I see myself a historical shaman, for want of a better term, in that I engage with issues created historically and I bring to people’s attentions the issues they still have with history, which are causing them to live restricted and diminished lives.
So long as they are caught up in historical recrimination and retribution, they will be unfree. I was unfree in precisely that manner, which is why I benefited so much from Marechera. That is why I owed such a debt of gratitude to him.
When I first began writing my autobiography — over ten years ago — I wrote it with what now seems to be a naive notion in mind. I had made the assumption that people would be able to read it and simply know the difference between right and wrong. I believed implicitly that by simply telling my narrative in a straight way — as a narrative as such, and without additional commentary — that people would read between the lines and conclude something like: “This is not how humans should be treating one another.”
There were a lot of variables I hadn’t factored in, in making my earlier naive assumption. Some of them are as follows:
1. I had made my estimation based upon the moral finessing of relationships that people bring to the table when they identify each other as part of the same community. This was an overestimation of the strength of my position in life, since by virtue of being an immigrant, I was by no means an insider, to whom moral consideration would automatically be extended. As ancient texts show, there is always the tendency for human societies to polarise their morality in terms of dividing the world into “the humans” [us] and “the others” [those to whom human courtesies do not have to be extended]. I had presumed that I was more in the camp of the humans than in that of “those others”, but that was just from a position of feeling myself to be most human and worthy of consideration. It wasn’t how others felt.
2. The polarisation of contemporary Western society into factions of left and right makes it difficult for anyone to be heard who has something unique to say. Always the first question that anyone with a rudiment of education tends to ask themselves is: “Is this person speaking to me from a position of the left or the right?” Once this has been decided, everything else that a person says or writes about it interpreted within one of these two frameworks.
But there is very little that can be said, actually, when speaking on behalf of the populist left or populist right. Both positions tend to become entrenched as rigamortified opposites in relation to each other. At the populist level there is rarely an attempt to see the big picture any more. So, for instance, we have those on the right saying things like, “Education today is too soft. Children need to be taught about the possibility of failure.” On the surface, this sounds quite reasonable, but in reality this is an attempt to enforce a sadistic approach to teaching in opposition to the liberal “softly, softly” approach. Models of education thus become susceptible to intellectual gridlock, because discourse about educational models remains stuck at the ideological level.
The lowering of the standards of contemporary discourse to the level of political rhetoric, in turn, makes people very lazy. They become unable to respond to something that is new and original, without first trying to turn it into something they can already identity with — some hackneyed construct of left versus right or vice versa.
3. The contemporary nature of culture is that it is postmodern. This means that we no longer feel a need bother too much with psychology, or with a theory of other minds, when it comes to analysing data. Without an idea at hand that your mind is roughly similar to my mind, what somebody says is generally unbounded by general psychological limitations. What they intend to mean could be anything at all, in terms of this unbounded view. But as philosophers throughout the ages have pointed out, that something could logically mean anything at all in fact means it means nothing. In order to be able to mean something, we need to have some outer restrictions on the boundaries of possible meaning. If meaning is not grounded by common psychology, such as by a humanistic assumption of what it means to share a similar biology and therefore outlook, then a shared meaning is barely possible. Perhaps also your understanding of “discourse” is not going to be the same as mine, unless we also happen to be products of the same environment to begin with — which we are not.
If there are still people, today, confused by the Judeo-Christian ideology concerning original sin and how this constructs an ideology of narcissism, I think it important to make clear that focusing on the self is not the same as pathological narcissism.
I suddenly have a recollection about how there was a prolonged period in my life when I was significantly deprived of emotional resources to sustain myself. This had to do with being uprooted politically, historically and socially, in mid-adolescence and starting again in a different land under very different circumstances. After years of listlessness and failed attempts to find my way, I eventually alighted upon the method of directing all my available recourses to myself. I felt it necessary to save my own life, as people were becoming increasingly hostile toward me due to my failures and I had to do something as a matter of exteme urgency.
I shut down all other circuits and directed all my energy to getting engine thrust, so I could counteract the forces that were drawing me down toward the ultimate crash. That was deliberate selfishness on my part. But bear in mind that the energies I drew on were my own and that I did not attempt to plug into others to divert their energies into myself. That would have been totally against my ethics and my belief in developing a self worthy of survival.
Mike and I enjoyed a brilliant conversation, today, on the beach, going for our early morning run.
The issue was the differences in perpectives between people predisposed to a shamanic perspective and those who actively avoid one. It’s not just that some passively recoil in fear at some shamanic notions, but rather that a totally different mindset in the first place does not lend itself to some having shamanic notions.
In the end it surely comes down to physics. At least in Nietzsche’s sense, it does. Shamanism involves destruction and rebuilding, but if somebody senses that there is not enough within them to facilitate rebuilding, then shamanism has no positive side to offer them, only a grave negative. Destruction without rebuilding is like renovating whilst only completing half the job — the tearing down of elements. You want to rebuild again, but sorry, there is no money in the bank account.
That is why shamanic books are for the few. You have to be rich enough to afford devastation. Because it’s not just devastation you’re affording but the opportunity to rebuild.
When stated like this, I think the matter becomes very plain as to why many feel no pull toward intellectual shamanism. They implicitly recognise that they can’t afford it.
But there’s something else that goes on, too, which is that our value judgements are contorted by the dominant cultural set of values. We may use words that are suited to a set of values that automatically preclude entrance into shamanic experience.
