Tag Archives: Philosophy

Attempting an Explication of the Second Coming by W.B. Yeats

Turning and turning in the widening gyre   

The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere   

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst   

Are full of passionate intensity.



Surely some revelation is at hand;

Surely the Second Coming is at hand.   

The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out   

When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi

Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert   

A shape with lion body and the head of a man,   

A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,   

Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it   

Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.   

The darkness drops again; but now I know   

That twenty centuries of stony sleep

Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,   

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,   

Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Some rough beast, a gaze as blank and pitiless as the sun is slouching towards Bethlehem to be born. Maybe the biggest question of this poem is why is the thing slouching? It’s a huge monster with a lion body. We think of lion bodies as being fierce, muscular, solar king-like, even devine in their beautiful symmetry (“What immortal hand or eye/ dare frame thy fearful symmetry?”) not slouchy! Lions are proud. People who slouch are ashamed and or dejected with being. For someone about to become Jesus 2.0, the next savior of the world, he’s not too excited about taking the job, that’s for sure!

And why go back to the original place? London, Paris, or New York would seem a more appropriate place for a new savior of this day and age to be born. With going back to the Levant, I sense its a metaphor that the ideals of the pagan West, namely that of the ideal of the individual, which is what the sense of the Grail romances, the pagan myths and fairy-tales, the Renaissance, and the Enlightenment are all about, have now been thoroughly overthrown, for the ideals of the Levant which are that of the group. If you’ve ever experienced a mob mentality break out, you definitely have seen gazes that are blank, pitiless, and soulless. That’s the equivalent of falling to all three temptations of the Buddha (Lust, Fear, Social Duty) in one fell swoop.

But why use “the Sun” as a simile? That definitely catches your attention. The sun is usually a metaphor and simile used for bright and hopeful sentiments. But not if your walking across the desert, right? Also, if you think of the sun only in its scientific definition, if you leave out the romance, mythological dimension of life, and only understand it as a function of physics, groveling as it were before shear fact, then the sun is indeed dead, a ruthless fireball fusing hydrogen into helium, that cares not a wit about life.

Some part of us knows something is wrong, but….

We are vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle.

Say what? Here’s my shot: A “rocking” cradle suggests instability, an unknowingness in an instinctual way, of whose side the MOTHER is on. Is she Athena or Circe? Does she want to kill us or for us to be the savior of the universe? Or in a way, as only Greek Mythology can intimate, be both? Or in another sense, the ground of our own being, of life’s being. Is it an inherently good thing, evil thing, or indifferent? I.e. “Something that should not have been,” as Schopenhauer suggests. Is nature, this thing that our consciousness rests on, inherently nasty, disgusting, and evil? If one has that sense, you will certainly be vexed to nightmare all the way back to birth.

This is when it gets exciting, the adventure. Because this is the entire sense of the burning point what is uniquely you that wants, that must be expressed, that has never been expressed before. Becoming imminent, and yet in a gesture to the East, most likely spontaneously, as the eminence of transcendence, completely without ego.

Changing My Mind About Publishing in Today’s Media Landscape

I pulled into Kroger’s tonight, and what I felt was a good poetic line seemed to flash into me —like so many do that don’t necessarily have a direct meaning consciously, but feel like they came from another place and I am just the receiver and feel like they are pointing towards something that is deep and true.

Normally I’d put the line in Notes like I’ve done hundreds if not thousands of times before and that’d be the last I’d see of it. Today I said, “Screw it, let’s post it.” And there from my car, from my Chrome browser on my iPhone 7+ I opened up my WordPress, created a new post and typed in the line. After I hit save, another line came to me that I added, and while I was in the store a third.

We’ll see how this experiment goes, but my point is, something keeps calling me toward this way of doing things in “real time” as the phrase goes.

Here’s another example with music. A few months ago, I had a somber tune (sweet sad) come to my head on a Saturday night about like this one, and right here in front of this iMac I propped my iPhone, opened up Garageband and recorded it, knowing it would be my next single.

But then a case of the “perfections” came in, and I still haven’t published it. I feel now like I should have gotten it out there, if not that night, for sure within the next week, even if it had a bracket of (Demo) beside it on Spotify. Now so many months later, the tune has sort of lost its “spark” inside of me, and even if I could lay down a technically better performance from taking my time, it would have lost its emotional spark that getting it at the moment or close to the moment would give.

