The Limits of the Mind

At times philosophers are like magicians whose whole world of magic is bound within evasion and trickery, seeking to keep your mind occupied by the bells-and-whistles of distraction and stage props while the real work goes on elsewhere and in plain sight. The philosopher’s old enemy was the rhetorician, the Sophist, who could use the figures of intellect and speech to cover over the truth in a veil of pure illusion and make it seem by way of metaphor and rhetorical flourish the very thing itself. But the philosopher is himself caught in the trap of self-deception, believing that the very words he so uses under the scrutiny of careful persuasion and example have the power to awaken truth from its hiding places while all the time as Nietzsche reminds us: “Even great spirits have only their five-fingers’ breadth of experience – just beyond it their thinking ceases and their endless empty space and stupidity begins.”

via Thought of the Day: The Limits of the Mind | Southern Nights

“If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.”

What is important to realise is you are only partially in control of this process. Worse still: you are almost entirely in control of preventing it from happening. What he is talking about -what gnostic Jesus may well have been talking about- is exploring and also getting out of the way of the unconscious experiencing itself/you/the universe. And it may well destroy you if you do not.

You are free to gloss ‘the unconscious’ with whatever term you like: the spirit world, the gods, God, whatever. But I like the (jailbroken Jungian) use of ‘the unconscious’ here because it carries very little predestination. It is not ‘destiny’ as a fiat declaration of some god prior to your birth, but a plant growing: toward light, around obstacles, deeper into the soil, up balustrades. The outcome is not certain and may well be an emergent goal along the course of your lifetime. You may not ‘fulfil your fate’. I like it even more because it requires engagement. It requires exploring one’s dreams. It requires observing and participating in the patently exogenous meaning in the world. You don’t just get whisked along to your fate by some god or another.

via Saint Augustine and the Parrot – Rune Soup

The Womb of God

The first cultural device was probably a recipient …. Many theorizers feel that the earliest cultural inventions must have been a container to hold gathered products and some kind of sling or net carrier.

So says Elizabeth Fisher in Women’s Creation (McGraw-Hill, 1975). But no, this cannot be. Where is that wonderful, big, long, hard thing, a bone, I believe, that the Ape Man first bashed somebody with in the movie and then, grunting with ecstasy at having achieved the first proper murder, flung up into the sky, and whirling there it became a space ship thrusting its way into the cosmos to fertilize it and produce at the end of the movie a lovely fetus, a boy of course, drifting around the Milky Way without (oddly enough) any womb, any matrix at all? I don’t know. I don’t even care. I’m not telling that story. We’ve heard it, we’ve all heard all about all the sticks spears and swords, the things to bash and poke and hit with, the long, hard things, but we have not heard about the thing to put things in, the container for the thing contained. That is a new story. That is news.

via The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction by Ursula K. Le Guin

Into A Living World

Single vision—the shrill and dogmatic insistence that real knowledge can only come through the material senses, and must never be understood as anything but the random acts of dead matter and mindless energy in a dead and mindless cosmos—pervades contemporary industrial civilization.  It’s because we’re so used to thinking in these terms that we’ve gotten so good at manipulating matter and energy, but it’s also because we’re so used to thinking in these terms that we’ve done such a dismal job of maintaining the balance of the living planet on which our own lives depend. The old story of King Midas has an uncomfortable parallel here; just as Midas got the power to turn things to gold by touching them, only to discover that his food, his drink, and his daughter also got turned into lumps of yellow metal, we’ve gotten so good at manipulating dead things that we’re only just starting to notice that we’re turning everything around us into dead things, and may well end up turning into dead things in a hurry ourselves if we don’t get a clue or two.

via A Few Notes on Nature Spirits, Part Two: Into A Living World – Ecosophia