Tuesday, 30 January 2007
Lightly running, the smell of a primrose glittering
In the sun, the feel of silky smooth stones
Sitting in the stream, the taste of a cheese cake,
Snow flakes fluttering from the sky, a door to
A tropical exotic island, a window looking
Out on sandy beaches and splashing waves,
I shall keep my box in a fairy’s grotto,
My box is made from
Claudia Amarylis 1999
In the beginning, thought Crowhurst, there existed only a void, without any physical matter. Then, as a sudden change, matter arrived, disturbing the stable ‘system’ which had existed happily for billions of years. Next, life arrived, and after life, intelligence. Each new arrival caused an explosive change in the universe, disturbing the previous apparently stable system. The system always fights the new arrival, sometimes destroys it, but always loses in the end. Recently, man’s intelligence has been steadily growing and improving, thanks to brave original thinkers like Christ, Galileo, and Einstein, each of whom dared to disrupt the static system of human society in their time with a new idea. Because of their thinking, human progress has been accelerating. Intelligence has now grown so powerful, with all this accumulated knowledge, that it is ready to achieve the next ‘freeing’ of the intelligence or mind from its physical body, so that it leaps into an abstract existence.
The moment for the mind’s great jump out of our present biological system was at hand, Crowhurst thought. The man who was about to tell the world all about it, in the great tradition of Christ, Galileo and Einstein, was Crowhurst himself. When he uttered the message, everyone would instantly see the truth of it, and this would force them all to make the great effort of free will necessary to leap into abstract existence.
Furthermore, anyone who made this leap became like a God. Probably ‘God’ was only a name to describe minds in the past that had managed the leap. Provided we were all very intelligent. Which also meant being very loving to our fellow men, we were all like Gods. To ensure we loved everyone, we had to look upon life as a great game, played with infinite understanding, and no hostility.
All this is clothed in the jargon language of a variety of sciences. Each new phase, for instance, Crowhurst calls the change from ‘first-order differentials’ to ‘second-order differentials’ borrowing the language of calculus. At one point he changes his imagery and describes it in terms of biology, using the idea of a parasite living off a host animal:
“…the arrival of each parasite brings about an increase in the tempo of the Drama, causing first-order differentials in its own lifetime within the host, and second-order differentials within the host to the host etc, etc.
So far we have a void, acting as host to a physical universe, acting as host to an intelligence universe. Where is the system designed to go? To the point where it brings about a fundamental change in the tempo of events in the host…”
Tuesday, 16 January 2007
10 08 40
Reason for system to minimise error
To go – remove experience
Barometer pressure on move...
10 10 10
System of Books reorganising perfectly
10 11 20
Realisation of role of decision making
Hesitation – time Action + time
10 13 30
Books Soul of men into their work –
Reason for ‘work’ unimportant?
10 14 20 Hermits force unnecessary conditions on themselves
seek truth wasting time.
10 14 30
my folly gone ‘forward’ in imagination
wrong decision not perfect Time
no longer computed Had disorganises Clocks...
10 15 40
Clocks Think no need worry
About time +- but only elapsed time
+- May be meaningless? Important
reason for work is (lost) understand...
10 17 20
right Sorry waste of time
Ape indicates perplexity by headscratching!
Not right? 10 19 10
Evil is choice of
Interpretation of symbols
New reas(on) occurs for game. My judgement indicates
Cannot not use anything “put” in place, but have
To put everything in place. Task very difficult.
NOT impossible. Must just Do the B(est)
Strive for perfection in the hope of...
Understand two ‘reasons’ for task of
Conflict. Rule of game unsure. If
10 23 30 game to put everything back? Where is back?
10 23 40
Cannot see any ‘purpose’ in game.
10 25 10
Must resign position in sense that if
Set myself ‘impossible’ task then
Nothing achieved by game…
for game to find new rules governing old
truths. Understand Exact position
of concept of balance of Power. It is
only one way of expressing hope. The
age process in new way of despair concept...
