The Shrouded Man

A poem I wrote fourteen years ago while coming into contact with my own inner darkness:

Look around

Tell me what you see

Do you see a man in shrouded in shadow?

Look around

 

I see this man ahead

What is he doing here, I said

My question had no reply

Just a smirk and then a sigh

 

Time went so slowly by and by

At last, I heard a laugh then a cry

For you see

This shrouded man was I

 

Artwork: Léon Spilliaert; Self-portrait before the mirror

©matthewludwig

12 thoughts on “The Shrouded Man

  1. i think Blake would have made use of Jung too, but then he wouldn’t have wrote what he did. Jung has filled in many a gap but then again he’s also hindered the search by offering the terms. Do you think your poems or thought process is generally better off with or without Jung. i realize my binary options are reductive, but it’s really a springboard for evoking a response.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Evocative as ever : )

      Certainly! Freud seems to have entirely fabricated his initial 43 case studies that acted as the basis to justify his early models. What’s remarkable is that we now all speak in terms of conscious, subconscious, and unconscious. What’s more… most in the West “experience” themselves in this way. Even if you weren’t “raised in the Greeks,” the social psychology is often forceful enough to insist that you adopt this basis as well. …And live that reality. Other constructions are possible and for many only psychedelics interrupt this world long enough to consider this possibility. Those substances still seem to provide you with a “basis” for ascertaining the world, but that basis is not a social prefecture.

      I love the anachronism of Blake being influenced by Jung! You’re certainly right, language limits, but I think it limits in a particularly insidious way. Many say the fault with language is that there are seemingly ineffable experiences, but that’s just language. I take issue with it’s presumptions, that when we speak we say all manner of things we never meant to say. I often see the way around this is to say: “When we speak, we speak twice. First with word, then with intent.” One can rarely speak wholly with intent, but when done I find that the words I use matter very little and serve only as a distraction to the listener. A distraction so that they miss ”my’ intent speaking to some other part of their body.

      I’ve been reminded of Burroughs’ verse on the Egyptian Book of the Dead:

      The ancient Egyptians postulated seven souls, Top soul, and the first to leave at the moment of death, is Ren, the Secret Name. This corresponds to my Director, He directs the film of your life from conception to death.The Secret Name is the title of your film. When you die, that’s where Ren came in.

      Second soul, and second one off the sinking ship, is Sekem: Energy, Power, Light The Director gives the orders, Sekem presses the right buttons.

      Number three is Khu, the Guardian Angel. He, she, or it is third man out… depicted as flying away across a full moon,a bird with luminous wings and head of light. Sort of thing you might see on a screen in an Indian restaurant in Panama. The Khu is responsible for the subject and can be injured in his defense—but not permanently, since the first three souls are eternal. They go back to Heaven for another vessel. The four remaining souls must take their chances with the subject in the Land of the Dead.

      Number four is Ba, the heart, often treacherous. This is a hawk’s body with your face on it, shrunk down to the size of a fist. Many a hero has been brought down, like Samson, by a perfidious Ba.

      Number five is Ka, the Double, most closely associated with the subject. The Ka, which usually reaches adolescence at the time of bodily death, is the only reliable guide through the Land of the Dead to the western Lands.

      Number six is Khaibit, the Shadow, Memory, your whole past conditioning from this and other lives.

      Number seven is Sekhu, the Remains.

      That was their reality, ours is subject and object. What’s remarkable is given the infinite number of options we have available to us we default to a limited set of options.

      One can easily find a neat comparison between Greek schools of philosophy and Indian, I don’t think this is just Adi Shankara’s parsing out of categories. This is not a ‘lossless’ transformation (and that is critical, shall write more about this at another time), but a transformation can be made. Man tends toward certain patterns of thinking, and doesn’t seem to be capable of much else on his own. Only rare people break out of the normal varieties of cognition and psychedelics might play a crucial role for many. I think dreaming can offer an alternative solution, but I don’t have too much worked out to back this up at this moment.

      All of this might be too academic, but it’s often the best context to discuss this in. Looking at our historical accumulated errors and how our biology (as an imperative for survival) have biased us toward the society we’re in now. I believe we can overcome our “dualistic agendas,” our tendencies to break down the world into twos and threes. How this shall be done on a global scale remains to be seen, but is absolutely vital if our species is not become a world of perfected technocrats. Plenty of loose ends, and I apologize for that, hope to hear more from you soon.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Years ago i think we’d be on the same page, but i just don’t know what it means, or if it even matters if there is a state beyond dualism. i’m certainly not comfortable calling it an ‘agenda’ as it appears, increasingly more so, to me that it isn’t a choice. i took psychedelics & i read Jung & many religious texts & commentaries, but i just don’t see in any longer in what context we can utilize such a state. So if it were to be useful in a social context, how would that arise? There are two sides to a story, they must be heard, & the third party must be neutral, but that isn’t the same as non-binary, it is synthesis of two binary positions which is merely duplicated for every situation. i don’t know if this is reductive or not. & i don’t mean to be belligerent, i just seem to have lost sight perhaps of any possibility beyond a ‘dualistic agenda’.
        Reading Foucault’s The Origin of Things at the moment & in one chapter he deals with the origin of meaningful communication beyond onomatopoiea & explains it is the verb that augments communication above facial expression & moans. & from this everything we can express— adjectives coming it seems after the active element of language arising from to be. According to Foucault it wasn’t until the 16th C. & Classicism that man started to stop using language to decipher the signs God hid in stuffs & started to categorize with language. & from this we get Jung, essentially..
        So what i am getting at is, what is your intention for a non-dualistic agenda? when it seems that would require a retrograde use of language. The process of things is something i hadn’t considered until recently, nothing can be undone so quickly when the doing took such a steady evolution— such is language, it didn’t just appear, the terms we have at our disposal, the short hand to an emotive principle or any descriptive factor crawled out of grunts & moans. Blake, despite writing something exceptionally complex, seemed to have struggled for the right vocabulary, which Jung a couple of centuries later, devised. I may have said a lot but not made a point i fear, but i think what i really need is to have some reason to see anything useful in a non-dualistic system, because essentially you can’t undo the world, which this would.
        i am not discrediting you ideas at all, i like them, i like the idea of unity, but i don’t know if it is a realistic or even viable solution to a path out of a dualistic animal with a good vocabulary.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. This also gets to abandoning method, how, formulas, mantras, symbol sets, via negative, et c.. “Freedom from the Known, Freedom from Authority, Freedom from Aesthetics.” But also abandoning profundity of experience, psychedelics often cause people to get caught up in that layer, those trappings… as much as any priest.

