Friday, October 07, 2011

A Fall morning

It may be that the date on the calendar makes me expect it, but there's a bit of a chill in the air this morning. Funny thing about San Francisco weather. In the summer, the mornings are temperate and it gets cold later in the day. In the fall and winter, the mornings are chilly, but things warm up later. I do like autumn mornings.

Re-read Lee Harris' review of Brokeback Mountain, which both as short story and film I love. Well, maybe love is not the right word. Reading the story and watching the film left me transfixed.

I miss Harris' writing; a very thoughtful and articulate right of center man who shares his life with another man. Since his last book on the Tea Party, The New American Civil War, I have not found much of him on line. Harris makes the point that the characters in the so-called gay cowboy romance were not gay. (Lesbian righty Tammy Bruce also made the unaccountably bitchy point, over and over, that they were not cowboys either, but merely sheep herders.) Although their lifelong love affair began in the pre-Stonewall era, Jack and Innis would certainly have been aware of the appearance of the gay culture. And they never made a move toward it. He argues that their rejection of being "queer", quickly but definitely announced, came from their identity as men. To become either queer or gay would have made them unrecognizable as men in their own eyes. And imploded the story.

Androphilia made the same point about gay identity and manhood. Years ago I was impatient with my AIDS organization's outreach to MSMs, Men who have Sex with Men but who did not identify as gay or with the gay community. I was at the stage in my coming out where my attachment to the gay community with practically tribal. In those primitive years, the coalition was just "gay and lesbian". The sexual Frankenstein of LGBT,etc. had not yet been assembled in the lab. And I still assumed (I think) that at the heart of it all was men loving men. But over the years, as always, I found myself working myself toward the margins. Nowadays I'd really rather be one of those MSMs.

Harris has been called "the philosopher of 9/11". He understands Islam. BTW, Muslims in Spain are demanding that dogs be excluded from public spaces and are poisoning them. And in Switzerland, they want the cross taken off the flag. The West needs no more Muslims. Not one more. On the contrary.

Reflecting on the various twists and turns of my life, I suggest an epitaph for my tombstone: "What was he thinking?!"

Struck me funny. On the website of conservative Jewish commentator Dennis Prager, whom I often like, this offering of an mp3 download
"Why Is It So Hard To Be Good?" We all want to be good -- better than we are. Then, why is it so hard? Dennis identifies the key challenges that hold us back. And offers practical solutions.

So American. And if he weren't a Jew, Pelagian. Key challenges and practical solutions!  :)

Reading up on shame, occasioned by some clinical work. If you think guilt is rough, try shame. And yet it is an integral part of the human psyche, serving its purposes. We would not, I think, be homo sapiens without it. Right there in Genesis. It's one of the strengths of Jung's psychology that he recognizes even the most difficult and dark regions of our soul as natural parts of our soul rather than alien pathologies. He supports a far less grand version of Aquinas' saying that "grace does not remove nature but perfects it." Individuation does not remove nature but becomes conscious of it. I got from reading him --a grandly imperfect man--what I never really got from the Gospels: permission to be human.


Anonymous said...

So astonishing a peripety, though: "permission to be human." No mere animal needs, seeks, desires, could understand permission for its nature merely. As though being merely human is felt by humans to be a failure. Perhaps it is. "Human, all-too-Human"?

What does this permission from Jung amount to? Freud in a way gives such permission, granting that man's nature is sublimation! ... The "Last Man" in Thus Spokek Zarathustra is the man whose self-transcendence is to give up self-transcendence, thus no longer to have to be a man.

In Genesis 1 God must _commmand_ even mere 'male and female' man, made by God in his image, to be fruitful and multiply, as he doesn't have to command the fish of the sea, the fowl of the air, and the cattle and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

And then in Genesis 2-3, the Sabbath work of Jehovah while God rests [Noahs], the understanding of good and evil by man and woman: but supposing that it could only happen that Adam would eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil receiving from Eve, and that by this 'necessity' it really has been okay that sin and original sin be the walkable Tao, I suppose that Jehovah needn't have bother'd with Genesis 2. (Karl Barth implies this, I think, with his argument that "Esau" or idolatry was necessary, and in "Jacob" arrives merely the annihilation of the idolatry: the Zodiacal coats of skins of animals made by Jehovah to cover Adam and Eve fig-leaf aprons are torn away?)

Whatever the arrangement of Genesis 1 was, that was enough. Somehow the ready, walkable Tao is sufficient; if the eternal or true tao only gives permission for the ready, walkable Tao, then the ready, walkable Tao [mimesis?] is the true, eternal tao — something to do as a pathway to the vista of nothingness, the glory of the everything system. (But for this, "non-being" must not be seen in nothingness; nothingness must be true being.)

Possibly in that vista for "their own eyes," the sheepherder MSM [men who have sex with men; main stream media, medea?] "are unrecognizable as men." ... Doesn't Jung say that Anima is the inner Self of men?

But then why "Egypt"? Egypt was already an improvement, perhaps the "perfection of naturing" simply. As we know from Freud on Ikhnaton, and the Old Testament, great longings for more than 'permission to be human' stir in Egypt. ... Someone in a dialogue by Plato reports that the Egyptians as old men (cf Jung's red book self-portrait) look (sc with envious paid-erastia) on Greeks as boys (paides). Accordingly, the anti-OT side of the West feels and thinks that the Greeks (not the Egyptians) best dream'd the dream of life or naturing.

Twain: God or rather 'our Heavenly Father' "invented [sent from the world into this world, from the olam or the coming olam into this olam] man because he was disappointed in the monkey." ... Before "in the BE-ginning" (was) mimesis? If to be human is to do not ratios or logoi but a Tao of what will turn out to be later re-interpreted as mere imitation, then disappointment with the monkey will have to be accepted unto the ages of the ages.

Anonymous said...

"I got from reading him --a grandly imperfect man--what I never really got from the Gospels: permission to be human."

Oh, those humans! They are smart enough to be self-aware, and to develop complex philosophies about there own nature -- yet dumb enough to believe highly _false_ philosphies about their own nature. They are capable of using their most energetic creativities in becoming ever more removed from reality.

What is to be done with them? Eliminate them? Confine them? Replace them? Merely tolerate them?


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