Duino Elegies 1 and 2 – Rainer Maria Rilke

Duino Elegies 1 and 2 – Rainer Maria Rilke

Posted on Jan 9th, 2007 by Nicole : wakingdreamer Nicole

Loveofsouls_-_a

(thanks to lightbeing for this and other stunning pictures by A. Andrew Gonzalez)

Shambhala Publications, Inc., 1992.
Translated by Stephen Mitchell
The First Elegy
Who, if I cried out, would hear me among the angels’ hierarchies?

and even if one of them pressed me suddenly against his heart:
I would be consumed in that overwhelming existence.
For beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror, which we are still just able to endure,
and we are so awed because it serenely disdains to annihilate us.
Every angel is terrifying.
And so I hold myself back and swallow the call-note of my dark sobbing.
Ah, whom can we ever turn to in our need?
Not angels, not humans, and already the knowing animals are aware
that we are not really at home in our interpreted world.
Perhaps there remains for us some tree on a hillside, which every day we can take into our vision;
there remains for us yesterday’s street and the loyalty of a habit so much at ease
when it stayed with us that it moved in and never left.
Oh and night: there is night, when a wind full of infinite space gnaws at our faces.
Whom would it not remain for–that longed-after, mildly disillusioning presence,
which the solitary heart so painfully meets.
Is it any less difficult for lovers?
But they keep on using each other to hide their own fate.
Don’t you know yet?
Fling the emptiness out of your arms into the spaces we breathe;
perhaps the birds will feel the expanded air with more passionate flying.Yes–the springtimes needed you. Often a star was waiting for you to notice it.
A wave rolled toward you out of the distant past,
or as you walked under an open window, a violin yielded itself to your hearing.
All this was mission. But could you accomplish it?
Weren’t you always distracted by expectation, as if every event announced a beloved?
(Where can you find a place to keep her, with all the huge strange thoughts inside you
going and coming and often staying all night.)
But when you feel longing, sing of women in love; for their famous passion is still not immortal.
Sing of women abandoned and desolate (you envy them, almost)
who could love so much more purely than those who were gratified.
Begin again and again the never-attainable praising; remember: the hero lives on;
even his downfall was merely a pretext for achieving his final birth.
But Nature, spent and exhausted, takes lovers back into herself,
as if there were not enough strength to create them a second time.
Have you imagined Gaspara Stampa intensely enough
so that any girl deserted by her beloved might be inspired by that fierce example of soaring,
objectless love and might say to herself, “Perhaps I can be like her?”
Shouldn’t this most ancient of sufferings finally grow more fruitful for us?
Isn’t it time that we lovingly freed ourselves from the beloved and,
quivering, endured: as the arrow endures the bowstring’s tension,
so that gathered in the snap of release it can be more than itself.
For there is no place where we can remain.
Voices. Voices. Listen, my heart, as only saints have listened:
until the gigantic call lifted them off the ground;
yet they kept on, impossibly, kneeling and didn’t notice at all: so complete was their listening.
Not that you could endure God’s voice–far from it.
But listen to the voice of the wind and the ceaseless message that forms itself out of silence.
It is murmuring toward you now from those who died young.
Didn’t their fate, whenever you stepped into a church in Naples or Rome,
quietly come to address you?
Or high up, some eulogy entrusted you with a mission,
as, last year, on the plaque in Santa Maria Formosa.
What they want of me is that I gently remove the appearance of injustice about their death–
which at times slightly hinders their souls from proceeding onward.
Of course, it is strange to inhabit the earth no longer,
to give up customs one barely had time to learn,
not to see roses and other promising Things in terms of a human future;
no longer to be what one was in infinitely anxious hands;
to leave even one’s own first name behind,
forgetting it as easily as a child abandons a broken toy.
Strange to no longer desire one’s desires.
Strange to see meanings that clung together once, floating away in every direction.
And being dead is hard work and full of retrieval before one can gradually feel a trace of eternity.
Though the living are wrong to believe in the too-sharp distinctions which
they themselves have created.
Angels (they say) don’t know whether it is the living they are moving among, or the dead.
The eternal torrent whirls all ages along in it, through both realms forever,
and their voices are drowned out in its thunderous roar.
In the end, those who were carried off early no longer need us:
they are weaned from earth’s sorrows and joys,
as gently as children outgrow the soft breasts of their mothers.
But we, who do need such great mysteries,
we for whom grief is so often the source of our spirit’s growth–:
could we exist without them?
Is the legend meaningless that tells how, in the lament for Linus,
the daring first notes of song pierced through the barren numbness;
and then in the startled space which a youth as lovely as a god has suddenly left forever,
the Void felt for the first time that harmony which now enraptures and comforts and helps us.
The Second Elegy
Every angel is terrifying. And yet, alas, I invoke you,
almost deadly birds of the soul, knowing about you.
Where are the days of Tobias, when one of you, veiling his radiance,
stood at the front door, slightly disguised for the journey, no longer appalling;
(a young man like the one who curiously peeked through the window).
But if the archangel now, perilous, from behind the stars took even one step down toward us:
our own heart, beating higher and higher, would beat us to death.
Who are you?
Early successes, Creation’s pampered favorites,
mountain-ranges, peaks growing red in the dawn of all beginning,–
pollen of the flowering godhead, joints of pure light,
corridors, stairways, thrones, space formed from essence,
shields made of ecstasy, storms of emotion whirled into rapture, and suddenly alone:
mirrors, which scoop up the beauty that has streamed from their face
and gather it back, into themselves, entire.
But we, when moved by deep feeling, evaporate; we breathe ourselves out and away;
from moment to moment our emotion grows fainter, like a perfume.
Though someone may tell us: “Yes, you’ve entered my bloodstream, the room,
the whole springtime is filled with you . . . “–what does it matter? he can’t contain us,
we vanish inside him and around him.
And those who are beautiful, oh who can retain them?
Appearance ceaselessly rises in their face, and is gone.
Like dew from the morning grass, what is ours floats into the air, like steam from a dish of hot food.
O smile, where are you going?
O upturned glance: new warm receding wave on the sea of the heart . . .
alas, but that is what we are.
Does the infinite space we dissolve into, taste of us then?
Do the angels really reabsorb only the radiance that streamed out from themselves,
or sometimes, as if by an oversight, is there a trace of our essence in it as well?
Are we mixed in with their features even as slightly as that vague look
in the faces of pregnant women?
They do not notice it (how could they notice) in their swirling return to themselves.
Lovers, if they knew how, might utter strange, marvelous words in the night air.
For it seems that everything hides us.
Look: trees do exist; the houses that we live in still stand.
We alone fly past all things, as fugitive as the wind.
And all things conspire to keep silent about us, half out of shame perhaps, half as unutterable hope.Lovers, gratified in each other, I am asking you about us.
You hold each other. Where is your proof?
Look, sometimes I find that my hands have become aware of each other,

or that my time-worn face shelters itself inside them.
That gives me a slight sensation.
But who would dare to exist, just for that?
You, though, who in the other’s passion grow until, overwhelmed, he begs you:
“No more . . . “; you who beneath his hands swell with abundance,
like autumn grapes; you who may disappear because the other has wholly emerged:
I am asking you about us.
I know, you touch so blissfully because the caress preserves,
because the place you so tenderly cover does not vanish;
because underneath it you feel pure duration.
So you promise eternity, almost, from the embrace.
And yet, when you have survived the terror of the first glances,
the longing at the window, and the first walk together, once only, through the garden:
lovers, are you the same?
When you lift yourselves up to each other’s mouth and your lips join,
drink against drink: oh how strangely each drinker seeps away from his action.
Weren’t you astonished by the caution of human gestures on Attic gravestones?
Wasn’t love and departure placed so gently on shoulders
that it seemed to be made of a different substance than in our world?
Remember the hands, how weightlessly they rest, though there is power in the torsos.
These self-mastered figures know: “We can go this far,
this is ours, to touch one another this lightly; the gods can press down harder upon us.
But that is the gods’ affair.”
If only we too could discover a pure, contained, human place,
our own strip of fruit-bearing soil between river and rock.
Four our own heart always exceeds us, as theirs did.
And we can no longer follow it,
gazing into images that soothe it or into the godlike bodies where,
measured more greatly, it achieves a greater repose.
Samme : Prince of Rainbows<3
about 4 hours later

Samme said

Thank you Nicole for posting this.  I would like to get a new copy of the book now.  I had it before but now I feel it is time to bring it back to my collections.
Samme

about 14 hours later

WH said

I love the Duino Elegies, especially (I think) number 9, No More Wooing.

