362 Chapters
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Appendix 3: Socrates and Dionysus

Jules Evans New World Library ePub

FINALLY, I WANT TO CONSIDER a philosophical tradition that is hostile to and critical of the Socratic tradition. I call it the “Dionysiac tradition,” and would include in it Romantic thinkers like William Blake, Friedrich Nietzsche, J. G. Hamann, D. H. Lawrence, Carl Jung, and Henry Miller.1

The virtues of the Socratic tradition are self-control, rationality, self-consciousness, and measure. The Socratic tradition typically puts forward a hierarchy of the psyche, in which the conscious, reasoning parts of the psyche are highest, and the intuitive, emotional, and appetitive parts of the psyche are considered lowest. Following this hierarchy, Socrates and his disciples suggest that the highest possible existence is the cerebral existence of the philosopher, as compared to the more physical or intuitive life of, say, the artist, the soldier, or the lover. The Dionysiac tradition celebrates a very different way of life. Where Socrates preaches self-control, Dionysus urges us to lose ourselves in sex, music, dancing, and ecstasy. Where Socrates preaches rationality and measure, Dionysus urges us to exceed all measure and constraint. One of his names was ho lysios — he who grants release.2 He releases us from all prudence, caution, and temperance. Where Socrates preaches a conscious and scientific knowledge of the self, the followers of Dionysus celebrate the power of the unconscious, the intuitive, what D. H. Lawrence called “blood-knowledge,” and the deep sense of vitality and joyous existence we get when we’re dancing, or making love, or intoxicated. Dionysus and his followers would laugh at Socrates and his huddle of philosophers, and their ridiculous assertion that “the unexamined life is not worth living.” On the contrary, they would suggest, the more you examine life, the more it withers and dies under your microscope.

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Medium 9780253000958

Wayland

Scott Russell Sanders Indiana University Press ePub

Two blacktop roads, broken by frost and mended with tar, running from nowhere to nowhere, cross at right angles in the rumpled farm country of northeastern Ohio. The neighborhood where they intersect is called Wayland—not a village, not even a hamlet, only a cluster of barns and silos and frame houses and a white steepled Methodist church. Just north of Wayland, the army fenced in thirty square miles of ground for their bomb factory, and just to the south the Corps of Engineers built their reservoir. I grew up behind those government fences in the shadows of bunkers, and on farms that have since vanished beneath those imprisoned waters. Family visits to church began carrying me to Wayland when I was five, romance was carrying me there still at seventeen, and in the years between I was drawn there often by duty or desire. Thus it happened that within shouting distance of the Wayland crossroads I met seven of the great mysteries.

Even as a boy, oblivious much of the time to all save my own sensations, I knew by the tingle in my spine when I had bumped into something utterly new. I groped for words to describe what I had felt, as I grope still. Since we give labels to all that puzzles us, as we name every blank space on the map, I could say that what I stumbled into in Wayland were the mysteries of death, life, beasts, food, mind, sex, and God. But these seven words are only tokens, worn coins that I shove onto the page, hoping to bribe you, coins I finger as reminders of those awful encounters.

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Winter: Lamp in a Gloom

Ratzlaff, Lloyd Thistledown Press ePub

Winter
Lamp in a Gloom

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Chapter 6: The Multiple Personality Experience and Demonic Possession

Felicitas D. Goodman Indiana University Press ePub

The multiple personality experience or “disorder” is not usually covered in discussions of demonic possession. That is regrettable, for as we saw in chapter 1, there is a lot that it can teach us about possession, and it also offers some insights into its demonic variant. Perhaps because the multiple personality syndrome is relatively rare, authors of texts on comparative religion are usually not even aware of its existence and would disregard it anyhow, because of the prevailing view that it is exclusively a psychiatric problem.1

Briefly, as will be remembered from chapter 1 and the case of Eve White, patients suffering from this condition experience themselves as having several discrete personalities called alternates that do not share consciousness or memories with their host. That means that the host does not know or is not able to recall what the various alternate personalities do, and extended periods of amnesia, often starting during childhood, are characteristically reported by these patients. Each one of the alternates has its own complex social patterns and behavior. When a given personality is dominant, it will control the individual’s behavior. As should be obvious by now, this description could just as well be cited in any discussion of the experience of possession. There are, however, in the main two differences between this disorder and possession as a religious experience. One of these concerns how the phenomenon is located culturally, that is, what society, especially those charged with treating the patient, thinks is going on. The other is the nature of the beings involved in the possession.

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Notes

Jules Evans New World Library ePub

Letter to Francesco Vettori, December 10, 1513.