Of course ten years ago, much less twenty or thirty, this would have been a ludicrous approach, but as an example, I was just listening to Rick Beato talking about the B-Side Police single “Murder by Numbers” and as much as I love Synchronicity. I would just absolutely love as much a sort of “B-Side” album of the band recording the whole album live in the same mode of “Murder by Numbers” — mistakes and all.

The great Carver Mead said “Listen to the Technology.” My gut is telling me that the technology, offering itself like this with its focus on immediacy, is telling us to publish, even in the formal arts of poetry and music, with the same immediacy that social media does.

The Symbolic Meaning of a Water Fountain

Water Fountain at Chenal Country Club

One can obviously see the phallic symbology of the water penetrating a yoni from beneath, but in a deeper sense, ironically a higher chakra sense, the form of a fountain represents each person and living being itself manifesting from a world of transcendence. And since each particle is of divine nature, so it your whole being.

The water represents the energy, the ambrosia of eternity pouring into the field of time. The endless flowing, the continuous flowing, represents the eternal nature of this mystical dimension and also the infinite nature of its source. Since you can’t see the water’s source, that represents that it’s coming from the ground of being and also that it’s coming from another dimension which is invisible to our senses. On a deeper level there’s the paradox and the archetypal sense of the infinite coming from nothingness, which ironically enough is being postulated as the literal truth in the latest scientific origin stories such as the Big Bang theory.

Most fountains that you see spring from a round bowl-shaped container or vase. The inside of the bowl or pool is sacred space, a “Holy Grail” you might say, which represents the transcendence of duality or on a psychological level, the gap between our thoughts.

Water has long been seen as symbolic of the ambrosia of eternity—and in mythology and psychology as symbolic of the subconscious. A fountain represents a sacred opening, gap or tunnel which is a connection to eternity itself—as well as to the depths of our own being.

In a way, a kind of mini temple, yet completely natural: a religious, mystical experience paradoxically combining both the mystical and the physical, representing a connection created by nature herself.

This is why it evokes an archetypal response of beauty in most people: The aesthetic being, at least on the symbolic level, the manifestation of a mystery.

02/09/16 Update: One element that struck me recently, especially looking at the still photograph, is the Lingam/Yoni symbolism. And there is a strong dichotomy of the Lingam, representing Shiva, coming out of the bowl/vase shaped Yoni, which is representative of the feminine aspect. But if you think about it from a Hindu perspective this makes total sense: The “Void” out of which everything comes and back into which everything goes is the Mother Goddess of the Universe. She is it. Symbolically speaking, the divine feminine represents life itself, and the Lingam, the male divine, represents the snake, who by piercing life, right through the middle, throws off death, just a snake throws off its skin.

The fact that the Lingam and Yoni are seen as together, like the Ying and Yang of Asia, as well as the water and bowl of a fountain, represents that the two are one, that the feminine and masculine are merely two different aspects of the same thing, just like the eternal and the imminent, the mysterious and the manifest, and indeed, life and death: this represents to the soul the transcendent nature of its own being.

Read this quote by Joseph Campbell

“Nevertheless-and here is a great key to the understanding of myth and symbol-the two kingdoms are actually one. The realm of the gods is a forgotten dimension of the world we know. And the exploration of that dimension, either willingly or unwillingly, is the whole sense of the deed of the hero.” – The Hero with a Thousand Faces, page 217, The Crossing of the Return Threshold

Here, the “realm of the gods” is symbolized by the Yoni, the void, the bowl, the feminine. And the “world we know” is represented by the Lingam/Masculine aspect. The masculine is representative of manifestation, but that manifestation has the potentiality to come in contact with the divine, indeed become divine, if it has the energy, drive, and intent to summon itself into one direction, namely that of the spontaneity residing inside the bowl of its own heart.

Another dichotomy: Notice in the fountain and in Hindu temples, the Lingam aspect is coming out of the Yoni, not going in: That’s symbolic of a resurrection. New life (Nova Vita) in this case not coming from sexual intercourse, but from a birth of the heart.

