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Category Archives: On Problems

d) The correct condition of the ψυχή  as presupposition for genuine λόγος (διαλέγεσθαι).

To summarize, λόγος [speech], in its genuine function, is founded on dialectic. But, at the same time, we see that λέγειν [to speak], if it is living speech–living in the sense that it lets others see–necessarily presupposes a readiness to see on the part of the ψυχή [soul] of those others. Yet, on the other hand, in fact most men do not possess this readiness, and διαλέγεσθαι [discussing], as Plato says explicitly in the Phaedrus, is a πραγματεία [task] (cf. 273e5), a real labor and not something befalling a person by chance. To that extent, a special task and a special kind of speaking are necessary in the first place, in order to develop this readiness to see on the part of the very one who is investigating and also on the part of the other, the one to whom something is to be communicated. Therefore everything depends on this, that the ψυχή, the inner comportment, the Being of the existence of man, lies in the correct condition with regard to the world and to itself, i.e., in the correct συμμετρία, in an adequacy to the things themselves which are to be grasped in their uncoveredness. Socrates summarizes this once more at the end of the Phaedrus, now specifically not in a theoretical explication but in an invocation of the gods. ”O dear Pan and all ye gods here”-Socrates is outdoors with Phaedrus, beyond the city-“grant it to me to become beautiful” (καλός is nothing else than the opposite of αἰσχρός, ugliness, and signifies συμμετρία versus άμετρία, the proper adequacy versus inadequacy) “ grant it to me to become beautiful, to come into the correct condition in relation to what is in myself, what comes from the inside, and grant that whatever I possess extrinsically may be a friend to what is inner, and grant that l repute as rich the one who is wise, i.e., the one who is concerned with the disclosure of things, the disclosure of beings, and grant that to me the amount of gold, the quantity of treasure, I possess in this world will have for me as much value, and that I will claim for it only as much value, as a man of understanding should claim.”(279b8-c3).  That is, he beseeches here specifically for this correct condition with regard to the things themselves, and at the same time also for the correct bounds. Thus nothing in excess, for that could again turn into ignorance and barbarism…

Heidegger (Plato’s Sophist, p.240-241)

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If you are irritated by every rub, how will you be come polished? – Rumi

Most people will not be at all prepared for this…education says and does nothing for it and emotions are, in general, too powerful….
re-think how one could go about getting into the deep with others and consider the potential fact that everyone else experiences boredom where you experience the highest truths and your longing for perfection. Also do not be afraid to lose people…you can’t realize the fullness of your personality by remaining attached to the superficial.

This is where it seems wisdom starts…and by wisdom I mean this:

Knowing others is intelligence;
knowing yourself is true wisdom.

Mastering others is strength;
mastering yourself is true power.

– Tao Te Ching

This is where it gets tough and where I feel most alive:

The fact that you don’t want to go into this, says to me, that there is a judgment taking place here and therefore we are not experiencing the present moment free of like or dislike. Meaning that if we are not free of judgment then we are operating in the realm of the ego or superficial self. which then also means that the truth is not being seen; it is being blocked, obstructed, and hence we are irritated by a rubbing that seeks to polish and it would seem, by the above quote from the Tao, that we would also then be missing our opportunity to gain true wisdom by not going through an experience that would show us ourselves.

solitudinus

“There is truth, my boy. But the doctrine you desire, absolute, perfect dogma that alone provides wisdom, does not exist. Nor should you long for a perfect doctrine, my friend. Rather, you should long for the perfection of yourself. The deity is within you, not in ideas and books. Truth is lived, not taught.”

― Hermann Hesse, The Glass Bead Game

How does one convey the problem? How do you discover those who have broken away? Why does society, you and me, continually do the same thing….shun those who are different? Luckily, society doesn’t seem to kill the different anymore(?) but if society, you and me, are so perfect…how come there is still war? How come we are in the midst of a hundred years and counting of war? Supposedly our enlightened and educated society understands that we are the world and the world is us (an experience one can have through Ayahuasca or DMT) then it must be us who are making these wars…either directly or indirectly, by not facing fear and understanding the human condition. Enslavement Blues we can call it…enslaved to emotion and the running away that comes when the superficial self is not surrendered to the truth.