1. I do not mean to single out my college tutors for criticism. They were exceptional academics who steered half of my year to Firsts. My criticisms are of the British university system as presently constituted. The number of undergraduates reporting mental health difficulties rose 450 percent over the past decade, according to the Higher Education Statistics Agency, while the dropout rate for undergraduates in 2011 was over 20 percent. Pastoral care in British universities is far behind what is provided in American universities. I also think the education provided at British universities is narrower and less conducive to human development: I would like to see less specialization forced on students, greater opportunity to study subjects other than one’s degree (along the lines of the American system), more obvious support for students’ mental health and well-being, and also the opportunity to consider and debate wider questions of life and how to live it well. Students have a great desire to discuss such questions: that’s why two of the most popular courses at Harvard are Tal Ben-Shahar’s Positive Psychology course and Michael Sandel’s course on Justice. My ideal course would combine the best of these two courses: useful techniques from the science of well-being, combined with the opportunity for ethical reasoning about the meaning of life.

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Part 2: Yoga

Patricia Monaghan New World Library ePub

T he origins of yoga are lost in prehistory. Archaeologists have found yogalike postures carved on stone artifacts created approximately four thousand years ago in the Indus Valley in what is now Pakistan. But the first writings that describe the path of yoga came from about 200 BCE in the form of the aphorisms and sutras of the Hindu sage Patanjali. These sutras, which give instructions on how to quiet the mind, codified information that had been transmitted orally for a long time.

Both Patanjali and the Buddha, who lived several hundred years earlier, believed that the source of human suffering is the craving for permanence in a universe of impermanence. However, they differed in their belief in the existence of a permanent reality. Patanjali’s yoga holds that there is a material reality, called prakriti in Sanskrit, and a spiritual reality, called purusha. Buddha taught that everything, including what appears to be the spiritual realm, is impermanent.

Yoga is a rich, variegated tradition that appeals to people with a wide range of temperaments and aptitudes. According to yoga, we can never escape the influence of the unconscious by mere intellectual understanding of its contents. The path of enlightenment, or liberation, requires more than an intellectual mode of cognition. It requires the combination of the intellect and the intuitive or other sensory modes of knowing.

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11. Mountains & Rabbit-Holes

Jed McKenna Wisefool Press PDF

The third part of this mountain triplet suggests we’re back at the first part, but that’s not the case. Going into the third phase, the world regains its former reality, but reality itself does not. That second part, where the mountain is not a mountain, is nothing forever. Once all emotionally empowered wrong-knowing is removed, nothing forever is what remains........

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Medium 9780253205667

Five: The Way of the Spirits

Felicitas D. Goodman Indiana University Press ePub

The first workshop that Franz organized in the Buddhist Center in Scheibbs (Austria) took place in 1982. He published the announcement in the schedule of the center, and a few of the regulars became interested. Others had seen the television show. Kurt, also of the television workshop, told friends in Vienna about his experiences, and they came to Scheibbs to find out more. Yolanda of a later Scheibbs workshop was from Switzerland. The next spring, she got some friends together, they rented suitable quarters in a mountain resort, and we did a workshop there. A stop in Switzerland has become an institution since then, part of my yearly spring tour, which at this writing covers five European countries.

In this country, the development of the workshops took off slowly. For several summers in a row, I taught anthropology courses at Cuyamungue Institute. However, with the connection to Denison University, my home institution, weakening with the years, recruiting undergraduates became more and more difficult. Increasingly also, that was really no longer what I wanted to do. It was at this juncture that summer workshops comfortably fitted into the premises already available there.

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Medium 9780971435223

This Sentence is False

Jed McKenna Wisefool Press PDF

It’s mid-afternoon. We’re on the pooldeck at my work table. Maya is napping belly-up in one of the poolside loungers. Maggie spends afternoons with friends at the public pool or in other activities. I’ve already had a heck of a day and was just getting settled back into my comfort zone when Lisa sauntered along and seated herself with such a strained casualness that the effort of not wincing makes me wince. I read the same sentence five times before realizing there’s no point. I maintain my working demeanor for a few more minutes while I enjoy her discomfort. She holds it in for a minute longer than I would have guessed she could........

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CHAPTER TEN: Interpretations and other interventions

Christopher Dare Karnac Books ePub

Previous chapters have concentrated on concepts that relate to the communications brought by the patient and to the factors in both patient and therapist that either facilitate or hinder the free flow and understanding of these communications. In the chapter on working through (chapter twelve), we shall discuss, among other things, those interventions of the analyst that aim at bringing about enduring changes in the patient and also the need for continual elaboration and reinforcement of these interventions. The term ‘interpretation’ is often used in a general sense to refer to such interventions. In the Standard Edition of Freud’s works the term ‘interpretation’ is used to translate the German Deutung. However, as Laplanche and Pontalis (1973) point out, the two words do not correspond exactly: Deutung appears to be closer to ‘explanation’ or ‘clarification’, and Freud writes that the Deutung of the dream ‘consists in ascertaining its Bedeutung or meaning’.

