The Liminalist # 190: Hooks of the Masters (with Heather Tracy)

Part one of a two-part conversation with Heather Tracy on memories of child sexual abuse, meeting satanic ritual abuse survivors, a minefield of memories, dysregulation & internal emergency, trauma & libido in a marriage, traumatized masculine meets traumatized feminine, hooks of the masters, Heather’s Texan ancestors, Eastern Star Masonry, meeting her abuser, being groomed at age ten, dangerous charisma, an inner circle of esoteric intelligentsia, Journey to Ixtlan & sorcery, dried abortion blood, parental complicity, a demonic controller, Vulcovich the mother-slayer, a demonic controller, the threat of murder, a notorious artist & charming transgressor, a gift of grey horse, the creation of a monstrance.

Heather’s site:

Songs: “Knob Wobbler,” by Gib Strange; “Elsie Paroubek” & “Sideways”  by Little Teeth; “Manic,” by Kirk Pearson & Julia Egan.

30 thoughts on “The Liminalist # 190: Hooks of the Masters (with Heather Tracy)”

  1. If you’ve read Randy Noblett (Cult and Ritual Abuse) and followed his interesting rationale for how these cults work, it is surprisingly consonant with Brian Haydens work (Hayden though isn’t very interested in exploring the psychodynamic/relational dimensions which scaffold/enforce these behaviors) on the emergence of social complexity from a network of “transegalitarian sodalities” – a sort of nice-way of describing a cult of sociopath-aggrandizers willing to terrorize other humans in order to get ‘perks for living’.

    What is astonishing about the combination of these positions is how incredibly logical and obvious it is: it is just so utterly inconsistent with societal standards and norms – and so different from normal human experience – that it is difficult to metabolize – i.e. truly accept, that this world possesses people who work – or in my lingo, ‘self-organize’ in this sort of way. My emphasis on symmetry really takes the Marxian position seriously (itself based in hegels master/slave dyad) such that the cues/dynamics “elite” organize by force them into a asymmetric-pattern of being i.e. cultural and narrative norms repeat/enforce the most lurid idealizations, but which are taken to be real and relevant because of how human beings are structurally – and dynamically – assembled. People are never evil: they have to be fucked at a basic brainstem level for them to live a life believing themselves to be ‘utterly invulnerable’, only for the illusion to pass away at death.

    More or less, what I find so astonishing is the global nature of the racket. If normal human development, or the existence of our mind, is mediated, or gated, through dynamics of attachment (i.e. love), these secret-society cults work from the exact reverse: if there is a natural, genetic disposition to connect and grow by attaching to others (i.e. differentiation), trauma-cults do exactly the reverse: they obstruct development so that identification processes are canalized in a desired direction. From the ground-up – from infancy (and even conception) up; the brainstem/feeling body is trained to ‘know’ the world in the right – rewarded – way. All self-states that are incompatible with the goals/agenda of the cult are destroyed i.e. the person suffers again and again traumatic-collapse into unconsciousness, only to be awoken and ‘reset’ to a different state.

    Most people cannot imagine this because they do not sufficiently understand the graded and accreting nature of neurological and psychological development. You’ve read the literature and therefore appreciate how sensory dynamics are linked with motor dynamics -and in such a way as to keep the center – the ego (or host) perfectly unable to tolerate shifts in perspective without leaving an amnesia in between states. The Self, normally evolved to develop a relationship with its own internal experience of being (with others), is designed for the cult: the “group spirit”, or what have you, is operating as God. The grand-master = god; he has the most knowledge, and those under-him are not merely under him, but subject to the ranking/hierarchy system established for the purpose of ‘anchoring’ self-states. To ascend the system is, as Noblett argues (and Hayden provides many ethnographic examples of) to gain knowledge – the ‘keys’ into the minds of those who are lower in the hierarchy.

    It makes perfect sense in that this system could actually work. And it could be rewarded – or selected – because it effectively manipulates the society and terrorizes the population without the latter ever gaining sufficient semiotic/epistemological ground on the former. The sciences, the internet, and mainstream culture at large seems to be bringing this racket to its logical-end; or, this racket, being so fundamentally nihilistic and apocalyptic – and it cannot help but be this since the mind is programmed by how we relate to others (and how others have related to us; hence a proper working human self is a self-aware human self) – may just try to destroy the world. “If my comrades are not destined to rule the world – then away with it! A shower of atom bombs upon it and in place of its meaningless chatter about ‘love’ and ‘peace’ the voice of the howling wind over its ruins” – Savitri Devi (Maximiani Portas ).

    This sort of psychotic statement is made by a person with such a traumatic mind – such a traumatic history – that more comfort and good is found in destruction and mayhem then in love and goodness; is this because the self has had to learn to find the good in the bad? The good – the basis of existence – in a life of continuous trauma? But look how she has come to fetishize it! She mistakes her feelings about love and peace – her intolerance of it – as if it were anything more than an emergent property of her painful lived experience. The grandiosity of her hatefulness – Nuke the Earth and kill all its creatures – is a horrible absurdity that clashes with the way reality – how her mind emerged – ultimately works.

    May whatever torments the minds of people like this, making them want to destroy and kill, be overcome…Because it is a horrible illusion.

    • Slight correction: people like Savetri Devi like ‘intermittent trauma’, not continuous trauma.

      For the sake of being clear, this difference is significant enough to make 9/11 the ‘intermittent trauma’ that humans need to keep them preoccupied with an external threat. The threat is there as that which secures/solidifies the methods of control/brainwashing – that is, it makes the body tense by populating the outside world with genuine threat.

      Since this more accurate portrayal is the case, the evil/maliciousness of sacrificing some people for a culture which benefits only a small number of people can be better made out. These are precise minds, but minds that have been so coddled by knowledge and social-support that they can’t possibly know what it means to ‘not have power’ – since knowing is power, and being connected and afforded by relationships is the basis of power. They are minds which flippantly contemplate the significance of their actions on the mental experience of other minds – and why? Because they themselves may be rather proficient at tolerating trauma i.e. holding themselves together, they stupidly/naively ignore the intolerability on not just suffering as a physical and bodily self, but the spiritual and social suffering of losing a stable social world, a stable and happy self with goals, etc.

      To violate this human need and take this coherency away from another person is a profound offense that only someone naïve to existential reality could believe himself to be free to do. It is the mania of advantaged people confirming one another’s worse tendencies.

      Evidently, though, the myths of tribal cults are quite self-consciously about ‘breaking’ a primal unity and installing one that benefits only a small clique; Wotan pops out his own eye and ‘sacrifices’ himself to the world-tree. The self is conceived as being ‘the whole’ – literally – and not merely a model of the whole.

      Its trauma, solipsism, and the ‘psychopomp’ condition.

    • Another vote for Till on the podcast.

      Till, after reading what all of your posts here that I could find I am left wondering where you stand on the spirit-world/extradimensional aspect of this phenomena (trauma cults, aggrandizers that claim supernatural power)? Forgive me if I’ve overlooked you incorporating “supernatural” realities such as spirit contact, remote viewing, Qi, et al(I understand it may not be accepted as a reality for everyone, but I won’t discount my own experience of it) into your theory of how this all emerged, but it seems like it cannot be set aside from the psychodynamic and psychobiological aspects you are honed in on. While, yes, the aggrandizers running the show can be made sense of with psychodynamics alone – it seems to me that it makes even more sense, albeit incredibly more complex, when “supernatural” realities are incorporated into one’s model. I understand as a scientist you may not want to go there, but am curious nonetheless – perhaps in a forum like this you’re willing to speculate more freely.

      In reading Hayden’s work I find myself continually trying to explain the way things are happening today. While a lot of the model Hayden puts forth to frame transegalitarian societies which increase in complexity as a result of ritual sodalities’ machinations can be applied to what we see in parapolitics and the criminal underworld today, I wonder about the stark contrasts. E.g. In prehistorical society controlled by ritual sodalities (trauma cults) the supernatural claims of aggrandizers were out in the open and everyone in society was aware of these claims if not true believers. Today, the elite do not make these claims for the masses to see and they seem to be reserved for some level above the common person. So, at what point of societal complexity does this pivot happen, when does it become an aggrandizer strategy to start hiding supernatural powers from at least those not initiated into the lowest rungs of the ritual sodalities?

      • This is a very intelligent reply.

        ‘Supernatural’ power is the issue. To say ‘supernatural’ is to imply some sort of arbitrary structure to reality. Arbitrary…Reality isn’t. Hence, the lunacy of exercising the power of the singularity without recognition of the horrible and logical effects that will extend from that immoral usage.

        Since the Universe, in fact, is a singular Organism, this singular Organism is, as the mystic eventually discovers, pure Mind. But is Mind inside or Outside? This is where the confusion arises for the traumatized mind.

        My work is ALL ABOUT this connection between the reductionistic basis of mind in an Eternal Subjectivity, and the emergent and relative operation of mind in a constantly changing environment. In order to properly connect to the meaning/goals of the reductionist state – the eternal Subjective which creates reality (for fun/play/joy/creativity) – the person, or Human being, must self-organize through the proper stages in an external social realm. The social realm is the ‘imprinting mechanism’. The mind experiences its “I” most truly – most enliveningly – when it is maximally connected to other humans in a context of trust, reason, and play. Trust means love; reason means such love is logically implicit in the dynamics of reality; and play reminds us this is why we do it: its worth the effort. We gain by being good – by being sane – by trusting one another. When we follow the Will of the Universe we feel more alive – more powerful – more in control of our feelings.

        The sociopath/aggrandizer lives in an entirely different affective universe. It is truly night and day compared to yours or mine: the brainstem we have is such a primal level of representation that, if your early life is ridden with caregivers who violate/are intolerant of your basic motivational needs as a human (i.e. they have a faulty understanding of human behavior). The basis of the behavior is ‘deficiency’ cognition, where the body’s feelings are bad because of how poorly the caregiver has regulated the infant’s feeling states (i.e. failing to calm him; or enliven him at the right times).