Thanks for posting these – you seem to be a big Rilke fan. Yes?

Peace,
Will

Nicole : wakingdreamer
about 15 hours later

Nicole said

will, Yes! :)definitely. I will look at No More Wooing again… thanks for the reminder.

Samme, I have a little copy of it myself and know what you mean – I was so happy when I reconnected with the Elegies by buying that.

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer
about 1 year later

Marmalade said

I read through it, but its a lot to take in.  I’d need to read it multiple times to really get a sense of it.  I’ll return to it again later and hopefully I’ll be able to give more of a response.  But for now these lines near the beginning stood out to me.

Ah, whom can we ever turn to in our need?
Not angels, not humans, and already the knowing animals are aware
that we are not really at home in our interpreted world.

Nicole : wakingdreamer
about 1 year later

Nicole said

yes, i stopped at those a lot when i first read this. i know it’s hard to get into, dear Ben but it’s really worth it. i guess you don’t usually read poetry?

Marmalade : Gaia Child
about 1 year later

Marmalade said

I don’t usually read poetry.  I have read various poets off and on over the years, but I’ve never focused much on it.  I certainly have never delved into a single poet the way I have with the writings of someone like PKD.  I did date a poet for a while and I wrote bad poetry in highschool… does that count?  🙂

You’ve got me interested in Rilke, but the poet I’ve for years been wanting to get into is Blake.

Nicole : wakingdreamer
about 1 year later

Nicole said

Blake is wonderful. Much clearer than Rilke too. Yes, poetry can be really challenging if you’re not immersed in the genre.

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer
about 1 year later

Marmalade said

If Blake is much clearer, what is it about Rilke that you enjoy so much?
Who are some of your other favorite poets?

I did get some sense of what goes into poetry when I dated a poet.  She was very serious about her work, and had moved to this town for the writer’s workshop.  My appreciation for poetry has increased over the years.  Partly my problem with poetry is that I have no knack for it.  🙂

Nicole : wakingdreamer
about 1 year later

Nicole said

oh i love obscurity in poets :):) i’m very perverse in that way and others.

that’s interesting about you dating a poet. i enjoy writing poetry to express my emotions but i’m just a dabbler and no true poet.

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer
about 1 year later

Marmalade said

The First Elegy

“Whom would it not remain for–that longed-after, mildly disillusioning presence,
which the solitary heart so painfully meets.
Is it any less difficult for lovers?
But they keep on using each other to hide their own fate.”

Once again, human love is not enough… and can even be problematic, a way of hiding some truth.

“Sing of women abandoned and desolate (you envy them, almost)
who could love so much more purely than those who were gratified.”

Ah, but failed human love that transforms into longing is a whole other matter.

“Isn’t it time that we lovingly freed ourselves from the beloved”

Love can only be transformed into longing when we free ourselves from the object of love.

“forgetting it as easily as a child abandons a broken toy.”

A seeming reference to the the failure of the toy that represents human love.

“Angels (they say) don’t know whether it is the living they are moving among, or the dead.”

A seeming reference to the transcenent nature of puppets.  Angels don’t discern between a human and a puppet, the living and the dead.  This brings up the question of what moves us.  If we are moved from above rather than from within, then are we too puppets of the divine?

Nicole : wakingdreamer
about 1 year later

Nicole said

The First Elegy
“Once again, human love is not enough… and can even be problematic, a way of hiding some truth.”

especially the truth that we are each always a solitude, so even in love, it’s just two solitudes greeting each other, as he says in the Letters to a Young Poet.

“Ah, but failed human love that transforms into longing is a whole other matter.”

Not just longing – lovers have longing, and worse in a way. Those who love purely one who is unattainable have transformed longing into emptiness… (which) the birds will feel … with more passionate flying .
and  mission. But could you accomplish it? only if you give up the search for comfort in a lover’s arms, apparently…
it is that fierce example of soaring,
objectless love… this most ancient of sufferings (which can) finally grow more fruitful for us… Isn’t it time that we lovingly freed ourselves from the beloved and, 
quivering, endured: as the arrow endures the bowstring’s tension,so that gathered in the snap of release it can be more than itself.
For there is no place where we can remain.

“A seeming reference to the the failure of the toy that represents human love.”

Not just human love but all of life… just before the broken toy reference it says
it is strange to inhabit the earth no longer,
to give up customs one barely had time to learn,
not to see roses and other promising Things in terms of a human future;
no longer to be what one was in infinitely anxious hands;
to leave even one’s own first name behind,
and later
 those who were carried off early no longer need us:

they are weaned from earth’s sorrows and joys,
as gently as children outgrow the soft breasts of their mothers.

“A seeming reference to the transcenent nature of puppets.  Angels don’t discern between a human and a puppet, the living and the dead.  This brings up the question of what moves us.  If we are moved from above rather than from within, then are we too puppets of the divine?”

But listen what he says about angels (which to Rilke, not your average theist, is a highly symbolic figure, not in the usual sense of winged creatures)


even if one of them pressed me suddenly against his heart:
I would be consumed in that overwhelming existence.

we are so awed because it serenely disdains to annihilate us.
Every angel is terrifying…

if the archangel now, perilous, from behind the stars took even one step down toward us:

our own heart, beating higher and higher, would beat us to death.
Who are you?

(and from the second elegy) Early successes, Creation’s pampered favorites,

mountain-ranges, peaks growing red in the dawn of all beginning,–
pollen of the flowering godhead, joints of pure light,
corridors, stairways, thrones, space formed from essence,
shields made of ecstasy, storms of emotion whirled into rapture, and suddenly alone:
mirrors, which scoop up the beauty that has streamed from their face
and gather it back, into themselves, entire.

or this

Voices. Voices. Listen, my heart, as only saints have listened:


until the gigantic call lifted them off the ground;
yet they kept on, impossibly, kneeling and didn’t notice at all: so complete was their listening.
so, not mere puppets but filling with being and power…

Advertisements

Pink’s Newest Album Funhouse

Pink’s Newest Album Funhouse

Posted on Jan 11th, 2009 by Marmalade : Gaia Explorer Marmalade
I feel like commenting on a musician I don’t normally give much attention to.  I just came across Pink’s new album Funhouse.  I was merely curious, but was rather surprised to really enjoy some of the songs.  Here is one song from that album that is more low-key than some of the others.
 
 
I was trying to pinpoint who her voice and style reminded me of.  There is the obvious influence of No Doubt, but she can be edgier than Gwen Stefani.  Its funny that one of her influences is supposedly Mariah Carey… I just don’t get that.  Anyways, from the above song, I can hear a hint of Bonnie Tyler which also amuses me.  I’m trying to imagine Pink doing ’80s Rock Opera.  Something about her singing does remind me of Freddie Mercury for a reason I can’t entirely explain.  Maybe its because she seems to have a Rockstar presence like he had, but Freddie Mercury had more of a depth of sorrow in certain songs that I don’t think she can match.

Here is one of her more rocking and playful songs which is the one that first caught my attention, and its a good video.  Its supposedly her biggest hit so far in her career.

 
I also get a sense of other aspects to her singing.  I hear some folk-rock in certain songs and I think she could even do alt-country if she gave it the slightest effort.  I’m not sure what is, but I hear something familiar in songs like the following.  There is the slight gravelly voice that is reminiscent of any number of other female vocalists.  I almost want to say Melissa Etheridge, but I’m not sure that is quite right.
 