Interpretation occupies a special place in the literature on psychoanalytic technique. Bibring (1954) remarks that ‘Interpretation is the supreme agent in the hierarchy of therapeutic principles characteristic of analysis’. The central role of interpretation is equally stressed by Gill (1954), who asserts that ‘Psychoanalysis is that technique which, employed by a neutral analyst, results in the development of a regressive transference neurosis and the ultimate resolution of this neurosis by techniques of interpretation alone’. Loewald (1979) remarks that ‘psychoanalytic interpretations are based on self-understanding, and self-understanding is reactivated in the act of interpretation to the patient’, and Arlow (reported by Rothstein, 1983) states that ‘from the very beginning of its history, psychoanalysis represented a science of the mind, a discipline of interpretation, first of psycho-pathology and later of mental functioning in general… . [Interpretation] is… generally considered as the essential element in effecting therapeutic results through psychoanalysis … giving interpretation is the most characteristic feature of the analyst’s activity’.

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Index

Jules Evans New World Library ePub

Aburis the Sky-Walker, 118

achievement, 213

Achilles, 193

Action for Happiness, 13, 91–94

Actium, Battle of, 194

Adbusters (anarchist collective), 150–53

Adbusters (magazine), 151

addictions, 83

Adler, Alfred, 252n12

adversity

coping with, 2, 33–38, 115–16

moral strength from, 56–57

as opportunity, 33

philosophy as protection from, 122–23

Stoicism and preparation for, 66–68

as training exercise, 66

Afghanistan War, 31, 71

afterlife, 66

Epicurean view of, 85–87, 226–27

existence of, 216

Platonist view of, 179–80, 263n14

possibility of, 232–34

Socrates on, 225–26

agoge (Spartan training process), 43–44, 54

Alcibiades, 195

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), 32

Alexander (Platonist), 169–72

Alexander the Great, 132, 158, 192, 193, 194, 195, 197, 199, 203, 243

altruism, 33, 93

“American Dream,” 158

American Psychological Association, 211

American Psychologist, 26

anarchism

limits of, 163–65, 167

modern instances of, 149–53, 162–67

See also Cynicism/Cynics

anarcho-primitivism, 159, 162–63

Anaxagoras, 195

Anaximander, 102

Anaximenes, 102

Andre, Peter, 200

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Preface

Jed McKenna Wisefool Press PDF
Medium 9781608681457

8. Magical Relationships

Marc Allen New World Library ePub

8

MAGICAL RELATIONSHIPS

The human opportunity, the religions tell us,

is to transform our flashes of insight

into abiding light.

— HUSTON SMITH

We’ve seen these words of Huston Smith earlier (in chapter 5) — it’s one of my favorite quotes, up in big letters on the wall in front of my face as I write these words.

Those great words sum up what he learned from studying Buddhism and other religions for many years. Buddhist teachers often remind us that being born as a human being is a great and wonderful opportunity. This life we’ve been given, this moment, is an opportunity to remember our flashes of illumination, and turn those fleeting memories into lasting inner peace and abiding light. Our peak experiences can lead us to grow into the fullness of who we really are.

We all have this great opportunity — it’s intrinsic to our human body, mind, and spirit. Once you see the opportunity you realize you have the ability to take advantage of it. We have all had flashes of illumination. We have all had moments of enlightenment, when we glimpse the wonder of what is.

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1. Dream, Imagine, Create - The Power of the Worlds Within Us

Marc Allen New World Library ePub

1

DREAM, IMAGINE, CREATE — THE POWER OF THE WORLDS WITHIN US

Be at least as interested in what goes on

inside you as what happens outside.

If you get the inside right,

the outside will fall into place.

Primary reality is within, secondary reality without.

— ECKHART TOLLE, The Power of Now

Dreams Are Essential

It all begins with a dream. It all begins with a little, ephemeral, vulnerable wish that flits through your mind. Of course — where else can it begin? Everything anyone has ever created first began with a dream.

It begins with an act of courage. Most people lead unsatisfactory lives because they don’t dare to dream of an expansive, fulfilled, creative life. Why don’t we dare to dream, and why don’t we dare to do whatever we can to fulfill those dreams?

The answer is simple: Most of us are filled with fears, and our fears and anxieties overwhelm our vulnerable little dreams. Most of us fear failure so much that it keeps us from doing the things that we really want to do, the things that make us happy, excited, filled with life.

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28. The Truman Show

Jed McKenna Wisefool Press PDF
The movie is a basic parable of the journey of awakening from delusion. At the end of his journey, Truman Burbank escapes through the final door into freedom from the artificial environment – Seahaven – in which he was raised. He steps through the door into a broader reality that is essentially the same world he’s always known, but on a larger scale; same paradigm, same dynamics, same everything really, just one level up. Just like Neo in The Matrix, Truman doesn’t escape from Maya, he just leaps from one turtle to the next.

“So, pretend it’s you opening that door,” I tell John and Claire after the movie when they come to discuss it with me. “Your whole life has been moving toward this; you’ve undergone crisis after crisis, fought battle after battle, destroyed illusion after illusion. You’ve been living in a state of unrelenting emotional upheaval as your world collapsed around you, you’ve made a great journey, and now you’re about to discover the truth of your being. You’re about to leave the only reality you’ve ever known and step into a new, bigger reality you’ve never seen and only recently began to suspect. Okay?”......... See All Chapters

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