The Role of Charities


It makes little sense giving to charity on the one hand, whilst on the other taking part in a culture that is necessitating the need for that charity.

One reason we are able to take part in this seemingly schizophrenic exchange is because we are unable to see the connection between the two things.

It is akin to doing one thing with your left hand whilst doing another, contradictory, thing with your right. The left gives, whilst the right takes away. Only your right hand happens to be stronger.

Sometimes the most effective course of action is not to tackle the wound head-on. For instance, the best way to beat cancer may not be to irradiate the tumour, rather to change your lifestyle choices. The former is an immediate course of action, and suits our cultures need for immediacy and directness. The latter is the path of wisdom, and arises from a long-term mindset. 

If you truly support the ideals of these charities - if we truly want to make a lasting difference - then we must find ways to opt out of the current popular culture.


Many charities appear to be about finding solutions to dysfunctional situations, about ending things.

Oxfam: "Mission possible: ending poverty"
NSPCC: "we aim to end cruelty to children in the UK"
RSPCA: "It's our vision to work for a world in which all humans respect and live in harmony with all other members of the animal kingdom."
Unicef: "To protect the rights of every child, and invest in her or his well-being, is the surest way to end poverty and to build peace and security in the world."
Breadline Africa: "Ending Poverty Through Charity Donation"

Whilst many who are involved in charity work may want to contribute towards finding solutions and ending things, we must ask if these solutions are really to be found through the current tactics of certain charitable organizations.

Picture this scenario.

A person is trapped within a cell. Conditions within the cell are not good, and our prisoner suffers from a number of physical and mental wounds caused by his imprisonment. He is visited regularly by a medic, who tends to his physical grievances, and a psychologist, who tends to his mental grievances. Between them they manage to keep the prisoner at an apparent equilibrium. He neither gets too ill, nor too well.

We can see charities as being akin to these health professionals, tending to the wounds of those in need. Our professionals stick firmly to their remit. They are trained in tending wounds, and this is their role. They are not there to ask why the prisoner is held captive, because questions like these may well be beyond their jurisdiction, and could land them in trouble with their superiors. After all, their duties provide them with a steady income, and they have families to support. In the last, our professionals have no real concern with seeing an end to this scenario. They may not like it, but they do not see how they can end it. It does not seem to be something that can be changed. The best they can do is to make conditions for our prisoner as bearable as possible.

Our professionals think in the small-scale. They know the borders of their roles, and they do not travel beyond them. They are specialists, and their forte lies in tending wounds. This is the role that they play, and the shape that they assume in order to fit a larger pattern. A charity can likewise think in the small-scale. In doing so it concerns itself with its mission, tending to whatever wound it happens to specialize in. Like our small-scale medics, it would not be concerned with looking beyond the borders of its remit; with asking why the prisoner is held captive, or with questioning the effectiveness, the purpose, or the ideology of the prison.

A charity that thinks large-scale, on the other hand, would be interested in such questions. It may be concerned with his wounds, and may tend to them; but it would also see that if the larger context - the cell - is not dealt with, is not changed, then the wounds will continue to be inflicted; and eventually our prisoner will simply not be able to take anymore, regardless of the help he receives.

A charity that thinks in the large-scale must always have one eye on the larger picture - the prison - and must always be asking questions of it, regardless of where they may lead. Whilst it may be difficult to trace back the causality of any given situation, this is no excuse for not engaging in an investigation. It cannot simply stick to its remit as medic, otherwise it becomes complicit in the drama, another player on the stage.

Such a charity must be interested in systems. It must be interested in how one thing leads to another. Its natural role is a dual one; both medic (zoomed-in, seeing and tending to details) and systems-analyst (zoomed-out, seeing patterns and connections). It must always be seeking to see the larger picture, to push back the boundaries of causality until it can go no further. Only once it has a wide perspective - once it has climbed the mountain of causality, traced the thread all the way back through the labyrinth - can it truly act effectively to eliminate dysfunction.

To zoom-in and look at things in isolation is characteristic of the way that we currently approach the world in most "advanced" Western societies. Traditional societies tend to adopt different approaches. When it comes to health, Native Americans, for example, see things holistically. If a person is unwell, then their illness will be seen as part of a larger picture, and the whole person will be treated rather than the illness in isolation. The essential connectedness of things is acknowledged, instead of one part being split off and seen as separate.

"For the Native American, healing, spiritual development and quality of life cannot be separated from other life aspects to include politics and economics. Harmony with the Earth is essential for health."

In attempting to heal the various wounds of our current way of life, charities could learn a lot from this holistic approach.

However, perhaps most charities only seek to alleviate dysfunction, as opposed to remedy it. In this sense they are a bandage, as opposed to a cure. They become part of a balancing act: through mopping up the mess that is made by the larger system (capitalism) they make it presentable - acceptable - thus allowing it to continue. Without them it would slip into a massive imbalance. The wound would worsen beyond repair, and we would be faced with the full consequences of our actions. As it is, the system appears to be held in perpetual motion - nothing gets better, nothing gets worse, and things go on as normal. The wound is left to bleed, and a new bandage is constantly applied. But this can only go on for so long. Despite the combined efforts of all of the worlds charities, they cannot balance out the ongoing destructive impact of the system, and our state of "equilibrium" is really nothing more than an illusion. Eventually the wound will cause problems that no bandage can deal with.

If a person or an organization is serious about bringing an end to a dysfunctional state of affairs - to find a remedy, to bring about change - then it is not enough for them to simply tend to the wound. They must be prepared to think holistically, balancing small-scale thinking with large-scale thinking. As the Native Americans remind us, it is a mistake to think that the only way to help a sick man is to take away the illness. And inasmuch as a particular illness is found to be related to a larger state of affairs, then any such charity that is not radically opposed to the status-quo cannot be rightly described as being serious about its aims.

If we decide that our society is sick then in order to heal it we may need to do more than simply attend to its various wounds.


Related posts:-
Only Playing
Structural Integrity
You or The Work 
A Higher Power
Battles and Challenges
High Stakes
Sell Out
Leaving the Vessel
Digging Deeper 


Separate                         -                      Connected
Newtonian                     -                      Quantum
Particle                           -                      Wave
State                                -                      Process

In our culture the church steeples have ceased to be sacred poles. The cosmos that once surrounded them has vanished and chaos again is come.

The center will not hold. In the absence of a collective myth, some of us are being forced for survival to try to establish our own sacred space in the midst of chaos, but in the hurly-burly of modern life we can't find our own myth. 

[Marion Woodman]
Addiction to Perfection, p. 118

I looked back on the past and recalled my people's old ways, but they were not living that way any more. They were traveling the black road, everybody for himself and with little rules of his own [...]

[Black Elk]
Black Elk Speaks, p.215

Whether on a personal or collective level, we are discovering that the stories of separation are untrue. 

What we do unto the other, inescapably visits ourselves as well in some form. As that becomes increasingly obvious, a new story of self and story of the people becomes accessible to us.

[...] The new story of self is the connected self, the self of interbeingness. The new story of the people is one of cocreative partnership with Lover Earth. They ring true in our hearts, we see them on the horizon, but we do not yet live yet in these new stories. It is hard to, when the institutions and habits of the old world still surround us.

[...] "It is impossible to abide in Nirvana alone. If any sentient being is left out of it, then part of me is left out of it." Only someone under the delusion that he is a discrete, separate soul would imagine otherwise.

