The Liminalist # 49: Letting the Trickster In (with Guy Duperreault)


Part one of conversation with Guy Duperreault, on the vesica piscis between psyches, the difference between joy and happiness, joy as deep relaxation, moving away from the feeling of deserving, a subtle sense of well-being, deep relaxation vs. euphoria, encomiums, the persona and the individuated self, how the ego dissolves, fear and the ego, the feeling of being seen, the gauntlet of social anxiety, what Caesar gives, good and bad parenting, a defining movement forward, removing the ego, a culture of gratification, the pursuit of happiness as surest way to misery, ego as defense system, the constructed identity, the notion of I, the energy-universe, Christ and the bankers, the push for tolerance & the need for intolerance, the difference between self-examination and self-evaluation the Universe as Trickster, psyche and the universe, being aware of being awareness, being prompted to change, the torpidity of the human animal, the universe’s caring indifference, becoming permeable, letting the trickster into your life, the psychopomp, the lesson of humor, the opposite of anger, how the body stores emotions, removing anger from the cells, the disenfranchised parts of the body.

Guy’s Blog.

Songs: “El Mariachi”  by The Freak Fandango Orchestra; “Lost in My Mind,” by the Head & the Heart; “Sprocket,” by Andy G. Cohen; “Howl,” by Junip.

28 thoughts on “The Liminalist # 49: Letting the Trickster In (with Guy Duperreault)”

    • Hello Nessia. Thank you listening and for taking the time to ask a question.

      I would say no. From the wiki’s very short non-Lacanian description of Jouissance I understand it to relate solely to the physical realm of ‘rights, property and sexual orgasm’. From the Wiki’s very short extract of Lacan’s psychology, he took that material meaning of Jouissance, and extended it in a Freudian way more deeply into being simply personal physical experience.

      Joy, as I have come to think of it through my physical and non-physical experience, predates sensual perception. And I know now that it exists independently of it, even as it expresses itself though it. I have had a few long time friends comment on the physical changes they have seen in me since joy. They say that the ‘now Guy’ laughs more easily and gently and often than the ‘old Guy.’ And that makes me laugh, because until they said that I hadn’t been aware of that level of change. 😀 And so we change, so long as we embrace change and the trickster asking us to be alive.

  1. ‘Joy’ seems a wee bit Christian and disembodied.

    I first encountered ‘jouissance’ in the writings of Helene Cixous.

    In feminist theory
    The French feminist writer Hélène Cixous uses the term jouissance to describe a form of women’s pleasure or sexual rapture that combines mental, physical and spiritual aspects of female experience, bordering on mystical communion: “explosion, diffusion, effervescence, abundance…takes pleasure (jouit) in being limitless”.[13] Cixous maintains that jouissance is the source of a woman’s creative power and that the suppression of jouissance prevents women from finding their own fully empowered voice.[14][15] The concept of jouissance is explored by Cixous and other authors in their writings on Écriture féminine, a strain of feminist literary theory that originated in France in the early 1970s.
    Other feminists have argued that Freudian “hysteria” is jouissance distorted by patriarchal culture and say that jouissance is a transcendent state that represents freedom from oppressive linearities. In her introduction to Cixous’ The Newly Born Woman, literary critic Sandra Gilbert writes: “to escape hierarchical bonds and thereby come closer to what Cixous calls jouissance, which can be defined as a virtually metaphysical fulfillment of desire that goes far beyond [mere] satisfaction… [It is a] fusion of the erotic, the mystical, and the political.”[16]

    (Nothing to do with “property” and “ownership.” Sorry, Jacques).

    • Thank you Nessia for the great quick summary of the feminist psychological history of jouissance. I see now how you made the link to my use of ‘joy.’ My Christian background is as an observer, and so I do not have those feelings you have attached to the word ‘joy’ or ‘Christian.’

      With your elaboration on jouissance I see the rough equivalence. But it’s not quite the same. I advise you that my thinking has been largely contaminated by a big exposure to Taoist thought and its western equivalent, the stoicism of Epictetus and brilliance of Shakespeare. Now I am being just a tad philosophically picky here, and so take this with a grain of salt, but desire is not really something that can be fulfilled, per se, beyond temporary relief. The metaphysics of that, both from what I have read in the above and in other treatise and, especially now in my recent experience, is to ‘let’ desire go away as a need of the ego which can never be fulfilled. The metaphysical experience is to remove from importance the ego’s insistence that its needs must be fulfilled, and to embrace the physical reality that the slaking of physical desires can be ‘ultimately’ or permanently satisfying. The feeling of joy comes from the peace of knowing that you desire nothing because nothing is needed to be desired. And that is not the same thing as your more definitive definition of Jouissance.