        What I wish to emphasize here – since its not merely a psychodynamic description – is that there is a metaphysical structure within our forebrains; the external caregiver is the object which becomes embodied in our bodily feelings. Faces/Voices/Bodies have an intrinsic ‘meaningfulness’ before we are ever able to think ABOUT the world, and so, we already exist – via this continuum of feeling via faces/voices/bodies – in a shared-world of intentions and feelings and needs.

        When we come to think ABOUT the Self or the Universe (both arising from the self-embeddedment engendered by a dualistic perception that elicits wonder/awe) we are actually representing the Universe in terms of the patterns of Self-Other and Observing Self-Feeling Body. This psychological fact is a subtle one, but it reveals the remarkable structure that exists between the horizontal self-other dimension, the vertical mind-body direction, as well as, if you will, the unification of both domains in the recognition that all of reality is a Singular Being.

        Now what happens to the individual Mind when it connects to this Singular Being via contemplation that yields ecstatic feelings of awe/wonder? It depends. Semiosis/Biological history can make this an easy and enlivening transition, or a complete and utter trauma that overwhelms the psychological Self with such positive feeling that it feels too much – its overwhelming! So a mismatch is set up between the body and the Universe, and if this mismatch between feeling-body and Universe isn’t understood – uh oh! Think about what such reactions might suggest about the nature of reality. Here’s a taste from Alex Shalom Kohav:

        “Seen this way, “God” is not an abstraction; “It” is the highest scalar entity capable of inducing awesome/fearful mysterium tremendum experiences and of imposing dramatic sensory/hyletic and semiotic/discursive constraints.” – Alex Shalom Kohav, The Sod Hypothesis; pg. 38, Makom, 2013

        Thunder – Odin. The Godhead as seen from the perspective of a traumatized body/culture is represented as an evil, destructive force…and even though this is an emergent situation, it can – and has been – interpreted in an essentialist way: this is how the Universe is built. God is evil; he destroys, ergo, the Human being – who is made in the image of God, destroys. The Yin/Yang as Good/Evil comes into being with this shallow misunderstanding of human nature.

        What is the biggest error this stupid belief system creates? It is the smuggling in of the distinction between human beings and the larger Universe. Before the collapse, there is this sense – as any balanced person recognizes – that there is both an approximate truth (love), and yet we live in a world of sufficient randomness as to render us more or less ignorant as to what will happen next. We accept that the Universe is partially separated from us; we call this God, or the Tao, or whatever: we represent its ‘Thirdness’ because it is a relevant distinction between ourselves and It.

        The solipsist/traumatized mystic on the other hand is so overwhelmed by synchronistic dynamics between Self and Universe that they immediately become polarized into a one-to-one correspondence: the Universe IS my mind, as opposed to the human mind being made in the model of the Universe. This distinction tends to lead to an exaggerated focus/emphasis on agency/belief (ontology) and a lazy disregard of the external world, others, and how they affect the Self(epistemology).

        Balanced people care about how we know, because we know how complicated it can be – and how how we know can deeply modify what we think is real.

        So, the powers of the Mind – what so charms/enchants undeveloped minds – are really a normal outgrowth of a more fundamental connectedness at social-level.

        Yet what is more basic? Do we ‘become universal mind’ first, or do we become socialized first? If the latter, then everything understood about the former is being shaped/grafted by the latter, and so it becomes a desperate matter that people care MORE about celebrating/supporting coherent relationships than about putative supernatural abilities. If the reverse interest occurs, its akin to masochism or cannabilism: the individual I which arises from the We is willing to sacrifice I’s – Other people who derive from the We – for its own sake. This is an utter delusion which occurs because the I with such motivations is desperately out-of-touch with what causes/motivates its feeling relations to objects.

        In any case, hope I answered your first question.

        Your second question is very interesting as well. Obviously, this change eventually happened, and it probably happened in between the chiefdom stage and the formal emergence of states. My book will of course explore how this transformation occurred – that is, what the archeological record suggests about this transformation, and how it is likely related to a change of interests. Keep in mind that being-supernatural is a way of thinking we find from ancient Egypt to medieval and even renaissance kings, and belief in magic/supernatural has only waned – at a public level – more recently, whereas in earlier eras it was cultivated much more than we realize.

        Hayden refers to Freemasonry, obviously because he recognizes in it both symbols/rituals indicative of more ancient cults, but because, in all probability, Freemasonry is an extension of a more internal clique of conspirators – Nobles – into a different modality. The ‘elite club’ widens with Freemasonry because social-organization is widening. This could be due to developments in technology, thinking – for instance, the printing press and the discovery of the Americas were big ones – but I think we’re seeing an organic complexification of an existing social structure that is, contrary to what appears to be happening at the surface, continuing to maintain basic features in relation to what is required to manipulate society/human minds for the purpose of ‘perpetuating to racket’.

        The metaphysics of this racket is interesting, as the conspirators must believe in reincarnation, and therefore, believe that they have a way to ‘continuously’ incarnate themselves into an advantaged situation. Is this real? Or is it the result of normal idealization/dissociation processes growing out of symmetry dynamics manifested as ‘threat-safety’ dynamics in the brain?

        Myths are dangerous because they are, in fact, an unconsciously created foil to regulate the selves relation to its own interpersonal-socially created Self.

  2. Thank you Heather for sharing your recollections with us. There is so much that is difficult to hear as my own experience mirrors much of yours. Healing, telling and loving self is essential to living a life of OUR choice.
    Keep well Heather

  3. Also, historical “Gnosticism” has cultivated this ‘left hand path’ vs. ‘right hand path’ equivalency which is deeply a part of the problem.

    Being moral/conscious of the needs of Others (in relation to mine, and being reasonable/fair in negotiating the difference) is me honoring the root of my self-reflective capacity. It is also me not being naïve – not ignoring that in a future situation, the logical consequences of my social-behavior towards Other’s will catch up to me: the circle catches its other end.

    The left hand path is about terrorism of Others, and trauma as a way to enlightenment. It is, in other words, a way of being that adds entropy to other people’s lives (entropy being synonymous with suffering) and power/coherency to the Selves. Odinism, or western Germanic cults, are very explicit (as most Indo-European cults were) about this mutilation of the self for the sake of ‘the body’. The Self is ignorantly taken to be all of reality, as if reality doesn’t repeatedly teach other selves what its ultimate limits are, and therefore, properly inform them how they are supposed to live. Left hand path Selves think this learning curve doesn’t or wont ever apply to them. It is an exaggerated fiction made possible by the energetic impact of other selves which support/foster this sense of invulnerability.

    In any case, if morality and trauma are treated as equivalent, are they, in fact, equivalent? The former person gains/grows from reconciling its biological structure with the Universe; the effect is to feel satisfied/happy no matter what happens i.e. beyond all conditions. The Universe is beautiful and its creatures beautiful-awesome-amazing. If such ‘beyond all conditions’ is true, the person will not only have no problem being moral, but will be exact in his logical relations as to what constitutes moral behavior.

    The latter person grows towards experiencing the fullness of its dyadic awareness to experience continuity between self and object, leading to this sense of wholeness and unity, but it leaves an interpretation of this experience which smuggles in (because it is treated as if it weren’t an illicit/incoherent thing to do) a willingness to ‘do anything’ – to be and do everything, as if that it didn’t carry consequences for other Selves. Evidently, this ‘God-consciousness’ is not very encompassing, or loving, or together, because the individual has no idea how to reconcile its own biological self and its needs with the needs of other selves. Reality and its conditionality is shown an utter contempt – and even this contempt and its reason in history is not searched for. Feelings are akin to god in this person; whereas in a balanced person, the only feelings which are real are those which support coherent/symmetrical structuring dynamics. The mind – the untraumatized mind – can THINK COHERENTLY only because his body is built to rhythmically connect in an a coherent way. Take away this rhythmic/relaxed relation to other bodies – via trauma – and you create the same internal dilemma between ‘being God’ and disliking other humans.

  4. Till:

    why is the collective organism pure or universal Mind rather than pure Body (ie, something concrete) or pure Soul (something full abstract)? Isn’t this the foundational error of mystics and occultists & even the first “utterance” (illusion) of “the Supernatural” i.e., as something that is above nature (rather than immanent within it)?

    what is mind in its pure form but the sentience of the body-soul in relation to environment or other, that is, an abstraction when taken as existing in any other sense besides relationally or functionally? Thoughts and feelings are themselves expressions of body which is itself an expression of soul – as Blake wrote: “The ancient tradition that the world will be consumed in fire at the end of six thousand years is true, as I have heard from Hell. For the cherub with his flaming sword is hereby commanded to leave his guard at the tree of life; and when he does, the whole creation will be consumed, and appear infinite and holy, whereas it now appears finite and corrupt. This will come to pass by an improvement of sensual enjoyment. But first the notion that man has a body distinct from his soul is to be expunged; this I shall do, by printing in the infernal method, by corrosives, which in Hell are salutary and medicinal, melting apparent surfaces away and displaying the infinite which was hid.”

    also, the notion that man has a mind distinct from body…. which is both the inception and the symptom of the trauma-generated psychic or supernatural overlay of dissociated “Mind” or as you say, Godhead, the disembodied demiurge or diabolos, that which is split off from the source.

    • As to your first paragraph,

      That’s a good way of putting it. There is a whole tower/pyramid of fallacy that has been evolved; we take for granted the thinking/inferring/wishfulness of previous generations of humans going back hundreds of thousands of years;, and how their thinking exists in a nested way within ours – Russian doll like. This ‘pure mind’ or ‘pure body’ i.e. idealism or materialism, are examples of stupid/overly generalized thinking that takes one substance as more real the other, when the real and relevant criteria is ‘energy’ – which becomes organized in terms of symmetry (via thermodynamics) and in the process, a biosemiotic organism arises. Semiosis – or meaning – needs to be logically recognized as extending from, and arising out of, symmetry dynamics between the organism and its salient (complementary) environment. Feeling needs to be seen to be something that is creative, and generative of a whole order of existence: thought. Ideas are implicit in structure but become ‘real’, or ‘phenomenological’, via the expression of lived affect (Eve, or ChaWa in Hebrew, literally means ‘living one’ i.e. the feeling body). It is the ideas that are in feelings – and the behavior that communicates ideas, which needs to be decoded for the unity of body and mind to be discerned.

