as Eugene Halliday, that you first pay them the courtesy of distinguishing between those comments (even detailed ones) that they are liable to make (and indeed often do so) on any number of subjects; and their rigorous attempts to express a far more complex, carefully considered, perspective of theirs on a particular subject – and which they have taken the trouble to make available to other interested parties, in the form of a detailed essay. 

To continue here. A cursory glance through these two publications should show, what I see at least is, the very clear position that Eugene Halliday takes with regard to ‘Yoga’ as a form of praxis.

Amongst the many topics contained in these two publications are:

  • The meaning of the word ‘Yoga’
  • The central importance of the teacher Jesus Christ
  • Introspection
  • God
  • Will
  • Love
  • What ‘meditation’ is
  • What ‘contemplation’ is
  • The ‘four-fold’ nature of the universe
  • Meditation on the circle and the cross
  • Meditation on the ‘Holy Trinity’
  • Meditation on the ‘six-pointed’ star
  • Breathing, posture, and ‘Creative Imagination’
  • The world, and holding a world view
  • The cosmic view
  • Identification
  • Understanding
  • The ‘Great Identification’ – becoming one with Jesus Christ
  • etc; etc; etc.

There is a great deal more in these two publications, but I believe that I’ve made my point here.

Thus – and I believe that this is surely blatantly obvious – anyone claiming to teach Yoga as a form of praxis from the perspective of Eugene Halliday’s ideas; or claiming to have ‘sat at the foot of Eugene Halliday’ and thus, by inference, having some intimate personal connection both with the man, and his ideas here  (and this would obviously include Ken Ratcliffe) , must obviously then, be fully conversant with both the ideas, and also the exercises, contained in these two, not very large, or difficult to understand, publications – at the very least. … And that these would, of necessity, surely inform, and thus subsequently come to structure, the central teachings of what it was that these ‘Yoga followers of Eugene Halliday’ claimed they were now, as a consequence were ‘passing on’ …… (Because, if this is not what they are ‘passing on, what then is the substance of what these ‘followers of Eugene Halliday  maintain that they  are ‘passing on’).

However, if all that these ‘yoga teachers’ wanted to do was the ‘keep fit’ stuff, or the ‘feel good’ stuff, or promote some hybrid, do-it-yourself, method that they had somehow clobbered together themselves, then obviously this would not apply…. …. But, if that were the case, why then would they take the trouble to claim that what they were doing ‘came’ from Eugene Halliday’s teachings? … Well, I think the answer to that is also obvious. … There is an impressive body of work that Eugene Halliday has produced which would serve to valorize these ‘teachers’ own claims here …… Any students of these ‘teachers’ (who probably know next to nothing about esoteric subjects anyway) , could then be easily seduced into believing the following – “Eugene Halliday obviously knows an awful lot about esoteric subjects; our ‘yoga teacher’ claims to have ‘sat at Eugene Halliday’s feet’; therefore our ‘yoga teacher’ must also know an awful lot about esoteric subjects.” ………

In addition, I would also fully expect that anyone claiming to be a teacher here (as opposed to say an ‘expert’ – that is, someone who contents themselves with gathering together a potpourri of Eugene Hallidy’s ideas, simply in order to regurgitate them at some later date as ‘information’, in order to show us all how smart they are) would, at the very least, be able to discuss, and describe in detail, personal accounts of the success or failure of their own particular attempts to embody these particular exercises of Eugene Halliday’s.  And finally, that their (future) students would be in no doubt that the ‘Yoga’ that they were being taught had a pronouned Christian bias…..And I believe that all this is blindingly obvious …

You should perhaps also consider here, that inducing internal states by the process of  contemplating various symbols is always a dodgy business – particularly if you have surrendered your autonomy regarding the interpretation of these symbols to someone else. …  Symbols, by their very nature, are not signs, and so do not have any fixed definitions …. Interpreting them by oneself (in my experience at least) can often be exhausting work…. But relying on someone else’s explanation or meaning here, regarding what it is that these symbols represent, can be even more dodgy. … Because the process of believing what you are being told by others here is far more connected to that ‘sniffing out’, which goes to make up a significant component of your intuitive process (your ‘gut feeling’ about that person), than with any rational decision-making process.

… Be that as it may, as far as I was concerned at least, at this stage of the game in late 1970, I was going with my intuition. And  it informed me that attempting to absorb Eugene Halliday’s ideas here was the ‘way to go’. Hence my willingness to accept his interpretation(s) of the symbols contained in these two publications.

But, as a word of warning here, I should also add that anyone who is really like me (that is, who does rely a great deal upon their intuition) quickly learns that what it is that one ‘intuites’ is often polluted by self-will, greed, and downright laziness.

Thus, just because things ‘come to me’, does not mean that they are always ‘Good’ or ‘True’…. It’s not that simple at all …. It’s often the case that I would also be inclined to go along with my ‘intuition’ (by first, perhaps, ‘tweaking it’ a little) if it simply happened to suit me at the time, or because I quite fancied going to where I imagined it was going to take me …

You should also factor in here that any number of prolonged physical activities will invariably, quite normally, induce changes in cognitive and/or feeling states (try ‘sexual activity’ here for instance). These states are obviously internal to the experiencer, and essentially this experiencer is the only being that is really able to authenticate any description of these states (that is, answer questions such as’ “How was that then?”). … But, if the experiencer allows someone else to introduce these states into them, and subsequently allows this person to then also define these states, they have allowed this person to assume real power over them. ….. For the ladies, this will almost invariably means that, sooner or later, if the person concerned is a male, they will attempt to avail themselves of the contents of your refrigerator … or even get you to wash and iron their underwear …  …..

Crucially for me, my own early experimenting with ‘altered states of consciousness’ had made me realize, with something of a shock, that what I was actually experiencing in the normal day-to-day world, from moment to moment, was a continually altering state of consciousness!  … And that this was a rather obvious fact when  I bothered to think about it …. Most of the time though, these changes of state were subtle, (thus even more  ‘normal’)…. But even if this change was sudden (as when I was, say, startled by a loud bang) I found that I almost invariably immediately identified with it, and so ‘didn’t notice’ that my conscious state had altered – it was ‘just me’ and it was ‘just the way it was’…. I also realized that (when I thought about all this from time to time) although I could see that other’s were also clearly ‘jumping around’ from state to state, and moment to moment also, that they couldn’t experience themselves in this way either …. They couldn’t see themselves ‘doing it’ … it was just ‘them’ … being ‘them’…

It vaguely occurred to me that something was ‘stuck’ to this ever-changing consciousness from moment to moment, which raised the delicious possibility that perhaps it was possible to become ‘unstuck’…. Did this then have anything to do with one of my ‘questions’ viz., “What am I … really?” ….. I viewed this realization, for me, as real progress here, and it also helped me later on in my understanding of what ‘Work’ might be about, and what Eugene’s meant (perhaps) by the word ‘identification’…. But I couldn’t put this concept to any productive use for decades yet …. although I was able to gab about it, with the best of them, to anyone who was interested; and also to realize it is some vague, non-practical, way just before sleeping, say  …

Clearly though, I still had far to much ‘housekeeping’ to do here, before I retired to practice contemplating my naval . … …And anyway, at that time, all this ‘feel good’ stuff smelt far to much to me like a vaguely unwholesome addiction … (something else I also knew a teeny bit about) …..

To be fair though… (What!) ….. What I did observe, was that many people did definitely change as a result of practicing these various ‘yogic’ exercises –  that is, they often now had, as a result, better ‘coping skills’.