Enlightening as these teachings might be, mere information is not enough. As many spiritual traditions recognize, a living teacher, a guru, is necessary to bring the teachings to life in their unique application to each individual. We need something from beyond our old selves, someone to illuminate our blind spots, to humble our conceit, to show us the love we didn't know we had within us. This presents a problem today, because the age of the guru is manifestly over.

Spiritual self-sufficiency ignores the fundamental truth of our interbeingness. Without each other, we cannot make those peak experiences, those glimpses we have all had of a more vivid way of being, into anything more than glimpses. How can we make them into a new baseline for life? How can we enter into the world that they show us, how can we redeem their promise? How can we bring into living reality the knowledge that we have been shown something true and real?

Each time, the old world drags us back.

The inertia of our habits and beliefs, the expectations of the people surrounding us, the way we are seen, the media, the pressures of the money system all conspire to hold us where we were. Coming off a peak experience, we may try to insulate ourselves from all these things, to live in a bubble of positivity, but eventually we realize that is impossible. The negative influences find a way to creep back in.

[...] Each one of us is pioneering a different aspect of the connected self in the age of reunion, and each one of us as well carries vestigial habits of the age of separation that are invisible to us or that, if visible, we are helpless to overcome on our own.

Quite practically, to inhabit a more enlightened state we must be held there by a community of new habits, new ways of seeing each other, and new beliefs in action that redefine normal.

In other words, in the age of the connected self our guru can be none other than a collective, a community - as Thich Nhat Hanh put it, "The next Buddha will be a sangha." By a community, I don't mean an amorphous "we are all one" mass devoid of structure, but rather a matrix of human beings united in a common story of the people and story of the self. Aligned with these defining stories, this community can hold us in the vision of what we are becoming.

[...] This realization often manifests as a desire to find one's true purpose in life, one's service to the world. Such a purpose is never just about the separate egoic self. It is always about service; it is about one's gifts and how to give them.

Purpose is about gift and relationship. 

The emerging state of vitality, joy, and love that humanity is entering is not a place where we can abide for long on our own. We need each other.

[...] To be dependent is to be alive - it is to be enmeshed in the give and take of the world.

[...] We can do for each other what a guru does for a disciple: hold each other in the knowing of who we really are, and teach each other how to live there. Each of us, as we experience our own piece of the age of reunion, becomes a guide to a small part of that vast new territory.

[Charles Eisenstein]
'Why the Age of the Guru is Over

Pintupi find it unusual that one could be happy sitting alone.

To be among kin, to be shown affection and concern, and to show it: these are what should make one happy. Those who travel alone, for example, are suspect, and those who wish to be alone usually offer other reasons.

While feeling "happy" is an endopsychic matter - described as a "rising of the spirit” - Pintupi seem to think that an individual experiences such states largely as the result of smoothly running relations between the individual and those he or she considers walytja.

[Fred R. Myers]
Pintupi Country, Pintupi Self, p.111

Liberalism is most fundamentally constituted by a pair of deeper anthropological assumptions that give liberal institutions a particular orientation and cast: 1) anthropological individualism and the voluntarist conception of choice, and 2) human separation from and opposition to nature.

These two revolutions in the understanding of human nature and society constitute "liberalism” inasmuch as they introduce a radically new definition of “liberty.”

[Patrick J. Deneen]
Why Liberalism Failed, p.31

How absurd such a posture must seem from a worldview in which the individual emerges out of the society, rather than the other way around. The Indigenous worldview is one of relationship and out of that relationship, emerges the individual. In place of individual rights there are obligations and requirements of behavior.

One does not so much sacrifice individual freedom by joining the group as achieve freedom by being a part of it.

Quasi-particles, with such exotic names as phonons, excitons, polarons, plasmons, and "dressed electrons," are in fact the collective expression of an astronomical number of entities that make up the solid. Out of this collectivity emerges something that appears just like a particle. It is localized in the sense that it exists within a particular small location and can move around, colliding with other excitations, bouncing off them and exchanging energy. The elementary excitation has all the attributes we associate with a particle, yet it is an expression of the whole. Thus it can never be removed from the totality.

Indeed, if one attempted to remove a polaron or a phonon from a metal, then, like Alice in Wonderland's Cheshire Cat, it would cease to exist. The elementary excitation manifests only by virtue of the totality of the system.

[F. David Peat]
Blackfoot Physics, p.299, 300

The social consequences of decolonization are, in some ways, similar to those that have appeared recently in the poorer areas of Western cities. This has been called “anomie” (the shattering of stable social relationships), and arises from rapid social change rather than from decolonization.

It gives rise to isolation of individuals, destruction of established social values and of stability, personal irresponsibility, shattered family relationships, irresponsible sexual and parental relationships, crime, juvenile delinquency, a greatly increased incidence of all social diseases (including alcoholism, use of narcotics, and neuroses), and personal isolation, loneliness, and susceptibility to mass hysterias.

The crowding of large numbers of recently detribalized individuals into rapidly growing African cities has shown these consequences, as, indeed, they have been shown in many American cities, such as New York or Chicago, where recently deruralized peoples are exposed to somewhat similar conditions of anomie.

[...] one of the most obvious problems brought to Africa by European influence has been the detachment of atomized individuals from the social nexus, based on blood and marriage, that previously guided their lives and determined their systems of values and obligations.

[Carroll Quigley]
Tragedy and Hope, ‘The New Era,’ p.750-1, 754

Related posts:-
Abstract / Concrete


Immature                            -                           Mature
Irresponsible                       -                           Responsible

Development [...] can be defined as a successive decrease in egocentrism.

Carol Gilligan found, for example, that female moral development tends to go through three general stages, which she calls selfish, care, and universal care. In each of these stages, the circle of care and compassion expands and egocentrism declines.

[Ken Wilber]
A Theory of Everything, p. 17-18

Elders speak about everyone, but they do not ask to spoken about. They see everyone, but do not ask to be seen. The self is sacrificed, put to one side.

As we mature our gaze gradually turns away from the self and out towards others. We see more and become responsible for more. The less we look at the self, the more we see of our surroundings.

We begin to speak less in terms of "I" and "me" and more in terms of "we" and "us." We recognize our connectedness and become communalized.

For an elder to ask to be seen or spoken about is a perversity, and goes against the natural order. Just as water flows downhill, our gaze should also flow downwards, so that we see and speak about all those beneath us - less mature than us - and are in turn seen and spoken about by those above us. And as we wouldn't expect water to flow uphill - and would be engaging in a fruitless activity if we were attempt to make it - we shouldn't expect to be seen or spoken about by those beneath us. As we become older the self should become less important, and should not need to be stroked as much as when we were younger.

o < ------- o < ------- o < ------- o < ------- o < ------- o

This is one of the reasons why it is so disturbing when we meet an older person who is still consumed by selfishness and vanity, and who demands that we see and hear them, rather than the other way around. They may be older than us, but through such behaviour we see that they are no more mature. Often in cases like this, we must become the adult, sacrificing our self so that theirs is satisfied. An old person like this has ducked their duties and cannot rightly be seen as an elder. They are frozen in time, perpetually immature.

How can we hope for a mature and wise society if our grown-ups refuse to grow up?

"I will speak about others, but I will not expect or demand to be spoken about."

