The White Nightgown Mindset (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 180)

William James warned his students that a certain kind of mindset was approaching the West—it could hardly be called a way of thought—in which no physical details are noticed. Fingernails are not noticed, trees in the plural are mentioned, but no particular tree is ever loved, nor where it stands; the hair of the ear is not noticed. We now see this mindset spread all over freshman English papers, which American students can now write quickly, on utterly generalized subjects; the nouns are usually plurals, and the feelings are all ones it would be nice to have. The same mindset turns up on the Watergate tapes, and working now with more elaborate generalizations, in graduate seminars in English, in which all the details in Yeats’s poems turn out to be archetypes or Irish Renaissance themes. It is the lingua franca, replacing Latin. The mindset could be described as the ability to talk of Africa without visualizing the hair in the baboon’s ear, or even a baboon. Instead the mindset reports “wild animals.” Since the immense range of color belongs to physical detail—the thatness—of the universe, it is the inability to see color. People with this mindset have minds that resemble white nightgowns. For people of this mindset, there’s not much difference between 3 and 742; the count of something is a detail. In fact the number they are most interested in, as James noted, is one. That’s a number without physical detail.

WIlliam James observed this approaching mindset and associated out from it sideways. He noticed the mindset resembled the upper class of Boston. They too disliked the sordid details—the hair in the ear of religion, the smells of the Irish entryway—and preferred the religion of the One. Naturally, they became Unitarians. If the “cultured people” move into this mindset, a curious thing happens; the upper (spiritual) half of life and the lower (sensual) half of life begin to part company. One part ascends; the other part, no longer connected to the high, sinks. The gaps between grom wider and wider. The educated class has the Pure One, the working class people are left with nothing but the crude physical details of their lives—the husband’s old pipe and the spit knocked out of it, the washing tub, the water and slush from the children’s boots on the entry floor, the corns on the feet, the mess of dishes in the sink, the secular love-making in the cold room. These physical details are now, in the twentieth century, not only unpenetrated by religion, but they somehow prove to the unconscious that “religion is a nullity.” James emphasized that perception, and Stevens grieved over the insight all his life. For the working class there’s nothing left but the Emperor of Ice Cream. The middle class is now the working class, and so the majority of people in the West are worse off than they were in the Middle Ages.

A Little Book on the Human Shadow

Robert Bly          1988

The Point of the Give (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 179)

 

Pretext Note: This passage begins with observations specifically related to dog behavior, but evolves into a greater message regarding instability and behavioral disorders in people. I sincerely believe this message is of vital importance in regards to anyone who suffers from mental instability and I continue to believe that such instability is primarily a product of a behavioral disorder (a nurtured or learned disorder) as opposed to a pure genetic or medically inherited disease. The parallels of comparative behavior across species are extremely useful in illustrating this theory (and tangential associated theories) in cause, effect, and successful resolution.

A dog raised in a home environment without appropriate structure and boundaries is a dog that has been over-nurtured (spoiled) into believing that it is the master or ruler or supreme authority of all. In the reality of such a situation, that “all” for the dog only applies to its own household (own isolated pack), yet the dog has no profound reason or understanding to interpret its supreme authority of being any less authoritative anywhere outside of its own home (isolated pack). It cannot differentiate the “norm” of its isolated pack as being different from the “norm” of the very different greater world which exists outside of its isolated pack. The dog is thus significantly unsocialized and will be untempered in its accurate interpretation of relational behavior that varies from the over-nurturing it has learned to accept as all that is right and proper for itself.