Access_public Access: Public 2 Comments Print // Post this!views (1,650)  

1 day later

Terrill said

Wow Marmalade! The diversity of this singer/songwriter reminds me of Tom Waits – you just never know what to expect. As for alternative country… I don’t know. My exposure is really limited and mostly includes a group No Horses. she seems pretty tame compared to their work. Maybe I just need to listen to more alternative country but to be honest… I like the slow mellow stuff with lots of emotion like Glitter in the Air.

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

1 day later

Marmalade said

I just wrote a long response and of course it disappeared.

Basically, I don’t know the merit of my analysis of Pink. This blog is based on listening to only one of her albums, but have been listening to some of her other albums for comparison. As for Alt-Country, I didn’t mean much by that as I’m not an expert there either. It seems a broad category. I just listened to No Horses and she isn’t anything like them for sure. Maybe what I meant by the Alt-Country reference is that some of her songs sound like something that could be sung in the style of Alt-Country.

On Rhapsody, Pink is categorized as Pop and Contemporary R&B. I was just comparing her newest album to some of her earlier work. I like the new album more. There is afair degreeofvarietyin thestyles she useson it. Like No Doubt, she has some of the Ska Punk influence. I’m listening to Ska Punk right now andPink definitely has a cleaner Pop sound, but her newest album has less of a Pop sound than her earliest music.

 
 

Review: The Man on the Ceiling by Steve Rasnic Tem & Melanie Tem

Review: The Man on the Ceiling by Steve Rasnic Tem & Melanie Tem

Posted on Jan 7th, 2009 by Marmalade : Gaia Explorer Marmalade

I don’t enjoy most popular horror and I don’t normally buy horror to read, but this book attracted me.  It has nice cover art (you can judge a book by its cover), and I had noticed it at the bookstore for some time before finally deciding to get it.  I might write more about this later, but for now my review from Amazon…

It seems some people just didn’t get this book.  I suppose I understand their confusion.  Its a very experimental book in how it combines autobiography and story all the while doing this as a collaboration.  Its impressive considering how difficult a challenge this must have been.
I liked it.  There were some deep insights in this book and they avoided giving easy answers or simple stories.  Its not exactly a novel, but I wouldn’t go so far to say the label doesn’t apply.  There are many stories within the book.  More importantly, its about the process of making stories out of life experience and making sense of life experience through story.
There is a cleverness to this book, but it didn’t seem pretentious to me.  What the authors set out to do necessitated cleverness.  I enjoyed how smoothly they mixed nonfiction and fiction.
I was satisfied enough with this book that I give it an overall good review.  It was worth the money spent.  It wasn’t perfect, but its hard to imagine any two authors collaborating to create something better.  I’ve never read anything that compares to this book and so reviewing it is difficult.  Fortunately, I had no expectations going in and so I was able to judge it on its own merits.  However, if someone buys it hoping for a normal novel, then they’d be dissapointed.
There is something specific that I appreciated the most.  Horror is too often limited to the perspective of the individual.  This book is about how closely related are love and fear.
Its a hard book to get a grasp of, but I think it will grow on me more and more.  I immediately read back through the book after finishing it.  I’m sure its a book I will return to many times.

Access_public Access: Public 3 Comments Print Post this!views (151)  

Nicole : wakingdreamer

about 5 hours later

Nicole said

i will probably never read it, but it’s interesting how strongly this book has attracted you.

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

about 10 hours later

Marmalade said

Its a very unusual book that attempts to convey a very difficult subject matter. The authors are a married couple. The book is a collaborative work about the very collaboration that is their shared life together. They are very different people and yet seem to balance eachother.

All of their children are adopted, and for whatever reason they seem attracted to somewhat troubled children. One of their sons hung himself when he was 9 years old, an age when a kid can’t even comprehend death.

They clearly demonstrate their love for eachother and for their children. I’ve never been married nor have had children, but I was completely able to understand and empathize.

The book isn’t about horror vs love, but about how horror and love flow into one another, how love demands risking ourselves to the horrors that can befall those we love. This book has the emotional impact that it does because the stories they share are so personal. They give you about as much of a glimpse into their lives as is possible for an author to give.

The book also goes beyond just this. Its about what makes life worth living, what keeps a person doing what they do, what they must do. And its about feeling wonder. Life is hard to make sense of and even story can only go so far. This book is about the limits of life and about looking beyond these limits to see what is there… even when we are afraid or maybe because we are afraid.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

1 day later

Nicole said

it sounds very powerful.

Marmalade’s Meandering Mind

Marmalade’s Meandering Mind

Posted on Jan 7th, 2009 by Marmalade : Gaia Child Marmalade
Here are the things my mind was contemplating this fine evening…

I was walking home with an empty aluminum can that had a screw-on lid.  As it was cold, the air in the can took up less space.  The can contracted into the shape of a square.  That amused me for some reason.  Why did a round shape contract into 4 sides rather than 3 sides or 5 sides?  This incites my child-like curiosity… for whatever that is worth.

Another mildly interesting observation….

While still at work, I was talking to my boss.  His son has a learning disability.  I asked him about it.  His description of his son could just as well have described me as a child.  His son… has recall issues with words and facts (such as abstractions like dates and phone numbers), has good spatial ability in figuring out mazes, does math by breaking down numbers, and likes nature which he enjoys learning about (meaning he can remember certain types of facts that traditional schooling doesn’t care about).  What was particularly interesting about this is that my boss reminds me almost exactly of my mom, and deals with his son’s disability as my mom did. 

Its strange how humans fall into similar patterns as individuals and also in relationships.  Is there a connection to why a parent like him (and like my mom) might have a child like his son (and like me)?

Okay, next thought…

I started reading a new fiction book: Pandemonium by Daryl Gregory.  I picked it up because it plays off the idea of VALIS from Philip K. Dick.  Anyways, the character hears these sounds that no one else hears, and even he has a hard time of explaining the sounds themselves as they aren’t normal.  It reminded me of certain experiences I’ve had.  I don’t hear unusual sounds or anything, but I’ve had many experiences that are hard to describe.

I don’t know about other people’s experience.  I’d guess that everybody has experiences that aren’t easily described, and probably for that reason most people don’t try to describe them or maybe even try to think about them.  Its easier to just ignore the unusual.

So, about my experiences… I’ve had certain experiences that are very specific.  I’ve had these experiences at different times of my life but not very often.  However, every time I experience them, I very clearly recognize them and remember having had them before.  The thing is that its hard to recall these experiences when I’m not having them.  They are state-specific memories of specific states of experience.

At this moment, I only vaguely recall one of these types of experiences.  The closest I can come to describe it is that its like what I’ve felt while under the influence of Nitrous Oxide.  Its a cool buzzing sensation as if I were a contracted cloud of energy… or something like that.  I have no clue where this experience comes from.  I don’t even remember the last time I experienced it… maybe several years.  It doesn’t seem to have any rhyme or reason, no explanation or cause.  Its just there and then its not.

And the last thought…

For some reason, I was thinking about audio book services.  Finding some spoken word on Rhapsody and Last FM reminded me of how much I enjoy listening to people read.  Its the main reason I fell in love with Burroughs work.  He has an awesome voice.

There is a demand for audio book services.  There are many services, but they’re not very innovative compared to the music and movie industries.  Why is that?  My favorite movie service is Netflix and my favorite music service is Rhapsody.  Why isn’t there a audio book service that compares to either of these?

I’d be willing to pay for such a service if it was comparable to Netflix or Rhapsody.  So, why isn’t any company willing to offer it?  Why does this industry lag behind all others?  Is there just not enough demand?  Am I unusual?  Are most consumers of audio books happy with services that compare to where the music industry was 5 to 10 years ago?

Here I am just wanting to give my money away to some company.  Yet, no company seems to want my money enough.  Well… their loss… fine, I’ll just keep my money.  Ha!

That is the end of today’s broadcast.  Tune in next time for more deep insights and probing observations of life.

Access_public Access: Public 3 Comments Print Post this!views (148)  

about 3 hours later

Centria said

Ben, it feels like you’re in a really creative open period of your life right now. Is that true? You’re branching into fiction and flash fiction and meandering. I am smiling to see this energy coming out in different directions. Have fun!

