It is Little to Give (Love vs Sex 246)

“What is there I can give you? Love, it is true.”

“And is that so little?” I asked looking into his eyes.

“Yes, my dear, it is little to give you,” he went on. “You have beauty and youth. Often now I cannot sleep at night for happiness: I lie awake and think of our future life together. I have lived through a great deal, and I think I have found what is needed for happiness: a quiet, secluded life here in the depths of the country, with the possibility of doing good to people to whom it is easy to do good which they are not accustomed to receiving; then work – work which one hopes may be of some use; then leisure, nature, books, music, love for a kindred spirit – such is my idea of happiness, and I dreamed of none higher. And now, to crown it all, I get you, a family perhaps, and all that the heart of man could desire.”

“It should be enough,” I said.

“Enough for me whose youth is over, but not for you,” he pursued. “You have not seen anything of life yet. You may want to seek happiness elsewhere, and perhaps find it in something different. At present you believe that this is happiness because you love me.”

Happily Ever After

Leo Tolstoy          1859

Cribb Comment: I am extremely fond of this passage. Tolstoy reveals the hard to tell truth about love that most do not want to hear or even come close to contemplating; it must be grandiose and dramatic, fervent and uber passionate, and a thrill ride of unending emotional hype, stimulation, and volatile exchange, never just basic, simple, easy, and quietly profound in its energy and transcending bond. He also touches on the attainment and understanding of happiness in life which requires a security and willful stability in individual perspective and contentment of purpose. His promotion of the importance of untainted and unhypocritical good will towards his fellow man is also captured elegantly and succinctly by “doing good to people who are not used to such things and doing so without forcing this “good” upon them in an overstep of intent.” Lastly, his point of youth and its hunger, aware or unaware, for more than love, for more than genuine happiness, is presented with the unselfish tenderness and empathy of a saint. It is an undeniable truth that most youthful “old souls” can’t quite accept about themselves and their overriding desire. They seem unable to digest that real happiness and real love might just be too pure, obtainable, and stable, for the premises and constructs they have anchored into their psyche as defining a normal existence.

I would have preferred for Tolstoy to postulate a manner or theory in which these two characters could have worked together to address and resolve the youthful subconscious yearnings (their burden of misunderstood nervous and excitable egocentric energy) of the wife more effectively and profoundly. It would seem that Tolstoy might believe such a transition utterly impossible without the context of further life experience to curb and temper such youthful yearning.

2017

Taking Someone Along in Your Soul (Love vs Sex 245)

He knew nothing of the figure’s origin; Goldmund had never told him Lydia’s story. But he felt everything; he saw that the girl’s form had long lived in Goldmund’s heart. Perhaps he had seduced her, perhaps betrayed and left her. But, truer than the most faithful of husband, he had taken her along in his soul, preserving her image until finally, perhaps after many years in which he had never seen her again, he had fashioned this beautiful, touching statue of a girl and captured in her face, her bearing, her hands all the tenderness, admiration, and longing of their love.

Narcissus and Goldmund

Hermann Hesse          1930

Who do you think loves you? (Love vs Sex 244)

A woman said to a man “You have repeatedly called me a bully and a person who suffers from mental illness and delusion, how could you want to be with me if you believe that and I am constantly making you miserable?”

The man replied “I never said you were making me miserable. I never said that. You are putting words in my mouth that I never said. Instead of trying to tell me what I believe or how I feel about you, you might do better to pay attention to objective reality and my actual behavior, that is if you want to engage with the truth. You do not get to tell me how I feel or put words in my mouth to justify your fears. That is a distortion and a manipulation of reality which I cannot acknowledge for more than what it is. I cannot defend myself against your delusional projection and I will not. You are avoiding reality by creating a false premise regarding all of my feelings for you. You need to engage with reality.”

The woman flustered, fearful, and full of emotion, shot back “You have called me delusional. . .and a bully. . .and you have told me I was mentally ill! You have told me those things many times! Those are real! I am not making any of that up. Those comments, your comments, came out of your mouth. They were and are real, and they have happened many times. How can you think that I am such a monster and say that I do not make you miserable all of the time?”

“I have said you were a bully and that you are being delusional. I have also said that you suffer from mental illness and you do. I said all of those things and they are true, they are. I stand behind every one of those words and I am not recanting any of that. You are not always a bully, and you are not always delusional, but you do suffer from mental illness, and all of those things are connected and part of the same issue. I have discussed that calmly and indisputably with you a number of times. You know that.” Maintaining as stable of a tone and cadence as he possible could, the man continued, “How many times have I told you myself that I have also been delusional, and a bully, and suffered from mental illness? How many tales have I recounted about my negative and ugly experiences from being lost and confused in that delusion in the past? I have moved beyond almost all of that now, but it still lingers and I suppose that it always will. So, I’m not pointing any righteous fingers at you or pretending like you and only you are some kind of demonic abomination. I am trying to help you, you damn fool.”

He turned away from her for a brief moment as her silence and softened expressions seemed to suggest that she was trying to process his words. He gave her this moment of silence alone, intentionally, before continuing with what he needed to say. “I would look at your question differently. I would look at it and think about it in almost the exact opposite manner. Why would you not consider that if a man you know who is highly aware and perceptive, who knows you maybe even better than you know yourself, . . . if this man knows every one of your damn archdemons and slithering sufferings; your bully behavior, your supreme delusions, your overwhelming fear and insecurity. . . if he knows all of the intricate complexities of your mental illness and anguish. . . if he knows all of that shit, and not just the happygolucky superficial or watered down version of yourself that ninety-eight percent of the other guys and other people assume is the total culmination of you, . . . that he is the one who truly knows the totality of your existence inside and out, and that even with that knowledge and the burden of that knowledge, he has chosen, willfully chosen, to stand by your side despite all that excessive and weighty baggage you keep toting around with you everyday. Who do you think loves you? A person who just plays with your pseudo-perfect selfie projected persona or a person who truly forms a union with the good, the bad, and the ugly of you? You need to answer that question.”

Cribb          2017

 

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