In many indigenous cultures, elders are accorded great respect.

To be an elder is more than being old; it means being a person who has learned some wisdom from their life experiences, including their mistakes. An elder may be someone who has lived a blameless life of complete integrity, or a recovering alcoholic who knows from personal experience how hard it is to struggle with an addiction, and so can guide others.

Not everyone old is wise. For some people, aging can simply rigidify longstanding patterns of dysfunction. 

And some "elders" may be young, blessed with good judgment, compassion and sound sense from an early age.

Groups need elders: people who put the needs of the group first and help keep its balance. 

We may become elders and gain social power in many constructive ways:

- By Taking on Responsibility and Fulfilling It

- By Helping the Group Function Smoothly

- By Good Judgment

- By Making Mistakes and Acknowledging Them so They Become Part of Group Learning

- By Showing Compassion and Forgiveness

- By Integrity and Upholding Values

- By Bringing Experience, Skills and Training to the Service of the Group

- By Mentoring and Being Mentored

- By Commitment and Time

- By Modeling Good Self-Care


In maturity environment is something to which the individual contributes and for which the individual man or woman takes responsibility.

In a community in which there is a sufficiently high proportion of mature individuals there is a state of affairs which provides the basis for what is called democracy.

Of a true democracy (as the term is used today) one can say: In this society at this time there is sufficient maturity in the emotional development of a sufficient proportion of the individuals that comprise it for there to exist an innate tendency towards the creation and re-creation and maintenance of the democratic machinery.

By 'innate' I intend to convey the following: the natural tendencies in human nature (hereditary) bud and flower into the democratic way of life (social maturity), but this only happens through the healthy emotional development of individuals.

In bodily development the growth factor is more clear; in the development of the psyche, by contrast, there is a possibility of failure at every point, and indeed there can be no such thing as growth without distortion due to some degree of failure of environmental adaptation

[...] only a proportion of individuals in a social group will have had the luck to develop to maturity, and therefore it is only through them that the innate (inherited) tendency of the group towards social maturity can be implemented.

If the proportion of mature individuals is below a certain number, democracy is not something which can become a political fact since affairs will be swayed by the immature, that is to say, by those who by identification with the community lose their own individuality or by those who never achieve more than the attitude of the individual dependent upon society.

Maturity means, among other things, a capacity for tolerating ideas, [a capacity] which at its best is part of social maturity. A mature social system (while making certain demands in regard to action) allows freedom of ideas and the free expression of them.

[D.W. Winnicott]
Home Is Where We Start From ('The Meaning of the Word 'Democracy''), p.242-3
Human Nature, p.29, 59-60, 152

The psychologically mature person as I have described him has, I believe, the qualities which would cause him to value those experiences which would make for the enhancement and survival of the human race.

He would be a worthy participant and guide in the process of human evolution.

[Carl Rogers]
Person to person, the problem of being human, p. 27

Our explanation of the sublime can indeed be extended to cover the ethical, namely what is described as the sublime character.

Such a character springs from the fact that the will is not excited here by objects certainly well calculated to excite it, but that knowledge retains the upper hand.

Such a character will accordingly consider men in a purely objective way, and not according to the relations they might have to his will.

For example, he will observe their faults, and even their hatred and injustice to himself, without being thereby stirred to hatred on his own part. He will contemplate their happiness without feeling envy, recognize their good qualities without desiring closer association with them, perceive the beauty of women without hankering after them. His personal happiness or unhappiness will not violently affect him [...]

For, in the course of his own life and in its misfortunes, he will look less at his own individual lot than at the lot of mankind as a whole, and accordingly will conduct himself in this respect rather as a knower than as a sufferer.

This contemplation is only maintained by a constant turning away from the will and exaltation above its interests; and this constitutes the sublimity of the disposition.

On the other hand, the charming or attractive draws the beholder down from pure contemplation, demanded by every apprehension of the beautiful, since it necessarily stirs his will by objects that directly appeal to it.

[Arthur Schopenhauer]
The World as Will and Representation, p.206-7

The Master of Hermetics polarizes himself at the point at which he desires to rest, and then neutralizes the Rhythmic swing of the pendulum which would tend to carry him to the other pole.

All individuals who have attained any degree of Self-Mastery do this to a certain degree, more or less unconsciously, but the Master does this consciously, and by the use of his Will and attains a degree of Poise and Mental Firmness almost impossible of belief on the part of the masses who are swung backward and forward like a pendulum.

The Kybalion, Chapter II: "The Seven Hermetic Principles"

In Pintupi life, autonomy is inseparable from relatedness. The two are coordinated through initiation.

The production of the social person involves an elaboration of the ties of relatedness to others, the creation of a public self that takes priority over its private qualities, and the development of the ability to "look after" others.

Thus, initiation is a dramatization of a man's becoming responsible for himself, developing autonomy and capacity to look after others through relations, and a negation of being "looked after” by elders. The initiate becomes one among equal men, capable of entering into reciprocal exchange with others […]

In initiation, the strands of Pintupi social life are brought together at the fulcrum of the system: the construction of related individuals.

[Fred R. Myers]
Pintupi Country, Pintupi Self, p.228, 236, 239

A tolerant scepticism, an ability to doubt one's own ideas as well as those of other people, is a good test of maturity: fanaticism, insanity, and an infantile attitude to others are closely related.

[Anthony Storr]
The Integrity of the Personality, p.174

Related posts:-
Forget Your Self 
Firm Foundations
Know Your Place
Lost Tribe
Full Spectrum
Giving and Receiving
Growing Down
Rights and Responsibilities
Beggars and Choosers
Negative Space  
Positive Space
Casting a Shadow
Men of Firm Purpose
Walk a Straight Line

Giving and Receiving

Give                  -                    Receive 
Masculine         -                    Feminine
Active               -                    Passive
Assertive           -                   Receptive
Creator              -                    Consumer
Red                    -                    Blue 

The principle of cause and effect is at work everywhere, and somebody has to receive the results of everybody's doings. 

Every sentence or thought or act has an effect on somebody. If someone has a destructive thought or wish, it has to have an effect on someone.

If it doesn't work on someone else, it works back on the person who created it.

[...] There's no need to create any opposing destructive force; that only makes more negative energy and more results and more problems.

If you have a sense of opposition - that is, if you feel contempt for others - you're in a perfect position to receive their contempt. The idea is not to be a receiver.

You people have such anger and fear and contempt for your so-called criminals that your crime rate goes up and up. Your society has a high crime rate because it is in a perfect position to receive crime.

You should be working with these people, not in opposition to them. The idea is to have contempt for crime, not for people. It's a mistake to think of any group or person as an opponent, because when you do, that's what the group or person will become.

It's more useful to think of every other person as another you - to think of every individual as a representative of the universe.

Every person is plugged into the whole works. Nobody is outside it or affects it any less than anyone else. Every person is a model of life, so the true nature of a person is the nature of life. I don't care how low you fall or how high you climb, economically or academically or anything else, you still represent the whole thing. Even the worst criminal in life imprisonment sitting in his cell - the center of him is the same seed, the seed of the whole creation.

["Mad Bear"]
Rolling Thunder, p. 244-5

Aikido was created by Morihei Ueshiba, referred to by some aikido practitioners as Ōsensei ("Great Teacher").