Nicole : wakingdreamer

about 6 hours later

Nicole said

yes, it’s a delight to see your curious mind exploring 🙂

Marmalade : Gaia Child

about 11 hours later

Marmalade said

Creative open period? It does sorta seem that way going by my recent blogs. I hadn’t really thought about it. I just felt like blogging and so I did. I do feel a bit more free in my blogging.

This is the result of something in particular. I decided to refocus on my own blogging a while back. Then the holidays hit and I had a bunch of free time. In refocusing on blogging, I also refocused on looking at other sites to blog at. In considering all my options, it reminded me of what I wanted out of my own blogging.

I felt somewhat restrained about my blogging in the past. For isntance, I felt reluctant to blog about my interest in horror here on Gaia as its not exactly a horror-embracing community. However, I can only be creatively free if my curiosity is free which means free also to explore the dark side of life. Now that I let my dark side show more, my light (and silly) side will also show itself more again. The two sides of me are inseparable… can’t have one without the other.

I was glad to return to fiction finally. The thinking about horror helped with this also. I’m not sure exactly why that was. Maybe its because horror is a good meeting ground between fiction and nonfiction, and so was useful as a means of transition.

The recent fiction sort of came out of the blue. My mind had been on fiction, but I hadn’t thought about either of those stories before writing them. With both stories, an image popped in my mind and I wrote the whole story down immediately.

The creative juices seem to be flowing. I was born in the winter time (December). Winter, like the night time, focuses me on more introverted activities such as writing.

Marmalade’s New Blogs

Marmalade’s New Blogs

Posted on Jan 3rd, 2009 by Marmalade : Gaia Explorer Marmalade
This blog is a continuation of an earlier blog about blogging:

Blogging Options

I’ve continued to have blogging sites on my mind, but my focus has been renewed.  I thought that getting a new blog started would be a good new year’s resolution.  Actually, I’ve had a number of blogs started for a long while.  I just haven’t done anything with them.

I’ve been playing around with these blogs.  I wanted to experiment with their options.  All have similar functions for my purposes. 

WordPress has pages that can be altered which the others don’t, but Blogger has categories that can be used in a similar way as pages.  The concensus is that WordPress is the best option if you are willing to pay for self-hosting and put a lot of effort into developing it.  As for hosted sites, Blogger seems to be better than WordPress… for most non-professional bloggers.  I’m not interested in self-hosting, but still the hosted WordPress isn’t a bad option.  It does have a lot of capability.

There are two blogs I had before my Gaia blog, but have only posted on either a couple of times.  Live Journal and My Opera are different in that they emphasize the social aspect and have types of functions you won’t find on many blogging platforms.  Both are major sites, and Live Journal in particular is very well established.

I joined Live Journal because of people I knew from MBTI forums.  I belong to some groups on Live Journal, but I haven’t visited them in a long time.  Live Journal is very basic in how it looks.  However, I care more about functionality than looks and Live Journal has much to offer.

My Opera was the blog I started right before this one.  I joined there because my favorite blogger (Quentin S. Crisp) posts there.  The downside I found was that there were a fair number of non-English blogs, but that could be seen as a positive in that it attracts an international crowd.  Even though My Opera is not very well known, its a major site that is quite impressive.  I’m surprised that it rarely gets brought up in comparisons between Blogger and WordPress.

There are really good bloggers using all of these.  A good blogger is a good blogger even on a simple blogging site, and vice versa.  I want to explore other people’s blogs on these sites to see what others are doing.  I’m also going to start posting on my own new blogs. 

Here are the links to the 4 blogs I’m now focused on:

https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/

http://benjamindavidsteele.blogspot.com/

http://marminfp.livejournal.com/

http://my.opera.com/MarmaladeINFP/blog/

Access_public Access: Public 17 Comments Print Post this!views (301)  

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

about 1 hour later

Marmalade said

My experiment began just now. I posted a blog about blogging on each site.

Live Journal actually was more confusing than I expected. I posted or thought I did, but couldn’t figure out if it actually posted or not. It showed as posted. Nonetheless, when I looked for it,I couldn’t find itwith my previous posts. Maybe there is a lag for posts to show. I’ll have to check it later.

Word Press was also confusing. Both Live Journal and Word Press were very cluttered. On Word Press, I couldn’t even figure out how to place a title on my post. I spent 10 minutes trying to figure it out, and ended up posting it without a title.

Blogger was easier. The page did freeze up, but that might’ve been connection issues unrelated to the site. I opened a new window and it seemed fine. One significant problem was that I wanted to remove a paragraph, but was unable. The “cut” option seemed to be disabled in my IE7 browser. So, I had to manually delete it using the “backspace” button. I’d hope that a major browser would work with a major site like that. I have some problems with Internet Exploerer here on Gaia, but I have lower expectations for this site.

The last site was My Opera. It was simple and easy. It has many options and yet isn’t cluttered. It felt very intuitive and posted without a single problem.

My Opera wins the first round of the experiment. Its hard to say who came in second, but offhand I’ll give second place to Blogger.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

1 day later

Nicole said

it will be cool to see how the experiment progresses!

starlight : StarLight Dancing

1 day later

starlight said

LOL…you’re a trip Ben…i was wondering what you been up to…joy*

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

1 day later

Marmalade said

Nice to see you both. Happy Happy Joy Joy 🙂

Because all of the praise I read about it, my guess is that I’ll like Word Press if I ever figure it out. I’m not sure why I couldn’t find the section for the title. I downloaded the new version (2.7 I believe) and maybe I was just experiencing a glitch. I’ll try it again. Someone from work brought up their Word Press page for posting and it looked entirely different. It might also be browser related. I’ll try my other browsers as part of this experiment.

I checked back with Live Journal. I still couldn’t find the entry I tried to post with the other previous entries. I kept the window open, and I was able to go back to the page that showed the posting. It seems to be posted somewhere. Its possible that Live Journal has the capacity for posting on multiple pages and somehow I unintentionally posted it on another page. If so, I need to learn how to control which page it posts to.

Marmalade : Gaia Child

1 day later

Marmalade said

Second Round:

I used Google Chrome this time.  I didn’t have any of the problems I had last time.  I like Google Chrome.  It seems to have less compatability issues with the blogging sites.

Its strange with Word Press.  The appearance of it was the same.  I put the title where I tried to put it last time, but for unknown reasons it allowed the title to appear this time.  I do like the Category option Word Press.  The closest thing I had to a problem was that I couldn’t sign into my Word Press blog on the page of my blog.  Instead, I had to go to the main page to sign in.

Nobody wins first place this time.  This round is a tie, but I’m thinking I’m going to learn to like Word Press more and more.

Marmalade : Gaia Child

1 day later

Marmalade said

There is one thing that this test is making clear. Gaia competesfairly wellwith the otherblogging sites. There aren’t as many choices here in terms of functions, but there is still plenty one can do. Gaia is very simple and intuitive. I’ve never had any major problems in blogging here.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

2 days later

Nicole said

that’s good to know, about Gaia and Google Chrome. I have the latter but haven’t used it much yet, force of habit.

Marmalade : Gaia Child

3 days later

Marmalade said

Yeah, Google Chrome seems decent. I haven’t had any major issues like I had with Internet Exploer 8 which made my virus scan non-functional. It took me a while to realize there was a problem. I hope I didn’t pick up any viruses. IE8=BAD!!!

The problem with Google Chrome is that it has compatability issues with playing videos. Whereas I’ve never had problems with videos with Internet Explorer. You just can’t have everything. I guessI have to choose whether you like blogging or watching videos more.

Annemieke : Similarity

3 days later

Annemieke said

“I couldn’t sign into my Word Press blog on the page of my blog. Instead, I had to go to the main page to sign in.”

Yes, very strange indeed. I mostly stay logged in, but when for some reason I have to sign in, I always wonder where I have to do that again.

“Gaia is very simple and intuitive.”

Totally agree with that. No matter how good I find WordPress, intuitive would not be a term to use. Although I am more and more ‘getting it’ lately.