I think both Nietzsche and Bataille would agree that there is enjoyment to be had in terror, specifically that terror relating to the danger of one’s self-destruction. This has to do with being able to withstand the terror and expand oneself in the process. Instead of contracting and being destroyed, one allows the frightful experience to enter ones bones so that one starts to grow from it.
But the language we use for people who initially encounter this terror is pejorative. We call them
“sensitive” or overwrought, thus precluding the possibility that they may rise to the occasion of their terror and learn and grow from it.
An example that came to mind, as I attempted to explain to Mike what obstructs our enjoyment of shamanic experience, was, fortuitously, and prosaically, a situation on a soap opera last night.
Here we have a middle-aged woman who contracts a soldier’s PTSD just be listening to him. Leaving aside whether this is a realistic scenario, or probably not, she has an episode of terror, involving an image of her husband who opens the fridge and then blows up.
We might leap to defend her psychical structure by remarking on how she needs to withdraw from her weirdness and not be so fragile and imaginative. That would be the normal reaction, as conditioned by the common-sense of the majority of people who do not have sufficient resources in their banks to afford a psychical reconstruction.
But consider it from a shamanic point of view. The boring suburbanite achieved a really dramatic and potentially life-changing experience at little cost to herself. She didn’t even need to go to Afghanistan. She only had to sit still for a while and listen. This psychical intrusion gave her a window that could lead to insight into whole dimensions she would not be able to experience. She could know a soldier’s life, experience the meaning of death, know mortality, understand the limits of suburbia and of conventional thinking all in the flash of a shamanic lesson.
It would not take longer than the lighning strike of this psychical intrusion to know much more than she had ever previously known.
The problem is the rebuilding. If she has the energy to do so, she would radically advance her knowledge and experience of the world.
Perhaps it would be unlikely, though, that a suburbanite would have those kinds of resources. She’d have to be exceptional among her ilk. But supposing she had the necessary recourses, then psychical tenderness would be the gateway to psychical toughness.
Chapter fifteen follows chapter fourteen in a consecutive order. Shamanism will be hard to follow for most people, just as life on the Sun would be, if you hadn’t experienced it yet. My reference points are Earthly, therefore I cannot understand why you are talking about the heat and the giant flames. If we had those here we would know about it. Therefore it is all inside your head.
But they can see the Sun, which isn’t in my head at all, they just can’t get there yet. And anyway it’s burning hot so we can understand why.
To be blissed out by a premature character development is most people’s lot. They may complain that they are badly shaped by authoritarian parents, but in fact it’s their blissed out condition that keeps them how they are, going along like good little boys and girls hoping for a reward in heaven.
That’s how I was too, completely overshadowed by a blissed out state. And really why not? Life when you first land on Earth is wonderful. Even the cruelest act of fate does not detract from the enjoyment of being a human being. But we are prematurely heartened and do not go far. We are happy little sunbeams solicited by Jesus for his works.
And so we take a lot of blows and harshness just to preserve the illusion that we’re blessed.
In French, blesser means to injure. So we are injured by our erotic embrace of life. Freud thought so too. You can’t be in that childlike happy state forever, but many people find it hard to get out of it. And believe me, no reality principle is going to help you here, not in a world of adults acting like children in their blissed out states. That is the principle of adaptation to further childishness.
Adults these days are still children and maybe that has always been true, although I think Hegel had it right when he said facing death was the key to gaining the upper hand, at least in relation to freedom, although it still leaves you with a half-personhood, requiring a reacquaintance with immanence.
But most of us have premature character structures, dwarf formations, because we hope to be rewarded by life in the manner in which we have become intoxicated with it.
I, for instance, never learned to fight until way into adulthood. So I had all of this pent up aggression, but a blissed out state just on the surface of it. I hoped to be rewarded by toeing the line. Anything for another hit — a prolongation of the blissed out state.
It isn’t angry parents that keep us down, it is our vegetative happiness. Those who create trouble and disorder in the world are your friends — heralds of your awakening. So Nietzsche said live dangerously and wake the hell up.
A child will even unreservedly embrace a vicious parent in order to keep his illusions that he’s blessed. This leads to strange events like dissociative personality disorder and a confusion between love and hate. The child is blissed out by love so much that he cannot recognise hate, not if it slaps him on the head.
And Western culture, too, has managed to find itself its own groove in a blissed out state, which is why literature is becoming increasingy childish. And those who read intellectual writing take it in only as a projection of their intellectual dwarfism.
For we are truly blissed.
Freud said the erotic fantasies of the child creates gender. The male child is blissed out by its mother, whilst the female child finds bliss in father figures. Thus a truncated character is created, which embraces only one side of the whole human equation. One becomes a boy or girl because one has been blissed out totally.
In the end you’ve got to take the raw material of your self and make something of it. And hostile people teach you how to do that. You find yourself fighting yourself and at odds with yourself and that is a fine thing! You lose your susceptibility for settling for a blissed out state. You gain the other side of your whole being back, which is (for women) the masculine dimension and (for men) the feminine arena. You have been blinded all your life by seeking out a state of bliss, but men do have a feminine dimension — and when they find it, they become irresistable seducers. And for women, too, the masculine dimension sets their minds and genitals on fire, supposing they can fight their blissed out states enough to find this energy within.
