THE GHOSTS OF DREAD FLESH: Ghosts of the gods

THE GHOSTS OF DREAD FLESH

I know I’ve probably mentioned this before but the older I get and the more I study ancient and pagan myth (and I’ve studied them since I was a teenager, and a lot in college when I majored in religion and philosophy) the more firmly convinced I am that myth was not a religion or religion at all (certainly not as we think of religions) but was actually proto-psychology and in some rare cases, primitive observations on natural phenomenon (proto-natural-science).

All of the pagan “gods and goddesses” were far too human to be anything other than psychological (psuche – soul, as the Greeks would say) observations upon human nature and the human soul. Plus all pagan “gods and pantheons” tended to behave abysmally, at least from time to time and as the mood struck them, with even the chiefs of gods being immoral at a whim, or at the very least amoral. And the more “moral gods” were almost universally relegated to background or secondary positions of no real power (other than that of cunning and craft). Precisely why Socrates could not believe in the gods and preferred his conception of God.

No, the ancient pagan gods were all soul-gods, that is to say “human gods” not spiritual gods at all, as we would think of God.

(That meaning a Real God who supersedes his Creation and who supersedes human behavior by being absolutely moral. Though the Norse gods and goddesses tended to be far more moral than let’s say the Greek or Asiatic ones and I think that to a large degree this was precisely because of the fact that they knew they were doomed and would be called to account at the Ragnarök. They knew they were limited in lifespan, they had no illusions that they were either omniscient or omnipotent, and they knew they would be eventually destroyed and replaced. It was hard-wired into their very prophecies and that kind of thing tends to often act as a governor against immorality – intentional malignance, and against amorality – not caring one way or another.)

When pagan myths were not proto-psychology they were observations on natural phenomenon and on things that could not be explained by a very limited proto-science, such as Chimeras.

No, over time I’ve come to realize that the ancient and pagan gods were real alright, and are still real, just not as really having anything to do with religion or the spiritual or God at all. They were real as proto-psychology, not as religion, and later and even today they have been largely absorbed into modern psychology as archetypes of human behavior and as exemplars of the human soul. But not of the Spirit. They are the Ghosts of Dread Flesh, not the Holy Ghost.

And this is why I think, that relatively speaking, they were later so easily overturned by and replaced by religions (like Judaism and Christianity and even to some extent by Hinduism and Buddhism – though Buddha himself was an atheist, so again, it depends very much upon your definition of “religion”), and that is because, as much as I like and respect the Psyche, it is very small and limited in relation to the Spirit, and to God.

The gods were absorbed into psychology (which still serves a very important function, just not a religious and spiritual one), because in fact, that’s what they were – soul-gods, and replaced by God, the Spirit-Lord, against whom no soul-god can really compete or is really qualified to compete.

Just as no man can compete against God, he can only ally himself with God and seek a beneficial relationship, or reject and rebel against God.

(I’d go ahead and turn this into a decent essay but I’m pressed for time right now with my novel and with my other works. Maybe later. Though I may also turn this idea into a lecture, and/or add the concept as a chapter to be included in my Meisterwerk on Psychology, The Four Inherents.)

Advertisements

THINGS I LIKE AND LOVE TO DO

THINGS I LIKE AND LOVE TO DO

These are things that I either like or love to do. I try to do many if not most of these things for at least a few minutes every week, depending upon my Work Schedule and other matters. Some I can only get around to about once a month or so. I like or love all of these things, some more than others, but I do not consider any of them contradictory to my Nature or Personality or in any way contradictory to each other. This is me as I am and in a nutshell:

Analyze and study Criminal cases and Terrorism (though I much prefer to prevent and thwart either if possible)
Attend and listen to a lecture
Box
Clear and tend my land
Climb
Conduct business
Cruise the internet – see what I can find
Design and build things
Do something athletic (hit baseball, play ball, run, swim, etc.)
Do something for someone else – assistance, charity, etc.
Draw or sketch or map
Engage in science (study, conduct experiment, develop theorem, make observations, write papers)
Explore and if possible Vad, sneak around places
Geochache (though I don’t use GPS)
Get together/hang out with friends, drink ale, talk
Go camping
Go see a movie (about once a month)
Have sex with my wife
Hike in the woods
If possible destroy or at least hamper or cripple evil
Invent and/or Innovate
Invest money
Listen to a radio play (especially old ones)
Listen to music
Listen to my scanner or CB or HAM radio
Make money
Nature watch
Patrol
People watch
Play and design games (board, chess, D&D, RPGs, etc.)
Play the piano or my harmonica
Play video games (although I only do this about once every three or four months)
Play with my dog Sam and my cats and explore with them
Play with my kids
Pray, meditate, etc.
Promote Right and Truth and the Good
Read a graphic novel
Read and Study the Bible (especially in Hebrew and Greek)
Read for pleasure (genre works and fiction)
Read non-fiction
Revolt against wrong and injustice
Save money
Shoot (my guns)
Sit naked under the stars (if not too hot or cold)
Star and moon watch with my telescope
Study a different/foreign language
Study and do research (on all kinds of things)
Sword and knife fight
Talk to God
Track and study animals
Visit an old church, historical building, site, monument
Visit a museum, see a play
Watch TV (though only on the weekends)
Work
Work out/train
Work outdoors
Write a book
Write a novel
Write a poem
Write a song
Write a story
Write non-fiction

THE WATER OF UNDERSTANDING

I think that to a large extent the man has a real point. If you don’t get out and live life how can you possibly write anything worthwhile about life?