I also like Google Chrome and at the moment I use it together with Internet Explorer. For some reason I like IE still best for bookmarking sites. But I noticed it is good to use other browsers to see how it all looks, because sites can look rather different with other browsers sometimes.

I so like that you share this kind of struggles. I am going through the same processes at times. But I totally love it.

Marmalade : Gaia Child

3 days later

Marmalade said

Its getting close to bedtime for me, but I shall comment first.

Yes, Annemieke, I prefer Internet Exploer overall. Maybe its because I’ve used it the most and I’m familiar with it. I never had major issues with it until I downloaded IE8.

You like that I share this kind of struggle… is that you’re way of saying you don’t want to hear me share my struggles withchanging my cats’ litter box? Sadly, neither Google Chrome nor Internet Exploer is compatible with the litter box. I should get a virtual cat with a virtual litter box. It would immensely simplify my life.

3 days later

Centria said

I love your analysis here. I was convinced blogger (blogspot? are they the same thing?) was going to be the best option. But within a day of posting there, I switched allegiance to wordpress. Even though some of the layouts are confusing, it seems easier for others to find your work through the categories and tags. No one has even found the blogger posting. But wordpress has proved more visible and likeable. Gaia, though, is simple and intuitive. It’s still preferable in many ways….

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

3 days later

Marmalade said

Blogger and blogspot are related but not the same… both relate to blogging with Google. Its technically more appropriate to say blogspot I suppose, but for some reason I was using the Blogger name instead. I was meaning the same thing anyways.

You seem attracted to Word Press for the same reasons as I. The category and tag system will be very helpful as I gather more blogs. I’m glad they also help others to find my blogs. That will be part of my comparison experiment. I’ll see which of my blogs get the most comments and what kinds of commenters they attract.

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

3 days later

Marmalade said

Third Round:

This time I used the Opera browser which is related to the Opera blogging site. It was a very easy to use browser except for one factor. When I tried to copy and paste from my Gaia blog, it didn’t carry over the hyperlinks. Both Google Chrome and Internet Explorer carry over hyperlinks.

I ended the third round at that point. So, none of the blogging sites were a winner in this round, but the Opera browser was the loser.

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

3 days later

Marmalade said

For the time being, I take my conclusion back for the Third Round. The hyperlink copy/paste problem seems to be failing on all of my browsers. That is very odd because it was just working. Is it something to do with my computer? Or are the various browsers somehow causing problems for eachother? I hope I can figure this out.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

4 days later

Nicole said

oooh, that’s a very annoying problem. really odd!

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

18 days later

Marmalade said

I’m bringing my experiment into a less formal mode. I decided to drop LIve Journal from the experiment just because the set up is somewhat confusing and not aesthetically pleasing. I’m going to continue to use the other 3 for a while. At the moment, I can’t say I entirely favorany one of themover the rest.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

19 days later

Nicole said

ok. i see you’re still having that words running into each other trouble!

Developing Technology, Controlling Society

Developing Technology, Controlling Society

Posted on Jan 2nd, 2009 by Marmalade : Gaia Explorer Marmalade
There is a lot of technology that is quite impressive, but most of it feels like its still in development.  The whole internet and computer industry feels like its in permanent Beta mode (similar in concept to Orwell’s endless, permanent war).  There always glitches and compatability issues.  They always come up with a new product or service before ever quite perfecting what they provided before.  The companies are more afraid of controlling their product than offering the best possible service.  Its a shame considering the potential.

There are the cable and dish tv companies that have near monopolies.  These monopolies are being challenged.  Also, the monopolies of other media (newspapers, networks, etc.) are likewise being challenged.  And they’re all fearful of the internet and wary of investing too much in it.  But mostly its just the monopolies from one industry butting heads against the monopolies of another industry.

Its not all negative.  A few companies are paving the way.  Starz and CBS have stood out as companies who are willing to make deals and experiment.  As for internet companies, Google and Amazon seem to be the leaders in bridging to non-internet companies.

The problem is that integration and standardization is happening slowly and in a very flawed fashion.  For example, Blu-ray won the war of new video format and has been out for years, and yet it has so many flaws as to be almost utterly worthless to the average person. 

Three companies that personally interest me are Netflix, Amazon, and Rhapsody. 

Netflix has a great service, but you can’t buy movies from then and instead have to go to another site such as Amazon.  Amazon has a wide selection of services including two that I’m attracted to.  The Kindle is revolutionary, but relevant to Netflix is Video On Demand and the Unbox.  However, in order for Amazon to make its deals with the movie industry they have to control the data.  So, you buy a movie and yet you don’t own it.  Its very convenient and reliable, but whenever they lose rights to a movie you lose the product you bought.  You can download it to your computer and that is fine as long as you keep using the same computer.  Netflix is also having a constant change in the movies available in the online streaming.  The movie industry seems to be fidgety and unwilling to come to any final agreements. 

The music industry is similar, but is quite a bit more established online.  Rhapsody is one of the best models ever created.  They have a reasonable subscription price for an all-you-can-listen-to service which has an immense selection.  Also, they’ve copied Amazon in selling MP3s and they’ve made them DRM-free which puts them above iTunes.  Rhapsody is doing what most companies fear.  Besides offering compatability with players they don’t make, they’ve also encouraged scrobbling with Last FM.  They’ve have made their own player, the ibiza which does what no other player does.  It uses a similar concept to Amazon’s Kindle in that it directly connects to your account.  The downside of Rhapsody is that they don’t have much in the way of spoken word and no audio books.  Also, they don’t have movies.

What I want is to have tv, movies, music, music videos, spoken word, audio books, and electronic text from a single company… instead of needing multiple companies and constantly having to search around.  What I want is fairly simple in that its not beyond present technology.  If Netflix, Amazon, and Rhapsody merged or integrated their services, that would be awesome.  And if they could make permanent deals with the entertainment industries, they’d have a perfect product.

The problem at the moment is that there isn’t enough cooperation and neither is there enough competition.  There are just a few mega-corporations that own practically everything in the world, and so its not that far off from being a complete monopoly.  These companies have no reason to be in a hurry to offer a great service because they have the only game in town.  And any company that attempts something new (such as Youtube) eventually has to chose to go out of business or sell out to one of the large mega-corporations.

Another reason that companies don’t want to cooperate is because they probably think they can get more by nickle-and-diming the customer.  If something you bought a few years ago isn’t compatable with somethin new you’ve bought, then you have buy a new version of that or a new upgrade.  Also, it would seem like more money if you paid for all these technologies and services together.  Separately, the customer is less likely to notice how the cost adds up.

Humans are strange.  If we wanted to, all kinds of things could be possible… but something always holds us back.  There were all these utopian dreams from the ’50s (and also from the 1800s).  The thing is the only thing unrealistic about those visions is that they didn’t take into account the limitations of human nature.  Technologically-speaking, we could have fully functioning colonies throughout the solar system by now.  We could have robots that did almost all manual labor and people could be freed from long work hours of drudge work.  War, famine, and poverty could be ended almost instantaneously.  Humans have proved themselves capable of near miraculous leaps in development during certain periods… often periods of war, unfortunately.

However, it comes down to control.  Change doesn’t happen because those in power would rather have control than change and those not in power would also rather the world stay predictably the same.  Companies only create new services if it helps them control consumers better.  Corporations have become quite talented at manipulating people.  We aren’t free because the manipulation is unconscious to us in that its seamless.  There is no way to protest except to feed back into the system which is something Tim Boucher talks about.

Its to companies advantage to keep customers contented.  But its also to their advantage to control development and feed it slowly to the public.  People in power have a vision and it takes decades or even generations to fulfill that vision.  Its no accident that most politicians come from the same set of families and that those families have royal blood.  Its no accident that politicians have good jobs waiting for them in the industries they used to oversee.

The one nice thing about this internet age is that the world is becoming more complex.  Its less clear who is manipulating who.  Its easier for the oppressed masses to manipulate in return.  The real hope is in the potential for cooperation.  Humans have never been good at equal-opportunity cooperation especially on a large-scale.  This is becoming a real potential with the internet, but its still yet to be seen whether it will ever become more than potential always just beyond the horizon.