      I was blessed to have had, for a very short but intense time, the rapture of physical bliss and the communion of souls through love. To my surprise that is and was not joy as I later came to understand it. I was happy, for sure. Ebullient even, at times. But not joyful. Joy is quiet and solid and has an inner resonance wholly independent of the ego and physical gratification. Joy resonates the cells. I have described it to some of my fellow yogins as the feeling that my cells are dancing from within. Joy is the honoured embodiment of spirit, in a sense. It is no coincidence that I first began to experience joy with having taken up yoga, but not as a physical exercise as it is often seen as in the materialistic west. I instantly became bodily and wholly aware that yoga is a method of making tangible to my entire being of the body as spiritual expression.

      I do not have another word in my vocabulary, which is quite extensive, to express this. And so here is, again, another example of the problem of words delimiting our ability to communicate, given your association of joy with being (negatively?) “Christian and disembodied.’ I won’t comment on the Christian part, but it is the exact opposite of being disembodied.

      Thank you for the great comment!

  2. Thanks, Guy. I frankly don’t see much difference between the joy you describe and ” Cixous’ “jouissance, which can be defined as a virtually metaphysical fulfillment of desire that goes far beyond [mere] satisfaction… [It is a] fusion of the erotic, the mystical, and the political.”

    • I did say I was making the smallest of distinctions. But am sticking to that. The joy I have begun to experience is independent of ‘the erotic, the mystical, and the political’, let alone a fusion of them. Perhaps I am misunderstanding your idea of ‘fusion’, though. Is it the elevation of physicality into the metaphysical? If that is what you mean — and I could see this being the case for people of a sensation typology — I would agree. And I would wonder if that is the experiential difference between introverted feeling/intution type versus extroverted sensation/thinking type?

      Now, one could argue that my description of joy is a paraphrase of how the books of wisdom have described it, and that what I am experiencing is, in effect, a placebo effect from what I’ve read. I would not have a great argument against that, except to say that, at least at this time, that is not my experience. Or, more precisely, my perception of my experience.

      But if my joy is, in effect ‘just’ a placebo effect, then why wasn’t my belief in their words able to give me joy many years ago? To that I would say that the difference has to do with embodiment. Up until recently I lived a mostly disembodied life, my thinking filled with words and ideas about the importance of breath, yoga, being present in the body while I was walking at least one and half steps from it. I was living what is well described inauthenticly. I suspect that ‘true’ joy is not experienced by people who are lost in beliefs that are not congruent with somatic, spiritual and emotional reality.

    • I can’t speak for Guy but the notion of joy as a thing that can be passed around and valued is antithetical to my own sense, and experience of what’s being named. Embodiment can’t be given to another. I also don’t grok the notion that only what can be given or traded has value, or, for that matter, the notion of value at all, in this context.

    • Hello thwack:
      Yes. That is what I am saying. Joy is not like a ‘gift’ of great sex or the perfect sonnet. What I am not saying is that people who are living joyfully do not give others pleasure through feelings of contentment and warmth and trust, etc.

      And at his/her very best, the joyful person may inspire in others the desire to change. For example, a friend who hadn’t seen me in a long while saw me a few months after my realization of joy, and said ‘OMG! What are doing?! You look fantastic!’ And so I told him and he promptly began to do yoga, not as physical exercise but as a means of beginning the process of embodying the non-physical part of himself. But I did not give him joy. Joy is for him to realize, i.e., to make real, within himself. On the other side of that coin, my change has also included a great deal of effortless weight loss, and I have had more than one person who was unable to see the joy in my eyes and demeanour and skin, ask me ‘Are you okay’ [i.e. are you dying]? And, metaphysically they are correct, as I have let go, let die, that part of me that kept me from experiencing an embodied life.