You reverse the dwarfism you accepted when you first became blissed. You become whole again, through undoing the error of allowing your susceptibility to bliss to take over your mind. For some this means denying God, for others one revokes an undiscriminating love for authority. In all, the hostile people will help you understand where you’ve allowed the bliss to settle, and by making it impossible for you to be just as you are, all dwarfed and covered in bliss, they will help you find your true self and be whole.
That is why Bataille’s writing is so violent. And why Nietzsche wanted us to build on the slopes of Vesuvius.
And why being violently attacked when you are at the point where you can barely handle it is your key to redemption.
Shamanic awakening can’t dispense with the violent elements of life, that will be used to wake you up.
You can’t be soft but must take violence into you, to counter your peaceable bliss.
And some people want to create dwarfist societies, where people are blissed out from the earliest age until the day we die. But that means being small and sad and lonely, and just a half human being (male OR female), and doing repetitive chores like clerical work until you die, because it’s easier that way, to keep believing in the bliss that comes to you after you die, rather than fighting yourself using violence and horrific measures.
And the only way to counteract the blissed out state is to take the violence in, internally.
A bitter medicine.
Shamanic initiation is nothing but it is ugly because you are fighting against your head to make your way to something fresh. It’s repulsive like boiling organs, putting them back into your body, nice and new. I can see how on the one side you are prone to glorifying something but on the other that very something spells your end. You glorify your boss, or past or parents or the great blue sky, I mean the nation or your work or power or the people or something like that.
It’s repulsive to the viewer and revolting to the one being initiated, because humans tend to glorify what limits them. These limitations give us consciousness, as GWF points out, which was before he got his horns and married Helga. When a power system comes along and tells us we are limited, we want to marry it and have its children. That is how that goes.
So all forms of worship lead to atrophying. You and me and all our children. That is how that goes.
Destroy the reverential consciousness and you release the soul. But lots of people do not realize it.
They want to revere and love and hope and break themselves on their unrealized dreams. It’s noble but it isn’t Neechy and it isn’t realistic.
Don Juan said face down death and you will release the life force from its grasp. This may be difficult to do because you’re breaking your own head, which is why most people don’t want to do it, but that’s the shamanic way.
It is disgusting.
I didn’t want to do it but other people broke me down instead of me, praise Allah. I am here now and that’s that. It wasn’t pretty but I made it, WTF. I can’t believe it isn’t butter. I’d write better, but this isn’t my day.
I’m not that bright but from what I can tell, the clasp of death is maintained through our seeking of glory or more aptly through our preemptive assumption to recognise it long before it appears. If we worship women we will die because of woman and God has our death sentence in his own good hands as well.
But if we worship nothing we will free the elements of eros from the death that bind us. That will be life-giving.
But we are a reverential form of creature. Genuine? said Nietzsche. That would be the person who goes to the desert and breaks his reverential heart. You worship things and they will limit you — and we all do…blissed out by our childhood experiences.
Not following the path set out for me made me the kind of person that I am today (on the waterfront). I can’t imagine it — if I had not discovered shamanic doubling, if I had not sent out my shadow self to rescue my heartsore self – what kind of person would I be today?
I caught sight of it slightly. My father came in one day and he made a statement about me, that he had found some guy at work who was quite lonely and a little sad. He’s like to match me up with him, since presumably I was lonely and a little sad. (You will have to bear in mind that you are hearing all of my father’s perspective in this, since I have not added my own, so these are his views you are taking in and maybe they could take you in as well, if you’re not careful — each one to his own.)
But anyway, I said, well how old is this guy, and he said, not that old, which meant, I would imagine that he was a little old or seemingly pathetic from a certain view.
And so I said, no that would be okay, because I didn’t want to be the handout my father was prepared to give to some guy he had found at work who looked a bit sad and pathetic.
But I also had my own life that was hidden from his view, and I had met a guy, it didn’t matter how old he was because I was thinking shamanically now.
But I imagine if I hadn’t been and if I had allowed myself to be browbeaten, beaten down, I would have ended up not with this one guy but with someone remarkably similar, a victim of the social order, cut down and sad and getting on in age and all sorts of lonely, victim of my father’s philanthropic good will (he and/or I).
Because linear people age so quickly, with their one track notions and their inability to jump the rails and simply be somewhere else at the same time. Mike may be decades older than I but I’m not that much his junior. I found him online.
But I couldn’t tell anyone that, no yet, because it would have been subject to dry, clerical corruption. I had to wait and bide my time. Keeping secrets.
People age when they conform to idiocies. I would have been a grey old nurse, tending my flowers, but not so much in the sharklike sense and more demure, accommodating.
Ah yes, if I had not shed my skin. Ah yes.
I would have had the old indentity no longer functional ……outgrown because rhodesia was outgrown but still the same as evah.
So this is your identity and don’t change it because. Original sin. (It means no changing of identities half-way; no shamanizing, which we call jumping the tracks.)
I guess that kind of linear life is good for some folks, very rational, very motionless compared to leaping all around, but not much to it if you trust the system to take care of you.
You end up just a little bit demented — marrying people because you take pity on them, rather than living your life.
Which was the life my father had planned out for me, because he felt it right to offer drops of charity to others, which included just his fellow man.
