FEEDBACK AND RESPONSES
24th July 2001
Samten, - Thanks for y'rs. - re y'r titanic thread, Richard Olds
to the white world -
its horrible exhaustion, from its immense labours,
its rebellious joints cracking
under the pitiless stars....
its blue steel rigidities,
cutting through the mysteries
of the flesh.
listen to their vainglorious conquests
trumpeting their defeats.
listen to the grandiose alibis
of their pitiful floundering.'
"Always leave some food
for the mice;
pity the moths,
and don’t light the lamp."
Thoughts like these
that the ancients had
are the living, life-giving Way
of us humans.
we are nothing.
The Oxford English Dictionary
defines speciesism as
‘an assumption of human superiority,
leading to the exploitation of animals.’
" Mankind Above All ! ",
is the theme-song of the march of ‘Progress’.
It is the anthem of a cruel and brutal despotism
even now committing casual and routine genocide,
at the rate of an entire species every ten minutes,
eliminating up to fifty thousand species of living beings
from among us, forever, with each passing year.
Since we know that elephants, for example,
with cerebral cortices much larger than our own,
have complex social structures, language and culture,
how exactly does our ‘culling’ of elephants
differ from the mass murder of Jews, Tibetans or East Timorese ?
Ancient wisdom universally insists on the fraternity of all that lives;
while we, by contrast, regard our fellow living beings,
their bodies, their homes and their families,
as so many ‘resources’ for exploitation,
or as ‘vermin’, to be exterminated.
We have become inhuman.
It has been said,
" For hundreds and thousands of years,
the stew in the pot
has bred bitterness and discontent.
If you would know
the reason for chaos, for famine and war,
listen to the cry from the slaughterhouse
15th July 2001
Thanks for the James
Hillman article. The subject matter is very much along the lines my own mind
seems to travel most of the time. What puzzles me is why most people cannot see
the glaring truth of the de-sensitizing power of the mass media, the modern
opium of the people.
However, I think he misleads slightly with his thoughts on Buddhism. Sure, there is the 'profound insistence on the void' but this is not the end of the realization. Rather than this insight leading to a nihilistic attitude, to my mind it should lead to the awareness of the profound sacredness of life itself, as each and every form or being, which lasts only so long as one is aware of it, which is possible only if we take time out from distraction through 'retreat and meditation', which he seems to feel are antitheses to 'activism'. I would think that worthwhile activism can only be performed with sufficience insight which only comes in silence, don't you think?
I would say that Buddhism (as I understand its principles) positively embraces every point he has raised .....
"to begin where we actually are right in the middle of the huge and the ugly ..... don't escape by looking of origins or solutions. Just begin in the midst of the mess."
"The world does not ask for belief. It asks for noticing, attention, appreciation, care."
I don't think Buddhism espouses 'absence of God' in the way he is describing. Buddhism says more like "If you must have a God, know it as yourself, and consequently behave accordingly."
Oh well, if that is not what Buddhism says, then I say it!
Joanne Taylor, Ireland
Thank you my brother
for sending me this article. I have read it and shared it with the members of
the JUNG-L discussion list. I agree with you that Hillman has given a powerful
voice to action.
I am by no means in agreement with everything that James Hillman says - but there are some very powerful core ideas, that still need amplification, attention and action.
Exactly! No one has yet got all the words right, but there is a definite pointed direction. In a way, it is like a novel where a sub character sets the hero off into another direction and set of adventures which lead to the solution of the crisis. It is important not to discount the words because of who the author of the words happens to be.
I will give more time and thought to the article and share these with you.
I am touched that you have thought of adding my thoughts to your project which I feel is valuable. Thank you again for remembering me.
11 July 2001
Thank you for the James Hillman article. I am honoured that you ask for my contribution, but I really don't feel qualified to comment. Other than to say that I would not assume that all things huge ARE ugly. In some instances, huge can be very good and powerful. Is huge a "mess"? And I would not agree that "hugeness is the signature of the absent God". I personally am not ashamed!
17th July 2001
Thank you for your reply …[…]…For the moment in response to yours, I would say that we [you] do not need qualifications to comment or have an opinion. I fact I think we have got our society into serious trouble by letting the 'expert's the 'fundi's, the men in white jackets, the Men in Black, telling us that genetic engineering is good, the only good penguin is a dead penguin, covered in oil, that the Kyoto Agreement on the Environment is a threat to the oil industry and other such strategies, which all seem very huge to me.
The discourse on titanism has reached another level with the recent publication of a new book by Rafael Lopez-Pedraza, Dionysus in Exile - In the Repression of the Body and Emotion [available at the excellent C.G. Jung Library in Rosebank] I am busy reading it at this moment and will interleave quotations into this discussion group - and ever so slow - project.