So that, if say, they were inclined to panic at the thought of flying. By concentrating on their breathing after strapping on their safety belt, they could now control this panic (like a sort of ‘damage limitation control’).

However, underneath this calm exterior, they were still actually, irrationally, really, terrified of flying, but this was not now being expressed. So, although I would say that they had ‘changed’ – in that they had worked on themselves to realize an already existing potential within themselves, and thus now had some control here, they had not been ‘transformed’  – that is, they had not become someone (like me, say) who ‘just didn’t’ experience unreasonable panic that could manifest itself simply at the very thought of flying …. This process I now see as the balancing of a ‘negative latent disposition’ (which I would now say is a state that is always waiting for an opportunity ‘to come to be’) by the process of mastering techniques that control this latent disposition  …

… And this very idea … the fact that this ‘negative latent disposition’ was somehow always ‘there’ (even if not expressed) was another important ‘find’ for me…. Much later on, this idea became very useful in understanding a number of other significant concepts contained in Eugene Halliday’s material … and also in Jacob Boehme’s (who?) writings as well…. even.

So, for myself then, while I can see the value of ‘yoga’ as a therapeutic tool, I was (and still am) only interested in attempting to discover how ‘transforming’ could be accomplished, as I am already OK with the ‘changing’ thing … And, I actually don’t think it’s all that difficult to do …but that does rather depend of course – to some extent at least – on what it is you want to change ….

… But to get back to things at Tan-Y-Garth the 1970’s …..and my view of what was now going on there – where it concerned Ken’s attempts to keep the place going …

I should mention here (if I haven’t already) that the major business of Tan-Y-Garth, introduced by Ken not long after he moved there, was the provision of a suitable ‘meeting place’ (or ‘retreat’ if you like; or even ‘Ashram’ if you prefer) at weekends, for what I would loosely call ‘Yoga groups’, drawn from all over the UK. And that these ‘week-ends’ obviously had a significantly larger attendance than our small mid-week discussion group.

But where did this sudden demand for ‘Yoga teachers’ come from, back then in the late 1960’s, or early 1970’s, you might ask? Why this sudden stampede by myriads of people who were more than willing to part with their hard earned cash, in order to engage in stuff like sitting in a room somewhere, breathing, and counting from one to six (or whatever) etc. for hours? …

‘Yoga’ was a pursuit, or activity if you prefer, that had started to become increasingly popular in the UK with the public at large (especially those of student age) around 1965 – which is when the Beatles began their flirtation with ‘Transcendental Meditation’; but, more particularly, since the broadcasting in 1970 on UK ITV, of Richard Hittleman’s ‘Yoga For Health’ – which is when, I would argue, that the ‘Yoga’ business really started to pick up steam.

‘Yoga For Health’, was an American TV show that had been imported into the UK sometime during the year of 1970, when it immediately became a huge hit with the ‘young mums’ of that time …. I should also add that it was also quite popular with any number of ‘young lads’ also, who enjoyed watching a couple of Mr Hittleman’s very attractive nubile young female ‘assistants’, dressed in leotards, demonstrating various ‘yogic positions’ (or ‘asanas, as they like to call them in the Yoga business)… out there in sunny California … in the sun … under the palm trees … next to the swimming pool.

It was often referred to as ‘keep fit yoga’, and sometimes as ‘Hatha Yoga’ – the latter label conveniently serving to give it a somewhat pseudo-spiritual flavor (for gullible Westerners) by ‘yoking’ it to some (largely imagined) form of exotic, vaguely erotic, Indian, ‘spiritual’ practice. …. It has, since that time, in fact become an extremely lucrative, nation-wide, low initial-outlay, business: and also an extremely popular (and therefore academically interesting to me) aspect of ‘popular culture’. … As Frank Zappa might have put it, “What do you need to do to be a Yoga teacher? … You just need to say, “I’m a Yoga teacher.” … “!

By the time we get to the 1970’s then, the whole business of ‘Yoga’ had become a paradise for ‘do-it-yourself, self-appointed, spiritual experts’, the overwhelming majority of whom had never even heard of Eugene Halliday (so mentioning his name would not have done any good here, anyway).

Ideally though, what you needed to do though in order to authentically validate your ‘yoga teacher’ status, was to claim that some ‘Guru’ from India had taught you all the tricks…. That, and perhaps the ability to sprinkle your ‘lessons’ with the odd Sanskrit word (in order to suggest to your punters that you might perhaps ‘speak the language’) is also a very useful card to play in this game…. (Yet another excruciatingly irritating affectation, as far as I’m concerned)…

It would seem to me though, the only subjects that many of these ‘authentic Indian ‘Guru’s’ appeared to have any real interest in was: possessing a Swiss bank account; owning a fleet of Rolls Royce cars; real estate; and, what my New Orleans musician colleagues covertly referred to as, ‘poontang’.

Even so, somehow (and this was mind-boggling) these con-men still managed to amass huge numbers of ‘followers’ – which, somehow, always seemed to include an endless supply of adoring ladies. … Like a sort of  ‘spiritual’ version of Barry Manilow  ….

But then, also during that time, large numbers of people in the UK believed that some guy from Israel, who went by the name of Uri Geller, could bend forks and spoons with his mind ….So I suppose that the events here are really not all that surprising…

The most significant component here in all this for me however, was that Ken had also by that time discovered the recordings of social scientist, Richard Alpert. Alpert, a one time Harvard professor, had, in the company of Timothy Leary and Ralph Metzner, consumed copious amounts of LSD back then in the late 1960’s- early 1970’s. These three gentlemen had even written a book together on the subject called, ‘The Psychedelic Experience: A Manuel Based On The Tibetan Book of the Dead’. And, “Yes,” I have read it (in fact I still have a copy). Anyway, Richard Alpert subsequently went off to India, met his own guru, apparently suddenly stopped dropping acid, returned to the USA, changed his name to Baba Ram Dass, and, in 1971, solo-authored a hippy best-seller  (which I also still have a copy of) – the title of which was, ‘Remember, Be Here Now’ …….. (By the way, does that phrase ‘Be Here Now’ sound kind of familiar to anyone here?)… Ram Dass then put out various long-playing recordings, and it is these that Ken subsequently got hold of.

To me, Ram Dass’s approach (and you’ll have to do your own research here if you want to know what that is) definitely wasn’t Eugene Halliday’s approach. But I do believe it was the model for Ken’s, now predominantly, ‘Yogic’ activities, during these weekend ‘retreats’. And this also explained, as far as I was concerned, his approach to those ‘meditation exercises’ with our discussion group.

But, to get back to those ‘week-ends’ at Tan-Y-Garth. … When Jean and I attended them, we viewed them as a reasonably priced, if somewhat austere, form of restful break. Separate dormitories for the sexes were the rule, (How all my gay chums would have loved that!). However, I suppose you could argue that sexual abstinence would make this whole weekend mini-experience ‘more spiritual’. But from my jaded, worldly, negative, point of view, this rule was probably a consequence of the fact that the Hall only had a few double rooms (or bathrooms for that matter) and that using two great big rooms was a good way of getting round the problem … and are much easier to look after  … But that’s just me ….

Anyway, when we did occasionally attend the odd week-end at Tan-Y-Garth (usually to show our support, and make up the numbers), as it was impossible for us to spend any quality time together in bed (see para immediately above), I, instead, spent most of the time talking with Ken, or Richard, or hanging around in the kitchen with Bar, drinking tea, and smoking cigarettes. I would, sooner or later though, invariably spot Ken, complete with beard and pony-tail, wandering about the Hall and grounds, often wearing a long, monk-like, robe.