      As to your second sentence: what do you think Blake means when he says “I have heard in hell”. I’ve read this quote of his before, but I haven’t a clue what he’s referring to. More generally, I see Blake as a promoter/encourager of pedophilia, and this, I assume, has to do with the conflation of love with sex, when it is precisely the violation of another body’s will which is the problem i.e. pedophiles coerce the child until the self-state they want is created. This creates the basis of an alien-experience-of-self, which, for people with a history of sexual abuse, creates all sorts of issues of self-experience vis-à-vis others.

      So what are these people talking about? I don’t believe in a perfect infinity. I believe in an Infinity that interacts with Time via Humans. This means, the unconditional interacts with the conditional for the sake of revealing the divine intent. Symmetry is the key; since it is absurd/dissociative/dualistic to assume a universe with an intent separate from the way our bodies work and the way we form meaning, it stands to reason that accepting the limitations imposed by being a baby and being a child on human behavior – which right now is still being perturbed/undermined by an idealistic system which attributes a goodness to pedophilia that simply doesn’t exist. It breeds mania and its concomitant – dissociation of what interferes with your “bliss”. There is a clear ontological/moral issue here, where the best way of existing is a way of existing compatible with physical laws, and yet, suboptimal forms of self-regulation appear to have been evolved – i.e. the slavish sex-obsessed gnostic – which, as you write, carry abuse, masochism, and sadism, as properties. This is a reinforcing feedback loop that makes perceptions of time utterly problematic. It is so painful – time – that they claim it doesn’t exist at all; its pure illusion – or its evil.

      And yet, everyone forms and becomes what they are – what they are motivated to be and do – by the cause-effect lattice-work of time nested in their brain dynamics. Time is real; I am not one of those people who speak glibly about the non-existence of time and the ‘eternal nature of things’. Reality is way more complicated – and interesting – than that. There is an eternal subject – but this subjectivity only comes to know itself through the fabric of the way the mystery of its nature – symmetry – has set things up. Matter – the so-called “maya” – is the code which is written through us, and carries the core meanings of how our mind self-organizes. The ‘subtle’ doesn’t prefigure the gross; but the reverse. Evolution grows through a logic that implicates the eventual existence of an organism that will ‘flesh out’ the subtler grades of meaning implicit in ecological/environmental situations.

      Then there are physicists who think there input which will solve the problem of time. Unfortunately, this question is more a psychological, sociological and neurological one – not a question of ‘what ultimately exists’. Ultimate existence is irrelevant when we know that relative states of self-organization determine the quality – or wellbeing – a person experiences. The whole notion of politics – of a competition in belief systems – is an outgrowth of unresolved trauma, and, in temperamental flux of history, the creation of trauma-cults that work to keep this tension in place. The politicians-mystics-cultists, then, best represented by marketing psychology, pay attention to what is really important: how the temporal/relational self is constructed by experiences. But the way this happens and how this works: it does sort of remind you of a snake-eating-its-own tail…no? You got the reptilian logic, the logic of infinity, and the logic of self-cannibilization all rolled-up into the same image.

      • I believe Oprah/Ekhart Tolle emphases on the ‘power of now’ is precisely the point. A healthy mind interfaces with its past – its memories (explicit). A healthy mind also knows – if he’s educated – that his implicit mind, or memory, is already completely constructed by reward/punishment dynamics, so why imagine that ‘memory’ is evil.

        Tolle’s trite nonsense is an example of how jiddu Krishnamurti’s dream of ‘eliminating the psychological experience of time’ can be accomplished. The Human mind growing immoral selves cannot help but find the value of immediate experience over tensed/reflective experience, but how stupid/crazy/pathetic it is that they do this while cultivating the illusion of a separate self, when the basis of the rhythmic, feeling self is also to be found in relational experience i.e. in memory.

        Philosophers like this are always connected to power – as Hegel demonstrated. Power – in the form of sex, social esteem, or material wellbeing – can compel a human being to delude itself while supporting/giving justification to crazy elites.

      • What did Blake mean by “I have heard from Hell”? I feel I ought to have a good answer to that since pretty much the first book I ever wrote was called “The Bible of Hell” (mercifully lost), after WB’s quip in MOHAH. Helle means “concealed place” and somewhere or other I once read it correlated with the unconscious. Maybe Blake used it this way, as in his own unconscious told him (in a dream)?

        What makes you think Blake advocated pedophilia or conflated love with sex? As I write in the last part of Vice of Kings I dont think he is referring to sex when he mentions sensual enjoyment.

        • I have, to be honest, still a few books to read on Blake (Winthrop Frye’s “Fearful Symmetry” will be read soon enough), but from what I’ve read thus far, and the associations that keep appearing again and again, is not so much a conflation with love and sex, but an elaboration of love into sexual-relations with children: it is an idealization of the non-harmfulness of the relationship between adults and children. Again, the doc Finding Neverland has this connotation. Wade Robson didn’t think he was traumatized by Michael Jackson, hence he never admitted to the sexual interactions that they had had. Why do some people find this troublesome? The problem is their sheer ignorance at how feelings work. If you don’t know how your feelings arise, you will never recognize the impact of a particular relationship – interaction – on the way feelings arise in you and how they relate to external signs/objects.

          I don’t think I have to persuade you that pedophilia is actually harmful, but the question I would ask if I were you is, “why is Blake assumed by you to be a pedophile?. This is the larger arc of my work, where the nature of human self organization at the individual level is a direction reflection of the cultural level – via dyadic, and then larger social (3+) interactions where the ‘reactions’ of your feelings are brought more clearly in contact with a cultural attractor (identity).

          So what is going on here? Are you aware that the Greek elite enjoyed pedophilia? And that Plato’s supposed 9th letter (I assume you know the meaning of nine for western mysticism) is an implicit reference to a power-cult that sacrifices woman and children – i.e. the weaker, passive/other dimension – to the will and goals of the Self.

          Yet given elitist mythology is a fiction being worked through a physical body with logical needs (emerging from attachment, symmetry dynamics between bodies), being mean and evil and uncaring is simply not sustainable; so, the self evolves a loving/nurturing part in relation to cruel and demonic parts. Some people are in the “in” group, others in the “out group”. Such torturous/disturbed reasoning, common though it is, is muddle-headed and interferes with other forms of representation – since all representation in our mind is structured just like this – in terms of self/other, or agency/dependency, or cognition/perception.

          I cannot do sufficient justice here to the logic of this developmental process, but it does assume a one-to-one structural relation around feelings of shame, powerlessness, and vulnerability, and how they are regulated – in elite cultures – by grandiose and extravagant claims of power.

          The world is split up rightly – then – in Plato’s 9th letter, if the human mind truly is a fractal of its social relations. Just as we are all dissociative and delusional – growing/nurtured in a world to build an alien and false self that must be killed eventually if we want to help ourselves – woman, child, and all situations of interaction that assume “badness” vis-à-vis the ‘rightness’ of a desired quality can trigger disturbed reactions. This defense need to be processed in all their ways and forms, and it needs to be connected to power; all my reactive ways of being need to be ‘observed and understood’ as emanating from this need to ‘get power’ – mostly in the phenomenological sense of ‘not feeling bad’ i.e. shameful, or wrong.

          I agree sensual enjoyment is deeply important, yet I see again and again – Wachowskis demonstrate this big time in sense 8 – a lascivious indulgence in sensuality as if that didn’t constitute a confused ontological relation to how feelings work – or how conflicts tend to arise out of conflicts between caring attachment and sexual fun; that is, fun is not effective by itself because it causes us to project from our manic joyfulness, and in the process, under-represent – and so dys-regulate – whatever cues in the other are “chafing us”.

          It is therefore the relationship between material ontology, social dynamics, and psychological self-organization through recognition processes around agency, shame, and caring, which makes Blake appear to be an overly mythologically minded mystic with a confused/dissociative relationship to spirituality i.e. a spirituality that is insufficiently complex in its understanding of social-cognition and how that relates to the growth of phenomenology out of intersubjectivity: a two-tiered dynamic that is never lost, although the procedural dimension is easily dissociated in minds persuaded by their own self-mythology i.e. “goodness in reasoning”.

          Chopra demonstrates this stupidity. His own son made a documentary criticizing Chopra’s unwillingness to acknowledge his fallibility. Fallibility should never be questioned by sane people – yet mystics like Chopra, and throughout the western establishment, literally think the human mind = material universe. Acknowledging how social processes affect your representation processes is the first step in acknowledging not just why – but how – others constrain our capacity to know properly. We are constrained at the social level so deeply that human fallibility should never be questioned – yet Chopra shows how unacknowledged shame and ego-defenses can create a knot of self-delusion. I think blake also existed in such a knot – a knot held in place by incoherent representations/beliefs that fail to acknowledge how they are – how they affect other subjectivities.

          • I’d still like to hear something more concrete regarding Blake and child-adult sex; currently it seems tenuous. This isn’t to say I am not suspicious because Blake’s fame & influence suggests a compatibility with the culture that has favored him for highest status within it; but that can be a circular (or “spectral”) argument since it precludes the possibility of something other than trauma-driven pathology finding traction within our culture, and we know, I think, that there are exceptions (Lao Tze, The Bible) and perhaps even that we would be lost without them (you also quote Eco, a contemporary gatekeeper).

            Funnily enough my brother disparaged both Blake and myself shortly before his death as “mystical morons.”

            Choprah seems like low-hanging fruit; even the very shallow Sam Harris can whup his new age ass.

          • Just so you know…Few people are as critical as I am of how modern and contemporary minds operate.

            I am coming primarily from the cognitive sciences and developmental neurosciences; and it could very well seem that I am taking a pretty big “dip” into speculation when I claim what I am about Blake.

