Rollo May suggests that the only way to remedy the cynical ideas that characterize our times is to rediscover the importance of caring for another, which May describes as the opposite of apathy.
I think that what I have been trying to do in presenting intimate details of my lived-experience to “the public grid” is the opposite of apathy. I see this “reaching out” as a form of “caring for others” since I sense my insights could prove “spiritually valuable” to others who are in this web with me.
I had not been able to focus on any of my favorite thinkers’ writings, so I browsed the local library’s little philosophy section finding Love & Will by Rollo May. I had read Courage To Be back when I was 18 or so.
Well, I am actually “getting into” the text. It is from 1969, but Rollo May refers to several writers who I have been influenced by, namely Wilhelm Reich, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Edmund Husserl, and even Schopenhauer. So, the intellectual journey continues for each of us at our own pace, I guess.
If I am inspired by my Muse to do so, I will leave a trail of notes here.
So far in this reading, what I have gained insight into is that my decision to withdraw from “treatment” (for anger issues, the pain of being an intellectual outsider, behavior modification, etc) makes great sense.
Rollo May quotes Rilke, something written when Rilke withdrew from psychotherapy upon learning the goals to which it aspired: removing “defects” of character …
“If my devils are to leave me, I am afraid my angels will take flight as well.”
Likewise, if I am coerced by the Corporate State via its representatives to be on “medication” which would “slow me down to 60% of my natural mental capacity” (the doctor’s words), then, while I may not entertain so many disturbing truths (devils), I would also lose much of the spontaneous delight (angels) I enjoy when engrossed in and enthusiastic about some latest “breakthrough” I have experienced.
I know exactly what Rilke is saying in that quote, and I am sure to quote him if ever put on the spot about why I choose to suffer extreme emotions rather than “accept the help psychiatric medication can offer.”
The daimonic is any natural function which has the power to take over the whole person. Sex and eros, anger and rage, and the craving for power are all examples of the daimonic.
I choose to use the word demonic instead. It is the same concept. The demonic can either be creative or destructive and is normally both. When this “natural function” goes awry and one element usurps control over the total personality, we have “daimon possession” (demonic possession), which is the traditional name through history for psychosis.
Daimonic can be spelled demonic or even daemonic (the medieval form).
The demonic is obviously not an entity but refers to a fundamental, archetypal function of human experience – an existential reality. Myths are real in so far as they help us understand and process our lived experience. Deepening my understanding and awareness is my Truest Desire. This is how I “get through this life” which is not so very pleasant.
The Greek concept of “daimon” included the creativity of the poet and the artist as well as the “spiritual leader.” Plato argued that a “divine madness” seizes the creative person.
The demonic (or daimonic) is the urge in every being to affirm itself.
There is a puzzling and never-solved problem of the intimate relationship between the genius and the madman (or madwoman).
While I destroyed all my scribblings from the years 1980 – 1986 (age 13 to 19) – which were crucial years … I still regret destroying them – I do mention Abraxas in a section of “Memoirs of a Mad Prophet (1987 – 1998).”
In 1987, I wrote:
Wide Awake On Turtle Island
Life will certainly break us all. “Those that will not break, it kills.” (Hemmingway)
I am searching for the lost tribe that spawned me. The power I seek is animal alertness, a kind of strength that dwells within. It is not something that can be stolen or defined by labels. According to the judicial system I am a sick person. I am leading up to some kind of breakthrough, from a religious phase to a schizophrenic phase. This is how I shall be cured. The story is real, and my state of mind makes life exactly what it is. The dichotomy of good and evil is destroyed. I have rebelled against conformity. The conditioning just didn’t work on me.
I don’t have to struggle to be a nonconformist. Rebellion comes natural to me. After all, I am quite certain that the majority does not know what is best for me. I wouldn’t care if I were outnumbered 99 to 1. The mere quantity of heads does not guarantee any level of quality in those heads. It is best to think for oneself. It is considered good to be positive, to have a pleasant outlook on life. Is one to surrender one’s honest view of life as being something to be endured rather than enjoyed just so as to avoid being viewed as a negative thinker?
Right about now I am getting annoyed with the whole incarceration thing, and I have to remind myself of a couple of facts. I am drying out, the chemicals are no longer being pumped into my mind-body. Though I may become sad, at least it is a real emotion. I must remember This Perfect Day where the hero refuses to take his “medication treatments” so that he could experience his true condition and see things as they really were even if he lost that sense of well-being. By admitting to myself I really don’t know what’s going on, I remain alert. I was to be robotized and neutralized. I was to be comfortable conforming, chasing the goals deemed by my culture to be important. I am an animal, not a machine, or, at least, a biological machine with complex electro-chemical, rational-emotive processes taking place inside-the-skin. I don’t want to figure it all out. I would end up in some commune with other hyper-sensitive intellectuals who could not be “put to use” in society. So I go with the flow as the authorities of this world keep me confined in a cage. I read as many quality books as I can get my paws on. My main goal in daily life is to become more and more honest with myself.
As I wonder about what it is that lurks behind my eyes, I tap into another world. Thinking about thinking moves me to a higher level of observation. The source of energy from where our thoughts come from, that is what I try to become. I am merging with the One. I will become an anti-hero, a character lacking all the qualities of the typical hero. These are my own Notes From Underground.
Being in confinement, I am at the mercy of the judicial system, the officers, and the tension level of other inmates. All I have to do in this jail house is eat, shit, sleep, write, read, and shower. I am waiting. I am still a vessel for Abraxas to brew thoughts in.
Andre Maurois tells us, “The need to express one’s self in writing springs from a maladjustment to life, or from an inner conflict, which the . . . . man cannot resolve in action.”
Rollo May expounds:
No writer writes out of having found the answer to the problem; he writes rather out of his having the problem and wanting a solution. The solution consists not of a resolution. It consists of the deeper and wider dimension of consciousness to which the writer is carried by virtue of his wrestling with the problem.
We create out of a problem. Our problem seems to be the horror of existence itself … and we wish for a solution.
The writer and the artist are not presenting answers but creating as an experience of something in themselves trying to work – to seek, to find, and not to yield. The contribution which is given to the world by painting or the book is the process of the search.
As you know by now, the problem I am concerned with is “How to get through a life not worth living.”
So far, writing about it is one of the strategies I employ in order to process my lived experience.