Friday, October 30, 2009

Baby's First Villanelle

I've been experimenting with poetic forms and wrote my first villanelle last night.  It's definitely not going to revolutionize the poetic field, but it does fulfill all the requirements of the form.  In trying to think of what to write, I immediately went to Shakespeare, the patron saint of the English language.  I'm provisionally calling it "Modern Trickster."

I am that merry wanderer of the night;

I dance and laugh and shout and sing

more than Puck ever did at his height.

I wield an awesome might

yet am as fragile as a hummingbird's wing.

I am that merry wanderer of the night.

Long I gaze at any thrilling sight

and raise my voice and let it ring

more than Puck ever did at his height.

I don't give a damn about wrong or right.

To me the same is a worker or a king.

I am that merry wanderer of the night.

I'm always ready for a fight

and long to give a head a ping

more than Puck ever did at his height.

I am the whiskey with the bite

that lights the fire that makes souls zing.

I am that merry wanderer of the night

more than Puck ever was at his height.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Thoughts of Death

This post is appropriate to the season.  Fall is the time when everything dies, and Halloween is the time when the veil between life and death is the thinnest and the dead may return (hopefully not as zombies).  It's the only time of the year when it's socially acceptable  to put up images of skulls, skeletons, and other morbid things.

Which got me thinking: what can we know about what happens after death?  And my answer is: nothing.  Once our bodies die, once our brains die, all our knowledge ceases.  Everything we can know comes from our experiences, and all our experiences are created by our brain.  Everthing.  It's all chemical and electrical processes.  When your brain's dead, you can know nothing and experience nothing.  Near-death experiences, you say?  I can wire your brain up and cause you to have one just by stimulating parts of your brain.  I can inject you with a drug called DMT (I think) that will cause you to experience alien abduction even though you're in a bed in a lab being watched by doctors all the time.  Any experience, whether "real" or not, is a function of your brain.

Now let me tell you a lie.  Let me tell you that there are two types of knowledge which we'll call lower and higher.  The lower knowledge I've just described.  We'll use it's Latin name, scientia.  On the Tree of Life, it's represented by Malkuth (the Kingdom), the tenth and final Sephirot.  It's also called Shekinah, the Presence.  In one version of the Tree, it takes two forms.  It takes the familiar form with Malkuth at the bottom.  There's an earlier form, however, with no Malkuth.  Instead, more towards the top, there's a Sephirot called Daath.  Daath represents the higher knowledge.  I prefer to use the Greek word gnosis for this.  This knowledge isn't dependent on experience; technically, you can't experience it.  It's beyond all experience and knowledge (scientia).  It's the great dilemma of every single mystical system I care to name how to experience that which cannot be experienced.  I said this was a lie, didn't I?  It's a lie because words can't explain what brain can't know.  The paradox is that all mystical systems try to explain it anyway in order to get its followers to experience it.  That's right, the it that can't be experienced.  Or even talked about.  Yet it is on both counts.

On this Tree, Daath falls and becomes Malkuth.  In a sense, this represents the formation of the ego.  An infant doesn't conceive of itself as a separate being.  The ego is the mental construct that allows us to think of ourselves as a separate and independent being apart from everything else.  The knowledge of ourselves as everything is lost (so to speak, since its not really knowledge at all) and the knowledge of ourselves as ourselves begins.  I was watching the movie Excalibur recently, and Merlin expressed the same thing I'm saying.  He talked about an earlier time when everything was one.  During this time, the sword of power was forged.  My friends asked how a sword could be forged during a time of oneness and peace.  My response was that it's forging probably ended the time of oneness.  The sword can be a representation of the ego.  In some mythology, the sword is forged, broken, and re-forged (as happens in Excalibur).  This can represent the initial formation of the ego, its disillusionment that it's really separate (or even real), leading to its destruction and re-formation.  The re-formed ego realizes it's an illusion, but a necessary one.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Rene Descartes obsession with proving his existence began in childhood.  Freud was so right.

Young Descartes one day said, "Mother,

my enemy is my new little brother.

He's created an illusion

as part of your delusion

that only he exists and no other."

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


I love divination.  Who wouldn't?  Mostly, different forms of divination tell you a lot about yourself and only maybe about your future.  Just recently, I heard about a a new form of technomancy called Twittermancy.  It's a program that uses Twitter posts as divination tools.  You input a word, click the generate button, and get a random sampling of words from Twitter.  Just to test it out, I put in the word 'future.'  Oddly enough, contained in my random matrix of words was the phrase "god is yourself."  Read my last couple of posts to see why this phrase leaped out at me.  There could be something to this.  There was also the phrase "get magic information."  A reference to technomancy, perhaps.  Then there was the phrase "knees is trust."  I don't know what that means.  There's probably a danger here of reading too much into this.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Just a penny?

There's a difference between a maze and a labyrinth.  A maze is a problem to work through.  You go in one end, find the correct path, and come out the other end.  A labyrinth, on the other hand, is something to be experienced.  You enter, follow the path to the center, and return, exiting out of the entrance.

Joseph Campbell believed that the Hero's Journey and schizophrenia were very similar.  Both deal with an inward journey and archetypal forces.  The Hero masters these forces.  They lift him up, like a boat on the water.  He goes on the journey and returns from it changed.  The schizophrenic, however, is overwhelmed by these forces.  He drowns in them.  He has a problem that he has to work through.

When the Hero reaches the center of the labyrinth, he experiences something.  "A sight to see" as some poet says.  The Hero experiences his or her own divinity, the spark of god that is in us.  How can this not change someone.  I call it an experience, or a sight, but it's beyond all understanding.  Mystical traditions have been trying to explain it for millennia, but all words are inadequate.  Even mine.

Thinking that you're god is a delusion.  You have a problem and should seek psychiatric help.  You could have schizophrenia or megalomania.  You have a maze to go through.  But knowing you're god means you've been to the center and seen for yourself.  Good for you.