More sometime in the future ...
Samten de Wet
14th July 200
Thanks for this but to date have not really had the time to read it. I will let you know my thoughts when I have read it. I hope you are not in a hurry - like yesterday!
Barbara Antrobus - Durban, Natal, South Africa.
14th July 2001
If you are refering to James Hillman's article "And Huge is Ugly". I can find no fault with his supposition, however, I think that at times Hillman hoists himself on his own petard, anyone can be a critic, even me, but there are so few true 'inovators', and I would love to hear what Samten thinks, not just his opinion on other writers, but I know that you have to make a living, but I also know what Mike has told me about you, so I'm not enterested in the pros and cons of writers, I want to know what you think my brother. Come out from behind that accademic facade and tell me what you really believe.
Freeman, United States of America.
12th July 2001
Many thanks for the fascinating article/talk :"Huge is Ugly" It certainly made me think!
Sarie Perks, Johannesburg.
12th July 2001
Your interest and the stimulating information is greatly appreciated.
Many Thanks - John Phillips, Johannesburg
July 07, 2001
Thoughts on the
ee cummings said it long ago, and more concisely:
Jehovah buried, Satan dead,
do fearers worship much and quick...
but then poets take small is beaut more seriously than most other writers.
When much and quick become gods, then truly the Titans walk among us.
This is why poetry has (almost) always stood against the Beast.
Some suggested texts to run alongside this one:
- any Donna Harraway on situatedness, (esp. an article called "Situated Knowledge")
- Gary Snyder's 'Practice of the Wild' to blow some fresh air through Hillman's odd notion of Buddhism whilst agreeing with and elaborating his notions of a sacralised earth.
- Anne Klein's 'Meeting the Great Bliss Queen' for a theory/practice which links Buddhism and feminism/situatedness in a way that Hillman should find interesting, if he hasn't already.
I do like his theory of Titanism as well as his unashamedly irate tone.
Michael Cope - Website http://www.cope.co.za
9th July 2001
Dear Samten, This is an interesting, if difficult article to read - I am not familiar with all his references. What he does seem to be saying on one level - which is similar to the old Portuguese proverb - is "pray to God, but watch the pot on the stove (so that it doesn't boil over)". He also seems to be saying that our vision of the world is too general and abstract, on one hand, and too obsessed with self, on the other. We fail to see the crimson dawn, smell the sweet breeze or look at the miniature little lizard soaking up the winter sun - we fail to be the observers of the cosmos and the universe we are all intended to be, for that is how the universe reflects on itself - through us - and if God is dead, it must be that, psychically at least, we are equally dead too. For God is alive in us when are alive and immersed in the beauty of creation. Yes, as soon as we see the colours and taste the tastes and feel our exuberance or pain and express our love or disgust magically we become alive again. Being alive psychically means being connected to our world, the immediate world around us, to all the minutiae of experience around us. This is where we all make our true contributions - on an individual scale they are small, but collectively they could add up to being something great, rather than just enormous.
Though, I reckon, the article deserves a closer second reading.
Hillman's article is very thought provoking. The universe dreams, thinks, feels, and creates itself through us. Some modern-day physicists ask the question: would the breeze still be sighing through the trees if there were no observers to note that occurrence? Those who raise that question very often defer answering it. However, the truth of the matter is that if there were no observers, nothing would be observed to be happening. In short, nothing would be happening - the crimson dawn, the waft of jasmine on the breeze would be in vain. Not only would the whole universe be dead/inert, but so would God. The new born Christians know that God becomes alive when they do too - but was God dead or merely sleeping? Just dreaming the possibilities of his existence in us and waiting to awaken once more?
Perhaps, as Confucius held, to rule we must first learn to serve. And to serve is to become selfless, and to lose oneself is really to find oneself again refracted in the deity and the unity of all things, and to find the deity and the unity and order of everything refracted in us. Such is the grand mystery of life and the magical oneness of all being. That is the great invitation of our times: to realise in ourselves the grand unity of being of which we are all part.
Dr M. M. Hirst, Amathole Museum, PO Box 1434, 5600 King William's Town, Eastern Cape, SOUTH AFRICA.
6th July 2001
Yeah, I have read one of Hillman's books which irritated me a bit at first, but it certainly improved on reading - and I guess that is probably the mark of a good therapist; at first to irritate and then to enlighten.
So, I look forward to reading the article and will certainly respond thereafter.
Many thanks, Cheers,
6th July 2001
thanks for the
Hillman. My contention exactly and brilliantly didactic! though I think he
hasn't understood Buddhism except through Jung's myopic eyes. It should
resonate with much of Julia's work, too.
I can't say that I'd have any original or scholarly addition to make but I