            Granted, I agree that my argument so far – as proffered here, is tenuous. I also agree that I am being motivated by what you wrote in your second sentence: that his status within this culture forces one to question why he is treated in such a way.

            Because reality is semiotic – that is, structured by meaning, i.e. biodynamical processes are interpretations of good and bad – all of my education in the sciences makes me absolutely confident that you cannot have social interactions/attachments with corrupt/immoral people without the narratives/rhythms/affective needs of the latter invading the former; assimilation is inevitable, and perhaps no person/individual is more vulnerable to not noticing this than the mystic. This is because reality is deep; and the ways we understand our first-person experience i.e. how we narrativize – is inevitably ‘gated’ by how the individuals we interact with project their needs i.e. the structure of their consciousness. They do this by simply taking about things: we are always revealing the inner-terrain of our ‘virtual unknown’ (from the interlocutors perspective) when we make assertions and comment on things, because reality isn’t simple; we are always referring back to how objects have regulated or dysregulated us, and how other people – in being objects that regulate – have come to entrain us to narratives/positions which feel right because we formed them in the context of real biodynamical symmetry needs i.e. to feel ourselves being positively received and known.

            Humans, then, are quite delusional; and the fault line – the point of conflict, seems very much to ride along the issue of pedophilia, sexuality, and identity – i.e. as postmodern identity politics amply demonstrates. People who are coherent, like Naomi Klein, or Angela Nagle, have criticized this politics for displacing/dissociating public awareness from more significant issues like economic equality and how contemporary political and social infrastructure is designed to obstruct it.

            Ultimately, if I were to present my full argument, I believe the evidence would speak for itself: reality has a very deep structure, and rather than simply speak about or speculate how reality works, it seems more advantageous to describe how human reality MUST work – given the constraints/affordances – in an asymmetric system.

            People lie. This system works by lying. My personal opinion for what drives elites is this moral difference created by millennia of co-evolution – or a bifurcated cultivation of two cultures side-by-side (an elite and common one) – which has grown out of trauma. The arrows in how this dynamic evolved are almost Marxian: trauma -> disturbed rhythms/feelings -> disturbed representations -> changing values -> complex hunter/gatherers -> secret societies.

            There is a whole history “nested” or crunched up within our society today, and it is insufficiently understood – which is why people are skeptical of any claim that things are as constructed/manipulated as they are for social/political ends. If you assent to this – and I imagine you do, then why should one assume that the person/culture who/which fails to regulate these motivations to hurt/abuse/exploit other people and suppress knowledge of the effects you’ve produced in them (i.e. not feel a sense of shame/guilt) would be able to regulate sexual feelings towards the weak other? My argument is that the brain constantly senses power-differentials in the social stream, and if the self has become adapted to hurting others, he is necessarily adapted to having his brain dissociate the signals of pain/suffering/discomfort being produced.

            So can people who adopt a story-line of “were above good and evil; mainstream morality doesn’t apply to us” ever come to experience the significance/relevance of the constraint emanating from the body language of the ‘Lolita-aged’ child? Or is there something structurally perverted about self-organizing from the elitist vantage point?

            “I think that aspiring elites increasingly sought to restrict access to ecstatic contact with supernatural forces in order to claim privileged divine directives, in order to justify the new values that they wanted to propagate such as the ownership of resources, private property, bride wealth, ancestral powers, and many other self-serving concepts. Thus, in a curious twist of events, as life became more secure for most people, the ability to endure pain and to experience ectastic states seems to have become transformed from a required ordeal for all adolescents living in stressed environments to a hallmark of elite superiority, demonstrating that elites had supernatural powers and strength beyond those of normal people. This became a device used by elites in many parts of the world, including the powerful aristocrats of the Mayan empires, and North west Coast nobles.” – Brian Hayden; Shamans, Sorcerors, and Saints: A Prehistory of Religion; pg. 147; Smithsonian books; 2003


            “This entire new complex of feasting, secret ritual societies, and elite ecstatic initiations that I postulate here must have constituted a decisive turning point in the evolution of religions, because it was the beginning of a fundamental division between popular cults and elite cults. This represents a change in traditional religions brought about by those in power who used religion as a means to manipulate and control other community members. It is the harbinger of exclusivity and the decline of all-inclusive participatory sacred experiential cults. This is the vanguard of new religious practices in which the right of the individual to contact and participate in the sacred aspects of the universe is curtailed by self-aggrandizing individuals who see the desire to be one with the sacred forces of the universe as a political tool and a means to their own self-serving ends.” – Brian Hayden; Shamans, Sorcerors, and Saints: A Prehistory of Religion; pg. 147; Smithsonian books; 2003

            When our body’s are regulated by external others, and the external others who regulate us are themselves inheritors of a disturbed representational/rhythmic system i.e. ‘doer-done to’ dynamic (i.e. Hegels master/slave) then it seems very naïve to think that anyone operating within elitist environments would escape this influence. That is, its an idealization.

            I have to do more research before I implicate Blake in what I’m claiming, but I’ve encountered/read enough to know that trauma is believed to be a ‘way to enlightenment’. I know first hand how this can be; its an oscillation between extreme pain; and what you have to do psychologically (and spiritually) to reorganize yourself. Notice how knowledge is afforded here: the elite becomes strong mentally because he is given knowledge/direction to counter the force of the trauma; yet this knowledge – as Hayden asserts – is proscribed to anyone else. They very arbitrarily – and asininely – enforce “might is right”, as if there wasn’t something desperately wrong with their motivation to do so.

            Michel Serres implies that this is all about elitist apocalyptic feeling: the feeling that the immoral/cainite person feels when their brain-structure (unconscious) is full of entropy – of wrongness, of causing others suffering and not acknowledging it. So, such apocalyptic feeling can trigger apocalyptic constructions: narratives, like the gnostic/Manichean narrative and other narratives which turn the selfs experience into the ‘nature of God’.

            As for Eco: I am no more certain of his emotional stance than Blakes, yet having read multiple of his positions (in Novels and semiotics), I see something of my own conflict between the occult and reality. So Eco acknowledges rightly: but the question is, is he fetishizing the conflict? Or is he speaking to those elite who, like him, were pulled astray early in life by delusional belief systems? I think the latter is the case.

            Could the same situation apply to Blake? It could. But still – between Eco and Blake – I would still ask myself, “do they see sexual relations between adults and children as harmful to the latter”? Philosophers rarely comment on these matters, yet there is a long and sordid history in the west of just these practices – amongst philosophers especially. Amongst psychotherapists and clinical psychologists, sexual-abuse, or pedophilia, reveals itself as harmful because of how it impacts the way the self understands its own affects: it develops a dissociated/idealized relation to its feelings primarily because there is a ‘secret’ that is known – which has been cultivated/fostered – and yet it chafes with societal representations. Is this the cause of the problem? Or is sexuality so early in life, because of its intense affectivity, too great for juvenile representational systems to coherently handle, leading to the evolution of a mind with a manic – and as a consequence, sometimes depressive – relationship to things. The knowing/non-knowing between feelings and reality; what we feel, evolutionary speaking, needs to be communicated. We live in a culture that doesn’t do this; in fact, most people barely notice the symmetry between internal feeling and external communication (a right brain/left brain communication process). Feelings describes internal realities; and internal realities – ideally speaking – should be communicated. Yet our human cultures/narratives so entrain us away from this ideal/logical flow of energy/information that we don’t even notice the problem. We instead react from our feelings and believe our confabulations to be coherent representations – when its usually just what therapists call an ‘enactment’.

            In any case, from my perspective, it seems reasonable to question Blake and anyone else who was close to the establishment (including Goethe, who I also appreciate). To be a mirror of our social world – to have needs that our ‘selected and shaped’ by others, is completely human. I am not intending to demonize Blake, but to create a space for thinking about him in which he too was just as much involved in the ‘mythological’ culture of the era in which he lived.

  5. Wow, you guys are deep. I’ll need a longer fishing line, I think. Just one point I’d like to make, and it is purely subjective experience. Putting distance between the mind and the body is not particularly difficult, especially when practiced over and over again. Remote viewing is one result whether I understood or liked it. It just was. Now, you undoubtedly understand the theory of entanglement and what I’m suggesting here is that the mind can be in more than one place at a time, and if one part of the mind is perter- bated as in photon manipulation the other portion reacts in precisely the same manner as the first. I am no scientist, as you can no doubt agree but I’m interested in things which are outside the realm of common knowledge.
    I read all of the comments. Thank you.

  6. Anyways, I agree that my claims seem tenuous, but humans being the objects that we are, and my education being what it is – in the cognitive sciences, developmental neurosciences and biologies – I put more trust in what the science shows as to symmetry dynamics than with what William Blake – or his devotees – claim about him.

    Here are some interesting Brian Hayden quotes (from his earlier book):

    “I think that aspiring elites increasingly sought to restrict access to ecstatic contact with supernatural forces in order to claim privileged divine directives, in order to justify the new values that they wanted to propagate such as the ownership of resources, private property, bride wealth, ancestral powers, and many other self-serving concepts. Thus, in a curious twist of events, as life became more secure for most people, the ability to endure pain and to experience ectastic states seems to have become transformed from a required ordeal for all adolescents living in stressed environments to a hallmark of elite superiority, demonstrating that elites had supernatural powers and strength beyond those of normal people. This became a device used by elites in many parts of the world, including the powerful aristocrats of the Mayan empires, and North west Coast nobles.” – Brian Hayden; Shamans, Sorcerors, and Saints: A Prehistory of Religion; pg. 147; Smithsonian books; 2003

    “This entire new complex of feasting, secret ritual societies, and elite ecstatic initiations that I postulate here must have constituted a decisive turning point in the evolution of religions, because it was the beginning of a fundamental division between popular cults and elite cults. This represents a change in traditional religions brought about by those in power who used religion as a means to manipulate and control other community members. It is the harbinger of exclusivity and the decline of all-inclusive participatory sacred experiential cults. This is the vanguard of new religious practices in which the right of the individual to contact and participate in the sacred aspects of the universe is curtailed by self-aggrandizing individuals who see the desire to be one with the sacred forces of the universe as a political tool and a means to their own self-serving ends.” – Brian Hayden; Shamans, Sorcerors, and Saints: A Prehistory of Religion; pg. 147; Smithsonian books; 2003

    My education is more broad than Haydens, who claims he ‘doesn’t know enough’ to comment on what I’ve written from a physical, biological or neurological perspective, although he generally agrees it makes sense.