The major task of those living at Tan-Y-Garth Hall then, in my book, was really – whether Ken liked to admit it or not  – the problem of producing enough of a cash-flow to pay the overheads on the place, and so keep it ticking over.

A great deal of hard work was put into making these week-end meetings at Tan-Y-Garth the success that they became. The overwhelming bulk of this work being carried out by Ken’s wife, Barbara, who, along with their daughter, Janet, and son-in-law, Richard Milligan, were to be kept fully employed for 20 or so years, in the distinctly non-yogic tasks of cooking, washing the bed linen, and housekeeping etc. for their week-end visitors.

On those week-ends where folks would be invited to come out to what those at the Hall still like to refer to as, a ‘working week-end’ (which was essentially how they got volunteers to clean up the place, do a spot of ‘gardening’, or, if they were handy, do some renovating) I never once saw Ken with a brush in his hand, or with his fingers in the rich Welsh earth ….. and funnily enough, neither has anyone else I have asked who was there around that time … …

… I don’t think I would be stretching it here, if I said that during these week-ends, Ken was more than happy to play at being a ‘guru’…. Regrettably, many people fell for it as well ….

Leaving events at Tan-Y-Garth aside for the moment, how did my own experiences here of ‘altered states’ inform my view of the outbreak of ‘Yoga Clubs’ all over the UK. The numbers of which have been steadily growing since the end of the 1960’s/beginning of the 1970’s.

Well, and more antagonistically (which shouldn’t surprised you by now) my perspective on self-induced changes in conscious states, whether through the act of taking drugs or by using a more natural approach by, say, regulating the breathing, informs most of my attitude to what most folks are pleased to call ‘Yoga’. … To put it as straightforwardly as I can – I do not believe that, as a consequence here, these devotees are ‘yoking’ or ‘joining back’ to what they are pleased to imagine is the ‘supreme spirit’ (or something like that), but that they are victims of their own delusions, and are also usually encouraged in this belief of theirs by their ‘guru’….. To quote a Liverpool maxim here, which might help, ‘Once a mug, always a mug’.

You might like to conduct a little independent research on the subject of ‘False Gurus and Siddhis’ here. Here’s a sample quote on the subject, selected at random, from the KathaVarta.com blog:

“The Universe is full of false preceptors. Overtly clever, they surround themselves with selfish pleasures and bestow their ‘grandiose’ teachings upon the unwary. Prematurely publicizing themselves, intent upon reaching some spiritual climax, they constantly sacrifice the Truth and deviate from the real spiritual path. What they really offer the Universe is their own confusion.”

However, regarding ‘contemplation’ (and not ‘meditation’) as Eugene Halliday describes the practice at least. As this has always been a strictly solitary pursuit for me – I can confidently assert that it definitely does not qualify as a week-end social activity. So I never really ‘came under the influence of anyone’, or ‘sat at the feet of anyone’ here. I simply focused on attempting to understand Eugene Halliday’s ideas, rather than just attempting to remember them verbatim … and I stayed with any methodology that appeared to help me here.

It might be pertinent here to also point out that, certainly up until 1966 (when he had reached his mid-50’s) Eugene Halliday spoke, in the main, to relatively small groups of people, and his ‘overheads’ (if in fact there were any worth talking about) were negligible. Thus, this was all very easily managed by him. …. I now view these opportunities of his to speak to others as being seen by him simply as different situations in which to ‘Work’, and not as an opportunity for him to indulge in anything else …. And far more significantly, I have been unable to uncover any single instance where Eugene Halliday conducted a ‘Yoga’ session … And that includes testimony from someone who lived in the same house as the man for over twenty-five years … (More of this in a late post)….

This ‘Work’, I came to see much later, was the real task that Eugene Halliday was recommending that we all freely and willingly engage in – as much as we were able. But it is extremely demanding, and requires the participation of the whole being. … Unfortunately, results cannot be achieved here by simply just moving to a different geographical location; or by changing one’s name; or by wearing any special set of clothing; or by growing a beard; or by letting ones hair grow; or by following a special diet; or ‘studying’ for a ‘yoga diploma’  – none of which is really all that difficult, is it? …

I believe that the whole idea is to eventually be able to ‘Work’ (as one is able) anywhere that one finds oneself,  in the ‘here and now’. And if you’re wondering how difficult that might be, think, “Downtown Kabul, Saturday night, after the pubs let out,” – and not after you climb into whatever uniform it is that you’ve decide to wear; or run your comb through whatever body-hair style(s) you’ve decided to adopt; or handed out your business card to inform everyone what it is that you’ve now decided to call yourself; or had a large helping of whatever ‘special’ diet you’ve decided to follow, before finally, waving your ‘certificate of authentication’ about, for interested parties to peruse at their leisure.

As Zero Mahlowe so succinctly put it to me, some twenty-five or so years later, “No matter where Eugene found himself, Eugene simply did … what Eugene always did!”

… Anyway, it was now 1979 … I felt that it was time to move on … So, I’ll now try to sum up here  …. ….

The purpose of joining the discussion group was to assist me in my attempt to clarify and ‘connect together’ (by grasping their governing concepts) various ideas of Eugene Halliday’s, in such a way that these formed a homogenous body of ideas. (Much later … after asking, “So what?”…  the significance of ’embodying’ these ideas would become the over-riding, dominant, concern here for me).

Regarding those ‘meditating sessions’ of Ken’s? … Well, he seemed to me, to be purposefully advancing the idea that we should somehow all be attempting to deliberately empty our mind of any ‘thoughts’, in order to produce states of ‘calm’ (or whatever). And having done so, we should then introduce some ‘image’ or other into our ‘minds’ in order to produce some form of ‘positive’ emotional state. I saw him, eventually, as attempting to turn himself into ‘The UK’s answer to Ram Dass’ … And I felt that this approach was inappropriate here,  in that it did not help me in my attempts to relate to, and so understand, Eugene Halliday’s material.

Ken certainly did not seem to be encouraging any ‘actively dynamic’ approach here to me…. And as I intuited that the presence of an ‘active dynamic’ was the only necessary, fundamental, essential  ingredient here at this time, perhaps you can now understand why I was so sure that these ‘meditation’ exercises of his would not help me….Definitely not at this stage anyway. …

Indeed, I did not believe that they helped Ken Ratcliffe to further his understanding of these ideas of Eugene’s either…. And I saw him as someone who was, at that time, still obviously trying desperately to integrate these ideas into his being –  some 25 plus years after he had met the man. ….To be blunt, in my opinion, these ‘meditations’ of Ken’s were actually counter-productive to this aim here. ….

So, for my part at least, this ‘meditation’ was a big ‘No-No’ … at least until I had completed this very necessary stage in my life that I was at …. And I am, now, actually thankful for all my angst, turmoil, surprise, and sometimes, incredible frustration, back then, because without them, I would have had nothing at my disposal to help me here….

… I wouldn’t say then, that this prolonged experience (‘process’ might be a better word) that I was going through  was at all a ‘stroll in the park’ for me, and that I was having a particularly pleasant experience back then…Worthwhile? … … Perhaps … … Rewarding? … Yes … But for a lot of the time at least  (and it did go on for a very long time after I had left Tan-Y-Garth) … not pleasant at all. …

… You might simply like to view all this then, as a necessary component of  my ‘Nigredo’ (if I might go all mysterious on you for a moment) … But you’d have to know a lot about other stuff here to appreciate what that actually means … Anyway I’ve ‘put it out there’ for those of you who might ‘get it’, as it summarizes things quite nicely here …

A word of caution … This process is definitely not something that I would recommend to those of you who are looking to engage in some pursuit or other that ‘increases your enjoyment of life’ … or anyrhing like that …

… On the positive side, after discussing Eugene Halliday ideas with Ken and others,  I could now put ‘bits and pieces’ of these ideas to practical use. That is, I could ‘read’ the world through a couple of these ideas … from time to time. …  And when it came to those one or two subjects that I had a definite interest in, I was delighted to find that I could now put a number of Eugene Halliday’s ideas to a great deal of practical use here. …. But I felt that I still hadn’t really any real grasp of how to ‘Work’. … And I felt that there was still a great deal of confusion here for me, that I must clear up before I could move forward. ….

