Saturday, May 15, 2010

Tragedy and the Ideal Made Manifest

"Many there are who go out for wool only to come back shorn."

- Old Spanish proverb

For the dreams are always in danger of fading, aren't they? And we, the dreamers, fading with them, to become shadow selves, puppets of forces we can never hope to understand - feeling, at heart, our frail, weak humanity, our remorseless mortality - becoming the cursed, the unlooked for, the living failures, the constant reminders of our tarnished hopes, our once free and noble passions, the breathing, walking mausoleums of fantasies and daydreams of what would be and what could be. And since we live in bad faith, half in the twilight world, born as we are out of darkness and sleep into a painful light - a darkness which we return to every single night in the search for fulfillment or enlightenment or the peace that never graces our waking lives, how are we not half-creatures of an insubstantial world, a shadow race, a league of non-beings? No, a species of the Black Lotus, a dream-enslaved nation of servants - our foreheads and begging lips dipping into the hereafter or irreality, our eyes on the past or the abstracted future, our ears to the ground to forecast our fates...

And yet we can never accept this. No, the dice have been cast against us - so long ago, in a time we could not hope to understand, in a world where powers walked the earth in forms that would chill us to the marrow to witness: the miscreant, lust-mad Sons of God, the tortured Giants, sons of the daughters of Earth, the flaming swords of the Seraphim, beckoning east of Eden, the sweeping mists of the Holy Ghost, that monstrous dove, brooding (in both senses of the word) over the Abyss. All of these are symbols; but all of these are also curses, hidden in puzzle boxes of dead languages, and they spell out our cruel fate and true human nature: to understand the Laws only through sleep, through nightmares, through the dreams that fail...

For Men sleep between the Rising and The Bowing to Nature - which is also called faith.

In the world of dreams we have absolute control - even as we feel we don't, for dreams are the theater of our unconsciousness, and our personality, history, and drives are stamped through the plot lines - have you ever shared a dream, completely, with another human being? In our dreams we walk in a world where we are the gods, the entire Pantheon, and we exist in this Purgatory both as the experience and the experienced, the cause and the effect, the watcher and the creator. And in dreams we reach out and take part in the fall of events, shaping their character, removing or adding causes, touching the flux of time itself, controlling minutely that fate which we can never even hope to impact in 'real' life. This is a paradox, for as we learn these powers, deep in sleep, we come to expect their realization in reality. What can I not control? - we ask ourselves, for in our dreams we have power to change everything and anything, we take on the abilities of demigods who have an instinct for the secret laws of cause and effect. Motives, events, the threads of fate: all open to us, and with a third eye (hidden deep within us) we instinctively understand how events must unfold within the currents of power and dream reality. Even as our 'waking' sense of cause and effect is baffled by the stream of images or happenings in our dreams, it still somehow all seems 'natural', doesn't it? This is because this world, the dream reality, has been with us since the very beginning - longer, really, than our understanding of 'waking' reality, and we visit this shadow world every night. Upon closing our eyes, all the laws of the universe fall away, and our desires become manifest, they surfeit themselves in the play of illusions...

But this mirror world, this play of doubles, what does it really teach us? To reach towards things which we can never have in real life. Our desires, swimming through the unconscious, were not meant to take on flesh and be brought into reality completely: no, they are there merely as inspiration to the will, as reserves of strength, imagination, creativity, power - they exist as shadows and must not be brought completely into the light. Why? Because they are demons, in the oldest sense of that word, and once you unleash their diabolical force they will possess you, remove your Will from its throne of Power, chain you in confusion (as the conscious mind can not understand them), and cast you down into the unconscious: that is, insanity and suicide.

No, these shadow forces, the drives and urges and hungers and passions, they are a paradox, living half in and half out of reality, and that is their true realm - the world between worlds, so to speak. To cast them headlong into the Abyss of the unconscious, suffocating them, trying to 'forget' or 'suppress' them, is to cause them to slip into embryo form, and they will be born again later with a vengeance, with powers you could not imagine. The sons always triumph over their father. To bring them completely into reality is to burn them away in the light of day, but they will drag you with them back into the dark.