Ueshiba envisioned aikido not only as the synthesis of his martial training, but also an expression of his personal philosophy of universal peace and reconciliation.

Aikido is performed by blending with the motion of the attacker and redirecting the force of the attack rather than opposing it head-on.

[...] Today aikido is found all over the world in a number of styles, with broad ranges of interpretation and emphasis. However, they all share techniques learned from Ueshiba

[...] most have concern for the well-being of the attacker.

'Aikido', Wikipedia

In traditional violent and nonviolent conflict, the goal is to defeat the opponent or frustrate the opponent’s objectives, or to meet one’s own objectives despite the efforts of the opponent to obstruct these.

In satyagraha, by contrast, these are not the goals. “The Satyagrahi’s object is to convert, not to coerce, the wrong-doer.” 

Success is defined as cooperating with the opponent to meet a just end that the opponent is unwittingly obstructing.

The opponent must be converted, at least as far as to stop obstructing the just end, for this cooperation to take place.

The essence of Satyagraha is that it seeks to eliminate antagonisms without harming the antagonists themselves, as opposed to violent resistance, which is meant to cause harm to the antagonist. 

A Satyagrahi therefore does not seek to end or destroy the relationship with the antagonist, but instead seeks to transform or “purify” it to a higher level.

A euphemism sometimes used for Satyagraha is that it is a “silent force” or a “soul force” (a term also used by Martin Luther King Jr. during his famous “I Have a Dream” speech). It arms the individual with moral power rather than physical power.

Satyagraha is also termed a “universal force,” as it essentially “makes no distinction between kinsmen and strangers, young and old, man and woman, friend and foe.”

'Satyagraha', Wikipedia

"I say unto you," is written in the Gospel, "resist not evil," do not oppose injury with injury, but rather bear repeated injury from the evil doer.

[Leo Tolstoy]
The Kingdom of God is Within You, p. 11

[The] ד "Dalet"signifies "Dalluth" (poverty) and the ג "Gimel" beneficence ("Gemul").

The ג "Gimel" practices charity with the ד "Dalet".

The lord [said]: "It should suffice you to remain side by side together, since "the poor will not cease from the land" (Deut., 15:2), who will thus need benevolence [...] Therefore, do not separate from one another. You must remain close together and let it suffice you that one maintains the other.

"Why is the foot of the gimmel stretched toward the daled?"

"Because it is the way of the giving person to run after the poor.""

"And why is the leg of the daled slanted slightly back toward the gimmel?"

"Because the poor person must make himself available to those who can give."

"And why is the face of the daled turned away from the gimmel?"

"So he can give to him in secret, so the daled won't be embarrassed."

[...] once you have learned understanding, you see that there really is no hierarchy of givers and getters in this world. It's only on the surface that it seems that way, but in the understanding view from within, no one gives without getting, no one gets without giving.

'The letters 'Dalet' & 'Gimel'' and 'Gimmel & Daled' (adjustments have been made to the original texts)

Ingrid was a woman in her mid-twenties. She had been travelling alone and arrived late one afternoon in a foreign city. She had to cross from one railway station to another.

Suddenly she was accosted in the deserted street by a powerfully built man who forced her into an alleyway, saying he was going to rape and kill her.

Her initial reaction was one of panic, and she tried to fight back. But he was stronger. Then in a flash she saw the situation she was in; she saw the man; she saw herself. She accepted her death, her body relaxed and she looked straight into the man's eyes.

Immediately his fingers loosened on her throat.

"You don't even fight," he stammered. "You're no fun to kill."
"If I'm going to die, I'm going to die," she said quietly, never taking her eyes from his.

He became confused. She put her hands over his and gently took them from her throat. He began to cry, grabbed her by the wrist and yanked her into a nearby pub from which she escaped when he went to the washroom.

[...] So long as he was "rapist" in her mind and she was "victim," her violence mirrored his. Death was constellated. He wanted her to fight so he could kill. 

 But when she suddenly saw herself as one human being strangling in another human being's clutches, her compassion for herself became at once compassion for him.

She had accepted death; she saw him still in life, still fighting some ludicrous power battle [...] Paradoxically, she became invulnerable through her very vulnerability. He could not kill what had already died. In that instant of surrender she freed them both from the possession. She found herself and gave him back to himself. He was no longer "rapist"; he was simply human.

[Marion Woodman]
Addiction to Perfection, p. 152-3

Non-Indians know how to give, but they don't always know how to receive things properly.

They might say, "Aw, you shouldn't have ..." or "Why?" They put a lot of little blocks up, because they're so used to giving, but not used to receiving.

When someone gives to you, he wants to satisfy himself in some way by doing it, and if you say no, you hurt his feelings.

[Bear Heart]
The Wind is My Mother, p. 38

In Derrida's work, and in that of many cultural and literary critics who followed his ideas, there is always a sense that an opposition is no innocent structural relation but a power relation, in which one term dominates another.

Even in the case of an opposition as apparently rooted in nature as night/day, there is a hierarchy which ascribes privilege, priority and positive value to one term at the expense of the other. Indeed the very idea of otherness comes to signify this power relation, this secondary and derivative position that one sign acquires in relation to another...

Poststructuralist approaches to the binary opposition produce a kind of critique that unmasks power relations, that seeks to oppose hierarchy, that refuses to isolate the sign from the discourse in which it operates, or for that matter that refuses to isolate the opposition from the more general discursive context in which its associative and suggestive potential is formed.

If we take these two developments together, the liberation of difference from opposition on one hand, and a kind of critique that exposes hierarchy as it operates in discourse, we have a useful preliminary account of the characteristics of what came to be known, in the 1970s, as deconstruction.

[Mark Currie]
Quoted in 'Derrida and Jelinek', at Click Opera

"A woman on Gont" can't become an archmage. No woman can be archmage. She'd unmake what she became in becoming it. The Mages of Roke are men - their power is the power of men, their knowledge is the knowledge of men. Both manhood and magery are built on one rock: power belongs to men.

If women had power, what would men be but women who can't bear children? And what would women be but men who can?

'Hah!' went Tenar; and presently, with some cunning, she said, 'Haven't there been queens? Weren't they women of power?'

'A queen's only a she-king,' said Ged.

She snorted.

'I mean, men give her power. They let her use their power. But it isn't hers, is it? It isn't because she's a woman that she's powerful, but despite it.'

[Ursula Le Guin]
Earthsea: The First Four Books, p. 664

A closed system is one where interactions occur only among the system components and not with the environment.

An open system is one that receives input from the environment and/or releases output to the environment.

The basic characteristics of an open system is the dynamic interaction of its components, while the basis of a cybernetic model is the feedback cycle. Open systems can tend toward higher levels of organization (negative entropy), while closed systems can only maintain or decrease in organization.

[David S. Walonick]
General Systems Theory

The will to power […] depends on the fact that for Nietzsche all things in the world are interconnected and that their interconnections are crucial to their very character.

But from these ideas a more radical conclusion seems to follow: “No things remain but only dynamic quanta, in a relation of tension to all other dynamic quanta: their essence lies in their relation to all other quanta, in their ‘effect’ upon the same.”

The will to power is an activity that consists in expanding a particular sphere of influence, physical or mental, as far as it can possibly go. As such, it ranges from the crudest to the most sophisticated, from mere physical resistance and brute subjugation to rational persuasion. 