10 28 10
Only requirement for have new set of
Rules is that there IS some...
Understand reason for need to devise
Games. No game can devise is
Harmless. The truth is that there
Can only be one chess master, that is
The man who can free himself (from) the
Need (to) be blown by a cosmic minds…
…there can only be one perfect beauty
that is the great beauty of truth…
…No man may do more than all
that he is capable of doing. The perfect
way is the way of reconciliation…
…Once there is a possibility of reconciliation
there may not (be) a need for making errors…
…Now is revealed the true
nature and purpose and power
of the game offence I am
I am what I am and I
See the nature of my offence
I will only resign this game
If you will agree that (on)
The next occasion that this
Game is played it will be played
According to the
Rules that are devised by
My great god who has
Revealed at last to his son
Not only the exact nature
Of the reason for games but
Has also revealed the truth of
The way of the ending of the
Next game that...
It is finished –
Its is finished
IT IS THE MERCY
11 15 00
it is the end of my
my game the truth
has been revealed and it will
be done as my family require me
to do it...
11 17 00
it is the time for your
move to begin...
I have not need to prolong
It has been a good game that
Must be ended at the...
I will play this game when
I choose I will resin the
Game 11 20 40 There is
No reason for harmful...
This is his last written communication, Donald is never seen again
…It seems indeed as though happiness might be considered as the subjective counterpart to pleasure. I mean that while it would be natural to say: “Be happy or die!” there would be something strained, something even violent, about the expression : “Get pleasure or die!” The more you concentrate on the difference between these words the more clearly does it appear that while pleasure is something that comes to you from outside, happiness is something that, though it may often be “roused to reciprocity” by pleasure, is intrinsically a mental, or even a moral state. You could also, I think, maintain without contradiction that there is an implication of lastingness about happiness, whereas the idea of pleasure suggests something not only more physical but much more transitory.
Having thus dealt with the meaning of our word I want now to dig down if I can to the basic root-psychology of the feeling, or sensation, or emotion which the word conveys.
I think we find, as with most things in the world, an unmistakable duality in the nature of happiness itself, quite irrespective of its basic opposition to its antagonist in the happy-unhappy antithesis. The thing can be a passive state or it can be an active state. At its best in its passive condition it gives you the feeling of a certain lying back in delicious receptivity upon the life-stream whose waves rock you and whose flood bears you up.
At its best in its active state it gives you the feeling of a vibrant energy, of a strong, tense self-creation, a feeling full of the glow of battle and of the exultation of wrestling with a formidable opponent.
Now since there exists this basic difference between the passive feeling of happiness, when a person lies back upon life, and the active feeling, when he wrestles with life, the crucial question arises, upon which of these two moods – granting, as in practical life we have to grant, that what we call our “will” represents a vital mental process in our living organism – is it better to concentrate? I mean if we do really have power over our thought processes, is it wiser to aim at the active state of happiness, or at the passive? I would say most strongly in answer to this that the wise course is to aim for both. Nor can they altogether be separated; for both require some measure of deliberate effort. The tense, the strung-up, the creative side of the feeling of happiness is not completely absent, at least at the start, from the other mood. For the yielded, passive, relaxed, abandoned state, though it does fall to the lot of certain people to enjoy it by pure good luck, can be made much more continuous by intensifying what we may possess of the tense, alert, self-conscious, and “gathered-up” attitude.
We are all familiar with the expression, “Pull yourself together.” Well! that expression, better than any other, describes the psychological movement by which in our deepest soul we put on, as Homer would say, “our harness,” and wrestle with the world.
But the point is that the relaxed and passive kind of happiness, when you float on the ocean of the exterior cosmos and allow its magical currents to flow through you, is a kind of happiness that can be reached deliberately and enjoyed deliberately when once you have acquired the trick of “pulling yourself together.”