The Irreality comes into being with the unleashing of these forces: the laws of reality seem to melt away, cause and effect relationships no longer hold the same precedence or ascendence as they did in the past, the ties of power are loosened, and the Mirror World is made manifest. Here, in this world, your desires can be made to push you towards their satisfaction. Reality will seem to melt away before the power of your passions. But this is a temporary state. If it is held too long, the mind will begin to learn from it, and the Will loses its power (because in this world, it is not the sovereign that guarantees survival that it is in strict Reality), the Passions and the Ideal drown you in their bestial nature. Most people can only grasp this world at select moments, when their passions dominate or they triumph in the satisfaction of certain drives - then the laws of what was and what was known to be drift away, and the God consciousness - that Will that is conscious of its drives determining the sway of events and Reality - comes into being as an Avatar...you invite the Divine into yourselves...but to try to hold onto this state is extremely dangerous. Why? Because no man, or no human, has the internal fortitude or capacity to exist in this state for long: it is not our nature. Ultimately we will trangress the limits of Nature (as this is an unnatural state) and Society, and our fellow humans will tear us apart in their lust to re-establish the harmony of an uninterrupted Reality.

To live, to breathe, to survive, we must learn again to travel between worlds instinctively (for we are born with this ability, as a Twilight Species, shadow people, dreamers), calling on our internal forces and letting them take 'control' only as long as it is necessary - that is, we must always carry the leashes carefully, and keep up an Eternal Vigilance. Much like the fate of Phaethon, the demons that drive us will slip out of our reins if we do not constantly push them back with an experienced hand, and they will burn our World away...

This is an ancient precept (that of 'hubris'), one that has been recast into a thousand different theories of consciousness or myriad 'psychological' determinations, but the Mythic symbolism speaks to us directly...

And if you think this is too simple, that it can not be the 'truth' because it seems so uncomplicated (in reality, nothing could be more 'complex'), I invite you to unleash your own demons...reach deep into yourself, unlock the gates, let the Irreality take over...and see what happens...Irony, and History, will have the last laugh. For those of you who think that 'Control' or 'The Will' are 'outdated' concepts, or illusions, I ask you: have you ever felt what it's like to be possessed completely by the demons, by passions that drown your personality beneath their monstrous power? Has this illusory 'control', your only true freedom, that of personal choice, been taken from you by another power or another human being? Have you ever really felt what it means to be helpless? If the 'Will' is just another illusion among many others, then I say: give me the illusion, for the alternate, your 'truth', is horrible beyond all comprehension, a real world of torture. And then I will ask you: everything else being equal, why do you insist on seeing the world in a way that removes your personal choice or power of Will? What does this really mean to you? How does seeing the world like this satisfy you on some other level?

Hubris, that is: the Will of the Dreamworld, where our God consciousness holds sway and dominion, constantly calls for its satisfaction throughout our waking days. It calls out for vengeance: to revenge ourselves on reality for not living up to our fantasies or deepest dreams, and the human species has always been a vengeful race, especially when that revenge seems to be dictated or justified by another 'reality' (of dreams, internal precepts) that we touch just beneath our skins, and wish to make manifest outside of ourselves. For as shadow people, we want (with a passion that is so earnest and sharp that it almost drives us mad at moments) the world to lose its hard edge, its disappointments and clarity of cause and effect. We want our dreams to drown the world. We want to bring a new Reality into being, summoning it from out of ourselves. Most of all, we want to be the ones to determine our fates by controlling all the different and utterly bewildering physical/mental/spiritual laws of the universe that only confuse us in our waking state. The essential theme or state of hubris come here to the fore: by setting ourselves on the Throne of Reality, we break a covenant with Nature, we transgress not only against the laws of Reality, but against our own natures. We were not meant to be Gods.

I hope I am not being understood within a Christian context here, for this is not my intention. If a lot of these ideas seem 'Puritanical' to you, based on a Christian framework, that is only because they have come to you through the Christian tradition - which is itself the expression of ideas or themes which are much older than its own religious history, and which also appear in countless other cultures. Indeed, some of the ideas that I am offering or referencing here are as old as myth itself...