From a spiritual perspective, maybe seeking for freedom in this world of power games and materialism is looking in the wrong place.  Still, it seems we humans are incapable of giving up on the hope that the world might eventually be transformed.  Places like this here Gaia seem to be all about that hope.  Gaia maybe primarily about the connections between people, but human connection is inseparable from human technology. 

Even our understanding of God is limited by our technological metaphors.  That is an area that is explored by many Sci-Fi stories and movies.  I guess I managed to bring this blog back to my recent thinking.

Access_public Access: Public 11 Comments Print Post this!views (258)  

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

about 1 hour later

Marmalade said

My personal motivation is that I’m very curious, but of limited means. I can only explore my curiosity so far. I’d love to own an Amazon Kindle and I’m thinking I’d enjoy Rhapsody’s ibiza. Its not that I can’t afford either of these, but that these technologies are imperfect.

This goes back to the idea of technology in eternal Beta mode. If I buy an expensive piece of technology, I’d like to know if it will work well several years from now and continue to be compatible with other developing technologies. And there is always the possibility that one can buy a technology for a specific company’s service and that service is discontinued for any number of reasons.

I’d love to see both more competition and more integration. However, the more integration that I’d like to see might lead to less competition. Google has done a lot to integrate many different technologies and services. If Google gets any more powerful, it might become a near monopoly of the whole internet.

Monopolies are a natural tendency of human nature. It goes with globalization. People seek ever greater power, and people seek ever greater forms of social connection and cultural aggregation.The development of civilizationhas been primarily a history of the slow but sure concentration of power… political, religious, and capitalistic. Along with this, its also been the concentration of human knowledge and wisdom.

So, this is far from beingan inherently bad tendency. Much benefit has come from civilization of course. Anyways, even if the tedency is inevitable, the specific direction it takes isn’t. Many people would like to control the direction of this development, but I suspect its an unpredictable phenomena.

To bring inthe spiritual angle, I think there is an obvious and direct relationship between this tendency and Monotheism. And this reminds me of the conflicted relationship between mainstream Christianity and Gnosticism. Gnosticism, even though Monotheistic, was wary of how Monotheism could be used politically to oppress the individual.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

about 15 hours later

Nicole said

eternal Beta mode, that’s a great way of stating it.

I’d never thought of the connection between monopoly and monotheism. Monogamy too I guess? 🙂 Singularly focussed…

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

about 19 hours later

Marmalade said

I didn’t come up with the “eternal Beta mode” on my own. I came across that idea a few times this past year in my various researches. It makes a lot of sense to me. The original contribution I made was in relating it to Orwell’s idea of continuous war… which is a dystopian idea that seems to have come true or maybe was always true. I think I remember reading that America has been continuously involved in one war or another since it became a country.

The connection between monopoly and monotheism is something I thought of on my own, but I’m sure others have thought of it before. Itsa simple and somewhat obvious view. And, yeah, I’d add monogamy in the mix. Stories of polygamy in theOld Testamentrepresent a time when polytheism still had major influence in Jewish culture.

Monotheism isn’t really any great insight limited to the Judeo-Christian tradition. Any culture that develops a centralized government will come to a conclusion like this about the divine. Even seemingly non-theistic religions will end up focusing their “worship” on some singular ideal.

Marmalade : Gaia Child

about 21 hours later

Marmalade said

Its kind of funny that this isn’t the blog I intended to write when I started it. I think I originally just wanted to write about technology. I’ve had all these other ideas on my mind for a while. I suppose it all goes together, but my mind wasn’t very focused when writing this.

Let me add a different factor. No monopoly will ever be absolute. Its just one tendency amongst many. Similarly, if “monotheistic” religions were completely monotheistic, then they wouldn’t have these complex hierarchies of spiritual beings. Likewise, if monogamy was the only tendency of humans, then studies wouldn’t show that possibly between 10 and 20 % of children aren’t of the father that claims them and married women wouldn’t be more likely to cheat when most fertile.

As for capitalism, that which undermines the monopolistic tendency is two-fold.

Specific to computers and the internet, the open source community has many loyal followers. This levels the playing field, but open source will never be the central player. Mega-corporations aren’t entirely against open source because it gives them a free resource of ideas that they can co-opt.

More generally speaking, the black market is the closest that capitalism gets to being a free market. Black markets force companies to be more competitive and hence innovative. The main motivating force behind coporate innovation online is to provide a better product than what people can find illegally for free. The music industry was the first that had to come to terms with this. The plethora of nice music services such as Rhapsody is a direct result of free file sharing.

1Vector3 : "Relentless Wisdom"

1 day later

1Vector3 said

An interesting intersection of ideas !! I’d like to address some underlying ideas, even though I recognize they don’t contribute much to your actual discussion, but to me they are super-important. Part of my mission in life is to make sure people are clear about these economic ideas, because almost no one IS clear, and there is a lot at stake in our way of living, if misunderstandings persist and we make choices and decisions based on them.

Based on my research and studies, we don’t really have “capitalism” in this country, never have. We have a so-called “mixed economy” which technically is a Socialism-Fascism mix. Capitalism is synonymous with “free market” – the government does not interfere with the economy in any way. In Fascism the government regulates or controls some or all of the economy. In Socialism, it owns some of the economic entities. (In Communism, it owns all of them.)

I found it interesting you called for a big conglomerate, and then recognized you were suggesting something akin to a monopoly.

In capitalism, there are “natural monopolies” but they come and go. Whenever a monopoly persists, you will – with sufficient research – find government regulations are the force keepingit from its natural dissolution (from a significant competitor emerging.) Utility companies that you mentioned, are not “natural monopolies.” In fact, most of them are not just allowed or supported by government, they are government-mandated/created.

Thanks for letting me hold forth. I hope this was seen as somewhat relevant. I really enjoyed your thoughts !!

Blessings,

OM Bastet

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

1 day later

Marmalade said

Its all good, OM. I don’t even know what my actual discussion is. Myset of ideas feels rather sprawling.

I think I agree with all that you said. Yep, “capitalism” doesn’t exist in the US. That is what I was implying with my comment about black markets. I don’t know exactly what kind of economy we have, but your description of a “mixed economy” sounds about right.

I’m glad you noticed the conflict in my view… which I was conscious of. The concentration of power and knowledge has advantages… and disadvantages. I like your idea of “natural monopolies”. I wasn’t thinking in those terms, but it does clarify the problem of how utility companies are forced into a permanent monopolistic structure by the government itself.

I don’t know how it works in other cities, but here the government disallows competition. There is one electricic company and one cable company. You have no other choices other than turning to other forms of technology. Also, the city runs a monopoly their own monopolies on certain utilities such as water and parking. Maybe this is a necessary evil for utilities such as water, but not for most utilities. However, maybe even water could be provided in new innovative ways if it weren’t controlled as a monopoly.

I shouldn’t complain too much as I personally benefit from the City government’s monopoly on the parking industry… where I’m employed. Its run innefficiently with way too much overheadand doesn’t even provide that great of service considering the money spent. If every parking ramp downtown was owned by different private companies, then there might be cheaper parking or else at least improved options. Besides, there is no reason for the government to run parking ramps. Its not as if their isn’t a market to motivate private companies to invest.

I’m glad to have you hold forth. Its all relevant in my book. Enjoyment is all around.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

2 days later

Nicole said

yes, I can see the connection to Orwell’s continuous war.

I’m intrigued by the stat about married women cheating more when fertile, it seems a difficult thing to establish with clarity. But more importantly, are human tendencies away from monogamy a sign that it’s a bad idea or … something else? Worth pondering especially for those in monogamous relationships 🙂

Marmalade : Gaia Child

2 days later

Marmalade said

I first heard about such stats on a tv show that was about human sexual behavior. I did a websearch and tons of pages came up, but most of it is discussion. The Wikipedia article about evolutionary psychology is interesting, and I thought this quote relevant:

“In particular, Haselton and Miller (2006) showed that highly fertile women prefer creative but poor men as short-term mates. Creativity may be a proxy for good genes. Research by Gangestad et al. (2004) indicates that highly fertile women prefer men who display social presence and intrasexual competition; these traits may act as cues that would help women predict which men may have, or would be able to acquire, resources.”