Such magical, abandoned moods, do come – it would be absurd to deny it – to the most casual, the most natural, the most unconscious people; but they come to the conscious, philosophical ones – it is certainly safe to say that much – in proportion as these latter clear the way the more intensely and the more craftily for their reception.
The truth is that when once we have arrived, as so many of us have, at a point where we cannot escape being conscious of every flicker of our sensuous and mental life, it is ridiculous to tell us to be natural and simple and unaffected without allowing us the right, or even the possibility, of consciously struggling after this simplicity, this naturalness, this unaffected ness. The clue to the whole life-history of the human mind from the beginning until this day lies in those threefold spiral curves, so beautifully indicated by Hegel, wherein we begin with the religious simplicity of children, advance to the cynical rationalism of youth, and then return – only with a difference – to the old childish wonder, in our mellowest and most inspired maturity.
But granting that we have a right to make a cult of personal happiness and to make as simple a cult and as childish a cult of it as we please, the point arises, how is it that among all the other ideals put forward at the great historic epochs of the world for the human race to follow, the cult of personal happiness hardly appears at all?
What are the reasons why so few human beings dare deliberately, even to themselves, make their personal happiness their main purpose of their lives? Is it all due to that curious taboo on the matter about which I have already spoken? I think another cause of it is that there is a great evolutional pressure focussed just now upon the human race. The lover animals have slipped aside from this terrible pressure. They have stereotyped themselves into a happy stagnation; and even the plants, save when meddled with by man, have fallen into the peaceful recurrence of what is outside the fearful intention of evolution.
But luckless man – made to be a pot for the creative fire by the mysterious master-force – feels driving, burning, scorching, fermenting, seething through him the same dreadful urge to self-lacerating progress which at the beginning forced our ancestors out of their sprawlings and stretchings and baskings into the tyranny of mind.
It is, I think, this terrific evolutionary pressure springing out of the power behind Nature, rather than any superstitious guilt-sense derived from the sin-rituals of savage antiquity, that mainly accounts for the fact that among all our historic moral systems there is no widespread or profoundly influential cult advocating personal happiness as the chief purpose of human life. The Epicurean philosophy itself was, it seems in reality, not quite this; and as for the doctrines of Aristippus, which do seem to have amounted to this, they can have been scarcely known beyond an Athenian circle of progressive minds and beyond he ardent youth of a few Ionian Islands…
The modern Western tendency, both among Communists and Fascists, is so furiously social that all types of individualistic thought are under a ban, tarred with the invidious brush of bourgeois liberalism.
And yet when you “come down to brass tacks” there surely must arise, everyday of their devoted lives, in these young people – for these violent Western ideals seem especially to answer the needs of generous youth – moments when they feel that in this one single terrestrial experience of a living soul, “between two eternities,” it is a queer thing to be thinking of nothing but the material well-being of future generations.
What I am trying to suggest here is that a stoical resolve to endure life happily, without abating a jot of the gathering-up of the resources of our spirit, is not an unworthy human ideal.
Why should the integration, the self-realisation of our human ego, the gathering together in a deliberate tension of our life-forces, be, for a whole epoch of human history, so entirely absorbed in external activity that the inner life of the individual, his sensuous and mystical response to life, is reduced to the minimum?
Surely a person can be an honourable citizen of his country and yet feel that the one thing needful, since after all he is a personal “ego” and not just a cog in a machine or an ant in an ant-heap, is to enrich and simplify his own private response to the universe.
It was faith in a personal religion that so often gave our ancestors the spirit to endure life with stoical calm and enjoy life with unflinching zest. Their ideal was an individual life and to this they adapted themselves by the stately practice of their old-fashioned mental and spiritual “yoga,” a yoga” that after all possessed its own imaginative stir and its own psychological excitement…
…In throwing overboard the old-fashioned religious life, which, after all, held the clue to deep psychological responses to the universe, we have permitted political and social idealism to usurp a place in the life of our solitary soul for which they are entirely unfitted; with the result that since these aggressive invaders cannot fill up these spacious rooms, nor feel comfortable in these stately presence-chambers, there are forlorn spaces left, spaces completely untenanted through which unhappy phantoms stalk and maniac-abortions gibber.