I will once again stress that Ken was of real help to me here, and that I enjoyed his company very much. But I also believed that the necessity of holding on to Tan-Y-Garth was taking him in the wrong direction … So  I decided that I must move on if I was to get any further here in what it was, I imagined at that time, I was attempting to accomplish.

Did Eugene Halliday create any more exercises to assist in the process of learning to ‘Work’? … Yes, he certainly did …  But I’ll be posting detailed information about what that was, and how to do it, in a later post … as I didn’t find out about it myself until sometime after attended Ishval meetings at Parklands.

I’ll just say here that this exercise of his was extremely dynamic in nature, and that it involved a group activity, and that those taking part had to be totally committed for it to work effectively. … I was to work with it myself for some time … But I have kept quiet about it until now, because, in my opinion, there’s been so much rubbish talked about it by any number of people who also claimed to have tried it, that I felt it was pointless for me to become involved, as this would only serve to complicate the subject further….

I have been told that this particular important exercise of Eugene Halliday’s has been banned at Tan-Y-Garth by the person now controlling things there. But that’s hardly surprising, as I also understand that she has not had any experience of practicing this exercise herself. (I understand that she was, formally, yet another one of those ‘yoga’ teachers)…. But – as to practicing this exercise … far more interestingly … neither had Ken Ratcliffe. ….

While I had been attending sessions at Tan-Y-Garth, Eugene Halliday had been delivering his monthly talks (on and off) at ‘Parklands’ since about 1966. These talks formed part of the regular ‘goings on’ of ISHVAL. This vaguely mysteriously sounding word was in fact an acronym for (yet another) registered charity – ‘The Institute for the Study of Hierological Values’ – of which Eugene was its Chairman.

‘Parklands’ had been purchased. and subsequently immediately placed at the disposal of ISHVAL, by Mr and Mrs Fred and Yvonne Freeman, through their Freeman Family Trust. I should also add here that Fred Freeman was ISHVAL’S President from its inception in 1966; and also that Eugene Halliday would have been 55 years old, or there abouts, at that time.

Martin decided to write to Eugene to ask if we might attend his Ishval talks at Parklands. Ken was fine with the idea, and said that the next time he went to Ishval, he would give us a ‘recommend’.

Letter to Martin from Eugene (1979)

Soon after, Jean and I, and Martin, were to attend our first ‘in the flesh’ Eugene Halliday talk’…

So things now seemed to be moving along again. … But nothing that had happened up until now was sufficient to prepare me for ‘Ishval’ and ‘Parklands’ …. and to say that I was somewhat unprepared, would be putting it mildly … …. To say the least!

Postscript. 

Martin and I last visited Tan-Y-Garth some twelve years later, in 1991…. This was the year before Ken Ratcliffe died. He had, by this time, suffered a couple of strokes, and he seemed confused and tired to me. His wife, Barbara had died of cancer some time earlier, as had his eldest daughter Janet…. His son-in-law Richard had ‘been let go’ by those who were now clearly intent on taking over things at the Hall … … … … It was all very sad …

To be continued ……..

Bob Hardy

May, 2012

 

 

 

 

 
  • ” … You are so right! …

(He moves forward and stops with his legs slightly apart, raises both his arms, and moves his hands forward, as if to emphasize his agreement. His tone is warm and confident). Clearly, you do have to take this essential ‘first step’, now that you have decided, finally, that it really is time for you to venture forth upon this all-important ‘Journey of a 1,000 miles’ of yours.

(He lowers his arms to his sides and leans forward slightly. He smiles, and speaks quietly). But understand  … there are no guarantees at all that you’ll be heading off in the right direction!

(His smile quickly turns to a frown. He looks quizzical, and begins to pace, slowly at first, becoming more and more animated) Your decision to embark on, what you imagine, is  this crucial and life-changing journey of yours, is an exciting thing to do…As far as you’re concerned anyway! 

And the more you day-dream about it …. You know! … Making all those meticulous preparations in your head!… All that (He gestures and pokes the air with his finger)planning! … Then the greater your expectations are going to be. … And all this will only serve to make this whole enterprise of yours even more important to you – and even more thrilling!

But see … all that you’re really doing here is providing yourself with a focus – an object if you will – for your desire … You’re just ‘getting high’ in other words…

(He looks over with a wry expression on his face) Sorry! ….

(His voice becomes serious, and he speaks with a slightly more authoritative tone). Your desire seeks only the thrill of more desire, and will move itself indiscriminately towards anything you come up with that might keep it in being. … Consequently, every time that you eventually do ‘arrive’, although you might get what you believed it was that you wanted – you’ll find that, in fact, you’ve somehow lost what it was that you already had! …(He shrugs his shoulders). Which – even though you might not have realized it as such – was merely the thrill and excitement you felt from all of that hot, sticky, desire you were wallowing in! …

And … even more alarming! – Upon your ‘arrival’, you will very quickly discover that you have lost interest in what you imagined was the whole damned purpose of this ‘trip’ of yours in the first place! …

By the way, ‘loss of interest’ here just means that you’ve now run out of energy … and so of course, ‘down you plummet!’…(He looks around, and continues in an inquiring manner) I believe this condition is what you refer to here sometimes, as ‘being depressed’…

Anyway! … Let’s simply say that you will now find yourself in a position where you just ‘can’t get it up’ anymore, (He gets up from the chair) and so you now desperately start to look around for some new diversion to stimulate you. (He looks around frantically, this way and that, as if searching for something. He stops still, and stares intently into the the corner of the room. grins delightedly, and rushes over towards the corner)  Only to repeat this cycle! … Over … and over … and over … and over … again!…. Until! … … (He starts to stagger and quickly falls to his knees) …Eventually! … (He lies on his back shuddering) … You die! (He lifts his legs up, holds them there for a moment, and drops them to the ground with a loud bang)….  … Ta-ta-ta-rah!!!… … (He lies on his back and pretends to be blowing a trumpet)

(He rises to his feet, dusts himself quickly down, and leans on the side of the chair) So my friend, can you now appreciate … like me … that experiencing this ‘thrill of desiring’ was all that you were really after in the first place… and you continually deceived yourself into believing that you were actually searching for something else … Something …. ‘Precious’, or perhaps, … ‘Meaningful’? (He laughs, and sits down). …

 All those possibilitiesout there that you haven’t experienced yet! ….. It’s all so … very exciting isn’t it? …Which is why it’s relatively easy to get all of you down here to go dashing about, all over the place, time and time again!

(He leans forward, and whispers) I’ll let you into a little secret my friend. Your ‘life’ down here isn’t one damn thing after another. It’s far worse than that! (Louder) Your life down here is the same damn thing, over and over again! (He roars with laughter).

(He wipes his eyes) But hey! There’s no need for you to get all upset  … Because now that you do know how it all works here, obviously you don’t have to actually take any more of those ‘first steps’ ever again!  …. (He stares at the floor for a moment, then jerks upright and smiles broadly) … No more of all that frantic dashing around! ….. (He begins to march this way and that, with an exaggerated Nazi ‘goose-step’)  … You can just imagine yourself taking those journeys instead! …. ‘Do it all yourself’ – ‘in the privacy of your own head’ – as it were! … It’ll be just as exciting! ….