    I’m sure when my fuller theory is fleshed out that it may be like “turning a light on”. From my perspective, I have had to relax myself to the astonishing truth that all of reality appears to be a function of the unconditional truth of love as read through its metaphoric representation of symmetry-dynamics in material processes. That is, the unconditional is the ultimate basis of the conditional; yet, how one relates to the ultimate unconditioned truth is a function of the relative/relational truth. The relational contains the mystery/secret of the intent of creation; indeed, the whole way we think – astonishingly enough – may be a function of the brokenness created in us by a dualistic substance ontology created or projected into our minds by a broken relational/affective ontology. Behavior is a metaphor of cognition. Cognition is ultimately expressing the ‘truths’ of behavior.

    Because of this, I cannot see any elite outside the context of the competing views that tend to exist at that level. I see the ‘corrupted’ elitist view manifested in theosophy, or jiddu kirshnamurti, but it can be very subtle, and has to do with the hatred/denial of time, or a tensed awareness. The absurdity that causal-awareness is not relevant for social-functioning, and hence, for the ontology of representational processes, is an example of incoherent dualistic-influences emanating, I believe, from an unresolved history of sexual abuse that is taken – wrongly – to be unharmful. Krishnamurti of course was under the tutelage of CW Leadbeater. I see his hatred of time – and issue with tiem – to be completely related to the negative affect/conflict created by this early formative experience, and how it has affected his tensed experience of self.

    Evidently, you can cultivate what appears to be a ‘beautiful philosophy’ while maintaining room for sex between adults and children.

    Is this due to a good-evil dualistic philosophy? In order for the ‘world to exist’, evil has to created, others have to be sacrificed?

    When I think of claims like this, I simply hear/recall stories/vignettes from psychotherapy, in which the traumatized self sets up these either/or situations as if they are inevitable: as if the world is about to collapse; the sky about to fall; the world – time, will end – if we understand the truth of what we are.

  7. beyond any doubt, I think, there is a need for a comprehensive philosophical, psychological, and true-scientific attempt to understand human consciousness, individual and collective (soul & society), that allows child sexual interference ~ and the many myriad and frequently mystical rationalizations of it ~ to be central to that emergent picture.

    I’ve been partially attempting this (minus the scientific angle) in my past few books, and I’m just happy & grateful that someone equally dedicated picked this blog to try and work it out!

  8. You may be the only person who is actually talking about these things. And I definitely you have a truthful understanding of the problems that exist – for instance, I am reminded of your mentioning the postmodern professor who is trying to ‘critically deconstruct societal representations’ of adult-children relationships.

    Opening up discussion – and then controlling it by framing it as “exploring child sexuality”, is designed to crack open a perspective towards childhood sexuality that makes it about having been unjustifiably “oppressed” by the judeo-christian patriarchy. These positions are always animated by the Judeo-Christian straw-man who, represented in a completely polarized and one-sided way, can allow the formation of the counter-polarization in the mind of the audience to see childhood sexuality, and even adult-child relations, as potentially benign. In other words, activating the historically potentiated metaphor – now unconscious – of “judeo-christian society = oppressive”, the relationship with childhood sexuality is ‘framed’ through this exaggerated bias, and since the bias/exaggeration is tinged with a quality of contempt, an equally exaggerated counter-position is established which says: “adult child-relations are benign”.

    Such boogeymen/straw men are less “tools” used by people are feelings that use people in such a way as to make the latter preserve some sense of ‘self-respect’ by dissociating the fact that he is deliberately misrepresenting reality for the sake of a position that is equally a misrepresentation. That is, there is much in judeo-christian culture that is coherent and good, and the understanding of pedophilia as harmful is a right one. Granted, we have this caricature in our head of how religious people – priests/nuns/reverends – speak and think, and it is this caricature which people unconsciously represent when we think of the historical religion of the west. This propaganda is at the root of the counter-swing to the orient/east.

    Vogelin sought to show how these problems between ‘gnostic’ and ‘holistic’ spiritualities were dealt with in different cultures, particularly emphasizing Hebrew/Israelites and the Greeks. Christianity is seen by him as a combination of Greek philosophy and Hebrew Self-psychology/theosophy.

    In any case, this issue is not a popular one. I can barely get an audience towards these issues from people with a ‘scientific’ education i.e. they are equally fearful of the shameful/outsider feelings produced when people bring up what has been presented/framed for them (by propaganda) to experience as ridiculous conspiracy theory or paranoia. I find it weird, however, o not notice the inherent issue with paranoia. People do in fact manipulate this worry: real conspiracy exists; real lying and cheating exists; and people are, in fact, rightly recognized as being part of a conspiracy sometimes. Thus, there is two extremes: paranoia, and naivety: the former believes in an unreasonable way, the latter believes in an unreasonable way. Both positions are unreasonable: the former is overly-liberal in asserting, and the latter overly-conservative.

    The very structure of our social-epistemology is therefore constrained by the possibilities of a) people who lie, and b) how we know or relate to dissemblers. Because of this, we have to be ‘wise as serpents’, which really just means, to know ourselves and reality deeply enough to recognize discrepancies and how dissemblers are always working in the subtlest of ways. The logic is: If I know you’ll respond like this – i.e. with paranoia – to certain claims, then I will promote this view to encourage an attitude to a behavior that I myself engage in, but don’t want you to know about.

    Its sort of sad to me that you can’t find courses in universities which explore these issues with the sort of analysis that I do. Clearly such analyses are fruitful and reveal much about the fundamental tensions of the reality we live within. It gives us the perspective – the awareness we need to challenge/organize the ways/manners that our particular biopsychosocial structure can be manipulated. This basic attitude of “you can either be paranoid or naïve” acknowledges the two extremes of believing too much, and not enough. Both are examples of fear; it is only reason – and love – which allows us to take a more equitable/balanced approach to what is likely to be real, and what is likely to be a mirage. Furthermore, since reality is based in love, the whole conspiracy topic is oftentimes infused with this post-traumatic disposition that is ill-conducive to recognizing what is required to positively/constructively change the world. It is fearful, but it doesn’t know how to contain the fear. It leads to aggressive enactments i.e. yoda (Hebrew for “knowing”) “fear leads to hatred, and hatred leads to the dark side”.

    Mindfulness is the best practice. I am very happy with the group of people that exist – with the Dalai Lama, with the mindfulness movements in schools, with IPNB (interpersonal neurobiology); much good is happening at society at large. The MJ documentary was beautiful; not perfect, but it is important that these issues be made explicit, and more and more people come out and challenge the destructive narratives which tell them otherwise.

    In short, love really is a powerful, deeply remarkable thing. This word cannot even be used without the spectre of shame appearing. When I use, I fear that I might activate it; yet, I feel such an incredible gratitude to it: I am in love with love, as the psychoanalyst Jessica Benjamin recently put it.

    I believe a world of unbelievable potential is around the corner, but it’ll only come into being through reason and love – with one and the other mutually supporting/guiding the other.

  9. Dalai Lama, really? Isn’t he CIA-backed? I never found him convincing as anything but a figurehead for state-spirituality, & I would apply the same reasoning to him/his status as to Blake, with the distinction that Blake (like P K Dick) during his lifetime was not, AFAIK, numbered among the cultural elite….

    Here is where I allow for some wiggle room, that a culture may appropriate a genuinely (relatively) benign human vessel and their creative insights for its own ends, and thereby co opt/distort the original message and meaning.

    Regarding Blake, I would be very interested to know if he actually held the views about sex you say he did, or whether he was referring to something more agape than eros when he wrote of sensual enjoyment.

    I would say, for me, sensual enjoyment (not sex) is the very essence of embodiment and hence reality (experiencing it to the full), just as you mention in your comment at the Formlessness article, that we can only access the truth of ourselves via relaxation (which opens up the senses to enjoyment).

    this is (I think) precisely why sexual trauma is so crippling, because the affective imprint/betrayal prevents the psyche-soma from naturally and effortlessly enjoying its sensual/sensory existence, and compels it to retreat into mind-based delusions and goals (occultism, transhumanism, worldly power & success).

    In a sense, the body is the original (true) “other” and it is thru the empathic symmetry of soul and body that this dyad can then appreciate and enjoy the other body-souls it encounters, in a non-exploitative non-defended fashion.

  10. Hey Jasun,

    In my experience, and the experience of most psychotherapists, you don’t overcome trauma: you get control of it by expanding your range of knowing. What does this mean at a neurological level? The brain is plastic. From the bottom-up, the brain works by integrating signals from the body, coordinating them, and them integrating these coordinations with higher level attachment-related self-world behaviors. The first stop – the “paleomammlian brain”, is the midbrain area. Here’s the place where the core excitations of motivational-system nuclei (like VTA=dopamine; raphe nucleus = serotonin, etc) which are then systematically gated/transformed on their way to completion.

    I really think it is impossible to know the mind properly without a thorough knowledge of neuroscience:

    “Each individual is not only subject, like all material systems, to the second law of thermodynamics, but also to a multilayered set of irreversible selectional events in his or her perception and memory. Indeed, selective systems are by their nature irreversible.” – Gerald Edelman, Bright Air, Brilliant Fire: On the Matter of the Mind; pg. 168, 1992, Basic

    I know we like to think we overcome our traumas, but we don’t see to. We expand the system: we grow additional capacities for processing so that, in the dynamic described above, core excitation = brainstem = conditioned in early life (always a potential for response); mid-brain responses are handled in the striatum/amygdala, so that embodied habits of knowing/relating are always embodied.