The human soul has a long history. It carries about it high mysterious memories, that, like nightwinds fluttering the faded arras of an ancestral chamber, throw into momentary relief dim motions of forgotten figures whose terrible beauty once transformed our life. No human soul is really satisfied through all of its being by an existence devoted to what is called the “Service of Humanity,” still less by the Service of State. It demands more than these things; and to bind it down to these things is to prepare for terrible and insane reversions to lost idolatries…
…We are men; and it is the destiny of men to detach themselves from the universe in order to enjoy the universe. Action, however exciting, labour however absorbing, penury however exacting, love and hate, however obsessing, leave a yawning gap in the circumference of our life. You may beat this exigency down; you may starve it out, you may crowd it away; the thing refuses to be altogether killed! A devoted existence is not enough. Virtue is not enough. Heroic self-sacrifice is not enough. The soul of man can only be fed at the breast of the universal…
Monday, 15 January 2007
…Beauvoir’s portraits of the woman in love and the mystic have particular bite, perhaps because they so closely bear the traces of her own experience. She begins her chapter on the woman in love by pointing out the different weight men and women attach to love. For man, the active sovereign subject, woman is one value amongst many. For woman, man is the absolute through whom she believes she achieves her transcendence. Love may be the most attractive path for woman to embark on: it is also her greatest trap. From childhood on everything in society conspires to make woman believe that her salvation lies in love. And indeed, for a while, the woman in love is endowed with a high and undeniable value (The Second Sex p. 656). Yet, in time, the chosen idol is revealed not to be God. Searing disappointment ensues and the man in question tumbles from the heights of the superhuman to the inhuman. A woman in love judges her judge with utmost severity and ends by denying him his liberty so that he may deserve to remain her master. Since her devotion and service is absolute, so must his superiority and his attention to her be. And yet if he spends all his time with her, focuses only on her, he is robbed of his freedom and is no longer the god she wishes to serve. In this paradox lie the many pitfalls of the woma n in love, for whom jealousy is a constant stalking partner. There are few crimes that entail worse punishment than the generous fault of putting oneself entirely in another’s hands (TSS p 677).
It is a brief step from adoring the god in man to adoring God Himself. The psychological and sexual constellation which shapes the woman in love is parallel to that of the mystic. The loved one, man or God, is always more or less absent. She gives herself to him through an act of faith....
Simone de Beauvoir: Lisa Appignanesi
Wednesday, 10 January 2007
The Ethics of Ambiguity: Simone de Beavoir 1947
Monday, 8 January 2007
The life of John Stuart Mill: By Michael St John Packe
Sunday, 7 January 2007
Alfred Watkins: The Old Straight Track
...The world is an illusion, but it is an illusion which we must take seriously, because it is real as far as it goes, and in those aspects of reality which we are capable of apprehending. Our business is to wake up. We have to find ways in which to detect the whole of reality in the one illusory part which our self-centred consciousness permits us to see. We must not live thoughtlessly, taking our illusion for the complete reality, but at the same time we must not live too thoughtfully in the sense of trying to escape from the dream state. We must continually be on our watch for ways in which we may enlarge our consciousness. We must not attempt to live outside the world, which is given us, but we must somehow learn how to transform it and transfigure it. Too much ‘wisdom’ is as bad as too little wisdom, and there must be no magic tricks. We must learn to come to reality without the enchanter’s wand and his book of the words. One must find a way of being in this world while not being of it. A way of living in time without being completely swallowed up in time...
Saturday, 6 January 2007
Let the reader, then, who has not been on these downs in summer on a brightest, windless day, and listened alone to this sound...let him imagine if he can the effect of a great number of birds all round the sky pouring out their highest, shrillest notes, so clarified and brighened by distance as to seem like no earthly music. To say of a sound that it is too birght is to use a too common metaphor; this sound shines above all others, and the multitude of voices made one by distance is an effulgence and a glory...