So I sort of felt like I’d done battle with a thousand things, even though I probably hadn’t, it was just inside my head. Coz first there were the types that wanted to control my mind including my emotional states and then there were the right wing types who felt I’d hurt them with my grave disgrace and then some other types as well that thought that ladies were just silly, all inside their heads, and other types as well.
I guess a weakened state is what attracts them — these types. So I got to know these types. I guess they got to know me as well, but not in a deep way and much more opportunistically. So we were on familiar terms and they could report on me if they felt like it.
WE LIVE IN A DEMOCRACY.
So if you see something suspicious or not quite right you should go round telling other people. Coz that is right.
I tell you though, I couldn’t tell Arthur from Martha, I guess I got my gender issues all screwed up, because I thought I’d have a say, a little whiny say, perhaps a squeeky little feminist say after all.
I thought so, too. A democracy.
But I couldn’t have my say. I stubbed my toe and now the world NEEDED TO KNOW. I hurt my feeling and it fled from me. I’ve no idea where it’s living now.
So I was pretty stressed about things, to put it in a mild light. All my body was fucked up and everything.
I had to put myself on an extremely restricted diet — only bland foods for you from now on — and still my stomach swelled like a balloon both day and night.
And that was that.
I’d had a good life. I’d learned a lot. I think my best life was in Africa, not here. But that was then and this is now. I had to bridge myself into reality.
which kept on trying to elude me.
Because this is now and that was then.
(I understand how much this can be irritating.)
So I did the defensive warfare thing from my fox hole. Or my pot hole or whatnot.
That’s how I did it for a number of years, Buying time to figure it all out.
Because my father was furious with me. HUGE DISGRACE. My buttock.
He would rage and rage about it, even in my head.
A huge and crying shame.
Learning right from wrong in defensive warfare. This could take some time.
I didn’t have a Western psyche and would have to build one.
This would take some time.
A character that feels itself — well this is very different from a feeling type of character. I wish to let you know. That’s the problem with coming at things from different angles, let us say 180 degrees. Because there are those who feel themselves excessively, one must be led to presume. I mean, I hear it all the time, that there are people like that and I notice it, too, for instance when they claim that service people haven’t catered to them quite enough, or whatnot.
So there are those who orient the world around themselves, rather than counter-directionally. So if you do something, they think you’re doing it against them personally, or whatnot. When you aren’t exactly, because their thoughts and perceptions never entered you mind. I had an office worker come up to me one time. She said don’t you know that Eliza is watching you and monitoring you and actually she is making out her daughter is competing with you, because she is jealous of whatever you are doing, for instance your skydiving and your philosophy and she is now boasting that her daughter does this too, for instance, bungee jumping and philosophy, for look she’s got a philosophy book sitting on her desk. And true enough she had a William James one, and I was reading Nietzsche around this time for I was going out of my mind. She had this tome and it just sat upon her desk, but all my Neechy books had been into the bath with me, not once but umpteen times, and that is why their pages had spread out like a fan and the spine was starting to disintegrate and some pages came loose. Eliza’s book was thick and firm.
So clearly she was watching me and surreptitiously competing, so she must have thought about my thoughts a lot quite probably, although who knows. I think she was a feeling type alright although a type like any other. But these types can try to get inside your head.
She told me she was trying coz she picked on little things about my work, not once but every day, and talked to me as if I were a reckless child, which wasn’t true, except in the case of the philosophy books.
It was kind of strange.
But there was a spying racket in that place and things about me kept on being reported. Very strange.
It almost seemed like they were trying to climb into my head. Those feeling types. Or not. But anyway.
My head was full of thickets.
Trying to get my head around the Neechy.
If I didn’t then the pressure would keep building. As I pressed it down to stop me feeling. I was not a feeling type, but working on my adaptation.
Two things I noticed.
1. My processes were not linear and methodical but abstract and therefore associative. Bad clerical worker hencely, down dog down.
2. My alleged superiors who probably were for all I knew but I wasn’t quite sure then were keen to monitor…not so much my work, but what was in my head and they were very keen to know about that. They really deeply needed more compliance and subservience and not so much cool getting on or cool fucking up or whatever it is I was doing, as I was not cut out to be a clerical worker. I kid you not.
Two things I concluded.
1. I need to come down on myself more heavily to push my mind into a linear, methodological mode, since my mind was not taking to it. Bad dog.
2. I had to let these people into my head. Or they were going to keep attacking me with petty points. They had to have complete control over my head, or else. The whittling and combative moral criticism about what they alleged might be inside my head. Or not. The case may be.
From all angles considered, Western adaptation was not going to be easy. Not a piece of cake not a walk in the park or anything. really.
This whole adaptation business was taking a fair chunk out of me. Wearing me down. And particularly my emotions. Which I couldn’t feel yet.
Harsh Christianity had worked its charm like DDT on a minor cockroach species. My head.
So I was trying to do the Western adaptation thingie.
Indications were to follow those two principles, which were abstractive and naturally non-linear.
Naturally — they came from my head.
And then some things came from my body, such as the pressure to adapt, for I was overheating. all that superego nuclear intensity. From being brought up in Rhodesia and surviving a war. That came from my body, my digestion, oooh, aaah, eeeeh!
I was losing it for sure. My body.
It was shutting down right under me. (Ooh. Aaah.)
In any case, my emotions were red hot. And suddenly went white. Oooh–hooo. I felt them temporarily before they slid over a cliff. Then I was soaring. Literally. Ooh-Aaah. Well not then, as the case may be. But still I felt it. Something in me was emotionally soaring. I had got emotions under me at last. Oooh-Aaaah.