So if transformation can only happen through emotion then we all, quite easily, can take the first step…but it is the next step that is most troublesome.

The step where what is being asked of you: to allow yourself to feel and go through the emotions while at the same time not judging them; is never realized. Once you’ve judged them it is all over and you have fallen into the trap of the superficial self that seeks to save itself above all else and will weave incredible stories and excuses for not going further. Namely the person who tries to bring this about becomes the scapegoat and is therefore shunned or in Socrates’ case killed due to the ignorance of his society…you and me.

They can also be simply pushed to the side as Heidegger would say:

“When the creators have disappeared from the people, when they are barely tolerated as irrelevant curiosities, as ornaments, as eccentrics alien to life, when authentic struggle ceases and shifts into the merely polemical, into the intrigues and machinations of human beings within the present-at-hand, then the decline has already begun. For even when an age still makes an effort just to uphold the inherited level and dignity of its Dasein, the level already sinks. It can be upheld only insofar as at all times it is creatively transcended.”
– Heidegger (Introduction to Metaphysics, p. 67)

Questioner: What do you think “the human condition” is?

That is hard to answer but if I can bring anything to words that will hopefully speak then let it be this:

The human condition basically consists of the real life realization of the eternal truths. As in the limitedness of our consciousness and ability to know. A non-superficial understanding of this brings to one the understanding that we are always ignorant. That there is always something that we do not know and that we can only make our judgments based on what we know and so we need to continually re-look, re-see, re-adapt to the new insights and impressions life has given us…therefore we are forever in transformation.

This means, if these words will speak, that the truth, uncertainty, is the very thing that gives us the sight and power to create society and culture in the first place.

And while that fact operates any society, doesn’t matter what society, is always limited because it is made by man and therefore has to eternally be “creatively transcended”…

Which in the words of the I Ching means Return…to Return to the beginning and surrender to the truth, uncertainty. We then re-enter into that innocence of relation with truth and rebuild culture and all our relationships to people, thoughts, and things.

In short all “true” knowledge is only true when we start from ignorance. Not from the assumption that we are “correct”.

[More insight regarding Truth, Aletheia (ἀλήθεια), un-concealment, dis-covery and truth becoming “correctness” of propositions can be ‘un-covered’ in Martin Heidegger’s ‘The Essence of Truth: On Plato’s Cave Allegory and Theaetetus.’]

But I would like to raise another problem here, one that, it seems, will take some time to overcome…And this problem, I think will, probably, come to be known as: ‘The Oblivion of the Obvious’ or ‘Oblivion in the Obvious’.

For purely “practical” reasons, for ease of speaking and so we can move on quickly to other things, and in a sense to maintain our dullness and to not meet life head on; we level-down into more easily and readily graspable, “tough” concepts and ideas. Or rather to escape from the headache of truly thinking, in the present moment, we, as I did above, “shorten” or distill. Which for me, this whole attempt is a leveling down. Because it doesn’t properly go into and bring about an actual conscious experience of the event or process by which one consciously, authentically, experiences uncertainty without judgment. So, in this sense, when we “play” with words and throw them about we are adding to the confusion, the noise. And instead of seeking and attempting to get to the bottom and experience the phenomenon themselves, we pride ourselves on the superficial, on the word, on that which merely points towards what is true. Or as Krishnamurti might say: “We take the word, the description, the scientific treatise…what have you, as the thing itself.” And in the obviousness of the ‘correctness of our propositions’ we let the truth, Alethiea, the un-concealment of what is, slip into oblivion, where we remain uncreative and continue upon our merry way as if there are no such things as problems and heartache. And therefore have no tie, no relationship to the rest of world…to live as if we are actually separate. To hold to the attitude that: “I, already know how to treat people. That I, already know how thinking thinks. That I, already have, without a doubt, the truth and it is only the inferior who have to strive for something that is obvious to me.”