If we assume that no fear has been added into this developmental equation by the owners, and we take the dog illustrated above and plop him on an exam room table, directly in front of a stable dominant authority figure, the dog will first attempt to flee. If not allowed to flee and not sappily “rescued” by his over-nurturing parents/family, and he is continued to be restrained by the stable dominant authority figure appropriately, the next move of the dog will be to do everything within his power to ignore and negate the reality of the stable authority figure. The dog will try to turn its body away as much as possible and will literally look down or from side to side to avoid having to acknowledge the authority figure who stands before it. If the stable authority figure is persistent enough, they will then repetitively and commandingly make the dog face themselves while making direct eye contact until avoidance of the posture and the glance is relinquished indefinitely. That is the point of the “give” by the dog which signifies that the dog has yielded its supreme authority to another “pack leader” who is more dominant and stable than itself; to a stable dominance which does not become an adversarial force or despotic ruler per se, but a rational and balanced reactive force of structure, accountability, accurate perception, and healthy non-codependent existence and interaction.

The “give” is a beautiful moment for a trainer or behaviorist, and perhaps even more so for the dog. It creates the proper or natural psychological parameters and understandings in the dog for a stable and balanced existence forevermore. It is an escape from instability. The greatest challenge to achieving this “give” comes from the people who are too unaware or too uninterested or too unskilled to lead the dog in a truly stable dominant manner, and aggressively interfere with said stabilization process, they often do, consciously or not.

This entire “dog” scenario (behavioral pitfall, expression, and “therapeutic” intervention), also applies almost verbatim to people. I promise you that. Behavior is behavior is behavior. But, just like a dog, people may escape from such instability. It is a much more complicated endeavor to obtain a “give” from an adult person due to the glitching intricacies of the human psyche, but such a hope and epiphany is still possible. It is a viable reality.

If we are to increase the number of “gives” from/in humanity, if we are to decrease the widespread instability which is present within our numbers, then we must as a whole apply greater effort towards increasing our collective awareness, empathy, skill, and focus towards such intent.

Doing less through passive ease and/or the fostered apathy of delusion, distraction, and willful ignorance has lead to the pervasive instability and behavioral problems which are now all too commonly witnessed throughout the species of “man’s best friend” as well as humanity itself. 

We need to return collectively to openly acknowledging and embracing the grace and universal salvation which is present within the point of the “give.”

Cribb          2017

How Puppets Dance and Rewrite their Strings (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 178)

He wondered about the people in the typical lower-middle-class houses like those. They would be, for example, small clerks, shop assistants, commercial travellers, insurance touts, tram conductors. Did they know that they were only puppets dancing when money pulled the strings? You bet they didn’t. And if they did, what would they care? They were too busy being born, being married, begetting, working, dying. It mightn’t be a bad thing, if you could manage it, to feel yourself one of them, one of the ruck of men. Our civilization is founded on greed and fear, but in the lives of common men the greed and fear are mysteriously transmuted into something nobler. The lower-middle-class people in there, behind their lace curtains, with their children and scraps of furniture and their aspidistras lived by the money-code, sure enough, and yet they contrived to keep their decency. The money-code as they interpreted it was not merely cynical and hoggish. They had their standards, their inviolable points of honor. They “kept themselves respectable”—kept the aspidistra flying. Besides, they were alive. They were bound up in a bundle of life. They begot children, which is what the saints and soul-savers never by any chance do.

Keep the Aspidistra Flying

George Orwell          1936

Cribb Comment: I understand the distinct possibility of my misperception of Orwell’s script, but my take on this passage is that it is as multifaceted and convoluted as the rest of his ponderings. The first half of the paragraph appears to present itself in direct full frontal clarity of meaning. The second half of the paragraph, beginning with but in the lives…, seems to display an intricate dual meaning. Satire dominates this section as the most overt theme of interpretation, but a simplistic face value description of pure relevant quasi-truth mixed in with illustrating how a “delusional norm” has been transformed into the “reality of the norm” for the majority of those of lower awareness cannot be denied. They are “bundled up in life” as they have rewritten life to be, but not as Orwell himself would define true objective life. The same applies to them “keeping themselves respectable in their translation of the money-code”. They are also more likely to biologically reproduce, which “thinkers” and those of higher awareness might be less likely to do as a direct result of understanding the actual and non-bastardized reality of consequence and existence. The “truths” of a delusional norm are still “truths” which most often impact heavily on the truths of shared or communal objective reality.  I can hear Orwell saying “Which is better? Which creates more suffering? Are the collective accurate perceptions of objective reality and the collective accepted delusions of a rewritten and bastardized reality codependent on one another for balancing each other out and assuring the continued physical survival of the members of both groups given the current condition of existence on our mutually inhabited world?” It would seem that until that comprehensive existence is emphatically changed for the entire world, the answer to this last question must remain yes.