On Ego, What it Is, What it Does, and How to Cure It

“Because the conscious mind has to be in control, even though it doesn’t know anything.” – Dolores Cannon [Youtube Link]

I’ve heard Dolores say in other interviews that the Conscious Mind is the Ego. That makes the definition pretty simple. If that is the case then the cure would seem to be spending more time with the sub/unconscious parts of our psyches, paying it more respect, i.e., meditation, having the intent to remember and write down your dreams, and respecting the images and messages coming from that deep well. – Stephen

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. This post is definitely under construction. It may be so indefinitely. The main reason is: I have a strong sense that Ego is our main problem in life. Ego has hijacked our Consciousness, and it won’t let us be happy. It doesn’t want us to be happy.

But here’s the rub and the reason I created this post: I don’t know why, nor do I know exactly what it is, or how to get rid of it.

The few times in my life that I’ve really meditated, and carried on a sustained practice, it does seem like that exercise had a positive effect on reducing it, much like working out at the gym burns fat.

But somehow the Ego itself, being still in control, seems to stop me in my tracks from doing such things as meditating, anything that would threaten it’s existence. Since it has hijacked and controls the brain it accomplishes this behaviourial control by releasing negative feelings around anything it doesn’t want you to do. Anything that would help you escape from it.

Still, I don’t know what it, Ego, is, exactly. I’m hoping that writing itself, you know how writing is a way of learning, will help me arrive at an answer. If you have any thoughts on this subject, then I would love to hear them in comments.

It occurred to me today that we weren’t born with Ego. It feels like Society somehow injects us with “Ego” little by little, as we grow older, and we don’t notice it, much like we don’t notice our day to day aging, until one day we wake up and our consciousness has changed. The wonderous feeling we had about life as children has disentegrated.

The myths and fairytales, in their picture language, seem to be saying, in an over arching theme that the cosmic or natural energies can’t get through to our consciousness, that they’re being blocked by something. And that if we were to remove the obstruction, those energies would automatically carry us to our destiny. It certainly feels like the Ego is that blockage. So the question becomes, how do we in our modern lives remove that blockage? Certainly the picture language of Myth and Fairy-Tales seem to have a metaphorical answer. As time goes on and things come to me, either through my meditation practice, or reading Myths and Fairytales, themselves, or people like Joseph Campbell and Deepak Chopra, among others, I’ll add to this post. This post may get really long! So what? I do think the answer to this question is the central realization of our lives: To Be or Not to Be? It seems to almost come down to this binary, “Quantum” type answer: Either you’re living your destiny or you’re not.

Ok, since this post is just about writing down the ideas that come to me, that feel true, I’ll start with this:

  • Ego is the sense, the feeling, the belief, that you are separate from the World, the Universe, Nature, everyone and everything around you.

That statement came out of me a few months ago, seemed to come from my “archetypal” self. It felt true when it came out, and although I’m not “feeling” it now, I do remember it, and I want to write it down, so I can refer back to it. That’s good. That’s a start. But it still doesn’t tell me what to ‘do’ about it, how to cure myself from it. Well, I’m gonna ponder this, and hopefully I’ll come back to this post with some more ideas, if not answers.

Update: June 1, 2013.

  • “It’s a mode of existing, it’s a way of existing that sets God apart from anything else”

I just saw this in a lecture about Infinity that the World Science Festival produced last night. It’s talking about ‘Qualitative’ infinity as opposed to ‘Quantitative’ Infinity, an idea that apparently came from Aquinas. This idea of ‘Qualitative’ Infinity as a ‘Way’ of existing produces images in my brain of Purity which strikes me as the opposite or even the ‘Antidote’ to the problem mentioned above of some kind of blockage. A “Pure” connection is unblocked. So how does it relate to this article? It almost seems in this sense that ‘God’ is anyone or anything who is existing in ‘pure being.’ Ego is a psychological ‘impurity.’ So it could be that ‘God’ is simply any ‘being’ that is existing without Ego or any other kind of impurity. That’s a fascinating concept.

http://new.livestream.com/WorldScienceFestival/InfinityEvent/videos/20260843 – (That quote and the talk of the Theologian where I heard it starts at about the 13:22 mark of the video on the page of this link.)