So to come full circle and to return to the beginning:

How does one convey the problem?

solitudinus

In contrast to the collective, patriarchal marriage that, ultimately, is contracted by clans and families, the problem of individual relationship–that is, of encounter–becomes evident where relationship becomes a question of individual love rather than of being propelled by external collective forces such as groups or of inner collective energies such as drives. The individual relationship that takes its place as love-marriage beside the traditional patriarchal marriage can, however, still exist within the collective norm of patriarchal marriage.

This situation has changed only in modern times when the entire relationship between the Masculine and Feminine, men and women, has become problematic. This change finds expression not only in the relationship between husband and wife but also within the psyche itself, since the man’s relationship to his own unconscious feminine side, the anima, and the woman’s to her unconscious masculine, the animus, begin to enter consciousness.

Here the psychology of the patriarchate ends, and the psychology of encounter, of surrender and devotion to the Self, of individuation, and the discovery of the feminine Self begins. These are the two last and highest phases of the psychological development of the feminine. To describe them exceed the limits of our sketch for the problems of this phase embrace nearly all the problems of the modern woman insofar as she is really “modern,” ie., not just living in our times by accident. Both phases presuppose an inner victory over the symbiosis of the patriarchate. It is equally possible in the process for woman’s development to be played out within a marriage that began patriarchally and symbiotically or for the process to lead to the break up of marriage and into a new relationship. But every transition from one phase to the next can come to pass only through psychic conflict, and the entire personality must be engaged.

A crisis of this sort, even if it is to take place within a marriage, must involve both partners because, for woman, a change in relationship between man and woman also always presupposes a corresponding transformation of her male partner. An extremely common cause of marital conflicts and divorces lies in the fact that the development toward a new phase of relationship, vitally necessary for one partner, is tragically doomed to failure owing to the other partner’s lack of understanding or inability to participate in the development.

In contrast to the collective polarization of patriarchal symbiosis, a genuine “encounter” brings about a relationship in which men and women are related to each other as conscious and unconscious structures, ie., as whole persons. In The Psychology of the Transference Jung discussed this form of relationship as an archetypal quaternio, ie., as a fourfold relationship in which consciousness and the unconscious of both partners are in contact. This comprehends the whole nature of each person, hence in the case of the man not only his patriarchal masculine consciousness but equally his feminine anima side. But now this is not unconsciously projected so that the man appears both to himself and to his female counterpart as purely masculine; rather, man and woman must consciously relate equally to the man’s feminine and masculine sides. In human terms this produces a plenitude of complications and problems, since the man’s feminine anima side is emotional and he is initially unaware of it, so that only circuitously and through suffering does he come to experience essential parts of his own nature, facets that he first experienced in his partner as something foreign and Feminine. However, these problems demand the greatest efforts not only from the man himself but equally from the woman, who, for her part must witness the collapse of her image of ideal masculinity as she becomes conscious of the man’s feminine side.

With similar complications the same holds true for the woman’s animus-psychology and her growing awareness of it. This process, too, places the greatest demands on both partners’ mutual understanding and tolerance. Consequently in this phase of encounter the complicated multiplicity of psychic relationships between man and woman is in fact incalculable.

Filling the demands of this situation, however, not only guarantees a vital relationship and a tension of polar opposites but at the same time lets the unique and individual essence of both partners enter into the relationship. Since a person’s unconscious and his or her wholeness both are caught up in the process of transformation of the personality, the conventionally collective semblance of personality must be surrendered and the distinctive and singular uniqueness of the human being start to work its effects undisturbed by the persona. Only then, however, do two persons attain to a true encounter. Where the deepest levels of the personality are included in the living Auseinandersetzung [Engagement/Conflict], the merely individual qualities of the one’s personality form the starting point for experiencing the transpersonal in oneself and in one’s counterpart. This form of encounter is the highest possible form of a real relationship between man and woman.