Nature in Downland: WH Hudson
Alexis de Tocqueville 1805-1859
Democracy in America
Alexis de Tocqueville was a young French nobleman, whose aristocratic sympathies had been brought into conflict with intellectual liberalism. He had become convinced that the new phenomenon, Democracy, was neither a sickness contracted from mis-government , nor a curtain lifting to reveal Utopia, but simply a change in the spirit and framework of society. It occurred to him that instead of hysterically welcoming or deploring it, it would be of more service to the countries of Western Europe which had somehow to accommodate it, and especially to his own, which was already in the throes of its arrival, if he were to examine and dissect it carefully and become acquainted with its true nature.
For this purpose, he turned to a living specimen which had been developing unnoticed for the last fifty years in almost clinical isolation. Beyond the damp mists hanging over the Atlantic, and beyond the great winds howling on the face of the swelling waters, the forest’s edge was rolling back at a rate of seventeen miles a year. Far removed from the European turmoil of toppling thrones and raging philosophies, safe from adulteration by lingering traditions or outworn institutions, the society of the future was being hacked into its pure and physical form. de Torqueville therefore arranged for the authorities to send him to America, nominally to observe the prison system there.
He arrived in 1831, when he was twenty-six, and during the nine months allowed for the completion of his task, toured through all the states east of the Mississippi. He then returned to France and produced one among the most remarkable books of the century. It was a full sociological study, embracing all aspects of American government; it was at once a quarry of minutest observation and a grand display of broad coherent trends. Apart from a native haughtiness the author could not quite conceal – as, for example, when he stated that political corruption being inevitable, he would sooner be cheated by gentlemen than by crude democrats – the work was wholly dispassionate. It was so levelly balanced that during the debate on the English Reform Bill of 1867, two speeches for and against the bill on two successive nights were both based on de Tocqueville.
The modern reader of Democracy in America is bound to wonder how so young a man could fasten in so short a time upon the permanent characteristics of Americans, or rather of Anglo-Americans, as he felt strictly speaking they should be designated. The very chapter headings remain provocative in the present day:
“The example of the Americans does not prove that a democratic people can have no aptitude and no taste for Science, Literature or Art.”
“The trade of Literature.”
“Of the taste for physical well-being in America.”
“Why some Americans manifest a sort of fanatical spiritualism.”
“Why the Americans are so restless in the midst of their prosperity.”
Why among Americans all honest callings are considered honourable.”
“Why the Americans show so little sensitiveness in their own country and are so sensitive in Europe.”
He also made a series of startling predictions, arrived at purely by a process of reasoning from his own observations. He foretold the abolition of slavery in the South, and the attempt by the South to break the Union; he also remarked that abolition would tend to increase the repugnance of the white population for the black. He foretold the emergence of America as the industrial emporium of the West, and as the greatest naval power in the world. He foresaw the general tendency in the world towards omnipotent central governments minutely inquisitive about personal affairs, and assuming more and more power to control private undertakings by special enactments. His conclusions, stated precisely and without hesitation, has all the solemnity of prophetic vision:
“There are at the present time two great nations in the world, which started from different points, but seem to tend towards the same end. I allude to the Russians and the Americans. Both of them have grown up unnoticed; and while the attention of mankind was directed elsewhere, they have suddenly placed themselves in the front rank among the nations…
All other nations seem to have nearly reached their natural limits, and they have only to maintain their power; but these are still in the act of growth… The Anglo-American relies upon personal interests to accomplish his ends and gives free scope to the unguided strength and common sense of the people; the Russian centres all the authority of society in a single man. The principle instrument of the former is freedom; of the latter, servitude. Their starting point is different and their courses are not the same; yet each of them seems marked out by the will of Heaven to sway the destinies of half the globe.”