      I am struggling to respond to your thought, ‘then what is the value of it’. Jasun spoke well for me, perhaps even better than me, with his observation that the idea that value resides only in things that can be traded is of dubious value. (Are you an economics student/grad?) Joy affects the environments around us: the personal, the social and the ‘metaphysical’. And tangibly so, as I now experience people, strangers, acquaintances, friends, differently. Some have told me how much differently they experience me, now, too. And the physical and metaphysical worlds open up and I give and receive invaluable valueless gifts of time, gentle conversation, innumerable synchronicites, and delightful opportunities in an abundance and manner that approaches magical. Almost none of which can be traded, but which I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world.

      • This type of joy sounds very ego-gratifying. It sounds almost like fixation on the positive pole of experience. Why ‘joy’ and not just ‘a sense of oneness with all that is’ (or some similar spiritual slogan?() If your world was hit by a disaster tomorrow, and thousands died, would you feel the same joy, or be inclined to tell people about it?

        I’ve found hanging out with depressed people to be quite rewarding. A sense of irony is a good thing to have,

        • Interesting. Observation. No. That is not my experience. It is rather the opposite. The more the ego is gratified, the less joyful I have felt. The less I have felt the presence of my ego, the more joy I have felt.

          And fixation on a positive experience is delusion, and not at all the same thing.

          With joy there is a sense of ‘oneness with all that is’, although I hadn’t thought of it quite that way. And that is a bit funny, my not thinking of it in that way, because of my reading and some of my formal meditation practices.

          Awareness of ‘oneness’ requires a distinction from oneness, even as one is experiencing it. One of those irreconcilable opposites I am wrestling with, and which have been so joyfully and elegantly described by Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu.

      • “Hello thwack:
        Yes. That is what I am saying. Joy is not like a ‘gift’ of great sex or the perfect sonnet.”–GD

        Well then where did you get it from?

        (Hello Guy; no Im not a grad or economics student)

  3. Rights, property, ownership. Do men derive “joy” from owning a concept, or a woman’s body? Is that the underlying reason for all this talking about joy?

    Given the fluid, disappearing nature of ‘jouissance’ I can understand why men might feel a urgency to invent institutions like marriage, rights, and property to formalize and control the feminine. The positive masculine pole is not always the best place to be. It gets lonely up there in outer space.

    Heaven and hell are necessary and complementary. Rather than fix our attention on attaining salvation, through ‘joy’ that appears to be missing, we could embrace both poles of experience. That would be closer to true liberation

    • You seem to have reformatted the conversation entirely to find something to disagree with… No one was talking about chasing after joy, much less salvation. What does controlling women’s bodies have to do with anything we discussed here? Or for that matter, blaming men for stuff?

      • I’m not blaming men for stuff, I’m just looking for common ground. It just sounds like a disagreement in your ears. Norman O. Brown — didn’t you quote him somewhere recently? Didnt he said all of culture is just an attempt (through fantasy) to regain the mother’s body?

        Otherwise, I can’t really see why adult men take up so much space with their abstract discussions about the nature of true happiness. When children are being abused and there is so much else to care about. It must be a way to repress and turn away from the truth of relationship.

        I’m saying “joy” IS sexual, and sexual energy is all there is in this sad human universe of separation that is attempting to transform itself into something more spiritual and unified. But suffering can hide that from us and make us feel our despair is real. It is, and it’s not.

    • Nessia, I didn’t know joy was missing until I began to feel it. I knew there was something missing, but I had no idea what.

      And, oddly enough, the books of wisdom do endorse embracing the opposites as the path towards freedom and joy. And, of course, your reference to embracing heaven and earth are one example. As is embracing the feminine/masculine (anima/animus), good/evil, etc. Jung’s book Symbols of Transformations is about the symbols in life that allow for, or give us the opportunity to, embrace and unite the opposites. But his book is not unique to that process and he refers, in fact, to an ancient Taoist text that allowed him to realize that process.

      As to being blind to the truth of human brutality, you make special reference to ‘adult men’ and I get the feeling that you are minimizing or removing women from being a part of that process of brutality. If you are, then you are not seeing the full range of the human experience because women are the purveyors of brutality too. A tangible physical example of that is the continued practice of female circumcision by ‘caring’ mothers. And mothers’ role in suppressing their sons’ and daughters’ selves in order to have their children build the correct personas that conform to the social norms. Women are generally, in the world, the primary caregivers to both male and female children, and yet we live in societies across the world that are brutalized by children raised by women. What of that? And I am not ‘blaming’ mothers, as in the end we each have the responsibility to embrace our opposites, and remove our delusions about who we are and what the world we are creating is.