But still, they’d got into my head by then, did I forget to mention? So it felt a bit like mind-rape in a sense, although I undertand that notion isn’t physically realistic. Still, that’s what it felt like after all this time. Because I’d cry for absolutely nothing and I’d lost my stoicism by then, ah, and oooh.
I should write a book about it some day.
Anyway, that’s when my whole digestion totally collapsed and I could not eat solid food. I guess I had resorted to a baby mind because I felt like it. Ah! and Me!
I guess I made some weird decisions in my life, but I kept on reading Nietzsche. He made sense bit by bit. But by this time my body had evaded me. Its processes were AWOL. I couldn’t bring themn back no matter what I tried, which was frustrating.
I still had my mind, but it was emptied out and kind of like a gang rape, I’d imagine, even though I’d never noticed or experienced one.
So I had to figure it out but this could take days or weeks or months even years. I’d have to get this from the Neecha, all the answers I’d been craving for two decades of my life.
That’s what kept me on reading philosophy, because needed to, to come to the rescue of my body, which had all but totally abandoned me. Right here, right now. A mild irritation, China. Don’t mention it, Old Chap.
Talk about a shamanic invasion. By spirits. But not of the most pleasant sort.
So I wrote a book although I have no idea of it now. It was supposed to communicate…something…to someone. I had that in mind and I am pretty sure of it.
I had some strange notions about matters in those days for sure, because I thought of society as an organism that was somehow organically united, because that was how I had experienced it until that time. Rightly or wrongly.
God, I had some weird notions in those days. I thought writing was communication and that ideas came across.
I surely hadn’t drunk enough wine or I would have realized differently. I guess.
We’re all hypnotised in some way or another and we cannot think unless we get the vino veritas in us and then we speak the truth but only for
This is a pathetic excuse!
I have yet to do the extreme nosedive thing some day I suppose.
This is called incoherency. It matters.
In Australia, you have no idea about male bonding.
There is no rigidity, you see.
I didn’t like it that the aussies interfered in “our” selective provocations to prolong the war, but what are you to do an aussie is an aussie.
I can’t make head nor tail of this and nor can you.
That is the great relief that binds my day.
You may see them sooner than you realize.
With the dawning of the new moon!
When you speak it really does matter whom you want to speak to. For instance, when I look at lots of stuff, directed at Americans, I can make head nor tail of that stuff. I mean it is supposed to be good, or something, but the ideological matrix is so different. They’ve got their heads stuffed up their metaphysics, and I cannot help them.
In the same way, follow a British crime drama and watch the psychological subtlelties. Then follow one from the US and watch the moral preachiness and presumption to know all. An all-knowing God is the dominant narrative for USA culture. The more you can affect a quality of being all-knowing, the more impressive you become. At the same time as you become more phony.
Or there is the demand that every speech has to carry with it its own mode of self-justification. This is a phallacy developed by those who live in the biggest powerhouse of the world, so they presume that justifying oneself is easy. But they confuse self-justification on the basis of power (i.e. that one never feels a strong, intense need to vindicate oneself so long as one has power) with intellectual argumentation. I can sit around and justify myself all day. Just give me a power fortress. Let the range of the power of my kind extend as far as my eye can see. That way I will give you a rhetorical argument.
Failing this, the capacity for my argumentation to reach you will be limited. I’m just a small power after all, and my boundaries are quite weak. In power terms.
Anyway, my butt is rather big, though, which is one thing. I believe it’s Portuguese, Latina, or some such thing although I’ve never addressed it directly.
Also I’m getting elderly, but in most ways that seems a positive. The greatest revelation of the day is that some people do not want you to be helped. For instance by Georges Bataille. Even if they realize his reasoning, that his texts are full of anti-fascism and even an antidote to strict authoritarianism, they do not want his engineering model to prevail. Because that is what it is. He is trying to re-engineer the human psyche. Rather, they demand that — well, as Nietzsche said — there should be tarantulas and punishment and moral vindication. Just a moralistic paradigm.
No soul-restructuring. No re-engineering.
You have no idea how indifferent that makes me feel.
It’s all about feelings.
My feeling was hurt. (I say this in a most unWestern manner.)
I had one and you stamped it out. So now I have none — and no attempt at moral self-justification either.
Once I had a feeling, now it’s gone, made it race against time.
So, where was I?
If You Are Still Not Sick to Death With Affirmative Consent | Clarissa’s Blog:
My conditionioning to only have mild or positive emotions was much more extreme than most. My father used to get visibly distressed if I expressed the mildest degree of negativity or hestitation. Perhaps that is one way to look at my life. When I’ve previously tried to relate this in writing, so that I could understand it myself, people automatically sided with him, it seemed, because if he said I was being cheeky to him, people concluded that this was so. It wasn’t though — I was always incredibly mild. And I didn’t know how to read adult emotions, because I wasn’t exposed to the due depths of feeling my parents had about anything. I experienced sometimes an overheating of their emotions, second-hand, but never had anything explained to me in rational or even conventional language.
For instance, when I was betwen primary school and high school, the regime in my country changed. Many families began to leave the country at that point, and my friends were not around so much anymore, although I didn’t really notice it since I was very used to amusing myself during the holidays.