The Life of JS Mill by Michael St John Packe 1954
Friday, 5 January 2007
when lightning hits the water
straight is its force
direct to the nova
direct to the centre
plummeting downwards to the spinal seam -
deep incision displaces reality
this is now
the utterance loud and long
super novice clad in white
lamb to the slaughter
the arrow, shrill in its persistence
strikes its target hard
compacting soft comfortable images
and yet onwards it drives.
tearing it rides
no waiting now, the target is exposed
the vulnerable inner space
the un-intruded space
known but still hidden
known but still
...They came to me not with printed propaganda, not with theoretical diatribes , but with clear eye and wholesome body. Therefore I knew they bore a message from That Which Is and because of this the Kindred has my service. By some clear indwelling illumination, kindled from the wordless world of sothfastness, the name by which they were made known gave sanctuary from the “isms” and the “osophies” of these latter days. It was not possible to speak of “Kibbo Kift-ism,” but only of Kinship, or of The Kin. Give thanks for this which is a bulwark against disembodied and wordy abstractions, plunging us back into the Great Stream of Life. These , then, are The Strangers come amongst us, for whom I sang a song of lamentation long ago.
Some ancient thing embedded in the heart trembled when I caught sight of them, as if unspoken root-words from a forgotten tongue quickened race-memory. I thought I saw grass freshen where they trod, flowers spring from earth’s rim and trees unfurl new foliage as the upper storeys of a town suddenly beflagged for a joyous welcome. In the wild places there was Something they did not wish to hear. What was It? I knew that the true thing was in the earth itself and was only to be found in response to the earth.
Place a slip of rowan-tree over the cowshed door, Mother – for the luck of The Kin. That has more help for us than listening to words at a meeting of the Rational Adult Education Association.
The sound of the names of places holds the spirit of the living and that which is to be lies hidden in the old words. I heard them again on the lips of The Kin: Hurst and holt; thorp and thwaite; weald and ford; tor, garth and ley; tre, pol, and pen. England and the spirit of the people of England are in those sounds from the word-hoard of our tongue, back and back to the “kitchen-midden” dwellers and the forgotten speech of a Neolithic age, back and back.
I knew by the sign they made at Grime’s Dyke and Gallows Hill that they were properly seized of the Thing that is at the back of us, that breaks out, that no man understands. I knew the Builders of the Square would join unconsciously with the past and spring out of the ancient ways. I knew they would not pass by Long Barrow and Beacon Hill without a leaping of the heart , a shout of joy, and the hand-sign of the free man. I knew they would not be found in the conference hall and the crowded meeting, nor in the lecture room and the interminable discussions of those who do not know. I knew they would know without knowing how they knew.
I say them unforgetful of the Past, facing always towards the Future, able to take hold of the moment of time which is for ever now. I never heard one of them say, I am this , nor I am that, but only I am Kinsman. I remembered the legendary history of the Unknown Man, among whose accomplishments was the art of whistling mice out of houses, who was clad like a countryman, of middle age, spoke several languages, but was very taciturn; on being questioned, however, he modestly confessed himself third in the Order of the Brethren.
I saw The Kindred working in the world, often by two and by two. Always they avoided wasting time in useless disputations with dialecticians upon nice distinctions and hair-splitting arguments. These men went about their work with careful skill, quietly, holding the knowledge in thew and sinew that he who moves out of time is the bedfellow of him who rests in the narrow house, under the tumulus. I saw them silence incredulous cynicism because of the faith that was in them and the spirit that moved them. At first I mistook them for Whitsuntide mummers come again, but then I saw they had a new Piffany play and feared not to play it.
Robin Hode blessed them with a great and joyful blessing by God and his oak staff.
The quiet rain drops down from heaven on high, leaf-drenching. I shall not fall into any Beserker rage, nor join the Furious Host riding neck-bent hell for leather, but, donning the cap of darkness, go out alone to look for the old ling-worm, that evil thing, to meet the Unknown Men who bear no mark outwardly, who laugh heartily saying no word, who go afoot cautiously in song betimes, to make ready for the end.