And hey!  No one else is really all that interested anyway. So they won’t even notice! They’re all far too busy down here trying to find new ways of fanning the flames of their own desire ….

(He stops suddenly and looks thoughtful for a moment. A faint grin appears on his face, and he speaks to himself quietly) …. Mmm! .. I like that …’fanning the flames’ ….. I must remember to keep it in … …..

(He smiles warmly again and continues speaking normally) So … don’t worry! … I promise you! … In the end, no one will know if you had any real intention of ever actually going anywhere.  … …

(He walks off, and says softly) …Not even you!

(He pauses, and repeats quietly to himself, in a  slow , deliberate, voice, before moving on) …Not .. even .. you! 

From, ‘Field-notes For Armageddon’, by Bob Hardy

 

Setting The Scene – Part 2

One of the problems I’m having here already, is ‘telling it the way it really was’ thirty-five plus years ago, because my account is being continually influenced by my present viewpoint. But, for the time being at least, I am just going to have to be ‘ok with that’ (and so will you) otherwise I’m not going to get any further here. I should also add that – looking at those past events now – it is obvious to me that I didn’t really know what I was doing back then.  But at that time, I really thought I did ..

What sorts of people, in my opinion at least, become interested in the things that Eugene Halliday spoke and wrote about? Well, I see them falling into two major groups. The first group has an interest in subjects such as: psi phenomena – telepathy, etc; psychic phenomena – contacting the dead, etc.; ‘matters esoteric’ – astral travel, etc; and ‘things that can’t be explained by science generally’; and I would also include here those who have a morbid fear of death. And although I don’t belong to this group, I do appreciate how they come to listen to, and read, Eugene Halliday’s material, because I have always had an interest in these subjects myself. To give you just a few brief examples, as a teenager I was fascinated by the writings of Charles Forte and his skepticism re ‘the scientific method’ (I still have my copy of ‘The Books of Charles Forte’); I was an avid reader of Science Fiction from the age of about 14 (and had one of the biggest collections in the UK by 1970, with many first editions (Oh, how I wish I had them now!). As a teenager I read many ‘non-mainstream’ books at that time, such as ‘An Experiment With Time’ by J. W. Dunn and ‘Flying Saucers Have Landed; by George Adamski. During my late teens I bought my own copy of the Condon Report (‘The Blue Book’), published in the early 1950’s – the infamous American Air Force report on UFO’s; I read semi-academic stuff by authors such as Carlos Castaneda; I have had a forty plus year interest in C G Jung’s ‘Analytical’ or ‘Depth’ Psychology, which first prompted my continuing interest in Gnosticism and Alchemy; etc. etc. And, in case you think I might now have left all this stuff behind me, my last Kindle purchase (in March of 2012) was Phillip K Dick’s ‘Exegesis’ …. So yeah! It isn’t like I don’t know what it’s like to have these interests. But understand that I do view all of this material skeptically – but that’s how I view almost everything else! And I should also add that I am acutely aware of the power and control that self-styled experts in these areas (particularly where it concerns the more esoteric subjects here) can so easily assume over the more gullible and vulnerable members of society – often with tragic results.

But having these interests myself, to some degree at least, was not at all why I was (and still am) interested in the ‘Work’ of Eugene Halliday!

So I’m in ‘The Other Group’ then, and that’s not so easy to describe. But I will try, by attempting to tell you here how this all started for me …

For as long as I can remember, a number of really pressing questions have always been uppermost in my mind. However, it’s not like these questions initially presented themselves to me as politely articulated inquiries, or that they emerged gradually. Rather, they have always seemed to me to have been muttering away autonomously ‘in the back of my mind’ there, and I experienced them as being all connected thematically.

Broadly speaking, they are “What am I?; What am I doing here?; Where am I?”; “Who are all these other people?”, and are accompanied by a vague feeling that, “This has all been some sort of dreadful mistake.”

There is one other question however, that you could add to those above, and it’s the one I believe that all of us are presented with – all the time – voiced or unvoiced. And that’s, “What is going on right now, and what should I do about it?”.

The attempt to provide the answer to this particular question can involve on the one hand, delving into subjects such as Religion and Metaphysics, and on the other, Science and Engineering (to say nothing of the Arts), and is exquisitely formulated to get us caught up in anything that takes our fancy that happens to be going on ‘out there’ from Word Wars and Global Politics, to problems involving attempts to lose weight, or to tackle premature baldness… It is – if you will – the one question we are all continuously being presented with, whether we are consciously aware of it as a particular formulated enquiry or not… And so events – which you can believe are either sent ‘from above’, or are merely the consequences of Darwinian evolution – do appear to have conspired to place human beings at least, in a position to explore their own existential search for ‘meaning’ from moment to moment.

How these questions – and my responses to them – have ‘evolved’ over the years would be extremely difficult for me to describe right now. But to give you some idea, a question such as, “What is ‘in-ness’, and ‘out-ness’?”  evolved quite naturally, in my case, from ‘Where am I?” In that it was not asked of me by anyone else, but was formulated from ‘out of myself’ – it simply ‘rose up’ in me if you like. And I also experienced it as ‘coming to me at the right time’ such that, along with its appearance, I also had the distinct impression that it was also now possible for me to come up with some kind of answer to it….

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If I happen to meet a ‘fellow enquirer’ in the same situation as me, we seem to be able to recognize each other almost immediately; and we also know when someone else is ‘faking’ these questions. I mean here that, although many might say that they find these questions ‘really interesting’, they are clearly only of passing interest here – a diversion in the moment, and nothing more than that.

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The urgency of requiring some sort of answers to these pressing questions did appear to diminish later in life somewhat, as I become more and more embroiled in the ‘game of life’. So much so, in fact, that I sometimes forgot about them entirely for short periods.  But, sooner, rather than later, they would come back to haunt me again.

However, there is a kind of ‘upside’ to this, in that this relentless existential ‘prodding’ seemed to come with an abundance of free energy that I could use to help me here. Some saw this in me as an unseemly ‘manic enthusiasm’, and would find it extremely unsettling when I ‘turned up the wick’ from time to time, although others appeared to enjoy the spectacle.

A ‘downside’ to all this (which I also experienced very early on) was that if I did attempt to ‘avoid the quest’, then the ‘free energy’ I was blessed with would very soon tangle me up in all sorts of trouble.

By the way, please don’t imagine that I believe all this makes me somehow superior. It’s just the way it is, and I’m simply pointing out here that you either do have these questions gnawing away at you, or you don’t – which is rather obvious if you care to think about it for a moment 🙂 ….  And also, I hope I haven’t given you the impression that in earnestly seeking answers to these questions, I’ve necessarily discovered any!

The reason why some of us do, or don’t, have these questions in us in this way, is another matter entirely …. And, yes, I am well aware that the answer here could simply be that we’re insane!

By the way, if you don’t have these questions ‘in you’, or, to put that another way, if you are not, in some fundamental sense, these questions themselves, then the few paragraphs I’ve written above here won’t really have made that much sense to you…

….Finally, I feel I should also tell you that there are also a number of other things that happen to me that other people might find odd. But, for the moment at least, I don’t have any intention of writing about them here..

That being said … On with the tale. …

I first heard of Eugene Halliday sometime during the mid-1970’s, when Martin Mathieson, a close friend of mine, gave me a number of audio-cassette of Eugene’s talks that were recorded sometime between the late 1950’s and the mid 1960’s, at meetings of the ‘The International Hermeneutic Society’ (IHS) which were held at the Liverpool home of Ken (he changed the spelling to Khen) and Barbara (she changed the spelling to Bhar) Ratcliffe. Eugene Halliday was, at that time, the IHS President, and Ken Ratcliffe was the IHS Secretary.