But what I didn’t understand is that my parents wanted to buy Christmas cards for their friends that still had the word, “Rhodesia”, on it. At least, as you might see right now, I am attempted to furnish their behavior with a rational explanation.
In any case, they were going up and down the aisles of the charity warehouse and couldn’t seem to settle on any particular pack of cards, so I got weary. It seemed like they had been up and down there for almost an hour. So I asked if we were going yet as I was getting tired.
My father glared at me and asked whether or not I had friends I might like to send cards to and I told him that at the moment I didn’t have such friends that I could send any cards to (this was factual).
He then flew into a rage and threatened to belt me for my insolence. I was about 12.
Now, people might think that conventional emotions are a closed book to me, and for a long time they were, because I was always getting threatened for the mildest responses I gave to parental questioning. I really had no idea how others thought, especially my parents.
And this was very bad, because they eventually taught me to feel guilty for saying literally nothing at all. That was considering demonic and viewed as me emanating bad vibes and bringing down the standards in the house.
For a long time, then, I was silenced. And then things reached a tipping point after I was bullied at work, and I realized I had to do something to save myself. I figured out since I had been implying yes all the time, I should just start saying no. After that, whenever anybody demanded that I go along with their program, inside my head I just said no. I had no knowledge as to whether my declination of demands was reasonable or not, but I knew that it was now a matter of saving my life to be able to become habituated to saying no. I was learning the other side of the dialectic, that would enable me to live an adult life.
Unfortunately, though, I was still extremely naive, plus another unfortunate thing — I’d had some education by now (my BA). My education wasn’t working for me, because I would speculate or hypothesize as to why my parents did as they did. But once you start to try to make sense of it, you furnish them with reasons that seem rational enough, because of course you are trying to find a rational explanation for the poor behavior. But by furnishing their behavior with possible rational meanings, you give others the impression that you already knew that your OWN behavior was out of line because it makes it seem (wrongly) as if you implicitly understood the parent’s point of view, but disregarding rational reasons in any case. The more I tried to explain the dire situation I was in, the more I made their strange ways seem justified.
That was terrifying. Like sinking deeply into quick sand. The more I struggled, the deeper I would sink.
The only way I could prevent myself from being totally swallowed up was to extend my ability to say “no” to those who had heard my story and had automatically taken my parents’ side. That was really hard to do, as I was losing friends and allies, but I knew that I was saving my own life and so I had to do it.. That was really hard to do, as I was losing friends and allies, but I knew that I was saving my own life and so I had to do it.
Talk about character-building.
I did free myself completely though, although at the cost that my whole life was absorbed in this struggle primarily, for at least a couple of decades. It would have been nice if feminists, at least, had sided with me. It would not have cost them all that much.
I did escape from the conditioning you get under an extreme right wing, militarized culture, but that was because I had begun to suffer so much that my circumstances had become unbearable enough for me to have to act decisively.
NB. I was physically absent from Western culture for the first 15 years of my life, but that can give the impression of not noticing important things – as if you were actually present in person, but preoccupied with yourself. I still insist that between 1968 and Jan 1984, I remained in Africa.
I knew great shame at having lost something great, like I’d personally misplaced it or something. I still have that sensation, as if I had dropped it somewhere, gone to sleep and it had been a match and burned down my whole living quarters. Except I hadn’t been asleep. Except I felt as if I had had.
There’s no going to a therapist for these kinds of misplaced countries. I had it here somewhere, I know I did. It’s a bit embarrassing, but also you can’t find the words to cover it, really, because each time you draw the stitches of the weakend fabric over you, another part of you gets more exposed, like your behind.
Modernity caters in simple structures. Like misplaced minds. It doesn’t bargain on larger geographical areas.
So the only way to make it cater was to act as if I were a geographical area. I’m sorry, Sir, I lost my consciousness and dissassociated somewhat, on a plane trip, taking me here. Before that, I had another mind and now I have this one. I know that they are still the same and nothing’s changed around here, therefore it must be my subjective impression or something. I’d had whole geographic tracts to roam across but when I woke up these were gone. Is there some way that you can get them back for me? Perhaps hypnosis?
Coz nothing exists like the individual and the individual is no existence at all. Or failure.
Sorry, I lost myself a bit there.
But I think it was the plane trip that confused the narrative of my story. It divided my mind, for sure, for after that there was the past and there was the future, but there was no in-between. An essence that holds you fast, in order to maintain the link between the future and the past was gone. I might have looked for it–it simply wasn’t there.
So my mind slipped out at that point, I would fathom on the plane trip making its migratory circuit. This would be impossible for modern minds to understand.
That the essence of me simply dropped out of me.
It was at a point in crossing from A to B.
That’s when I lost touch with the geographical, historical and political region. But to keep it simpler, for the sake of Moderns, I will say I LOST PART OF MY MIND.
So, after that I was in a dissociated state of mind, due to my plane trip, which had taken part of me and not replaced it with another part.
I mean my mind, which had been one mind was no longer a whole mind but two, with one part in one country and another in another. But to keep it simpler, for modern minds, let’s just say I had a lapse of concentration which occurred whilst I was travelling.
After that, I didn’t remember the same geographical place anymore and even the setting and political structure had been altered. But before that, everything had been largely consistent and easier to relate to.
So my mind must have dropped out at some point over the Indian Ocean. Otherwise, I would be seeing two countries as being one and same. But they still seemed different to me, so something strange must have occurred.