Cribb          2017

Millie and the Most Important Thing of All (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 177)

Millie (age 9) said “So, what is marking? How does someone mark a pet or a person?” and after a sparked involuntary chuckle, Jody’s body gradually recessed into the corner of the sofa and seemed to brace itself for whatever might come. As she did so, her expression whispered to me “well here we go you madman, this ought to be good. . . are you really going to have a college graduate level discussion with my baby girl on behavior and psychology?. . . I can’t even imagine how this is gonna go, but I guess I trust you, you crazed and certifiable lunatic.”

After a long and detailed conversation of what needed to be said and discussed to answer Millie’s question appropriately, she tilted her head to the side with playful comprehension and triumphantly inquired of me, if such a thing can be done, “So, you should never mark anything with fear, right?”

And my smile refused to be caged by any constraints as I replied “That’s right Millie. You got it, you got it! You never mark anyone or anything with fear. It is not easy and it can be very very hard not to accidentally do, but you should never ever mark anyone or anything with fear. That is the most important thing of all.”

Cribb          2017

The Real Dog, Child, and Everything Else (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 176)

Pretext Note: I am a veterinarian and I have come to believe that comparative analysis of  the parallels between human to pet interaction, human to human interaction, and isolated human behavior to isolated animal behavior, is extremely helpful in illustrating and understanding the root causes of obsessive compulsive disease (drive disorders), mental instability (anxiety, fear responses, bully behavior), and egocentric projective delusion (the misunderstanding of the reality of the situation/disorder which prevents appropriate assessment and intervention/correction by external authorities as well as the victim themselves).

It is unfortunately true that many, if not the majority of, pet owners have little idea or minimal understanding about the genuine and undeniable behavior of their dog (pets in general). Pet owners are often masterful at creating and projecting intentions, motivations, and feelings onto their dog that simply have no foundation or basis in objective truth and behavioral analysis. I am not saying that it is easy for anyone to achieve the enlightened state of genuinely understanding behavior (over the projected distraction and confusing glitches in our own psyche). It took me a very long time (43-45 years in fact) that had to be coupled with an enormous amount of effort, awareness, intellect, observation, introspection, and a supreme desire to see beyond the pervasive satiating delusions that we all tend to be infected with from birth. It also took some luck at being fortunate enough to come into contact with someone who is exceptionally gifted in understanding behavior. My behavioral observations and conclusions have been challenged extensively by my own critical scrutiny and they stand solid and true in repetitive conclusion and application.

The most common response I receive from pet owners when I try to explain the true behavior of their dog is knee jerk denial and often scornful skepticism. Instead of listening and contemplating, being appreciative for the expertise of my words and explanation, most seem unsettled and agitated by the truth because it doesn’t fit in line with their preferred misperceptions and assumptions about their dog. In essence, the information I provide often shatters the illusion of what the owner has rewritten their dog to be for their own perceptional comfort. The rarer dog owner embraces the reality and revelation about their pet with appreciation and often good hearted humor. The more common dog owner honestly seems to dislike having to confront the reality of the situation even when such is required to address/treat a problem which they have come to me to inquire about.

This same misperceptive projecting glitch and egocentric delusional rewriting of another also occurs with many parents towards their children.

This same misperceptive projecting glitch and egocentric delusional rewriting of another (others) also occurs with many in regards to everything and everyone else.

It is always tragic, for such projective delusion blinds the perceiver from ever experiencing reality outside of their own head. Additionally, a dog, a child, a mate, a socioeconomic class, a foreign country, and whatever other entity, can never be seen, appreciated, understood, or stabilized/aided until such projective delusion and egocentric rewriting is shed from the perceiver’s soul.

Cribb          2017