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Month: August 2010

The So-Called Meaning Of Life

The So-Called Meaning Of Life

Have we, as Westerners, placed too much emphasis on the idea of meaning? We’re always asking, What is the meaning of life? Perhaps this is not really the correct question to be asking. Inquiring into the meaning of life seems, in this day and time, to be an exercise in futility. I question whether this practice was ever a fruitful endeavor. Meaning in life infers that there is a goal to be attained. You start out your life here, and,…

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Hades, Ruler of the Underworld

Hades, Ruler of the Underworld

Hades, as we all know, is the god of the Underworld. At his birth, he was devoured by his father, Kronos, along with his four siblings. Later, his brother, Zeus, forced the Titan god to vomit forth his children. This led to a great war on the Titan gods, whereby they were vanquished to the dark pit of Tartaros. The victorious gods then drew lots for their portion of the cosmos. Hades, of course, ended up drawing the shortest straw…

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The Logical Western Box

The Logical Western Box

The attitude that says we must force meaning from myths and dreams is an attempt to place them into our own little logical Western box. It is reductionist in that we try to limit them to a particular interpretation. The same holds true for the interpretation of dreams. These images are so multifaceted and so complex that they cannot be circumscribed within our analytical minds. They comprise a vast, limitless landscape of imaginality where reason cannot tread. For example, a…

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Thrownness

Thrownness

Humans are hard-wired to suffer. To be truly human, suffering is necessary. I think we miss the point, however, when we think there is some Omega Point to it all, some teleological reason to explain it. Life is as it is. We are thrown into the world, to borrow from Heidegger, and it is how we deal with this thrownness that is important. At this point in my life, I suppose my purpose, or reason to get up every morning,…

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Active Imagination: The Bridge to the Unconscious

Active Imagination: The Bridge to the Unconscious

Photo by Someone35 Between the universe that can be apprehended by pure intellectual perception and the universe perceptible to the senses, there is an intermediate world, the world of Idea-Images, of archetypal figures, of subtle substances, of “immaterial matter”. This world is as real and objective, as consistent and subsistent as the intelligible and sensible worlds; it is an intermediate universe ‘where the spiritual takes body and the body becomes spiritual,’ a world consisting of real matter and real extension,…

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Imagination

Imagination

Imaginatio is the Star in Man, the Celestial or Supercelestial Body (A Lexicon of Alchemy, by Martin Rulandus). We don’t realize what is available to us. We go through our daily lives, often extremely depressing, usually focused on material things. We forget that all we need do is close our eyes and enter another world. The Imaginal is a vast landscape, an immense cosmos where nothing is impossible. It is not limited by physical laws, the constraints of logic, or…

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Microcosmos

Microcosmos

[Man] can be understood only as an image of the macrocosm, of the Great Creature. Only then does it become manifest what is in him. For what is outside is also inside; and what is not outside man is not inside. The outer and the inner are one thing, one constellation, one influence, one concordance, one duration, one fruit. (From Paracelsus, Selected Writings, ed. Jolande Jacobi, trans. Norbert Guterman.New York: pantheon, 1951, p. 21.) Know that you are another world…

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New World Order?

New World Order?

For some time, there has been speculation that a shadowy cabal exists in our world that has conspired to lead us down the road to a one-world government. Some call this the Illuminati, or the New World Order. Some claim the Freemasons are behind it, or the Bilderberg Group, the Trilateral Commission, or the Council On Foreign Relations. It is truly a fascinating mythology of the most complex twists and turns. There is some evidence, I suppose, that it’s all…

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The Source Of Dreams

The Source Of Dreams

  Hypnos, by Wilhelm Baron von Gloeden There is a deeply cut cave, a hollow mountain, near the Cimmerian country, the house and sanctuary of drowsy Sleep. Phoebus can never reach it with his dawn, mid-day or sunset rays. Clouds mixed with fog, and shadows of the half-light, are exhaled from the ground. No waking cockerel summons Aurora with his crowing: no dog disturbs the silence with its anxious barking, or goose, cackling, more alert than a dog. No beasts,…

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Life Is As It Is

Life Is As It Is

What exactly does it mean “to become?” It is change, of course, activity, movement from one state to another. It is a flower closed that turns and opens to the rays of the sun. It is the metamorphosis of a moth into a brilliant butterfly. We can’t help but become. We are constantly changing. We don’t need to strive; it is automatic. If the saying, Tat Tvam Asi (Thou Art That), written in the Upanishads is at once true, then…

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Black Bile and the Soul

Black Bile and the Soul

In his De Vita, Marsilio Ficino writes, “Of all scholars, those devoted to the study of philosophy are most bothered by black bile, because their minds get separated from their bodies and from bodily things.” (Ficino 7). Ficino, of course, is using the framework of Hippocrates’ theory of the four humors to explain the melancholic temperament in scholars. Aristotle also dealt with this problem, as did Plato. According to Ficino, philosophers have a preponderance of black bile. My approach to…

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Where Are The Birds?

Where Are The Birds?

Once in awhile, on the eve of some tremendous cataclysm, birds will sing a most distinctive tune. I have witnessed this. One misty morning, I was walking beside a great lake in Switzerland (I would rather not name it), when I noticed that the birds were humming a most curious song. Taken aback, I cocked my ear to get a better hint at what they were saying. The fog had rolled across the lake and encircled the shoreline, making visual…

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Two Eyes Of The Daimon

Two Eyes Of The Daimon

In the midst of thunder, there are two eyes: one for time and one for eternity. In tandem, they see the ubiquitous depths of man’s affliction. Once I saw, as you see, a great dearth in the land. Asphyxiating gas held me in its sway, and the Sun swallowed the sky. I looked and beheld, within the deluge, the dross of ignorance slowly abating. Fire overwhelmed the green stars. From charred remains, I saw blue slivers of night fall upon…

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Three Images Of The Unbound

Three Images Of The Unbound

In the days of Heraclitus, Greek philosophy was still in its infancy. But even at this early juncture, Greece had already experienced the profound intellects of such luminaries as Thales, Anaximander, and Anaximenes. Of course, there were others, but these are the ones I wish to discuss, leading up to Heraclitus and his idea of boundless depth. This period in history is within the era Karl Jaspers called the Axial Age (Ger. Achsenzeit, “axistime”). Jaspers, and other scholars of spiritual…

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On The Wings Of A Dream

On The Wings Of A Dream

Lament For Icarus (1898) by Herbert James Draper The myth of Daedalus and Icarus has been on my mind recently. You can read a brief account of it here. Daedalus was a skilled artificer. One of his creations was the Labyrinth to house the Minotaur. He was said to be the originator of images. After the Minotaur was slain by Theseus, King Minos imprisoned Daedalus and Icarus in the Labyrinth. Daedalus, of course, knew his way out, so it was…

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