    The Dalai Lama has himself questioned Buddhist doctrine if it contradicts scientific – i.e. empirical – study. As it should.

    In neuroplasticity, it is the forebrain – specifically the ventral PFC – which grows neurons (from the olfactory bulb or dendritic zone of the hippocampus) and since the OFC (orbitofrontal cortex) is almost entirely made of inhibitory, the computational/regulatory logic of brain-function makes much sense: brainstem excites, forebrain inhibits. In other words, we can add cognitive complex and higher-level representation to relax our feeling-body…

    So why do we feel like we change? Do we…really? If you fail to nourish yourself or get proper sleep, your past issues will become more affectively apparent to you. Or, go into a public space – or meet a face/individual/culture which has historically strained you: can you tolerate it? If you were completely honest, you should acknowledge the amygdala/brainstem connection (via solitary nucleus) so that your body freezes up. Why would this happen unless you – the individual – are really a sub-system of the dyadic relationship?

    It is for this reason that I am absolutely opposed to the historical mysticism/epistemology which trashes knowledge. For instance, do we exist with one another? Could you be the mind you are today without knowledge? Logically speaking – could you have a self-reflective mind without a mother/father speaking to you and in the process complexifying/expanding your minds focusing/relational capacities?

    Whenever mystics talk this way, I am astonished – floored even – by the sheer irrationality of it. This vs. that; formless vs. form; knowledge vs. wisdom. I mentioned the kabbalah, but I by no means hold myself to the kabbalah. I don’t look to it to figure out the structure of reality (I take its claims as to being such a thing to be a speculation requiring actual experimental verification…Anyone can make claims without evidence).

    Thus, knowledge exists BETWEEN PEOPLE. I cannot stress this enough: we are as much speakers and communicators of knowledge as we are anything else; and the big – and only -reason we think and posit as we do vis-à-vis knowledge is that we are still working from a substance dualism without acknowledging the real-live property-dualism. We have internal realities AND we have voices that speak. We have internalized-representations and we have interactions.

    As to your last statement, do you not use your memory to refocus your mind when your feeling-body represents a traumatic representation? The cognitive sciences have shown the mind to be nothing more than a prediction-machine. If you think you don’t need to use your cognitive memory systems, then your feeling/spontaneous body representation is nothing more than a ‘prediction’ my body will engage in to relax the stresses.

    So how did you get so confident in your feelings Jasun? Through conversation – interaction -via knowledge, with Dave Oshana? Did you have that before or after interaction with him? If after, wouldn’t we, or shouldn’t we, attribute the change to the force of knowledge? How can ‘fixing knowledge’ than be illusory if it can help orient you to a symmetrical organization? Help you feel better and project a better self-state?

    Reality can be formless and formal at the same time. But the formal better be what you/I/we are paying attention to, otherwise the mystic hogwash/imbalance will wash over us after the next round i.e. the next cycle.

  11. Here’s another good Edelman quote:

    “Higher order consciousness cannot be abandoned without losing the descriptive power it makes possible. (I often wonder whether this abandonment is what some mystics seek.)” – Gerald Edelman, Bright Air, Brilliant Fire: On the Matter of the Mind; pg. 124, 1992, Basic

  12. In other words, the dissociation of meaning/knowledge from interaction, and then experiencing the change of that interaction, only to say ‘knowledge had nothing to do with it’, is incoherent.

    There is clearly a fundamental complementarity here. Yin/Yang. Formless/Form. They mutually support/enhance/clarify one another.

    Edelman says ‘this abandonment’ of thinking is what some mystics ‘seek’. It may be. No system of knowledge if more full of unjustified-clichés super-charged by dogma/enchanting environments/ambiences as mysticism.

    I see it as the representation par-excellent of ‘mythological consciousness’. If the fullness of reality – mind plus body – knowledge plus feeling – cannot be contained, why not?

  13. P.S. In my reading of C.S. Peirce and William James (who were close friends) I am bothered by a recurring theme. I went through the whole Judaism/Kabbalah/Gnosticism/Hermeticism thing to figure out, or learn, what sort of conflicts are created in human beings when they address reality in the way the Hebrews/Jews did.

    Peirce believed in “perfect symmetry”. He believed reality was moving in that direction. Same thing with James, who, being more interested in the occult than in logic, also believed that reality was ‘all in the mind’.

    Jason W. Brown, a neurologist, takes the Universe as the Mind of God – as do I (as did Peirce). But Jason W. Brown wrongly and asininely thinks everything beyond his personal mind is merely ‘extrapersonal mind’. I have mentioned how deeply this irks me – being so relationally educated – and growing up – in a more developed scientific era than Brown did, I cannot tolerate the nonsense of referring to everything beyond your personal mind as merely ‘extrapersonal space’. Really? Nothing could be more personal to me than the meaning of the social world around me. Furthermore, I am not in control of it, but responding to it. In addition: my capacities as an agentic self are RESTRAINED by this social-presencing….This is definitely what Axel Honneth has in mind when he says the I is a function of the WE: we cannot know our true selves in a context of interpersonal tension, conflict, and aggressive competition.

    Just as the heart is more to one side than the other, so is cooperation more basic in us than competition (though we should not get rid of competition: again, it can be fun; it just needs to be coherently regulated). Same thing with social-communication. The Self-Other relationship is MORE REAL than my self-experience. I realize my true nature more truthfully when I adapt myself to the intrinsic constraints of the social interaction. I learn only after; but can appreciate only when the other helps me learn what I get from social interactions.

    Formless/form is a similar dynamic. The formless/love is the root of things, and we should be anchored to this; but we shouldn’t lose sight of how actual reality is composed of signs which constrain us towards this representation. Reality will always hold the formless: but to truly love life and live responsibly, you have to think/represent/use your memory systems. We can’t artificially excise/demarcate our internal life as if my ‘love’ makes me this way, as if realities composition has nothing to do with it (i.e. in mediating it). It is this passive/active quality which needs to be acknowledged. The complementarity at the core of things is very, very real, and deeply addresses the moral heart and soul of how the universe works.

    I see Logos as the mind that is projected by love. Love is written throughout this universe, but it takes mind – and coherent knowing – to represent it. Without knowing, the creation falls apart i.e. we hurt it. With knowing, we ‘stitch’ male with female, as the kabbalah describes it. Indeed, one Rabbi whose lecture I listened to made this point: 11 is more true than 10. You say the sephirah of death is ‘illusory’ – yet I’ve heard the opposite: the so-called “messianic era” is a function of re-inserting the 11th sephirah to create once again a relationship between the “indwelling presence of God” (humanity) and the Universe at large (God). This is typically how the religious Jews understand knowledge i.e. as connecting heaven (mind) and earth (body).

  14. PSS. As for pedophilia, look into William James and his family history for an example of how this issue arises, and more importantly, how it wreaks its havoc epistemologically by keeping the mind focused on subject matters correlated with the self’s evolved regulation goals. A good book to get a sense of this would be “The Metaphysical Club” by Louis Menand. Here’s a quote I took awhile back:

    The book is about how “American pragmatism” had evolved in the unique circumstances of American society. It covers William Holmes, John Dewey, William James and C.S Peirce. Here are 3 quotes and my own comments on the quotes (addressing the very issues I’ve been addressing here). I see, in other words, a structural relationship between pedophilia, and wishing to see the universe in a formless way. Clearly, the experience of pedophilia (where no constraints were acknowledged by the caregivers) and the positing of a pure ‘formless’, are metaphorically akin phenomena (I would recommend you read George Lakhoff/Mark Johnson is you haven’t done so already for how our minds reflect the structure of our relatonships with the environment i.e. it is metaphorically constructed)

    “To the Wendell Holmes who returned from the war, generalism was the enemy of seriousness. War had made him appreciate the value of expertise: soldiers who understood the mechanics of battle fought better – more effectively, but also more bravely – than soldiers who were motivated chiefly by enthusiasm for a cause. When he had written his letters to Charles Norton comparing the Civil War to the Crusades, Holmes was still attempting to inspire himself by his feeling for the cause. When he emerged from the Wilderness three months later, that feeling seemed to him only an emotion people used to destroy themselves.” – Louis Menand, The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America; pg. 59; Farrar, Straus, Giroux; 2002 [The purpose of this quote is to show how trauma can shock people out of their normal epistemological gullibility. What Holmes recognized was how an earlier held value – held when times were good – became worthless under real existential duress. In the biblical lexicon, they were “idols” – useless ideals which do not match up to the true shape of reality. In fact, he even recognized that the ideal, if continued to be held to, ultimately had a sadomasochistic aspect to it: it provoked people to keep doing what was in fact destroying them. The psychology of the process – an emphasis on an “end”, led to a chronic and constant bulldozing through the body of the self and other people, and a denial of the harm it continued to cause. His recognition that mechanics of things better corresponds to reality relied upon the only example he knew of: war; but it applies to everything, the mind especially. The difference between a mindless idealization and a healthy ideal way of being is that the former ignores immediate feedback from reality and fails to learn from that feedback, whereas the latter makes learning the primary point; it is from that feedback, and from learning, that the truth of things is ultimately discovered. Despite this depth of insight made following the war, the exaggerated sense of self-importance Holmes attributed to himself made him vulnerable to the social influences of the culture he had every interest of re-entering – and of course, of gaining power and prominence within. He once wrote “If they could make a case for putting Rockefeller in prison I should do my part…but if they left it to me I should put up a bronze statue to him.” Pg. 65; its pretentious and ostentatious statements like this which gives away the powerful effect elitist culture had upon him; an effect that was made grander as a function of his own misestimation of the way his own views – and their continuing evolution – resulted from his need to experience himself positively – an effect which relies upon the positive feedback from others. Having sought greatness and entered the company of “great” men like Rockefeller, he seriously misjudged the degree to which his views could be made more and more compatible with theirs; it was, in other words, misunderstanding how certain cultures fetishize trauma, and thus, can craft a narrative that makes capitalism seem like a great social good, as opposed to a power which can become maniacal if not restrained by the greater power of a collective socialism – a social system Menand tells the reader Holmes considered “to be silly”. Holmes fell victim to the elitist illusion that ‘disinterestedness’ towards results meant “not being attached” – as if the very pompous attitude felt towards disinterestedness didn’t constitute an affective attachment – a value – which he lorded over others without ever recognizing how that view was bootstrapped into his mindbrain, and through what relationships – his parents, and especially Henry L. Abbot. Menand concludes that he was ‘indifferent towards suffering’ of others – a position that was drilled into him by the ‘heroism’ of Abbot during the civil war – himself a son of an elite judge; this illusion, that you can have an attitude without the continuous feedback of social-position and opportunity given to you by the system, engendered an acute oversight of how fundamentally unjust the system was, insomuch as it was the system and its positive and negative feedbacks which made human beings what they are – that is, underlies their capacities for acting. In other words, it was Holmes hyper-valuation of scientific ‘disinterestedness’ which, when confronted with the ‘incompetence’ of the poorly educated, elicited in him a contempt for those who failed to embody it – a failure which had everything to do with the dynamics of the society which he himself became a chief arbiter of.]