The difficult to establish part is something I’m not sure about as I don’t know about all of the research. I haven’t come across any research (not that I was looking that much) that was based on direct observations of human women cheating. The research I have heard of is various.

There are direct observations of animal behavior, and research is starting to show that even animals considered monogamous still cheat. The human research is about studying how women dress in more sexually attractive ways when fertile (skirts instead of pants, showing more skin, etc.) and that fertile women shift their behavior to a pattern that fits mating strategy.

I really don’t know the research that well, but there seems to be plenty of it out there if you wish to spend the time to ferret it out.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

3 days later

Nicole said

hmm! 🙂 well, not at the moment, but thanks for sharing what you do know.

Marmalade : Gaia Child

3 days later

Marmalade said

I didn’t think you would necessarily be. I’m not all that inspired to research it much myself. Its just an interesting piece of info… whatever its validity or meaning.

My personal theory is that (most? many?) humans are genetically programmed to be polygamous but not openly. I suspect that the outward display of monogamy is necessary for social order and peacable relations.

My personal attitude towards life is that I prefer monogamy. I’m too lazy to deal with multiple mates. I hardly can handle a single one. Throw in the normal tendencies of human jealousy, and polygamy doesn’t seem worth it to me.

I don’t see it as primarily a moral issue. Our moral ideals cause us as many problems as they attempt to solve, but I don’t think idealizing the opposite of the social (genetic?) norm is helpful either.

But all of that is neither here nor there as it pertains to this discussion.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

4 days later

Nicole said

yes, I do see your points – from a practical standpoint one person is more than most of us can handle! LOL!

McKenna and PKD, Pronoia and Paranoia

McKenna and PKD, Pronoia and Paranoia

Posted on Jan 1st, 2009 by Marmalade : Gaia Child Marmalade
I’ve mentioned Terrence McKenna before, but maybe its been a while.  I just came across him again in my web searches in two different contexts.  Someone in the God pod started a thread about pronoia which was an attitude that McKenna valued (here).  McKenna also valued the insights of Philip K. Dick and he wrote about why he felt a connection (here).

I like McKenna because he is a nexus between many of the subjects I’m attracted to: PKD, Jung, spirituality, psychedelics, imagination, consensus reality, pop culture, etc.  Although, he was maybe a bit too pronoia for my taste.  He was like PKD in that he had such a strong desire to believe that his ideas at times seemed a bit simple and naive. 

Personally, I feel there needs to be a balance between paranoia and pronoia… which PKD probably came closer to a balance I’d prefer.  However, I will give McKenna one thing.  He took weird to a new level beyond even PKD.  Its hard to get more far out than McKenna and not become lost to the world.  From what I hear, Leary became a bit spacey in his latter life.  McKenna, on the other hand, kept a sharp mind right until the end.

I must add that McKenna was far less naive than your average New Ager.  He did have some very complex theories and seemed openminded about questioning even his own cherished beliefs.  He didn’t seem afraid of facing the darker side of life.

Access_public Access: Public 13 Comments Print Post this!views (89)  

Nicole : wakingdreamer

about 20 hours later

Nicole said

he sounds a lot like you!

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

about 21 hours later

Marmalade said

I guess so. I too have a naive side of me that just wants to believe. I shouldn’t judge anyone else for that.

McKenna isn’t known that well outside of a certain sector of society. If you’re interested in psychedelics or appreciate authors like Robert Anton Wilson, Timothy Leary, and Philip K. Dick or if you used to listen to Coast to Coast AM when Art Bell was the main host, then you’d probably know of him. But that is probably a small percentage of the population.

Known or not, he is one of the most influential thinkers in recent times. He was probably the first psychedelics advocate that made psychedelics close to respectable, but his ideas went far beyond psychedelics.I should add that a large partof that credit goes to the popularity of Art Bell who had the the largest worldwide audience of any night time radio talk show. McKenna was one of the main people to be repeatedly interviewed on Coast to Coast.

I do get the sense that McKenna and PKD had similar personalities. The similarity was two-fold. Both seemed to love people, and both were great storytellers. Listening to McKenna on the radio, he was riveting in that he wore his enthusiasm on his sleeve. He was just excited about life and the possibilities of humanity.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

1 day later

Nicole said

wow, who knew? this is fascinating, Ben.

Marmalade : Gaia Child

1 day later

Marmalade said

I should add that McKenna, of course, was also interested in Burroughs. He owned some of Burroughs original work which was lost in a fire… very tragic… but McKenna took it in stride losing his entire life collection. McKenna shared Burroughs’ notion that language is something like a virus. However, McKenna put a more positive spin on this view.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

3 days later

Nicole said

ok, I’m game. Language as a virus in a positive way? How so?

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

3 days later

Marmalade said

McKenna’s theory is about consciousness in general and not just language.

The idea relates to the human relationship to psychedelic mushrooms. Psychedelic plants traditionally have gods or other entities associated with them. Anyone at any time will have similar experiences when taking the same psychedelic. This connects to the idea of imbibing God which vaguely survives in the Catholic ritual.

My understanding is that both Burroughs and McKenna thought of language as being external to and prior to the human species. In fact, they saw it as a space artifact, a virus that infected this planet. For McKenna, this is where mushrooms come in because mycelium can survive in a vacuum and at extreme temperature variances.

Here is a McKenna quote I came across:

“And I felt language rise up in me that was unhooked from English and I began to speak like this:

Eeeoo ded hwauopsy mectoph, mectagin dupwoxin, moi phoi wops eppepepekin gitto phepsy demego doi aga din a doich demoi aga donc heedey obectdee doohueana.

(Or words to that effect). And I wondered then what it all meant, and why it felt so good (if it didnt mean anything). And I thought about it a few years, actually, and I decided, you know, that meaning and language are two different things. And that what the alien voice in the psychedelic experience wants to reveal is the syntactical nature of reality. That the real secret of magic, is that the world is made of words, and that if you know the words that the world is made of, you make of it, whatever you wish!”

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

3 days later

Marmalade said

I’d relate all of this to astrotheology as well. The solar year and the stellar objects are the origins of the probably first systematized religious language. That systematization is what all of civilization was built upon. Also, various people have theorized that psychedelic mushrooms were the origin of all religion.

I know its all far out there, but its fun to think about.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

4 days later

Nicole said

it’s all very interesting. Does McKenna speak about glossolalia, is that alien language too?

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

4 days later

Marmalade said

McKenna speaks about glossolalia in the following article where he distinguishes it from what is experienced with psychedelics (and he also makes some comments about PKD):

Tryptamine Hallucinogens and Consciousness

Nicole : wakingdreamer

4 days later

Nicole said

He’s so funny, isn’t he? I like how he ends the article:


The mushroom states its own position very clearly. It says, “I require
the nervous system of a mammal. Do you have one handy?”

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

4 days later

Marmalade said

Yep. Whether or not you take his theories seriously, he is at least amusing.

about 1 month later

80m said

Nice discussion!

One of Mckenna’s funniest moments, for me, was when he was giving a lecture and refered to an earlier interaction where someone called him “too narrow-minded”.

Marmalade : Gaia Child

about 1 month later

Marmalade said

Hello 80m
 
I’m not familiar with that lecture, but its hard to imagine anyone accusing him of being “too narrow-minded”.

Cronenberg, Burroughs, and Dick

Cronenberg, Burroughs, and Dick

Posted on Jan 1st, 2009 by Marmalade : Gaia Child Marmalade

David Cronenberg is a director whose movies I often enjoy.  A favorite weird movie of mine is Cronenberg’s Naked Lunch which is loosely based on the novel by William S. Burroughs.  He definitely brought his own touch to that story and there are some common themes with his other movies: mixing of machine and biology, sexuality, the grotesque, etc. 

I’m not sure which movie he first developed these themes, but Videodrome was one of his early movies.  I was just watching eXistenZ which also uses these themes.  Its a decent movie if you’re into dark violent visions of artificial realities. 