Brew cowslip wine full strong, throw wild nep berries into the air and sing a good song to Those who know there is little need to answer a question because of the asking. The Sothfast Men hold back, they withhold a part of themselves, the soul-seat, from the too eager, the too anxious, the quick questioners. They know when to listen, when to stop the ears and when to close the word-door of the mouth. There is a great loosening of the tongues and a great to-do amongst men who should know better. They chatter together, ceaselessly, like old women who tongue-wag over a wash basket. That is not a good thing. I look for the self-wise men of stern thewfastness.
Does everything happen in London? The important Thing may yet happen in Lostwithiel, or Peper Harow, or Hinton-in –the –Hedges, to be merely reflected in London. You think it is all Dunlop tyres and cheap radio sets? But no, the spirit of our people is not here, not here.
Apocryphal apocalypse, to be read between the lines, metaphorically: With the coming of the Kindred I saw these things clearly and knew the meaning that was hidden. I knew that the End and the Beginning were at hand. In Asgard the Norse gods let of a great shout that echoed in Midgard from Nordenskiold to Thorshavn. Wayland Smith awoke, put hand to bellows-shaft, took hammer to anvil and shod the White Horse. Uther, Pendragon of Britain, father of Arthur, rode again by the river Eden and lit beacon fires on Pendle, Ingleborough and Penygant.
The dewpond under Chantonbury Ring filled in the night brim full, and the tracks of the Old Flint Men that run across the Downs were plain to see in the morning.
Then I knew something had happened that had not happened since the last Beltane fire was kindled by Teineigin. As when the birch-buds quicken I knew That had come to birth again and the blight would be driven out.
The Long Headed Men of the river-bed gravels reassembled themselves and let out a hunting cry: Hika, we la ha! Hika, we ho!
From Silbury Hill, rising like the breast of a giantess, came the lilt of a Bronze Age song.
The Long Man of Willmington stood up out of the Wealden chalk and gave the Sign, and the wild thyme flowered out of season.
Out of the dene-holes of Essex and Kent came the grain-chant of ancient Harvest Men.
An old witch-wife ran into the low meadow, cut a bundle of willow sticks and bound them into a knitch. As The Kin passed by on the upper road she held it aloft and called, Knitch-men, I make a knitch, by frithy dene and Grim’s Ditch – hold and let go!
The Great Right Hand wrote another verse in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and the Book of Kells blossomed again in rubrication………..
¶ And then, as if the crust of the earth should quake underfoot, all this fell away and a harvest of doubts sprang up, a sorcerer’s garden of poisonous weeds that stifled the vision of the soul.
I stood close to these men and talked with them. They coughed and sneezed and ate and slept as other men. I heard cultured voices and uncouth dialects, here and there I felt a hint of small jealousies and, so it seemed, the sharp sting of unbrotherliness, and I questioned these things and found nothing here of any account.
Who are these little men who would reshape the world? They are even as I am, as all men – weak, of no great standing, of like passions with myself, loving and hating and begetting and dying, in no wise different from the common run of humankind.
And I slunk away from them with a sneer in my heart because, now that they held out a hand to me and treated me as one of themselves, I saw clearly that they were just human beings like the rest of us. I was astonished and cast down at my own foolishness. All men are men, and I had deemed these to be in some way Godlike Men, men of a different clay, above and beyond the little hopes and fears of the multitude. Yet , when I was with them, others openly admitted their ignorance, and all shrank to my own size, so that I despised them for their likeness with me and myself for having set them up as a cairn upon a high hill.