[Alexander Nehamas]
Nietzsche: Life as Literature, p. 79-80

The hand that rocks the cradle erects the play-pen; and, whilst security is given on the one hand, restriction is imposed upon the other, with the result that all parents are bound to be ambivalent figures and to excite both love and hatred in their offspring.

If this historical view of aggression is taken, it will be seen that it can be postulated that aggressiveness is both innate and likely to become progressively less important as development proceeds.

Aggression is necessary for development, for separateness, for the achievement of differentiation from the parents. Competitive aggressiveness, sibling rivalry, is characteristic of immaturity and should diminish as self-realization proceeds.

Aggressiveness is at its maximum when dependence (and hence inequality) is at its maximum; as development proceeds it becomes less important till, at the point of maximum development, only so much aggression exists as is necessary to maintain the personality as a separate entity.

[…] differentiation is essential for individuality; two people who share the same views, hold the same opinions, and have the same interests are not differentiated but identified; and the wish of parents that their children should be like them is a narcissistic one. They want to hold a mirror to themselves and see that what they have created is both good and in their own image.

The notion that it is always wrong or dangerous to oppose anyone else is easily implanted in the child, but the behaviour which such a notion imposes is crippling to the personality as a whole, for individuality implies opposition and differentiation.

A certain opposition to others in adult life is necessary if the personality is to be maintained as a separate entity; and this is clearly connected with the aggressive impulses which are characteristic of childhood; but to use the word 'aggression' in connexion with the dignity and independence of the mature personality is to create a wrong impression.

All affirmation of the personality is 'aggressive' - but there is no word which conveys the idea of aggression without hostility, which is the concept I am trying to convey.

It seems to me that maturity is characterized by assertion and affirmation of the personality without hostility and without competitiveness, both of which characteristics are typical of childhood. The more a man has succeeded in realizing his own personality, the less compulsion will he feel to be competitive and the less hostile will he be to others.

[Anthony Storr]
The Integrity of the Personality, p.56-8

Male aggression and lust are the energizing factors in culture. They are men’s tools of survival in the pagan vastness of female nature.

[Camille Paglia]
Sexual Personae, p.25-26

The Spenserian rapist is a savage, churl, or knight who is not “curteous” or “gentle,” who has not, in other words, undergone the feminizing refinement of social life. Due to his failure to incorporate a feminine component, he pursues fleeing, malleable femininity with a headlong ferocity that is a hunger for self-completion. His lust is a semantic error, a selfmisinterpretation, a confession of psychic inadequacy.

But on the other hand, weakness inspires attack. Vulnerability generates its own entrapments, creating a maelstrom of voracity around itself. Nature abhors a vacuum. Into the spiritual emptiness of pure femininity in Spenser rush a storm of masculine forces.

Florimell, for example, is a professional victim. In her mad flight, she is called a “Hynd,” the deer whom fierce Belphoebe pursues at her first entrance [...] Feminine and unarmed, Florimell and Amoret are flagrant targets for attack. Sadism and masochism engender one another in dizzy oscillation. Caught on the swing of the sexual dialectic, the rapist vainly strives to obliterate his opposite.

The Faerie Queene’s savage circular world of rape is transcended by the higher characters, who internally subsume the chastened extremes of masculine and feminine.

[Camille Paglia]
Sexual Personae, p.186-7

Hierarchy is conceptualized eroticism, which is why, as homely Henry Kissinger said, power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.

[Camille Paglia]
Sexual Personae, p.144

Related posts:-
Everything is Connected 
The Principle of Polarity 
Masculine - Feminine 
The Sacred Circle
Evil and Us
Projecting a Shadow?
Carry Each Other 
Assuming a position
One Love?
Positive Space 
Controlling the Frame

The Sacred Circle

We cannot all sit on the same side of the Fire.

A Council Fire forms a circle, not a line or a square. When we move to the side, we still sit at the Fire with our Brothers and Sisters, but as we move away from one we move toward another.

The circle, like the Dream Hoop, brings us ever back to where we start. Any time words of respect and love are spoken, they will return as given. A harsh word runs forever in the circle, eventually vanishing from the wear against itself. Love settles within the Circle, embracing it and thereby lasting forever, turning within itself.

The Medicine Wheel is the circle of life. Starting with birth and continuing throughout our lives until death, when we have gone full circle.

The Medicine wheel has four Directions, each direction offering it's own lessons, color, and animal guide. There are two paths shown which cross in the center, at which point for me is the heart (for when you work from your heart, you can reach all directions).

The path from East to West is the path of spirits, (the Blue Road) the path from South to North is our physical Walk (the Red Road ).

East - Beginnings, purity, family, innocence, amazement of Life

South - Youth - passions of life, friendships, self-control

West - Adulthood - solitude, stillness, going inside oneself, reflection

North - Place of the Ancient Ones who have gone over - place of wisdom

Above - Freedom of mind, body, spirit

Below - Nuturing, Mother, life

[Luther Standing Bear]
Oglala Sioux 1868-1937


Related posts:-
Lines and Circles
The Colour Wheel
Maintaining the Balance
Native Wellness 
Giving and Receiving 

Familiar Territory

Known                           -                       Unknown
Familiar                          -                       Unfamiliar
Tethered                         -                       Untethered

Celine: When you talked earlier about after a few years how a couple would begin to hate each other by anticipating their reactions or getting tired of their mannerisms ... I think it would be the opposite for me.

I think I can really fall in love when I know everything about someone.

The way he's gonna part his hair; which shirt he's gonna wear that day; knowing the exact story he'd tell in a given situation ... I'm sure that's when I know I'm really in love.

Dialogue from Before Sunrise

His tribal position was hereditary. His father and fathers before him had been subchiefs of the Shoshone.

He knew the vast Shoshone lands.

Like the typical Indian scout he knew every hill and valley, every river and stream, and the location of all the trees and plants that his people once depended on for food.

[Doug Boyd]
Rolling Thunder, p.54

The universe was a place of wonders, and only habituation, the anaesthesia of the everyday, dulled our sight.

[Salman Rushdie]
The Satanic Verses

PC: What tends to make love disappear for you?

SR: Excessive habituation ... I think its a loss of mystery - both ways round ... I think to be too well known, and to know too well.

[Salman Rushdie]
in conversation with Pamela Connolly
Shrink Rap, Channel 4

Habitualisation devours works, clothes, furniture, one's wife, and the fear of war […] art exists that one may recover the sensation of life; it exists to make one feel things, to make the stone stony. The purpose of art is to impart the sensation of things as they are perceived and not as they are known […]

[Viktor Shklovsky]
'Art as Technique'

It is important to recognise how the Pintupi process of identification with country is situated in personal experience. In enumerating his country for me, Jerry tjakamarra listed not only his father’s “traditional country” (near Lake Macdonald), but the area around Haasts Bluff as well. These were all his country, he explained, because he had seen and visited them all.

Other men similarly considered places to be their country because they "knew" them, that is, had acquaintance with them. 

Although several forms of identification are covered in the simple phrase "my country," all derive from and indicate an emotional attachment to a place. These are expressed equally in the concepts of "knowing'' (ninti) and also "kin" (walytja).

[Fred R. Myers]
Pintupi Country, Pintupi Self, p.137

Our inner sense of our origins within the landscape has been powerfully expressed by the biologist René Dubois in his 1972 book The God Within.