And probably it was the lack of focus. I’ve never been noted for my attentiveness. The pain of what is real is so intense in that I start to see all sorts of different continents and my mind swings to wild beliefs about a manner of assorted things and items.
One of which I happen to have lost. I might have dropped it here, close by to me. I am a klutz in that manner.
Oh, yes, here it is.
My mind apparently. But once again (and only) from a limited perspective.
So I’d lost my mind and had to search for it again. And thus began MY SHAMANIC JOURNEY.
I said, “I will give you all the bait you need to trap me, because that must be really an unpleasant task. Indeed. I can’t imagine who would choose it.”
So I put some out there, which was ok, and an ape fell in and that was okay too, because until then I’d not realized there was an ape. But there were three or more.
Advanced shamanism is giving people enough rope to hang you with and then watching the fanfare, as they go beserk. I’m not there anymore I’ve moved along, but I still seem as if I’m there when I am down the river.
So some ape fell in and that was ok and then another one too. And that was ok too.
In reality there are outlines of things that fit a shape that some might call a figment of a limited imagination.
You see my figure but you can’t make out my form. And then you fall. Into the river.
Thus showing that the human form is the hardest one to see of all of them.
Some stop time in different ways and in some the river of life flows all the way through, but most stop time to try to get a handle on it, to try to trade in raw equivalences, when the going gets tough and they become confused. Thus some rise from and some fall into the spiritual middle class. That can feed itself in no other way than by drawing rough equivalences. It will draw them all the time and mostly on the basis of language and what it evokes from their pasts. But what it evokes is an issue of being stuck in time, just as memory draws on the past, not from the future. A “child” to me is what you were or my friend was, when we were both children, but it may not be a metaphor or an ironic junction in ideas. It has to be a simple and straight-forward equivalence that makes you middle of the middle.
But if the river flows right through you and continues on then you are free indeed. Most people are stuck in time. But also because others trap them.
Beware of the middle of the middle, where everything is as it used to be. Most people are trapped there, to some extent or other.
If you think you know me, what equivalent would you be measuring me by? It may be something from your memory, in which case, you’re stuck in time.
A river has to flow through somebody and in them.
If you think you know me and I am more of a river than you, then you do not. By some other token, if I think I know you but you are a river, well then pardon me, I’m, bowing out. The only people that can honestly be known are those who have been rendered stuck in time. But we may dishonestly know them if we’re of the middle of the middle.
A sticky proposition. To allow oneself to be known.
One would have to be a rough and rude thing to begin with — or else very forgiving.
Irony and delicious metaphor are words not having their raw equivalence in language, therefore these are upper crust modalities. To demand that words never change their meanings, that their meanings are always fixed and secure, is to demand a higher degree of safety than the world can offer you. Or rather. You can get that sense of safety, but it will come at the cost. That cost is you will be penned in, curtailed, held back, restrained behind your body of language. Stuck in the body and can’t get out, the spirit cannot soar or even shout. But some demand that they should never be confused, that woman always means a woman means a woman and man always means a mean man, meaning means a man.
It has to mean the same as how they got stuck when they were six and there was gender in the classroom and the teacher kept things feeling normal so that everyone felt sane.
But some people stop time at different points than others. Take this one case, for instance. When I first migrated, I had no idea that most people had stopped time in 1979. So I’d gone living through that time until the start of 1984 and I’d experienced communism and Korean samp and all manner of things like desegregation, which wasn’t really different from what else I had experienced until then, since everything I’d known had been quite novel.
But the people told me I had only know apartheid and that I’d been living in South Africa, so they stopped time and relocated me, and then forced me to deal with new dimensions of time I’d never encountered before. And they didn’t even tell me they’d switched time, either. They just relocated it without asking me.
Because I suppose they thought a white means white means white, and everyone who tells them otherwise is tricking them. Eliminate nuance. But you eliminate historical reality as well. That’s the way that works. For each of us is in a stream and if you stop time you will have to deal with that, deal with the confusion and the fall out and the anger and aggression that will come about from stopping time.
You’ve got to let it flow and life continue really. Even if we find ourselves in different streams.
You can’t stop time to catch fish or to make them pay. Because you will catch yourself out and pay instead, believe me. I should know.
Your fish is not your fish is not a fish.
But elevated people speak ironically and metaphorically, which makes them hard to catch!
To be honest and why not, the gender qustion neither interests not intrigues me anymore. I’d sooner shoot them all and let God (Horus) sort them out. That’s the only way to get at the real essences. You’ve got to dig deep into the true natures and that can only be done when dust returns to dust, spirit to spirit. I’m on fire.
I don’t really care what the Yankee does because he cannot beat me except in a duel and the one trump card I still have is that I’m already dead.
So puff on that.
I’ve seen the most splendiforous things and yet I’m always on the edge of dying — orgasmic overload.
You mean you want to hammer people into a gender, I want to see you do it.
I’d like that a lot because I’m on the verge of tipping over and I’d like some rauckous comedy, so let’s made it intense.
I want to see the Yankee belting the shit out of Itself. One “gender” against another: a home divided.
I am repelled by my other half. It takes me to the edge of crisis.
And I’m already dead.