– Erich Neumann (The Fear of the Feminine, Stages of Woman’s Development, p.50-53)

The marital tragedy of the individual is the arena to which the problem of the changed relationship between man and woman is brought for settlement by the collective–a problem which has a collective meaning and relevance transcending the marital conflicts of the individual. And similarly, the moral problem which drives the individual into neurotic sickness is at the same time an arena and an expression of the fact that the collective is not grappling with the problem of evil which is actually clamoring for its attention.

So long as certain specific values retain their living efficacy and power in the collective, the individual (unless he is an exceptional person) will have no problems in relation to matters of value. He will not fall sick because of problems arising out of these values, since institutional procedures exist for dealing with questions of value in a valid way. So long as and so far as the sacrament of marriage exists there will be no neuroses caused by the marriage problem, but only adultery and sin, punishment and pardon. The orientation remains valid even if the individual behaves invalidly.

But when the collective no longer possesses values, that is to say, when a crisis in values has occurred, the individual lacks a collective orientation. He falls sick because of a problem for which there is no longer a collective answer and a collective procedure for reaching a settlement. He then becomes involved in a conflict from which no institution is any longer in a position to set him free, but for which he must suffer and experience an individual solution in the living process of his personal destiny.

– Erich Neumann (Depth Psychology and a New Ethic, p. 31-32)

The problem of evil confronts modern man in both a collective and an individual form.  During the last hundred and fifty years of the history of Western man, it has broken through on the widest possible front. It has undermined and destroyed the old cultural categories, but its course can also be followed in detail in the psychological history of the individual.

The study in depth of the psychological development of the individual in whom the problem of evil becomes manifest is in a much better position than any research into collective events to detect those first attempts at a synthesis which are the basic elements of a new ethic. This is due to the fact that external collective developments are decades behind the development of the individual, which is like a kind of avant-garde of the collective and is concerned at a far earlier stage with the problems which subsequently catch the attention of the collective as a whole.

It is not difficult to understand why positive attempts at a solution appear earlier and are more easily recognizable in the development of the individual than in that of the collective. The individual who is brought up against the overwhelming problem of evil and is shaken by it, and often driven by it right up to the brink of the abyss, naturally defends himself against destruction. In order to survive at all, he needs, as matter not of arbitrary choice but of urgent necessity, the aid of the forces of the deep unconscious; in them and in himself he may be able to find new ways, new forms of life, new values and new guiding symbols.

But this reality of evil by which the individual is possessed is not derived simply from his personal reality; it is also, at the same time, the individual expression of a collective situation. Similarly, the creative energies of his unconscious, with their hints at new possibilities, are not simply his own energies but also the individual form taken by the creative side of the collective–that is universal human–unconsciousness.

– Erich Neumann (Depth Psychology and a New Ethic, p. 29)

“Problems thus draw us into an orphaned and isolated state where we are abandoned by nature and are driven to consciousness. There is no other way open to us; we are forced to resort to conscious decisions and solutions where formerly we trusted ourselves to natural happenings. Every problem, therefore, brings the possibility of a widening of consciousness, but also the necessity of saying goodbye to childlike unconsciousness and trust in nature. This necessity is a psychic fact of such importance it constitutes one of the most essential symbolic teachings of the Christian religion. It is the sacrifice of the merely natural man, of the unconscious, ingenuous being whose tragic career began with the eating of the apple in Paradise. The biblical fall of man presents the dawn of consciousness as a curse. And as a matter of fact it is in this light that we first look upon every problem that forces us to greater consciousness and separates us even further from the paradise of unconscious childhood. Everyone of us gladly turns away from his problems; if possible, they must not be mentioned, or, better still, their existence denied. We wish to make our lives simple, certain, and smooth, and for that reason problems are taboo. We want to have certainties and no doubts–results and no experiments– without even seeing that certainties can arise only through doubt and results only through experiment. The artful denial of a problem will not produce conviction; on the contrary, a wider and higher consciousness is required to give us the certainty and clarity we need.”

– Carl Jung