    “His solution to this problem in his own life was to cultivate a self-conscious impulsivity. He would act decisively, and then, just as decisively, change his mind. He spent fifteen years trying to settle on an occupation, switching from science to painting to science to painting again, then to chemistry, anatomy, natural history, and finally medicine. Medicine was the only course of study he ever completed: he received an M.D. from Harvard in 1869 and never practiced or taught medicine for the rest of his life. He began teaching physiology at Harvard in 1872, but switched fields, first to experimental psychology and then to philosophy…In 1903 he began the process of trying to decide whether to retire. His diary for the fall of 1905 reads: October 26, “Resign!”; October 28, “Resign!!!”; November 4, “Resign?”; November 7, “Resign!”; November 8, “Don’t resign”; November 9, “Resign!”; November 16, “Don’t resign!”; November 23, “Resign”; December 7, “Don’t resign”; December 9 “Teach here next year”. He retired in1907…They had six children. William named the youngest son Francis; when the child seemed to dislike the name, he called him John; when the boy was seven, he officially changed the name to Alexander. When his family irritated him – as it frequently did: one of his children later described shouting matches between William and Alice – he would sometimes go off alone to his country house in New Hampshire. As soon as he arrived, he began sending love letters back home. Whenever he was in Europe (it was his habit to be out of town when there were newborns in the house) he announced his distaste for European life and his preference for everything American. When he returned, he complained about America and longed to be in Europe. “He’s just like a blob of mercury,” his sister, Alice, wrote near the end of her life, after William had paid her a flying visit in London; “you cannot put a mental finger upon him.” – Louis Menand, The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America; pg. 75-76; Farrar, Straus, Giroux; 2002 [To add to the obvious affect dysregulation disorder James lived with, he married a woman with the same name as his sister, which is made strange by the erotic pictures he drew of her (his sister), as well as her own lifelong affect dysregulations which strongly intimates a history of sexual abuse – whether by her father, or encouraged by him in relation to her brothers.]

    “He changed course frequently and abruptly, but, unlike his oldest son, he was never paralyzed by doubt. On the contrary: “A skeptical state,”…he once said,”…I have never known for a moment.” – Louis Menand, The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America; pg. 84; Farrar, Straus, Giroux; 2002 [A man who apparently constantly contradicted himself, and described as being both opposed to and for the criminal, never acknowledged doubt? Obviously, doubt did occur, otherwise he never would have changed his religion so frequently; what mattered, it seemed, was that he could never acknowledge that he doubted – insomuch as ‘to doubt’, as is still sometimes thought, is experienced as a ‘weakness of character’. His issue was a chronic, diseased dissociation of what he actually felt and actually did; and hence, helps explain the origin of the pathological vacillation William James dealt with. The elder James held to the view that independent selfhood doesn’t exist; in an ultimate sense, this is true, insomuch as the self has an intrinsic dyadic structure that is dyadically constructed through interpersonal relationships; yet, if you pay attention to the role needs play in the emergence and regulation of the ACTUAL mind, the individual self IS real, insomuch as not acknowledging the legitimacy of ones own needs generates asymmetrical effects within ones experience. What results from this analysis is that denying the independent self and acknowledging only an independent self amount to the same thing: ignoring how things actually work in fact, which ultimately reveals a bidirectional relationship between self and other in interpersonal relationships, as well as self and other in the experience of one’s own phenomenological experience i.e. which creates the need for self-compassion – ultimately proving the reality of the individual self, albeit, as a miniature representation of interactions between self and other.]
    “James therefore claimed to have no use for morality, a concept he regarded as bound up with the pernicious belief that people are responsible for the good or evil of their actions. People who believe this are people who think they can make themselves worthier than other people by their own exertions. But this is to worship the false god of selfhood. “All conscious virtue is spurious,” James insisted; genuine goodness comes only from God…The applications of such a cosmology are not self-evident. At the beginning of his career, James thought his views required him to become an advocate of free love. “If society left its subjects free to follow the divine afflatus of his passion whithersoever it carried him,” he wrote in the Fourieriest journal the Harbinger, “we should never hear of such a thing as sexual promiscuity or fornication, never dream of a merely natural ultimation of the passions. The natural appetite in each case would be infallibly subject to the personal sentiment, and thus would always be elevated into celestial purity.” He believed that “a day will come when the sexual relations will be regulated in every case by the private will of the parties. The public sentiment, then, or law,… will declare the entire freedom of every man or woman to follow the bent of their private affections, will justify every alliance sanctioned by these affections.” – Louis Menand, The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America; pg. 86; Farrar, Straus, Giroux; 2002 [This statement lends strong support to my previous theory: that his own child, Alice, was likely victimized by the pernicious permissiveness of this philosophy of her fathers: where even his own children, it seems, were not off the table; and no doubt, to blanket statement all things in terms of sexuality, gave ample room for the distortion of his own noxious projections. Later on, Menand quote’s a reversal of James views, which is consistent with his overall dissociative personality; indeed, isn’t his earlier claim of following his whim not consistent with reversing his position, again and again, as if no truth existed but the “one truth of God”? Again and again, this position dysregulates and disorganizes the biosemiotics of the brain-body-world matrix, providing the reinforcing feedback that steers the mind back to its world-destroying projections: for what? To find ‘safety’ for the “self” which, paradoxically, the elder James claims “doesn’t exist”. And so, again, the extremes generate polarized oscillation; manic-depression is the underlying structure that these vacillations in opinion skirt upon.]

  15. all very interesting, and at this point, I have to throw up my hands and say “I don’t know, but nor do I feel any need to.”

    I think if you make knowledge synonymous to memory, then I might agree, with the proviso that such body-knowledge/memory is not dependent on any kind of mental content, exactly as the traumatic memory of body affect isn’t, in fact, by definition, it can’t be contained by any form of cognitive framework (trauma, like God, being what is too large for the mind to grasp) .

    for example, as we get to know a person (me and Dave say), and develop trust, respect, and love & affection for them, this is experienced and expressed by the body, without necessarily requiring any reference to cognitive recall or memory (knowledge in the sense I use it), even tho, clearly, the sum of those experiences is informing our perceptions and (inter-) actions.

    to me, this is necessary for understanding how it is possible for form or the finite (our lived lives) to somehow have an experience of the formless and the infinite which they are nested within, without being utterly annihilated, cancelled out, by that. The Logos is the ratio between form/formless and finite/infinite, yet this is an inherent impossibility (absurdity) to the mind, since there can be no ratio between finite and infinite that isn’t itself infinitesimal.

    since we do not experience ourselves as infinitesimal (as non-existent), our experience of existing as form, is itself an experience of formlessness, or the infinite. Yet there is no knowledge-base, no matter how vast, that can even begin to scratch the surface of (much less encompass) the infinite.

    • As to the first sentence: You can learn from inference, which is basically the same exact process as the other sciences. How do we know quarks exist? Inference. We can’t even measure their existence, but the effects of their existence – mathematically – shows up in experimental searches for those effects. Hence, they must exist.

      Similarly, if all of reality can be thought of as triadic – beginning with the first cell (first life form), we can see this in the point-counterpoint between the membrane/protein complex and the internal nucleus/DNA complex, mediated by the flux of enzymatic and autocatalytic metabolism. A similar structure exists higher up: organism (DNA), other (proteins/membrane) and communicative signs. Within this dynamic – a dynamic shared by all mammals – self/other/affect emerges, but with it all happening now in the mind: the self is your observing part; the other, the feeling part; and the signs – the nature of what those feeling parts mean vis-à-vis everything that can be known/deduced from the symmetry of interactions. So, I agree that trauma as specific content – necessarily hides itself. But when you learn how we grow from a more theoretical/physical understanding, there is a necessity to this effect – and hence – we shouldn’t make any sharp distinctions between phenomenology (what I can know first person) from what I can know from third person studies (i.e. science). In fact, my personal knowledge is completely explained and made sense of from a coherent third-person perspective. Indeed – wouldn’t the latter perspective, since it takes social-cooperation in a complex technological/social environment a better road towards knowledge than the often self-serving claims to knowledge of the mystic? The “enlightened” person likes to pretend like he doesn’t need to persuade/convert people. If no need, than why speak/attempt to convert? If you speak, you need, and hence, you will feel bad if no one responds to your efforts. Understandable – human – a function of having a body that has been naturally selected to respond this way.

      As to second paragraph: the full process is mind and body, since you need to attend, reflect, understand. I’m not disagreeing that the body is the template – hence the whole biblical narrative of Adam/Eve/serpent. Adam is the reflective mind, Eve the body, and the serpent is unresolved trauma. It is the body which feels the unresolved trauma – hence the communication between Eve and the reptile; and why it is Eve who “misleads Adam”. This allegory describes what every human mind is doing when they reflect in traumtological ways: trauma is UNREFLECTED upon experience. Hence, when I say “knowledge”, I mean reflection. Trust, love, affect, etc, are the feelings produced by coherent reflections i.e. constraints on the flow of experience. Animals cannot achieve such feeling because they do not have faces/voices to convey such meaning, nor do they have brain-regions that can de-code such meaning. Our mirror-neurons (which are the most extensive in all mammals) allow such resonance, but the resonance is not independent of focus, correct marking, and then communication. The feelings you describe are very good ones: but they take a particular mental/cognitive approach/strategy to accomplish.