Shortly after giving me these cassettes, Martin took me and my wife, Jean, to ‘Tan-Y-Garth Hall’, a large house in North Wales. This Hall was the new home of the IHS, which, since October of 1971, had become an officially registered charity.

By this time, Eugene Halliday appears to have severed his official connection to the IHS, and also, interestingly enough, sometime during this early period, the IHS had morphed into the IHS(V) or IHS(VAL) – ‘The International Hermeneutic Society (Validations)’. It is also important to point out that, from the time that Tan-Y-Garth became the ‘headquarters’ of the IHS in 1971, until his death in 1987 (some 15 years later), Eugene Halliday never stepped foot in the place, although he could have done so at any time – a state of affairs that I still, to this day, find interesting.

I have no idea where the (V) here came from by the way – but during the next decade or so, I could not help but notice that these same letters kept cropping up elsewhere: IHS(V) or IHS(VAL); and ISHVAL; closely followed by the very mysterious SIHVAL – The Society for the Investigation of Human Values – registered as a charity in September of 1972, and more commonly referred to by folks ‘in the know’ (who lived in South Cheshire, UK, and made use of it) as ‘Toft Hall’, and which seems to have been, bye and large, what was known at that time as a (local) ‘convalescent home’. (More of that in a later post. perhaps).

Ken Ratcliffe presided over an informal mid-week discussion group at Tan-Y-Garth, the major purpose of which (during the time I attended at least) was to discuss some of Eugene (or Gene – as Ken called him) Halliday’s concepts.

Ken made it very clear during the time I attended these talks that what he was doing here was simply attempting to work with Eugene Halliday’s ideas. And he certainly was not claiming that he had, in some way, already absorbed them – quite the opposite in fact.

There were never more than half-a-dozen or so people maximum attending this mid-week group, and although it appeared to me that one or two of them were clearly ‘traveling on the other coach’, this didn’t seem to matter too much (but telling you this here should dispel any suspicion you might harbor that I imagined we were all engaged in some sort of ‘Brains of Britain’ thing).

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Attempting any discussion of Eugene Halliday’s ideas, as I see it, would reasonably  suppose that those doing so had some sort of ‘passing acquaintance’ with them at least, which in my case was a consequence of listening to recordings of his talks, and also reading some of his essays. Indeed this form of ‘studying’ was the approach that Ken appeared to me to be using at Tan-Y-Garth – in that he listened to the tapes, read the essays, and tried to remember the stuff.

So, during the time that I attended these meeting, in my opinion, Ken wasn’t ‘bringing up these ideas from himself’. In fact, often he was clearly having just as much difficulty getting them ‘straight, in his head’, as everyone else. And although he had a great deal more information available (from his close personal connection with Eugene Halliday for 20 years or so, and also his continuous striving to remember this material), it was obvious that these ideas and concepts that we were discussing were not his – and that what he was doing, at these group meetings at least, was musing over them out loud, and using the rest of us as a sounding-board, as it were.

That was fine with me, as I did have a good memory then, and remembering this stuff wasn’t that difficult for me. So I did spend  a few years here just discussing Eugene’s concepts with both Ken and the group, and I consider this time to have been extremely formative and important to any understanding I imagine I now have of this material.

I had not yet focused on the idea of embodying these ideas at this time – because I would not have had the faintest inkling of what that might have meant. And It was only after listening to Ken’s accounts of Eugene’s advice to him it began to dawn on me, that without this practical (embodying) side, no real progress was ever going to be made. But, as I say, this was not at all obvious to me in the beginning – that is, when I first began listening to the tapes, and reading the essays.

Although this situation, by and large, was to continue for the next decade or so, at the time though (luckily for me) none of this mattered, and I was (and still am) simply grateful to Ken for the opportunity to have been able to discuss these ideas in some depth with anybody at all. I should also perhaps make it clear that I believe I benefited from my visits to Tan-Y-Garth and taking part in these discussions, far more than my later visits to ‘Parklands’ – where I had many opportunities to listen to Eugene talking in person, and to do other stuff as well.

So, to recap briefly. As far as my impressions at this time were concerned, after listening to a number of Eugene Halliday’s recorded talks, and having read a few of his essays, I had become very interested at the way in which he explained: who we were; what we were doing here; how we got here; who these other people were; etc. I was now talking about these ideas with others who also claimed to be interested in them (but, unfortunately, not for the same reasons that I believed I was).

I must admit that my attitude to what it was that others were doing here did irritate me at the time. As it did seem fairly obvious to me that many of them were desperately looking for ‘someone’ in their lives – someone to ‘follow’ as it were – and who, in the main, also favored the current, trendy, emerging ‘New Age-ish’, approach to life. I, on the other hand, wasn’t looking for ‘anyone’ particularly; or any group of people to socially interact with.

This perspective of mine on what it was these people were ‘up to’, set the pattern for any further discussions I was to have with almost everyone else involved here for the next five or six years – and was ultimately the main reason why I had no problem ‘moving on’ in 1984.

But let me make it absolutely clear here that I had no sense at all Eugene Halliday himself was promoting ideas and concepts that endorsed, or were even sympathetic to, current, trendy, ‘spiritual’ enquiries involving ‘mysterious’ topics such as: ufo’s; crop circles; spirit beings from another planet; previous lives; Yaqui Indian sorcerers; astral travel; divination; transcendental meditation/contemporary ‘yoga’; quack medicine; ‘special’ diets; mysterious oriental practices; etc. etc. Quite the reverse in fact.

Indeed I was relieved to find someone who clearly wasn’t resorting to all that fashionable nonsense. But who, rather, seemed to believe (as I did) that the very fact of ‘being’ itself was ‘magical’ enough and worth investigating – without the introduction of any smoke and mirrors, or trickery and mumbo-jumbo, to ‘spice it up a bit’; and who was presenting an interesting, helpful, and self-affirming area of study and contemplation.

Eugene Halliday did, of course, use contemporary metaphors and mise-en-scènes to illustrate his ideas, and I’m fine with that – because I don’t see how else you could get these ideas across, unless perhaps you produce them in an exclusively academic setting – which would defeat his whole purpose here, in my view.

So I  vacillated between being really grateful that I had come across this material, and being intensely irritated with many of those that I was having to come in contact with!

It was fortunate for me though that I stuck with it, because this aspect of group relationships, and the dynamics it produced began to fascinate me, eventually more so even than just thinking about Eugene Halliday’s concepts themselves. And I would say that the study of the behavior of various disparate social groups, ‘read through’  Eugene Halliday’s concepts, would eventually provide me with far more material about the nature of the human condition (vis-a-vis those ‘questions’ of mine) than simply the contemplation of Eugene Halliday’s concepts ‘in abstraction’, as it were. But this was all to come about at some considerable time in the future.

To continue here though …. I was also lucky enough to have a number of lengthy private conversations with Ken during the few years that I was regularly attending Tan-Y-Garth. Perhaps this was because I had spent a few years at sea, but I couldn’t really say for sure. Anyway, I always felt that he was ‘on the level’ with me, and I agree with those others I have spoken with who knew him from his time in Liverpool, that he was definitely a ‘man’s man’, who also appreciated a ‘well-turned ankle’.