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    3. To your latest comment. We might have to have a more involved discussion at a later time.

      The effort is not toward unity, it is toward losing the human cognition and removing the delimitation brought about by our biology’s tendency to count to three and stop. There are all manner of insights that have been made into innate biases in human logic toward perceiving the world by cognitive science. Dualism or non-dualism is not such a concern. Both seem like further limitations on our genetic endowment. The world doesn’t bother to do this, but we break it down into waves and particles and when we’re being really honest we add an asterisk that says it’s neither. Opposite do not need to be synthesized or done away with, but seen as vacuous. For some reason we can deprogram ourselves away from our genetic endowment and toward all manner of strange states. Psychedelics might force us to this temporarily, but cohesion is another matter. I have a hard headed friend who insists on an almost legalistic use of language. He once insisted that I say precisely what I mean by analytical thinking. I said quite a bit, but it came down to a particular formalization of thought. Which is precisely what much of rationalism and mathematics is: different formalization(s) of thought. Often that’s what any analytical presentation of thought is. Even when conceiving of God, what we find are often a set of logical propositions within the space of what’s logically possible. Some formal construct of god feels like a circuit that admits certain propositions and rejects other. Particularly maniacal constructions refuse all propositions, as if such universal ineffability was an ultimate form. Even Nagarjuna and Maimonides read like poorly written questions in a propositional calculus text. A logical object can only be constructed in so many ways by a formal system often via positiva or via negativa. For me Foucault’s only real insight is in The History of Sexuality and is repeated elsewhere where he in effect says: don’t ask false teleological questions against time, quite specifically anachronistically. We can’t assume our basis now has any bearing on the basis then and by that the whole study of history is somewhat vacuous. We can only drag our present suppositions of social reality, or memory of, back to that time and draw onto events our world. Victorian readings of Greek history are particularly relevant here, or better still Victorian readings of Indian history to Indians. The best case being the reintroduction of the Book of Manu to Indian life. The Indian Greek isomorphism between systematization of thought is meant to demonstrate that we only ever achieved a few dozens varieties of formalizing the world. Typically holding consistency and non-contradiction as central. We should have an almost endless variety, but there are only so many channels to tune to when you can’t count above three and insist on category. The majority of formalizations, these philosophies are completely completely without a god, but God is comfortable for people to believe in and so Yoga dominated above Samkhya, Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Mimamsa, or Vedanta.

      Language is typically assumed to be a computational evolution, acquired over dozens of generations as a full grammar 70,000 years ago or by spontaneous mutation with no teleology in a single individual. The second approach belongs to Chomsky and is referred to as the minimalist program. Communication in all other animals seems to limited to elaborations on a lexicon and more importantly totally lacks what we’d call didactism. What we see with certain pidgin languages or at home sign languages are cognitive deficits or at least alterations to their cognition. So the mutation might only allow for a grammatical potential, and we might not have fulfilled that with any grammar attempted thus far.

      I work primarily with quantum information and have come into contact with the subject in a way few physicists bother to. Little intimacy is needed to do work and progress technology so there is no “survival” imperative. Before I took the quantum as my Yidam, I took the void as my Yidam and it made me like it. It’s important to remember that Yidams and deities of that type are not thought to be real in any sense and are seen as abstract constructs that one can model oneself after and by meditating on the subject become the subject. Some Yidams are non-dual, some are dual, some are indescribable, but not really. It is outside of this externalization and seemingly any externalization, but also any internal language. Yet, it can be reached, but by no formula or method. Organic or inorganic processes can only produce certain varieties, but we are for whatever reason observers and by that have perceptions. Perception allows for accidents, for sin. So my father might be a certain way, internally and externally, and this might have risen by his life and experience and genetic endowment. But I see this. Not as it is, but as some projection of it onto my screen, with its aberrations. The projection looks nothing like the thing projected and so a leap is possible. A total discontinuity with reality. I witness a projection a narrative that has never existed in the real world and by this adapt and correspond to my father as a Yidam. Now I exist a discontinuity of any process, an error of projection. The quantum is like this.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. i think we need to do this over email. There is more space. If you’re interested you can email me at danielpaulmarshall85@gmail.com, i don’t know about you but the layout of the email template makes it much easier for me to follow a line of inquiry or the fugue of a thought process.
        i feel i have a lot to learn from you & would like the opportunity, but i feel this space too limited. What do you think?

        Like

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