Dubois compares a landscape to a human face, something that is always changing, yet is immediately recognizable. This continuity, Dubois suggests, is the spirit of the landscape, the god within who sustains the land and resides in every rock and tree.

For Dubois the spirit of a place can be so powerful that it molds, shapes, influences, and ultimately transforms the people who come to occupy it.

The Greeks had a word for it, entheos - the god within, the divine madness - which survives in our word enthusiasm, for the god can enter into us and possess us. Thus, the god of the landscape enters into and possesses the people.

It is Dubois's belief that if a new people entered a particular landscape they would eventually end up being very similar to the previous occupants.

The Haida say that they were found by Raven hiding in a clam shell and have always lived in their present location. Suppose that, several thousand years ago, a people moved into a particular landscape and came into relationship with the spirit of that place. In a sense those people would become inseparable from that land. They would, in fact, have been created by it.

Thus it could be perfectly true when The People say that they have always lived there, for it was the land that created them, gave them form, language, and customs.

[F. David Peat]
Blackfoot Physics, p.107-8

Native Wellness

Native Wellness is not just the absence of disease. It is living life in a circle, embracing the teachings of the old ways, where the individual is in balance with oneself, mind, body, spirit, and emotions.

It means living in harmony with oneself, others, the Creator, and with all aspects of one's environment. It is having a sound cultural identity. Illness happens when this harmony or balance is broken.

[...] As seen from the indigenous perspective, health is synonymous with wholeness. The ultimate source of this a wholeness is the Great Spirit, or Creator, a divine essence of which everything is a part. As such, health is understood only within the context of the whole, with spirituality a primary focus and aspect of the diagnosis and treatment of all afflictions. Health involves the restoration of balance and harmony to body, mind, and spirit, and to relationships with family, community, and nature

"What is Native American Wellness?"


According to Native American traditions, balance is a state of being in harmony with the universe. Walking in balance is walking in accordance with the natural way of things, where there is harmony among human, natural, and spiritual systems.

Balance is often referred to as Good Medicine. On the other hand, Bad Medicine is the result of being in a state of dis-ease or disequilibrium. When one is not living harmoniously with self, others, the environment and spirit, illness happens.

Thus, healing involves the restoration of balance.

[...] According to traditional Navajo beliefs, being in balance is to be in harmony with the universe. Balance is expressed in the phrase Walk in Beauty. To Walk in Beauty is to have faith in healing, and to act in accordance with natural and spiritual laws. It is doing the right thing at the right time for the right reason, with the wellbeing of all as the underlying intention

"Native Wellness"


Native American values most pertinent to rehabilitation are:

(a) Happiness and harmony between and within individuals, the society, and nature;

(b) generosity in sharing of self, resources, and possessions;

(c) transmission of knowledge through an oral tradition;

(d) an orientation to the past which honors tradition, and to the present in taking life as it comes;

(e) a fluidity of lifestyle which is without external constraints other than those voluntarily chosen;

(f) work which is in harmony with the individual and meets present needs;

(g) discrete and respectful communication with little eye contact and an emphasis on listening; and

(h) a universal spirituality which is integral to all life and every lifestyle.

[Susan D.M. Kelley]
"Traditional Native American Values: Conflict or Concordance in Rehabilitation?"


Related posts:-
Society, you need therapy
Maintaining the Balance 
The Sacred Circle 

Take Your Power Back

You've got to hit 'em where it hurts. Pull your money out of the too-big-to-fail banks ... put it in a hometown bank.

Quit flying.

Burn as little gasoline as possible.

Grow your own food.

Don't spend another dime viewing Hollywood propaganda.

Don't play their lottery.

Wean yourself off professional sport amusements ... they're intended to distract you.

Get out of debt and stay out.

These things are a good start - your personal revolution.

YouTube comment

Believe it or not, growing your own food or visiting your local
farmers market is more revolutionary and constructive
than burning down your own city and killing security forces

[...] They need us, we don’t need them. That’s the big secret. We get our freedom back as soon as we take back our responsibilities for food, water, security, the monetary system, power, and manufacturing; that is independence. Independence is freedom, freedom is independence. We’ll never be free as long as we depend on the Fortune 500 for our survival.

Fixing these problems unfolding overseas starts with fixing the problems in our own backyards. Boycott the globalists, cut off their support, undermine their system, and they lose their ability to commit these atrocities. That will be a real revolution and it can start today. Not burning cities and masked rebels waving flags, but communities no longer dependent and fueling a corrupt system we all know must come to an end.

[Tony Cartalucci]
"The Real Revolution"


Also, give to charities that act locally as well as to charities that act globally.

Karma Yoga

Karma yoga is described as a way of acting, thinking and willing by which one orients oneself toward realization by acting in accordance with one's duty (dharma) without consideration of personal self-centered desires, likes or dislikes.

One acts without being attached to the fruits of one's deeds.

In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna says:

Therefore, without being attached to the fruits of activities, one should act as a matter of duty, for by working without attachment one attains the Supreme.

Krishna then goes on to describe how Arjuna should surrender the fruits of his actions (good or bad) to him, Krishna, (as the Supreme Person or avatara):

Therefore, O Arjuna, surrendering all your works unto Me, with full knowledge of Me, without desires for profit, with no claims to proprietorship, and free from lethargy, fight.

Krishna explains that work done without expectations, motives, or anticipation of its outcome purifies one's mind and gradually makes an individual fit to see the value of reason. He states that it is not necessary to remain in external solitude, or remain actionless, in order to practice a spiritual life, since the state of action or inaction is primarily determined in the mind.

In order to achieve perfection of life, Krishna explains that it is important to control all mental desires and tendencies to enjoy pleasures of the senses. The practice of karma yoga in daily life makes an individual fit through action, meditation and devotion to sharpen his reasoning, develop the intuitive power of acquiring knowledge, and to transcend the mind itself.

Karma Yoga

Related posts:-
Open Source
Sell Out
Set It Free

Touching Base

Artificial                 -                  Real
Simulacrum            -                 Original
Concept                  -                  Percept
Abstract                  -                  Concrete
Observe                  -                  Participate
Distanced               -                  Close
Detached                -                  Attached
Horizontal               -                 Vertical
Playful                    -                  Serious
Ironic                      -                  Earnest
Empty                     -                  Full
Partial                    -                  Whole
Light                       -                  Heavy
Conscious               -                  Unconscious
Unlimited               -                   Limited
Infinite                    -                  Finite

[...] the celebrant's or devotee's intention is not that of understanding, and, in the ordinary routine of the cult of the work of art, the play of the academic or urbane references has no other function than to bring the work into an interminable circuit of inter-legitimation,

so that a reference to Jan Breughel's Bouquet of Flowers lends dignity to Jean-Michel Picart's Bouquet of Flowers with Parrot, just as, in another context, reference to the latter can, being less common, serve to enhance the former.

This play of cultured allusions and analogies endlessly pointing to other analogies, which, like the cardinal oppositions in mythical or ritual systems, never have to justify themselves by stating the basis of the relating which they perform, weaves around the works a complex web of factitious experiences, each answering and reinforcing all the others, which creates the enchantment of artistic contemplation.

It is the source of the 'idolatry' to which Proust refers, which leads one to find 'an actress's robe or a society woman's dress beautiful ... not because the cloth is beautiful but because it is the cloth painted by Moreau or described by Balzac.