I also soon found out that, luckily for Ken, his son-in-law, Richard, (who had married his daughter, Janet) was professionally qualified to restore, and archive, the many recordings of Eugene Halliday’s talks that had taken place at Ken and Barbara’s home in Liverpool, and which were, at that time, in a real mess, as Ken (so Richard told me) had never bothered to give them titles, or ever attempted to rewind any of the tapes he had listened to (they were quarter-inch reel-to-reel) And I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever (as I was also qualified in this area) that without Richard’s dedicated work (which took him decades by the way) this material would never have been preserved.

As well as I can recall it, Ken told me that he had met Eugene Halliday just after the war, when he was living in Manchester.  As he was about to marry his wife-to-be, Barbara (called ‘Bar’ by one and all) at the registry office, he discovered that he needed a ‘Best-Man-cum-witness’ for their wedding. He asked Gene, who he told me lived in a flat in the same house, if he would do the job. Gene agreed, and they subsequently became friends.

Ken had served in WWII – in the Fleet Air Arm I think – and he told me that he was wounded at Dunkirk – strafed by machine gun fire from a German fighter plane while attempting to sail a dingy across the English Channel.

As a consequence he was sent to South Africa to recuperate, and he told me that this was when he first became interested in Yoga.

He also told me that the first book he ever read on the subject of Yoga was this one (I’ve provided a link to it here if you’re interested) – The Hindu-Yogi Science Of Breath by Yogi Ramacharaka 

I don’t know when he actually read it, but significantly though, his copy (which I now have in my possession) was pressed in 1960, so obviously he read this particular edition after this date. The author’s name ‘Yogi Ramacharaka’ is a pseudonym for William Walker Atkinson who, as you’ve probably guessed, was neither a ‘Yogi’ (whatever that actually might be) or Indian – he was American.

I also understood from Ken, that even before the war, he had been interested in Charles Atlas’s system of Dynamic Tension, and in Body Culture in general.

It is clear that Ken and Gene were close friends after the war, so much so, that Ken and Bar’s two daughters, Janet, and Shelagh Ratcliffe (who, when representing England as a swimmer, won silver and bronze medals at the 1970 Commonwealth Games) also referred to Eugene Halliday as ‘(Uncle) Gene’.

Indeed, Eugene appeared to be known as Gene to one-and-all at this time, including his second wife, Margret. The habit of referring to him as (the more formal) ‘Eugene’ apparently began quite late in his life; and I understood, from Zero Mahlowe, that she was the first person to regularly call him Eugene – because she said that she didn’t really like the name ‘Gene’!

Ken also told me that he and Gene would go over on the ferry to the Isle of Man during the summer season, where they would sell casts of miniature painted models that Gene had carved in soft stone, using a filed-down, sharpened, six inch nail. From this original model, a rubber mold would be made, then plaster copies would be cast. Friends of theirs, who I understood lived in (or perhaps near) the large house where Eugene lived in Manchester would paint them. During this period, Ken and Gene would also both head up to Blackpool, where they would also sell these figures on the famous ‘Golden Mile’. Ken also told me that Gene was also in the habit of  giving ‘talks’ to groups of people ‘on the beach’ at the IOM.

I’ve videoed a short clip of four of Eugene’s models that I have in my possession – here it is. Eugene Halliday – Models I have no idea how many he actually produced. Personally, I find them valuable, as they provide me with a glimpse of  the ‘flesh and blood’ Eugene Halliday.

Ken said that, when gathering a crowd at these British North-English holiday resorts  he would also do some card tricks to entertain them, and on one occasion, at a ‘Tan-Y-Garth weekend I attended, he demonstrated a few ‘passes’ to me using a standard deck of cards. And although he was clearly a bit rusty, he obviously knew what he was doing.

Ken made no secret of the fact that he was continually studying Eugene’s material (that is, the written and recorded material). And because, I believe, of their close association for what was a significant length of time, this must surely have allowed Ken to ask Eugene for any amount of practical advice. Thus I believe that the advice Ken passed on to me (and almost certainly to others) about how to interact with some of Eugene’s ideas, came originally from the man himself. Here are a few early examples of exercises that  Ken gave me:

  1. Concerning words. Attempt to introduce new words into your vocabulary. First select a word and then research it’s definition and etymology. Use this word in as many different situations as you can during the coming week and then come back to the group and present some sort of account.
  2. Concerning general awareness. Attempt to remain aware of parts of your body while engaged in conversation. For instance, no matter how stimulated you become, try to remain aware of the soles of your feet against the floor, or if you’re sitting down, of your back against the chair.
  3. Also concerning general awareness. Upon retiring to bed, make yourself aware of your body. Start with the soles of the feet and move up to the crown of your head. After a few weeks or so of practicing this, you should find you are able to ‘traverse’ the length of your body and heighten your awareness of it very quickly, at any time, and anywhere.
  4. When walking down any road, try to retain as much information regarding the interiors of the houses you are passing – particularly if you are engaged in conversation with someone at the time.

Ken gave me quite a few more of these practical exercises later, and this ‘grounding approach’ (if I can put it that way) to working with Eugene’s ideas was to became an essential part of all this to me. And everything I have attempted in this area since, has had a physical component.

Of all the people I ever came across who claimed to be working with Eugene Halliday’s ideas, Ken’s approach here was the most convincing – to me at least.

Making this experiential, practical, aspect of Eugene Halliday’s ‘Work’ an essential component for yourself is also an efficient way of discovering if someone else who claims an interest in Eugene’s ideas is doing anything more than just trying to impress you with little bits and pieces of his stuff that they have managed to remember. You can, very quickly, ‘cut through all the rubbish’ though by simply asking, “So what were the practical, experiential, consequences of your understanding of this concept of Eugene Halliday’s, that you claim is so important to you?”  This question can often save you being the victim of hours of interminable sermonizing; pointless half-baked exterpolizing; or being forced to listen to endless de-contextualized ‘aphorisms’ (my particular ‘pet hate’). Just ask the question’ “So what?”, as soon as you can.

The significant writings that Ken would center his discussions on, during the time I was going to Tan-Y-Garth at least, were (I have provided links to this material here) Truth   The Four-Part Man   The Tacit Conspiracy (Eugene’s ‘take’ on the sexes).   Reflexive Self-Consciousness , and ideas that centered around ‘Sentient Power’.  The Pursuit of Power  is a good introduction to his thoughts on ‘power’ itself.

Ken also recorded a reading of what was, in my opinion, one of Eugene’s most important introductory writings, and is a great place to start any consideration of his ‘take on things’. Here’s the text –  Five Things To Do  and here’s the reading – Five Things To Do (audio). You can hear Ken acknowledging his debt to his friend Gene as he reads – what he refers to as – ‘an introduction to Hermenuitics’.

Amongst the many recorded talks that I found most relevant, where it concerned ‘power’ at least, was ‘Energy’, which is a reasonable first tape to listen to. Here’s the audio file and transcript of that talk Energy   Energy (transcript) . [I’ll be going over my own interaction with any linked material I post here in more detail later on by the way].

However, even then, my perception of Eugene Halliday’s ‘work’ was that there was an over-all ‘shape’ to it: that it all seemed to emanate from the same place. Such that, if you could get there yourself, you could view all this ‘stuff’ in one go, as it were. So, instead of wanting to ‘do a Eugene Halliday’, by absorbing as much of his tapes and writings verbatim somehow (which, even then, I believed was a silly thing to attempt; impossible to do in principle, and so, doomed from the outset), I wanted to, somehow, get to ‘that place’ myself, and then ‘all would be revealed’… …

Simple, hey? …. But I had no idea how to get there at that time… And also, as someone here famously said, “Simple does not mean easy!”…

On the down side during this time, Ken – along with a significant number of other folk I spoke with who claimed to know Eugene at that time  – told me that Eugene had predicted something really nasty would be going on by 1984, which, ‘those in the know’ here, interpreted as being a major conflict – along the lines of  World War III.