      Accepting that the (archetypal) feminine is both the creator of life and death is also one of the opposites that needs to be embraced. One of the great delusions of our time is the archetype of the good mother as if her opposite does not exist. The good mother is alive and well, of course, but her shadow is extant too. That is the case with all archetypes and their manifestations. This is no different, in principle, to the masculine as both builder and destroyer, etc.

      As to sex as being the sole source/manifestation/experience of joy… really? It is one of the most transient and illusory of all human experiences because it is the least fully realized of the expanse of our human experience: it is bodily only, and completely separate from mind and spirit. Perhaps for the sensual type, in Jung’s definition, sex may be the sine qua non of human experience because it is the acme of physical experience. And my thought is that their path of embracing the opposites would be to ’embody’ the non-physical into their ‘bodies’ in much the same way that people besotted with the truth of ideas needs to embody those airy ideas into the physical world of their bodies and the physical world as well.

      • “Sexual energy” as Cixous means it has little to do with the good and bad mother, Victoria’s secret ads, shaved heads, moustaches, or airy ideas versus embodied reaity.

        It’s simply the energy that creates and destroys the universe. It’s everywhere. It expresses itself in polarities, like the in- and out-breath. It vibrates at the cellular level and in everything around us, well beyond the intelligence of our five senses.

        I don’t really know why you bring up the negative mother as if I had posited some all-positive female energy that trumps the masculine every time it goes out of the house. I don’t know why the neg. mom gets raised like a stick in Jungian circles, as if the rest of us had never thought of her (or read Jung). I deal with and ponder the negative feminine every day of my life. She is everywhere, possessing countless men and women. How does that work? Well, it’s complicated, but in men it shows up in depression and paralysis. In women, well, I see a lot of depressed women too, some with eating disorders or chronic anger.

        Why must you preach the obvious as if it was your unique discovery, hidden to the rest of us? That’s what I mean about men who don’t listen well enough to know they are restating the obvious. What causes that male stutter? It has to be fear. Of the negative feminine.

        There is also a pleasant silence that often swallows women and the feminine, and in part that’s because it’s part of our nature which is to disappear. But occasionally, in rare moments, we get it together to speak and/or write. You really ought to read some of our writings before assuming you are speaking precious truth to our soggy ears. I recommend THE LAUGH OF THE MEDUSA. I know some men have issues with gorgons but they’re really just ageing mermaids. Talk to them. Listen to their screams.

        I never said sex was physical, nor am I a materialist. I believe in water — which is emotion — which is energy. Everything in this universe including our bodies is made of flowing substance and endlessly changing and disappearing.

        I think some men (out of a centuries-old habit of listening to themselves preach) create strange dichotomies where NONE exist.

      • “Women are generally, in the world, the primary caregivers to both male and female children, and yet we live in societies across the world that are brutalized by children raised by women. What of that? ”

        I know the author of the blog feels he was abused by a negative mother. And therefore may draw to himself other men with similar childhood experiences. And just to head off another round of boys-against-girls playground behaviour, I used to observe similar dynamics with women who had extreme relationships with their mothers: the negative mother became the “world” and often they sought out powerful father figures with complementary negative mother complexes.

        I used to notice this, possibly because I was not so caught up in it, having had a generally positive and loving mother who did her best to protect me from predators, who in my case happened to be men. I don’t see how you can speak of “mothers abusing their children” as if the mothers functioned in a separate, mother-controlled matrix of feminine Good /Evil. It might seem that way to a small infant, but soon show up, and then the tug-of-war begins. Fathers are not independent actors either — they have jobs, bosses, obligations, decisions to make about their children’s lives, and these decisions often involve conditioning their children to a world increasingly owned by the military-industrial complex.

        That’s the world I was initiated into, as we all are. It’s not female-controlled. Just about everything in it from war to culture was invented and built and managed by men, with little or no input from women. Isn’t this true?