The Essence of Zen

I just got through reading Alan Watts’ “The Way of Zen” which is just awesome, by the way. I didn’t really know who he was, other than, I heard Joseph Campbell mention him a couple times, and in the back of my mind I thought, “Oh, he was just some sort of 60’s new age guy who was sort of in Joseph’s ‘Entourage’.”

Wrong! This guy was the real deal. He was so “in it” so “grounded” that hearing him speak, which may be even better than his great books, you know you are listening to someone who was “transparent to transcendence.”

That’s what draws you to someone who is or has really followed their bliss, is that the ground is so speaking through them, that you can just feel there’s no Ego agenda that’s going to try to fool you, no editing out of anything, even competitive forces, because it’s like the ground of being speaking ‘through’ this person. That’s a paradox in itself, and as you get more into this world, you know you’re headed in the right direction as more of these paradoxes, oxymorons, anamorphuses, start popping up, and not only do you not mind, but they have a delicious quality to them.

Anyway, back to my main point. One thing that strikes me that may be the essence of Zen, especially when it comes to some sort of skill is that the practice isn’t what is making you better. The practice, which is of course required, is rather putting you in tune to receive the genius. The practice, the honest practice, sort of makes you worthy, like an initiation, to receive the message from the Gods. And then it becomes almost effortless, like the craft is working through you. You become a conduit for this genius. So the practice puts you “in tune” to be a conduit for manifesting the eternal.

The Key Insight of Mysticism and Meta-Physics

After having listened, watched, read hundreds, perhaps thousands of hours of material from and about mysticism, over the course of more than a decade, the primary message that keeps coming through these experiences, if I could boil it down to one sentence is this:

Consciousness creates reality. Consciousness creates matter and not the other way around.

It’s tough when 99.999999% of the time your mind, all of your senses (And I would say those false messages are directed by the ‘Ego’) are telling you just the exact opposite. But then, looked at one way, that’s part of the game. That’s the challenge of the game.
And that consciousness is not just our personal consciousness, or even our deep, archetypal consciousness (‘atman,’ ‘soul’), but a pure consciousness that is deeper and “a priori” to the Universe (or even ‘Multiverse’) itself. This could be called “The Ground of Being” which in the language of mysticism “neither is, nor is not.” The fundamental error of our experience is the belief of just the opposite: That “reality” or matter “out there” creates our consciousness “in here.” This is the fundamental source of all of our frustration. Because this latter belief leads to the feeling that life is a prison, that our consciousness, our experience. is determined by an outside force that we have no power to change.

Let’s look at an analogy in nature: An apple grows out of the tree. The apple isn’t made somewhere else and then placed on the tree. It grows out of the tree.

Well, wait, you might say, you are contradicting yourself. If the apple grows out of the tree, isn’t that analogous to consciousness grown out of, coming from matter?

Only if you mix up the metaphor. In this analogy, the tree, the “Axis Mundi”, is a metaphor for consciousness, and the Apple (The “Knowledge of Good and Evil”) is a metaphor for the duality of the “objective” world.

So the question would be, if one believes this theory, or perhaps has even had a mystical experience themselves, is what do you do? How does one expand on that, how does one change? When does the adventure begin?

My answer is that I’m not sure. It may take me another decade to even come up with a hunch. But my gut tells me a practice of meditation is one if not “the” answer, or at the very least a way to get to “first base.” Because when you can step back from your thoughts, it starts to take the energy out of them, to quiet them, and then the mind starts to become “transparent to transcendence” which feels like taking a psychological shower, cleansing the mind, cleansing the personal consciousness, so that the connection between it (Your everyday living body and wakefulness) and your archetypal consciousness (Your ‘Atman’ ‘Soul’ or  ‘Wisdom Body’) becomes reopened. Then the billions (if not infinite) of years of wisdom consciousness becomes immediately available to your present, your ‘right now’,  experiential consciousness.

If that’s not the “It” itself, it would seem, at least at the gut level, to be a great jumping off point. A place where many more options or ‘doors’ become available. A place where an adventure may begin. Like the earlier analogy I used, if the “Ultimate” is like a home run in baseball, then it seems like meditation, or some form of it, is at least a way to get to first base, from where you’ll automatically know, from the wisdom level, of what to do, or not to do, to continue your progress.