Analogy, functioning as a circular mode of thought, makes it possible to tour the whole area of art and luxury without ever leaving it

Thus Chateau Margaux wine can be described with the same words as are used to describe the chateau, just as others will evoke Proust apropos of Monet or César Franck, which is a good way of talking about neither [...]

[Pierre Bourdieu]
Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste, p.53

Since the "world of origins" is closed to us, we must accept the fact that we are dependent -- doomed, if you like, to being forever meta. There is no shame in this. We are all contingent, all referring to things which, themselves, refer to other things (parents descended from parents, phrases from phrases).

Humperson did, however, see the possibility of originality via errors, mishearings and misunderstandings. He enjoyed playing Chinese Whispers, especially in later life, when he grew rather deaf.

'Proposal for a Wikipedia page about Humperson, father of the "laws of meta"'

Philosopher Jacques Derrida played on Saussure’s idea that meaning lies in difference, by adding the idea that meaning is also defered endlessly down [a] chain.

Language never points to a concrete signified outside the chain, that would anchor it in an external reality. Instead, language only ever points at additional layers of language further down the chain.

Derrida famously declared that, “There is nothing outside of the text.” […] Realising that there is nothing outside of the text means recognising that […] we can never get to the end of [the] chain - because there is no meaning or referent that cannot, in turn, be reinterpreted to mean something else.

'Animating Poststructuralism'

It is necessary, [Derrida] says, to interrogate those various naive or pre-critical ideas of reference that envisage a straightforward matching-up between language and the world 'outside'.

Deconstruction must work to problematize such habits of thought by showing how strictly impossible it is to draw a firm line between reality and representation.

[Christopher Norris]
Derrida, p. 142

In the West, we tend to live our lives at one remove from reality, relying on images and concepts.

As Tashi Rabgyas said after spending a few months in England,

"It's amazing how indirect everything is here. They write about the beauty of nature, they talk about it, and everywhere there are potted plants and plastic plants, and pictures of trees on the wall.

And all the time television programs about nature. But they don't ever seem to have contact with the real thing."

[Helena Norberg-Hodge]
Ancient Futures: Learning From Ladakh, p.190

In the eyes of Indians, white Americans became interested only in the shadows of things and strove to ignore and even deny the realities behind them.

[Doug Boyd]
Rolling Thunder, p.59

Debord traces the development of a modern society in which authentic social life has been replaced with its representation

"All that was once directly lived has become mere representation."

Debord argues that the history of social life can be understood as "the decline of being into having, and having into merely appearing."

This condition, according to Debord, is the "historical moment at which the commodity completes its colonization of social life."

With the term spectacle, Debord defines the system that is a confluence of advanced capitalism, the mass media, and the types of governments who favor those phenomena.

The spectacle is the inverted image of society in which relations between commodities have supplanted relations between people, in which "passive identification with the spectacle supplants genuine activity". "

The spectacle is not a collection of images," Debord writes. "rather, it is a social relationship between people that is mediated by images."

'Society of the Spectacle', Wikipedia

It has been shown that concepts borrow their material from knowledge of perception, and that therefore the whole structure of our world of thought rests on the world of perceptions.

It must therefore be possible for us to go back from every concept, even if through intermediate stages, to the perceptions from which it has itself been directly drawn, or from which have been drawn the concepts of which it is in turn an abstraction.

In other words, it must be possible for us to verify the concept with perceptions that stand to abstractions in the relation of examples.  

Therefore these perceptions furnish us with the real content of all our thinking, and wherever they are missing we have had in our heads not concepts but mere words.

[...] Actually all truth and all wisdom ultimately lie in perception; but unfortunately perception cannot be either retained or communicated.

[...] Therefore, as a rule, the man of the world cannot impart his accumulated truth and wisdom, but only practice it.

That books do not take the place of experience, and that learning is no substitute for genius, are two kindred phenomena; their common ground is that the abstract can never take the place of the perceptive. Therefore books do not take the place of experience, because concepts always remain universal, and so do not reach down to the particular; yet it is precisely the particular that has to be dealt with in life.

In addition to this is the fact that all concepts are abstracted from the particular and perceptive of experience [...]

Wisdom proper is something intuitive, not something abstract. It does not consist in principles and ideas which a person carries round ready in his head, as results of his own or others' investigation; it is the whole way in which the world presents itself in his head.

[Arthur Schopenhauer]
The World as Will and Representation, Volume II, p.71, 74-5

Rolling Thunder had explained at Council Grove that his training was experiential.

In his first conversation with me he said that truth cannot be expressed verbally, that it can only be experienced [...]

"[...] You can't just sit down and talk about the truth. It doesn't work that way. You have to live it and be part of it and you might get to know it. I say you might. And it's slow and gradual and it don't come easy [...]"

[Doug Boyd]
Rolling Thunder, p.37, 71

Wow, so interesting to read this about Lady Gaga.

I see her as the exact opposite of Ammachi, as the epitome of Kali Yuga, the dark mother, a post-modern Madonna accelerating Time Wave Zero with her cut up pastiche videos that flash image, image, image towards the breaking point of narrative and meaning.

I see her as the goddess of Hubbert’s Peak, epitomizing pop culture morphed into its final-last-gasp-stage attempt at meaning making before the entire material culture we live in collapses. I see an emaciated woman that mistakes fashion for femininity as she dwindles away.

I see spectacle without substance, a consumable product of the Kali Yuga age.

Comment on article 'Lada Gaga: The Visionary Rebirth of the Divine Mother Monster'

Perhaps we don't know what's real any more.

Consumerism, after all, specialises in creating a fake world, in which new 'needs' are created every day by fashionistas and marketing gurus, who will then meet them - at a price.

In this fake world, age, pain, misery, insecurity, loneliness - all can be fended off or overcome with purchases. Animals die out of sight, and their meat comes to us shrink-wrapped and washed clean of blood. Apples fall from the trees twelve months of the year. Plastic landscapes, designed in distant office suites, come between us and the reality of place.

We are cut off from the land, from seasons, from geography, from the dirt and hard work and complications of the world outside the bubble. Enough of this, and the bubble itself becomes the reality.

[Paul Kingsnorth]
Real England, p.272

For the primitive, thought is visionary and auditory, hence it also has the character of revelation. Thus the sorcerer, the visionary, is always the thinker of the tribe, who brings about the manifestation of the spirits or gods.

This also explains the magical effect of thought; it is as good as the deed, just because it is real. In the same way the word, the outer covering of thought, has a "real" effect because it calls up "real" memory-images.

Primitive superstition surprises us only because we have largely succeeded in de-sensualizing the psychic image; we have learnt to think abstractly [...]

[C. G. Jung]
Psychological Types, p. 30

Metaphoric thinking is fundamental to our understanding of the world, because it is the only way in which understanding can reach outside the system of signs to life itself.

It is what links language to life.

[Iain McGilchrist]
The Master and his Emissary, p. 115

In the opening of Book VIII of his long autobiographical poem The Prelude, Wordsworth depicts a country fair taking place in the valley below him as he sits on the side of Helvellyn, the voices of the country folk, laughing and talking, coming up to him in snatches.

Again his elevated view is an image of self-consciousness, a level of self-awareness that he cannot now lose, forever separated from the simple pleasures of rusticity by his awareness that true pleasure belongs only to those who are not self-aware.