What inspired me to write this blog is that there is a scene where the two main characters bought some fast food.  The name on the bag was Perky Pat’s which is a direct reference to the Philip K. Dick story.  The story is about how people get obsessed about the game that their lives revolve around it.  Cronenberg takes this idea in a different direction, but I’m sure PKD would’ve appreciated what he did with it.

Basically, I was just pointing out Cronenberg as one of the contemporary meeting points between WSB and PKD.

Access_public Access: Public 9 Comments Print Post this!views (94)  

Nicole : wakingdreamer

about 20 hours later

Nicole said

that must be some movie!

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

about 22 hours later

Marmalade said

I watched eXistenZ again for a couple of reasons. Quentin S. Crisp mentioned it in his blog recently. Crisp thought it was the best alternative reality movie ever, but I’m not sure what he was comparing it to. After reading Crisp’s comment, I happened to be at the library where I noticed a copy and so checked it out.

I’m glad I did. I had more respect for it watching it again. Cronenberg does play with some fairly deep ideas. The first time I watched eXistenZ I thought of it as nothing but a novel SciFi action flick. I personally don’t agree with Crisp that its the best, but I disagree because I don’t feel that its directly comparable to other alternative reality movies such as The Matrix Trilogy or Dark City.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

1 day later

Nicole said

right, how can you really compare these movies? so, worth watching then?

Marmalade : Gaia Child

1 day later

Marmalade said

I doubt you’d like much that Cronenberg has made. He has made a lot of films though, and I haven’g watched most of them. I was reading the description of M. Butterfly and you might enjoy it.

Cronenberg is most famous for the movieThe Fly. That is more representative of his oeuvre. I find many of his movies fascinating, but the only one that I’ve watched repeatedly many times is Naked Lunch.

There is a couple reasons.

First, it felt a lot more polished than his earlier movies. He really was taking his favorite themes to a new level… maybe because he was using the work of another artist as the starting point.

Secondly, I’m also attracted to this movie because its a portrayal of Burroughs novel which itself is a fictional portrayal of part of his own life. Petter Weller plays the part of William Lee (Burroughs) perfectly. Both my friend and I are longtimefans of Borroughs, and so I’ve watched this movie with him numerous times.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

3 days later

Nicole said

it’s great you have such a friend, Marm. It enriches these experiences.

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

3 days later

Marmalade said

I’m sure I’d be a different person if not for him. If it weren’t for our friendship, I probably wouldn’t have the interest I have in fiction.

We have this odd pattern. Often, when one of us is reading fiction, the other is reading non-fiction. As I was wanting to get back into fiction, I was telling him he needs to stop reading fiction all of the time.

Also, you can entirely blamemy friend forall of my blogging about horror. He reads horror all of the time and tells me about the stories. I wouldn’t even know about Quentin S. Crisp if it wasn’t for him.

It is rather strange to have had a close friend since childhood. Its seems rather uncommon in these days of people moving around all of the time. It also helps that neither of us is marriednorhas acareer. Life is good! lol

Nicole : wakingdreamer

4 days later

Nicole said

LOL!

Marmalade : Gaia Child

4 days later

Marmalade said

Hey Nicole – I’ve been noticing a new glitch in the system. All my recent posts show up as missing spaces between words. I can fix it by editing, but its seems an odd glitch. Have you noticed this happening to your comments?

Nicole : wakingdreamer

5 days later

Nicole said

No. But I have noticed extra indents. We seem to be having the opposite problems 🙂

The Greatest Action Story Ever Told

The Greatest Action Story Ever Told

Posted on Dec 27th, 2008 by Marmalade : Gaia Child Marmalade
I’m trying to get more in the holiday spirit.  This blog is in commemoration of Baby Jesus.  As a gift of the season, I present this video of the Greatest Action Story Ever Told.
Access_public Access: Public 4 Comments Print Post this!views (76)  
Tagged with: Jesus, video

Nicole : wakingdreamer

about 14 hours later

Nicole said

i’m terrified that you’re really get in the spirit Marm! LOL!

Marmalade : Gaia Child

about 15 hours later

Marmalade said

We all celebrate the season in our own ways. 🙂

Nicole : wakingdreamer

about 15 hours later

Nicole said

indeed! :):):)

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

1 day later

Marmalade said

You should be glad I didn’t post the South Park episode of Jesus vs Santa. It was quite crude, but funny in thetypical stupid humor of South Park. The kids end up deciding to be Jewish so that they’ll have more days of gifts.

God: Suffering and Longing

Posted on Dec 30th, 2008 by Marmalade : Gaia Explorer Marmalade
God’s Goodness is man’s suffering by which I’m not implying the good and bad as theological beliefs.  Its the ideal of Goodness (via our longing for it) that creates dissatisfaction of this world.  Even so, this tendency to idealize and to long is natural to the human psyche.  God or our experience of God isn’t in opposition to this earthly existence.

The reason that such immense ideals have an “otheworldly” feel to them is because God is the ultimate Other… which isn’t the same as saying God is separate.  This Other can also be experienced inwardly (if such a word applies), but this doesn’t change the esential Otherness.  God’s Goodness isn’t human goodness meaning it isn’t comprehensible in everyday terms nor can it be conformed to our purposes.  God undermines our entire sense of self and reality which isn’t a bad thing per se, but  its hard to interpret such an experience according to our normal beliefs and expectations of goodness. 

This world of suffering is Hell and our complicity with suffering is Evil.  I use these strong words because only they can convey the power of suffering when felt deeply.  But, by this, I don’t mean to assume any particular theological claims.  And, yet, I do mean to say that essentially both the Christians and Gnostics are right about God.  Thusly, without logical consistency and without psychological reconciliation, I accept my inability to separate my experience of suffering from my experience of that which is other than suffering… whatever one may wish to call it.

Or, anyways, this is what makes sense to me at the moment.  Unlike a pessimist of a materialist bent, I don’t deny any metaphysical possibility.  I have experienced something that felt like an Other.  Was it God?  Was it even good in the ultimate sense?  I don’t know.  It felt real… and, in this world of confusion, a glimpse of reality may be the closest one gets to the Good.

Access_public Access: Public 3 Comments Print Post this!views (62)  

Marmalade : Gaia Child

about 2 hours later

Marmalade said

There is only one essential statement in this whole blog:The Good of God is not the good of man. Its just my experience and that is all.

The only other choice is to go entirely with the Gnostics and call God Evil… which Icould agree with in the sense that they speak of the god of this world. The problem with the latter interpretation is such dualism doesn’t make sense of my experience, but maybe the Gnostics didn’t believe it as a fact… instead as something like a useful means.

What I do know is that this world is filled with immeasurable suffering. Yet, when I explore this suffering, I discover something other than any normal sense of this world.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

about 17 hours later

Nicole said

I think too often we ignore or gloss over this Otherness and its implications.

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

about 20 hours later

Marmalade said

Part of me would say that I’m exaggerating too much, but there is a purpose for my doing so. Suffering, strangely enough, can be one of the easiest things to ignore or distract ourselves from. This is as true for me as for anyone else.

There is something freeing about simply stating that this world is hell. I spent years struggling against suffering, but I feel that struggle has become less. Whatam I freed from? I’m not entirely sure. An element of it has to do with imagination. For me, to imagine what might be is founded upon seeing things as they are. So, in allowing hell to be real, I can imagine heaven. Or something like that.

In case you were wondering, this blog actually wasn’t intended as a direct response to the guilt thread in the God pod. This is just an extension of my recent thinking. I wrote this down in my journalaround a week agoand finally got around to writing it up.

The direct inspiration of this post is the essential statement I mentioned. I’ve had that thought for a long time. The realization that the Good of God isn’t the good of man came to me during a time (which we’ve talked about before)when I had fully relented to my own experience of suffering and longing, but I also feared losing myself in this experience of Other. I didn’t feel capable (or willing) to stay with this experience. Nonetheless, the memory of it is very clear and an everpresent reality of sorts… even if I haven’t yet come to terms with it.