1984 was almost ten year in the future at that time, and this ‘bad vibe’ was, I believe (as did others I have spoken to about this), a significant component in Ken’s decision to move away from (Swinging) Liverpool … bury himself in the middle of nowhere, in North Wales … and take up residence in a very large house … with a very large vegetable garden … and very large, thick, stone walls.

As someone who never bought into the whole ‘Ban the Bomb’ thing, or ever believed, back with others in the 1960′ and 70’s, that we were all on the brink of a nuclear armageddon  – I viewed these negative ‘vibes’ with some skepticism. (Although Everton did manage to win the FA cup in 1984 – but I don’t suppose Eugene meant that). …

The only dissenting personal voice I ever came across, regarding this whole 1984 thing, was Zero Mahlowe’s, who told me, when I asked her about it in 2006, that Eugene did not specifically say that there would be a Third Word War in 1984 – only that the world would be (as she put it) “Significantly out of balance.” But she offered me no extended perspective on what she thought Eugene might have meant here.

Be that as it may, I have no doubt that many others at that time thought Eugene Halliday was of the opinion –  from at least the late 1960’s – that in 1984, a traditional military ‘nasty event’ was ‘on the cards’ (to put it in the vernacular). Consider this final paragraph from SIHV’s brochure from the 1970’s (that mysterious ‘Society for the Investigation of Human Values’ that I mentioned above).

Should it be that World War III were not avoidable, then the salvation of Human Hearted Intelligence will be required. If such a conflict should develop it is probable that there would be pockets of people remaining and it is essential that these people relate Humanely and Intelligently with the recognition of Human Solidarity throughout the world.

I have nothing whatsoever against the sentiments here, but they do seem a little over the top for the brochure of an organization that was, essentially, running a convalescent home.

I’m not concerned here about this (assumed mistake) re Eugene Halliday’s supposed ‘predictive abilities’ either. But, I do happen to believe that divination is impossible, – in the sense that ‘occultists’ use the term anyway – and that the motives for claiming one can do so are often reprehensible in my opinion…If you don’t know what I mean here, think Jim Jones, Jonestown, Guyana, 1978, and ‘The People’s Temple’. …

The over-riding need for a sizable percentage of those who take an interest in Eugene Halliday’s ‘Work’ to ‘bolt on’ a supernatural element is something that I believe he was always clearly aware of, but could do little to prevent. I also believe he was equally aware that this perspective is freely chosen by those people who engage in this sort of thing; and that he saw it as something that these people had to ‘go through’ themselves, and not something he could, necessarily, simply persuade them about, one way or the other. Regrettably then, this aspect of Eugene Halliday’s ‘Work’ seems to ‘go with the territory’, and one just has to put up with it.

It’s not my intention here to deliberately extend this section even further, but I feel I should point out here that by 1984, the world was in the middle of a full-blown AIDS pandemic – and it has killed tens of millions of people since (after a peak of around 2,000,000 per-year in 2004, deaths by AIDS are still up there around 1.8 million-per-year mark) – and it still is.

Personally I would say that AIDS would qualify as something ‘really, really, really, really, nasty going on’. Far more so than those endless military conflicts that seem to have been doing the rounds since the time of Adam and Eve… … But a ‘plague’?…

In the ‘ Swinging 60’s and post-60’s ‘, with its endless, ‘Summers of Love’, a sexually transmitted disease was not at all the thing that its members – who were far too busy proclaiming that they had finally smashed the chains of their ‘Victorian misogynistic heritage’ – wanted to ponder over …  Anyway, most ‘doom merchants’ at that time were far too busy anxiously ‘watching the skies’ for nuclear missiles, to bother ‘glancing down’ and perhaps notice that things were starting to go amiss ‘below the belt’.  … But then, as the old Liverpool maxim would have it, ‘Never try to educate a mug’.

Essential components of any normal learning process are skepticism and disagreement, and anyone here should feel completely free to analyze and explore any misgivings they might have, and not be made to feel constrained, or that they’re ‘rocking the boat’ for others. Everyone makes mistakes, including Eugene Halliday. And a passively accepting, totally acquiescing, group of people, who have clustered around a person they have deluded themselves into believing is some sort of ‘all-knowing’ leader-cum-‘father figure’ is simply one more example of a pathetic cult – a variety of organization that, regrettably, has, and will always, be with us.

Anyway …. back to the story. …. I see now that I had become addicted to poking at those damned questions of mine (it was like having a pebble in my shoe all the time) and I was able to ‘pick-up’ stuff that contained pertinent material. But I wasn’t too interested in the ‘medium’ really – in that I didn’t really care who’s ideas they were – I was only interested in the ‘message’. And I was also confident  that, even if this ‘message’ was buried under a mountain of prima materia , I could dig it out.

At this stage of the game then, my impression of Eugene Halliday as a ‘flesh and blood human being’ was constructed almost entirely from my listening to him speaking on recordings of his talks, and my reading of his various essays (‘serialized’; short, and extended). Importantly, there were an awful lot of these talks and a significant number of essays.

It was also very obvious that the people I had met who had been ‘exposed’ to this material had obviously been very stimulated by it. However, it also seemed to me also that the overwhelming majority here did not appear to me to have any clear idea at all about any over-all structure to Eugene Halliday’s perception of things, or even about the major concepts contained in  this material.

The fact that Eugene Halliday gave talks in Liverpool, to what appeared to be a small group of people in Ken’s front room, also fleshed-in my mental portrait of him a little. And there was also that ‘background-sort-of-biographical-filling-in’ from Ken, that centered around trips to various sea-side resorts in order to ‘make a few bob’, that I also found interesting, etc.

I had no idea, at that time, that, even as early as the late 1940’s (or perhaps even earlier), Eugene Halliday had been giving talks to a group of people in the kitchen of his home in Manchester, or that he was extremely active in the (distinctly Christian) Healing Ministry of the Congregationalist Church during the late 1950’s, writing for both the Cavandish Review and the Healing Quarterly (which is when ‘The Four-Part Man’ and other important early essays of his were first published). Or that he was introducing his own methods of alleviating the mental problems afflicting many young men who had suffered CSR from their experiences during WWII (and also civilians suffering from depression who didn’t fancy having to take mountains of pills, or having their brains zapped by Electroconvulsive therapy) – and that he was doing this, essentially, by just talking with them!

Factoring in this material would take me a great deal of time later, in fact I did not start to attempt any understanding of this part of his life until fairly recently (around 2004).

As I say, looking back, I see I was far more interested in the ‘message’ here, than the ‘messenger’. And Eugene Halliday was, at that time to me,  somone who was very, very, smart and seemed to know a great deal about a lot of interesting subjects. This view of him would metamorphose considerably as I soldiered on, until eventually it became very clear to me that things were never what they seemed to be here.

The only thing I would add here re my thoughts at that time, was that Eugene/Gene sounded to me  as if he had a slight speech impediment, and this intrigued me, as no one else ever mentioned it to me, not, at least, at that time – so I didn’t either. And anyway, it was no ‘big deal’ to me ….. not then anyway. However, later on, it became of central importance to my personal view of Eugene Halliday’s own journey, even if, from the mid-seventies, up until the present day, I have never heard anyone else endorse this view-point of mine.

I came to view Eugene Halliday’s physicality as THE essential component to focus upon, at least if I were to  arrive at an (even facile) understanding of what it was that made him tick’…

To be continued …

Bob Hardy

April, 2012.

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