The evocation of their voices carrying echoingly up to his seat above conveys perfectly the combination of closeness and distance, of something recaptured, but also forever lost.

How to be unself-reflectingly simple down there, and yet in a position to appreciate the simplicity at the same time?

[Iain McGilchrist]
The Master and his Emissary, p. 362

The mind does not derive cause and effect from observations, but already experiences its observations in a context in which cause and effect are presupposed realities: causality in human cognition is not derived from experience but is brought to experience.

As with cause and effect, so too with other categories of the understanding such as substance, quantity, and relation. Without such fundamental frames of reference, such a priori interpretive principles, the human mind would be incapable of comprehending its world. 

Human experience would be an impossible chaos, an utterly formless and miscellaneous manifold, except that the human sensibility and understanding by their very nature transfigure that manifold into a unified perception, place it in a framework of time and space, and subject it to the ordering principles of causality, substance, and the other categories. 

Experience is a construction of the mind imposed on sensation.

[Richard Tarnas]
The Passion of the Western Mind, p. 344

[Don Quixote] often approximates a subjectivistic occasionalism.

He declares his idea of Dulcinea to be more important than her real aspect. This is because who Dulcinea is does not matter. What matters is only that, for him, she remains the object of the ideal devotion that inspires him to great deeds.

[Carl Schmitt]
Political Romanticism, p. 148

Subjective occasionalism - the object is important only as an occasion, a conduit, for subjectivity, rather than for what it is in itself; its essence. The thing-in-itself is unimportant, and remains untouched. Objective reality is irrelevant, it matters only as a launching pad for subjective flights of fancy. 

Not only literature but every form of expression, knowledge, and work has surrounded itself with commentary and criticism; the creative impulse, smothered by "metaphysical" speculation, runs out of breath. "Never since the beginning of Time was there... so intensely self-conscious a society." Everything is "probed into" - "anatomically studied, that it may be medically aided."

When thought becomes too conscious of itself, it loses contact with "vital action" and drifts off into airy, increasingly self-referential abstractions.

German idealism and British utilitarianism, the latter with its "cunning mechanising of self-interests, and all conceivable adjustments of checking and balancing," exemplify the split between action and inquiry. The "whole man, heaven-inspired," recedes from view, and partial men stand in his place, incapacitated alike for intelligent action and for original thought.

[Christopher Lasch]
The True and Only Heaven, p.237

Noam Chomsky, the MIT linguist, has proposed that there are deep linguistic structures within the brain that are common to human beings irrespective of the language they happen to speak […] Within Chomsky's picture, the world's languages are surface structures, vehicles for expressing what is being generated at a much deeper level within the brain.

Indigenous people do not, I think, see things in the same way as Noam Chomsky.

Within Indigenous science, thoughts are inseparable from language. The language that is spoken is not simply a medium, or a vehicle for communication, rather it is a living thing, an actual physical power within the universe. The vibrations of its words are energies that act within the transforming processes we call reality. 

Moreover, each language is a link with the particular landscape in which a people live.

Within Indigenous science the word itself has power. Conventional linguistics holds that the connection between a word and its referent is purely arbitrary. Thus, one of the fathers of modern linguistics, Ferdinand de Saussure, distinguished between what he called signifiant ("the thing that signifies," or "the sound image") and signifié (the concept or thing that is being signified).

This question of the arbitrary nature of words goes back to the disputes of the Greek philosophers. Aristotle, for example, felt that names had no intrinsic existence and were no more than symbols for objects and concepts. On the other hand, Plato suggested that a certain intrinsic relationship existed between the name and the thing signified. This echoes the tradition that comes from several of the world's esoteric and mystical practices that certain names in themselves have power and significance.

There are also traditions of sacred languages - the languages in which the gods spoke to humans - in which each word has a perfect correspondence to the inner nature of the universe.

Within Indigenous science, to say something is to create an objective event and release a process of energetic vibrations that enter into relationships with the other powers and energies of nature. Thus, since every sound is an event of significance, a person must take responsibility for whatever he or she says.

Language was created by the Ancestors as a direct connection to nature. Words link man to the inner meaning of things.

Sa'ke'j Henderson has explained how in Mic Mag the names of trees are the sound that the wind makes as it moves through their leaves in the fall. The name of a tree is therefore far from arbitrary. It is based upon the direct experience of listening to a specific sound that refers to a particular tree for each of the different species of trees makes a different sound. It is, moreover, a sound made at that time of the year when the leaves begin to dry, a sound specific to a particular area of Turtle Island as the salt-laden wind blows in from the Atlantic Ocean.

Trees process, the manifestations of animating energies in a particular environment. Move to a different part of the world and the tree, in its deeper sense, is no longer the same. While the word dog changes in a purely arbitrary fashion as we drive across the frontier between the United States and Mexico, the sound vibration of the word for tree and the material manifestation of the process are all tied to the changing context of an actual landscape.

[F. David Peat]
Blackfoot Physics, p.223-4, 226-7

Those who support a post-structural understanding of language are often confronted with the following question: if language is constituted by a set of relationships among signifiers, how do you account for the relationship between language and the world?

The concern here is that if meaning is ascribed to the play of signs only, language will become free-floating to the extent that no empirical truth claims can be made anymore. Although this objection is usually motivated by a nostalgia for a coherent metanarrative capable of regulating the production of meaning, it does pose a question that deserves a careful answer.

[…] information from the environment has a direct, though non-determinate, influence on the system: it causes certain changes in the system, but it does not fully determine the nature of these changes.

Information from the environment interacts in a nonlinear way with information already stored in the system. (Bear in mind that the memory of the system is distributed, not iconic.) Incoming signals are mediated by the history of the system in such a way that it incorporates important new aspects, but resists unnecessary fluctuations.

The state of the system at any given time is thus the result of conditions in the environment, the history of the system and the effects that the system must have on its environment in order to perform its functions.

How does language in fact interact with the environment (the ‘world out there’)? Primarily through the users of language who have to interact with the environment in order to survive and operate in it. As a matter of fact, language is one of the most important tools we use to cope with the task. We try to make sense of our experiences, and in the process create and expand our language. This is not the result of an act by an abstract mind, nor a mere reflection of circumstances.

Meaningful language evolves in time through a self-organising process, suspended between active and passive, in which useful or effective forms of language survive, and obsolete forms decay.

[Paul Cilliers]
Complexity and Postmodernism, p.125-6

If language can be described as a self-organising system, the problem of the relationship between language and the world is solved in a fairly sophisticated way.

The world has a direct causal influence on the meaning of words, but it does not determine the exact meaning of words. Meaning flows from a complex process of interaction between information from the world, on the one hand, and a web of already existing relationships, built up through previous interactions, on the other hand. This makes language a vital, evolving system, capable of coping with great complexity.

If certain aspects of the environment are of great importance, the system will organise itself towards a robust, accurate interpretation of these aspects. It will not waste its resources by allocating too much of it to terms that are used infrequently or are of little interest.

This kind of interpretation of language allows us to find an important place for the dynamics of trace and différance; it also leads us to acknowledge that the linguistic system will organise itself to a point of criticality where the maximum amount of meaning can be generated without becoming unanchored from the world.

[Paul Cilliers]
Complexity and Postmodernism, p.126

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