I stopped the process of going mad after a while, but it took me a few days — days that went into weeks. But I stopped it deadly in its tracks after a while. What’s missing is a sense of revelatory truth — but if we view the truth as relative, for instance different for those who make time stand still in a different way from how one makes it stand still — then we’re onto something.
For instance, time never stood still for me in a conservative manner. I never entertained the notion that today was like the day before that went all the way back to the inception of Western society. That was never my impression. Thus the relativism. I’ve also been under the suspicion that time was golden and magical really. I thought I could bend it and it would take me where I wanted to go. In many ways it has, although it’s slippery like a dragon’s back and you can fall off it. What then you ask.
But this notion that we do not fundamentally change, because we are the way we were back then, whenever, that to me seems like a lie. At least the stories aren’t convincing. People who cannot get close up but say you’re just as you were when you were fifteen. Well that was the age I had a horse still, although not so much, as she was getting on in years. So then I got another and that is the one that I went galloping on.
But some people say its all the same like it’s all happening right now, and nothing really altered. You have your character structure, only this time disembodied from the horse, and you’re still falling off it. Can’t sit on straight.
Coz they see things, some people, really really see, like things that finished long ago, but they still see them. But anyway I never broke an arm of leg, although there was this one time when my horse was getting old.
On the day, it had been raining quite heavily, a beautiful thunder strorm and warm water gushing, but it made the red mud slippery, and I had to take care. And so I went along the grass in a kind of canter, when I suddenly felt a jolt like as if the horse suddenly stood still. One knee suddenly buckled and the horse’s nose pecked to the ground and I knew I was falling and the horse was falling too, on top of me. This was a time when time slowed down and things were looking bad. So I relaxed my body, thinking all my ribs were going to be crushed and Honey fell on top of me. And winded me. She was quite heavy. Then she rolled and stood up and all this time I was fine. I did get rolled in mud a bit and then the horse was spooked and ran away, nose bleeding, up someone else’s drive and I went looking for her.
But that was beautiful because I’d made it, even though I knew by then my horse was getting old, but she was still doing the best she could for me.
So time slowed but it didn’t stop and that allowed me to take in a breath and not be crushed, but to relax my body for the fall that was about to come.
And that was then and this is now. Because back then the time stood still, but now it keeps on going.
It’s possible to live very close to somebody and not know them. Supposing time stands still for me. Aye, there’s the rub. I’m going to stop it at a certain point and proceed no further. So it could stop when you are eight or it could stop when you are fifteen, but I not going to tell you. You have to find out.
Ah! Shamanism is being in the stream of life, nothing more. If you’re stuck at a certain point, or parts of you got stukken at some point, then you’re not going any further. But the stream moves on and eventually you must catch up with it. Do it how you like. I do not care. My own way was not to care but to swim. I liked it best when I could splash around a lot. But now I have become …Germanic.
But if you get stuck, do not worry. Just keep up some motion and somebody is bound to find you there. When I was a child, I used to go to school my horse and my teacher said it doesn’t matter how many times that horse bucks you off. You’ve got to get back on that horse. But the shift from trot to canter never worked out on that horse. That horse had three speeds. It could walk and it could trot. And then its final speed, which I experienced once, was a straight out gallop. That’s because this horse was afraid of being left behind. By another horse. But this horse had only a tiny paddock and would never gallop. Except on this day he did. So my friend, Nicky, said, do you want to canter back across the vlei. I said sure I did. So she began cantering and then suddenly it became a race. I don’t know how it became a race but it did. And my father said, if a horse is ever running away with you, you need to grind hard on the bit, first to the left and then the right and he will stop. But this horse didn’t. And his body was like a barrel because he never used to run, a very stiff and jaunty barrel. It was like a barrel contracting and expanding through the air, and I held on tightly for I was bareback and I almost felt as if the barrel would move faster under me than I was moving and I would fall off any minute, but that didn’t seem to happen. And we went straight for an ant hill, me holding tufts of mane to steady myself. Then a last minute swerve and after two or three minutes, I still hadn’t fallen off.
But that was then and this is now. And now I don’t go racing round on horseback through a semi-rural suburbia. I don’t cross the vlei, although I once did.
And the teacher said, although he bucks you off each time you ask him to canter, we can still try and he might learn, so we went around the school, trot, trot, trot, and she asked the horse to canter. She said, “canter-on” and so I gave the signal and the horse put his head down and bucked me off again. And so the teacher said, keep his head up next time, and so I tried it, but the horse kept his head up and bucked me off. And each time I got a bit more gravel embedded in my hand, although I said I was okay, and felt a little shaken.
That was then and this is now. I don’t have a horse but I have my sanity. I ride around on it and push it to top gear.
But I didn’t get stuck at that time when I was one or two, I don’t think that characterizes my identity. Although it would be infantalising to think so. Which is probably a good thing, if one’s trying to get power.
It’s just an intellectual concept really, notions and paradigms that don’t catch up with reality. So I didn’t fall off on that day, although I was breathless. And on that day, I realized life was truly beautiful and that although I could see the turf I crossed over I loved it very much.
It just went too quickly. So I got off my horse and patted him down, and he was sweating like a monster, afraid of being left behind. I brushed him down and took care of him.
And my mother bought me an ice-cream although her mind was elsewhere and didn’t know what this was to celebrate although I did. I never had an ice-cream. In Borrowdale. That was rare.
And so I didn’t fall off on that day, although I could have. Because I had fallen off many times before and this was my lucky day.