      In the view of the cognitive sciences, the body = knowledge. Fransisco Varela first touched on this in his book with Humberto Maturana, “The Tree of Knowledge”. Although this book doesn’t stress semiotic knowing, it definitely connects knowing/cognition to structure/dynamics, which biosemiotics (Hoffmeyer, Deeley, Sebeok, von Uexkull, etc) properly expands into a more fully-fleshed modern scientific understanding of life and mind.

      As to paragraphs 3 and 4. I wonder how fruitful this language is – of the logos being the ‘ratio’ between finite/infinite and formless/form. I don’t know what that means. Logos, from my perspective, is the ‘logic’ of existence. Infinite/infinitesimal – again, i’m bot sure how productive these descriptions are. They strike me as a form of philosophical essentialism, in which language is used without stating or describing its relationship to physical process i.e. this is how you, I, and everyone else continues to exist.

      So, in knowing how the universe works, I feel happy and satisfied. I find language to be inherently misleading if it is not connected to process. Since the self grows from the bottom-up, and each self trained by the top-down (from cultural narratives), we can see feedback loop between evolved cultures/narratives and the way the self forms meaning from procedural, analogical, self-other interactions around recognition of motivational needs. Thus, I feel this explanation suffices to explain ‘why I feel’ as I can sometimes. It is also what motivates me to realize that a far more inspiring and enlivening and REAL CREATIVITY lies before us once we resolve these psycho-social-biological feedback loops.

      Hence, I suspect these riddles/games mystics play (i.e.their narrativizing) has everything to do with the loss of trust in social connection. I remember an indian mystic saying there was a truer state beyond love – the “atman”. Aye, I think to myself. This dork (please let me have this one insult between us!) likes to imagine that contemporary Indian philosophy has nothing to do with the Indo-European invasions into the region 4500 years earlier. Such a simple myth: this is what reality is – case closed. Meanwhile the Brahman etc class system works its magic to ‘reconstruct’ the “karmic hierarchy” in Indian society.

      Most anthropologists see such mental behavior as self-serving narratives that justify social, material and sexual advantages. The Brahman, for instance, loves the social-advanrage that comes with “being a knower”. Such capacities underwrites his self-certainty i.e. he has to continue to support his self-mythology racket if he is to get what he wants.

      In my mind, cases like this show how thinking/narratives mislead, and that the truth of reality is what ramifies from physical processes i.e. what we call ‘feeling’ and ‘mind’, are these ramifications. Thinking – representations – should always be restrained in reference to how large-scale contextual events create these very feelings we are thinking from i.e. thinking is always reflective from feeling. The body is sometimes- oftentimes – wrong about what it represents.

      So, you say, “you don’t need to know”. If you feel calm and at peace with yourself, that’s great. But isn’t the formless so great that you could be wrong, and, rather than claiming you ‘don’t need to know’, that you could, in fact, come to learn something you didn’t know before, and come to appreciate/value it?

      I am not abashed to say I need. I need others to hear me; yet, If I fail in getting them to think logically, I don’t feel bad. It’s because I see my position as directly reflecting the structure of reality that I feel “if they don’t listen, someone after me will carry the baton”.

      I trust reality. It may be this trust, and love, for realities inherent goodness, that I find myself such an advocate for what kind of human self can form when we properly support what is required for a healthy development. The baby/infant is such a vulnerable creature, yet how often do we hear: “let him fall” i.e. let the baby get hurt, because it’ll “teach him”. Such cliché fails to understand what the first 2 years are about: the building up of an attachment system to a cognitive environment. If feeling isn’t protected, than when speech arises, wouldn’t the feeling formed move to the periphery/background vis-à-vis speech? Its these pernicious attitudes towards growth, which fails to understand that crying/not being attended to is entropy – inefficient development – which will become ‘closed’ with language formation around a feeling background that will be less resilient to illusory thought.

      I mention this because you can barely watch T.V/Moves without these dumb ideas intruding. They are conservative ones, but they can also be liberal; they work through ignorance and incoherent understanding of how an infants mind works. It doesn’t get that “being left to cry” is akin to “not feeling connected to the social environment”. If the social world fails to acknowledge you, how could you ever come to acknowledge the social, or, later on, the universe at large – in partnership and relationship? Seeing the metaphor across scales is deeply important.

      • To correct an idealization I made: I feel bad if people don’t listen; but I don’t fall apart: the truth (knowledge) that lives in me allows me to be resilient to negative feedback.

        Yet, I can imagine a different world. As could Peirce; and perhaps James too – who liked Peirce and financially supported him. Yet James wasn’t balanced (nor Peirce). Yet Peirce emphasized the cognitive social domain, whereas James emphasized “love”. Peirce thought James’ under-representation of the importance of socializing allowed for a non-loving way of being to emerge. For James – who raised by a father who claimed universal love, yet harmed his children – didn’t (or couldn’t, given the times) understand. His emphasis was always on matters that never allowed humans to get traction/coherency on their social selves. Peirce thought this was a destructive/misleading position to take.

        Between Peirce and James, I obviously side with Peirce. Many probably see Peirce as being more right than James, yet, I’m equally sure, many see James’ life-situation as a better representation of the needs of most elites. Hence, Menands position that the 4 people he covers – Holmes/Dewey/James/Peirce – were all equally concerned with pragmatism: what the self is doing to cope with feelings.

        Allan Schore and modern psychotherapy call this ‘affect regulation’, where higher level cognitive systems are evolved to regulate core feelings. The social environment is the ultimate context; and then after two years, the social-world is ‘internally modelled’ in the brain, where affects both predict and elicit responses from the environment – leading to the positive feedback loops we all know so well.

  16. Sorry for the poor annotation: first quote is about Holmes (and the powerful effect the civil war had on his mind); the second quote is about James; and the third about James’ dad.

    There is just such an obvious storyline that is unfortunately poorly attended to by James scholars – probably/plausibly because they subscribe to a similar/reconcilable world view.

    But its clearly there. The field of IPNB, relational psychoanalysis and traumatology have added a great deal of understanding as to WHY early-sexual abuse creates problems. Clara Mucci – borderline bodies – has some interesting theories; but the crux is really about the relationship – the non-constraining nature of it – and how the non-constraint/asymmetry of that external relationship becomes embodied as an internal asymmetry in object-relations vis-à-vis desire. Desire never gets properly regulated by the victim of sexual-abuse. This is because, quite understandably, they grow up with a supercharged libido and/or (as a different route; reality is of course capable of scaffolding many different forms of self-regulation) an autistic object-relations. That is, hyper-arousal or hypo-arousal, in trauma-lingo. This means objects – what they mean and suggest about functioning – is informationally relevant to functioning. Functioning can be made better or worse – feelings can be made more relaxed/resilient or tensed/reactive, based upon how the caregiver understands how humans work.

    A big part of my theory of human evolution is how theory – theorizing – plays a part in the process of regulating the psychological self, the physical body, and social relationships. I mentioned how mimesis is considered to be the root of our brainmind; this mimesis – as imitation – I believe, triggered a reflexive representation, or inquiry process, where the organism/human reasoned/learned that meaning/knowledge was relevant to its growth/function. Over time, this awareness dissipated such that two forms of human-being could emerge: one leaves archeological evidence of his existence, the other doesn’t. Both humans think/reason/speak. Both have knowledge. The former has coherent knowledge of social processes and “lives in the mind” i.e. what matters is the mind. Conversely, a broken/traumatized culture will scaffold bad-knowledge and bad behaviors, and in turn, its affective/motivations will be more towards the material world – hence, shamanism, complex hunter-gatherers, chiefdoms, etc, follow this lineage (Cain’s lineage, lets say). There are two logical organizations of human beings that have everything to do with the logic of self-organization in physical systems (i.e. threat/safety as embodying stability/instability). Good and evil, thus, are the obvious ‘control parameters’ in Humans, just as it is in all other animals…

    Yet humans don’t like being categorized as “just another animal”, do they? The philosopher Karen Seymour (Natural Metaphor) see’s all of reality as a metaphor of eternal being. I agree with her. In this sense, the animals/forms around us are the gradations of being that ascend from the natural world, becoming ‘complete’ in its logic, or search for coherency (i.e. safety) in human beings (homo sapiens). We share the universe with other beings. These beings may be metaphorically ‘akin’ to us, but they are not, in fact, “us”. They have an existence quite their own. I find Jason W. Brown type positions to be overly anthropocentric – to make reality about ‘humans’ – as if it were just a function of our feelings made physical (which is incompatible with the logic of evolution). Yet, doesn’t trauma make people egocentric? Ergo, wouldn’t a traumatized mind still be metaphorically driven by a desire to place humans – us – front and center? I am not ‘nature-centric’ either, but believe, once again, that there is a complementarity between the intrinsic ego-centric nature of our minds, and the “otherness” of the Universe around us; unpredictable, too vast to be held in our minds: hence why it is astonishes us, rivets us, and enlivens us with wonder. Science (as represented by Popper) seeks this balance between a human-centric world (as created by anthropological dynamics) and a natural world, with a partial – and not complete – overlap.

    Mystics who believe in a complete overlap between mind and reality evidently feel no qualms about murdering other humans. After all, what are they but “images of the same Self”? Is this not the obvious logic of Nazis or Islamists or white-supremacists? They are all instances of the same traumatological thinking. My mind = reality. Such an idiot will learn first-hand what “karma” means and why it is the law of balance: there are no free lunches.

    Yet the mystic/maniac evidently believes death is the end; as if the wondrous nature of existence didn’t hold some penalty to the aggrandizer who fails to function harmoniously with his own teleodynamisn (built in the biology of love).

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