        Unless your mom kept you at home, dressed you as a girl, and enclosed you in her private fantasy world — which does happen — none of us is purely a victim of our mothers. Unless your dad was totally absent — which is rare. Dad’s are usually somewhat present in their children’s lives, even if only as distant authority figures (or emasculated clowns). Or if the father is dead, he still exists in the child’s DNA, or may be felt as a spiritual presence, or as a projection onto other men.

        To say that women are in charge of this toxic, violent world and somehow the primal causal factor in all the abuse, is really quite a stretch.

        On a more provocative note, I’ll just say that in recent weeks I have experienced my body — not my literal ‘physical’ body but my total body i.e. mental/emotional/intuitive/sensing — as a battleground for male energies that seem to be working out deep unconscious warfare patterns involving sado-masochism, power and control. This is the theme that fills my ‘dreams’ at night except that they are not dreams. Maybe I’m channeling these male energies. At some level, I’ve agreed to that.

        Somewhere Guy wrote that he heard his neighbour’s clock striking six. The clock of the world is striking six. We’re seeing triangles, and triangulated relationships, which ultimately unite to form a six-sided Merkabah. A lot of events are leading us into the sixth dimension, which seems to be about exploring (and exploding) ancient power relationships. I was told the Lords of Darkness congregate in the sixth — this is the time to confront and expose them, as we see happening in e.g. pedophile scandals and the attempts to cover them up.

        Anyway, this is no time for male-female dichotomies and false debates and old hurt feelings around gender. Be open to change, and acceptance, at every level.

        (End of my diatribe)

  4. Seems like some here are ” confusing the planes ” in the old occult parlance . Desperately trying to force this discourse to fit into their lefty/liberal- newage buddhist paradigm . Others trying to extract some sort of pragmatic utilitarian value from these intensely archetypal inner journeys . The imprisoned materialists kicking vainly against the web like meshes of the saturnine-talmudist matrix , pricked by the themes raised here , unable to enter the mouth of the cave to begin the journey , terrified . Indeed it is terrifying , at first , but the road leads ever inwards . Stick at it , read on .
    Mr Horseys star is burning bright through these night skies , at present

  5. HaPpyy New Year.
    Hope your guests’ hair grows back soon. His real joy may then become truly authentic. 55 and no hair? It’s not like life hasn’t taught him a lesson recently.

    • LOL! At my wife’s request I reluctantly shaved my head in the summer of 2001. It was to assuage her vociferous exhortations. I have no real idea why she wanted me to do that. Perhaps it was akin to something sexual? Perhaps her animus was expressing dominance over me and her wish to emasculate me? Me Samson her Delilah? [That was for Nessia and the idea that all things are sexual and that only men have the power to destroy.] LOL! OMG, we could go on endlessly on this.

      Anyway, for whatever reason I shaved my thinning, but far from gone hair. It was an arduous daily morning exercise that I was going to stop in the fall when the air turned cold. To my complete surprise, perhaps even shock, when I grew ‘my’ hair back I didn’t like the feel of it on my head! Is this what happens to women with their infantilizing armpit depilation? [Shrug.] Don’t know, but now I shave my head. No longer every day, but every second or third day and so have undertaken a form of infantilizing behaviour too. Is that me embracing somatically my anima? Or am I pretending to have removed my animal? LOL!

      Does that make me inauthentic in a similar way to the bizarre deformation of head hair a la Trump? Hmmm. Interesting thought. Perhaps it is an authentic expression of who I want myself to inauthentically be? Paraphrased, Dr. Bernie Siegel described shaving his head as a removal of a manifestation of his inauthentically constructed masculine persona so as to better connect to his emotional/feminine side. Not sure about that, but it raises the curious question about how it is the human animal uses authentic bodily constructs — hair, muscles, breasts, ass — to create inauthentic (persona) constructs.

      And so it goes, the problem of opposites, how to embrace them, and how enantiodromia is an example of the trickster nature of Nature and the universe.

  6. Thank you Nessia for your engaged and knowledgable commentary and challenges! I loved how your ideas asked me to re-think and re-look at my own ideas and beliefs and systems of belief. I can feel that you have planted some seeds of thought that are germinating in the unconscious and ignorant me at this time. Not sure when or what they will bring when they come to light, but I am looking forward to them. Even if, when they come, the source of that germination has been lost. Be well.


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