As before I had seen them as the Ark of the World, so now I saw them as foolish little men hoodwinking themselves with great ideas. And this rankled within. I went back to one of them and told him how nothing he and his fellows might do could avail, how they misled themselves, putting themselves above others when it was plain to all that they were men of no great ability, as frail as the rest of us and showing no better way of life. To which he answered with a smiling countenance and without anger, as if the words I spike had been heard many times before: What you say may be true – what do you wish me to do about it?
I knew then that these men were no common men, that their clay was a finer clay than mine, that their mind was set in a different mould, that their spirit burned with a brighter and steadier flame. In some confusion I went away, knowing that I was not yet able to come up with them.
I saw two things: the Immediate Moment and the Everlasting Flow. The first appeared taking the form of a great shaft of light, dazzlingly bright, and at once it was hidden, encircled by a mighty ring of moving darkness full of things yet to be, unformed, dim, fecund, chaotic.
The way they had of it seemed to body forth forgotten forms and fey, a harking back to the unmindful dwoleman (darkness, chaos, dim-world) of the old gods, there to be emptied out, cleansed, and filled with living sap; and, thereafter, to bring again the dew-drink, the quickener, the life-giver, out of that restful shadowfastness, to the world of men.
Those who enter this deathsted may not take the load of day-thought with them, but letting go the tumult and the mind-fret of shattering spear-heads, float gently, body-dwelling , upon the quiet flood of the unshapen , the unnamed…………...
The Confession of the Kibbo Kift by John Hargraves; The Spirit
…You will have trouble with some of the things I have to say. Until recently – three days ago – I had a lot of trouble with them myself.
…I was determined to solve the problem if it took the rest of my life. Half-an-hour later I had set up the basic equations, and seen the pattern. Three days later I understood everything in nature, in myself, in all religion, in politics, in atheism, agnosticism, communism, and systems. I knew everything from Julius Caesar to Mao Tse Tung. I had a complete set of answers to the most difficult problems now facing mankind. I had arrived in the cosmos while contemplating the navel of an ape…
What are we doing?
Searching the earth
I do not fit into this world
Do we live in
A literal reality
Full of harsh lines
Wants and needs
Spewing out toxic fumes
Where there is no hope,
Or a blurred perception of reality
Which forces us to live in a material world when actually we should be living through the course of nature
Not tying to cheat it
With science or maths
To successfully beat it down
So that man wins
But becoming part of it
No more harmful emissions
Or the world screaming out to us
With the burden of
Not stock markets
Nor sweat shops
Earning a few pence an hour
Or nothing at all
With the western world
And everyone else wanting there share of the rewards
Sitting comfortably at the table of high society
Stuffing our faces
With the worlds hard work
Complaining that you lost
A ten-pound note
That you would have a spent on a computer game
When someone would gladly give their own limbs for
A ten-pound note
Living in a bubble
Trying to claw they’re way up the social ladder
Believing that one more rung
Would solve their problems
But they get hungrier
Won’t be content
Till you have the best
Doesn’t matter how many of people’s lives you have to squash
When you get to the top
There’s nothing there
A clear space of
You’re an empty shell
A shadow of the person you used to be
You won the battle against nature
But you aren’t cheering
You are probably the saddest person on the face of the planet
You have so much
You don’t need any more
For the rest of your life
You have taken everything
There is nothing left to take
Just sheets of paper
I cannot preach
Be such a hypocrite
For the saddest thing
I am one of them
However much I dislike it
From force of necessity
If I do not join the ranks
I will fall
That’s the way of life
I wish it were different
Isn’t it strange
How little sheets of paper
Can cause so much destruction
Just for money
Tiny strips of paper
And round lumps of metal
We live in a material world
Has everyone gone
Thursday, 4 January 2007
as flowers or creatures have
their souls or ‘genius loci’
a place in nature is after all
only a larger and more complex organism
a symbiosis of many lives
all inviolate places have this wholeness
of essence; their perfection lies in
their remaining intact
undisturbed by the intrusion of any life
which does not itself participate
in that harmonious organic unity
Kathleen Raine (1908 – 2003) Farewell Happy Fields