Important observations require that you actually observe important things occurring.

If all you do is spend all of your time taking courses to learn technique then you’re just making observations about observations. All you know is merely academic. You’re just navel-gazing.

Yes, you should definitely learn good, solid techniques. That is part (though only part) of your responsibility in being a good writer. But you should also be out in life observing it as it really is and living it so that you will have something true and real (rather than merely artificial and imagined) to say about it. The modern idea that writing is (or should be) an entirely detached and intellectual pursuit is not only repugnant and irrelevant, it’s also just plain silly and unrealistic.

The larger part of your time ought to be spent in living life and writing on that, not learning writing as a substitute or replacement for never having lived.

Experience is the fountainhead of observation, and observation is the Water of Understanding.

Creative writing courses are killing western literature, claims Nobel judge

Horace Engdahl swedish academy nobel prize literature judge
Horace Engdahl, of the Swedish Academy, in Stockholm. Photograph: Fredrik Persson/AP

Western literature is being impoverished by financial support for writers and by creative writing programmes, according to a series of blistering comments from Swedish Academy member Horace Engdahl, speaking shortly before the winner of the Nobel prize for literature is awarded.

In an interview with French paper La Croix, Engdahl said that the “professionalisation” of the job of the writer, via grants and financial support, was having a negative effect on literature. “Even though I understand the temptation, I think it cuts writers off from society, and creates an unhealthy link with institutions,” he told La Croix. “Previously, writers would work as taxi drivers, clerks, secretaries and waiters to make a living. Samuel Beckett and many others lived like this. It was hard – but they fed themselves, from a literary perspective.”

Engdahl, who together with his fellow members of the 18-strong academy is preparing to select the winner of this year’s Nobel literature award, and announce the choice on Thursday, 9 October, said it was on “our western side that there is a problem, because when reading many writers from Asia and Africa, one finds a certain liberty again”.

“I hope the literary riches which we are seeing arise in Asia and Africa will not be lessened by the assimilation and the westernisation of these authors,” he added later in his interview with Sabine Audrerie.

Engdahl told the French journalist that he “did not know” if it was still possible to find – as Alfred Nobel specified the prize would reward – “the most outstanding work in an ideal direction”. Today’s winners are usually 60 or more years old, he said, and are thus unaffected by the changes he described in the life of today’s writers. “But I’m concerned about the future of literature because of this ubiquity of the market. It implies the presence of a ‘counter-market’: a protected, profound literature, which knows how to translate emotions and experiences”…

LOOK, OVER THERE, NOT THE FOREST, BUT THE WEEDS…

This is a superb little article on writing. I myself have been saying for a very long time that most writing advice, especially most modern writing advice, is absolute bullshit and entirely contradictory to the idea of both writing well and of communicating anything worthwhile at all.

Now whereas I don’t agree that writing is all about, or at least not solely about, the “Observational trick,” it is a far better observation than most modern ones on writing.

At the very best the best any writing advice can do is encapsulate an extremely narrow range of ideas about how it is possible to efficiently communicate in a certain way (it can in no way exhaust the possibilities), therefore no such advice can ever produce genius or even real ability. And the Truth is that both genius and real ability tend to far eclipse any advice that could possibly be given about either.

Hemingway may have said it best…, no on second thought he didn’t, he said it best for Hemingway, but even Hemingway was no Shakespeare now was he? No, he wasn’t. There is a very good reason Shakespeare is the most quoted writer in the history of the English language and it has absolutely nothing to do with Hemingway’s writing advice. As a matter of fact it has a great deal to do with the very opposite of Hemingway’s writing advice. And that is also very likely why there is no modern equivalent of Shakespeare, because modern people are herdish and extremely easy to fool. Just give them all a popular, unchallenged fashionable theory to imitate and by God, come hell or high water, they’ll dig their own grave and happily and uncritically lie down in it to prove the theory.

I’m glad to see the revolt against this narrow minded, small imagined bullshit beginning. It’s long, long, long overdue.

So endeth the trick…

__________________________________________________________

“What’s the secret to writing well? As I’ve said previously here, an awful lot of people seem to think they know, yet their “rules for writers” are almost always (pardon the technical linguistics jargon) bullshit. For example, “Show, don’t tell” is frequently bad advice. In the right context, the passive voice is fine. Elmore Leonard’s most famous rule, “Never use a verb other than ‘said’ to carry dialogue”, is sheer silliness. Even the sainted Orwell’s rules are a bit rubbish: the final one is, “Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous”, which means his advice is really just “Don’t write barbarically”. So it doesn’t bode well that the psychologist Steven Pinker is to publish his own advice book, The Sense Of Style, later this year. Judging by a recent interview at edge.org, however, this one might be different. Writing, Pinker points out, is inherently a psychological phenomenon, “a way that one mind can cause ideas to happen in another mind”. So one place to begin is with actual psychology.”

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/jun/28/change-your-life-how-to-think-about-writing