How can we even hope to control all the forces of Reality in order to make our dreams (the Ideal) manifest? No, in our endless striving, searching, and in our tragic reach towards the Godhead - in bringing The Ideal into Reality - we can only touch on a tragic few of the forces or powers necessary to engender creation, and so all of our 'births' are monstrous, ill-formed, incomplete, and soon spin completely out of our control, taking on characteristics or a fate that we would never had planned for them - that is, Reality adopts them as its own children, and as they grow or blossom in their pain, we see the Abyss in their eyes, the taint of the Abomination that we, as half-souls, always carry like a lethal virus within us.

For God, or the gods, create continuously, their nature is the light shining from the Abyss, the irreality and dream of death transforming into life, and life falling, in its turn, to decay. In God, or in the Divine, all the experiences that we have of reality disappear: they no longer mean the same thing, they change, metamorphosize, lose their internal constraints, and take on new characteristics. Indeed, this is the defintion of God: that which exists outside the boundaries of Reality. In God, reality can be made to shape itself beneath the desire of the Godhead: time, death, life, birth, the laws of nature - all these can be changed, twisted, reformulated. We understand this as the laws of our Dreamworld, that little taste of immortality and divinity that we are 'allowed' every night when we close our eyes. And of course we, who are crippled and born between worlds, want this Dream to become real. We want to go home.

The temptation of transgression, and the carrying of the ideal over into reality, has been pictured symbolically down through time in many different ways. These have been cast as 'symbols' and not necessarily as 'real-life lessons' because if they slip by our own confused consciousnesses, they will arise again in our dreams...there they take on their full meaning. And there, in that dark kingdom, their lessons will be much more powerful and all-embracing - in the realm of symbols, the Symbolism we come across consciously is refreshed and reborn with all of its accoutrements and abilities intact.

For the Teutonic people, the Lorelei - white, fragile maidens of paralyzing beauty (analogous to the Greek Sirens) that sing to and enchant men from the depths of the Rhine, only to drown them in their cold embrace, are one of the oldest mythic symbols of temptation and transgression. For the symbol of the River, that main current of the Rhine that gave both life and death to the early Germanic tribes, becomes, in the dream world, the raging waters of the abyss, of the infinite where Life and Death meet, where the Earth Gods drink and sustain their power, and where Beauty (which is always born from dreams in this horrible reality), arising out of the unconscious river, calls to us to drink deep of its power and become Gods by gaining the Impossible. It doesn't take a profound person to realize how Nature uses Beauty mainly as a lure, and to see that some of the most beautiful things in nature are also the most deadly. The 'river' in human symbolism is a potent source of meaning and it can offer so many different mouths of interpretation - the one of a 'boundary' or 'crossroads' between worlds (see the Rubicon, Styx, etc.) is only the most obvious. In Teutonic myth, some of the men or heroes who were dragged to their doom at the bottom of the Rhine were made 'slaves' of the Lorelei, and the 'meaning' (how I, at least, interpret this consciously) of this should be obvious to you from the what I have said above.

And as these temptations or demons of the unconscious call out in our sleep, or in our waking lives, when they see objects of their desire - potential satisfactions - we struggle against their domination heroically, for to not struggle, to give in, is not 'bad' or 'good' in the last determination: it is only a question of sanity, and survival. It is a mistake to think that all of our enemies arise from outside ourselves - who has mapped the internal territory of the unconscious, or the ways in which we damage ourselves? Who can claim to know his own soul if he has not realized the abilities he has for self-destruction? 'In times of peace,' said the philosopher, 'the warrior attacks himself.'

But it is important to understand: the myths do not call for a war, and the warrior is only one Avatar of Suicide...in the end he must destroy himself. Peace and darkness are our true Calling, and even within the midst of chaos, with eternal struggle broiling without while ceaseless strife rives the internal, we have our equilibrium, our harmony, our matchless balance. For at the center of these two forces, the internal and the external, the conscious and the unconscious, the Real and the Ideal, we have a balancing point - a pinprick of light, without weight, upon which the entire axis of life turns...and that is where all that will ever matter transpires - at that point, the boundary between sleep, dreams, life, and death, between what we can accomplish without madness and what we are offered by the whispers inside...

U. Amtey
9 October 2000