Purgatory

There is a city
Where
Everything must
Always stay
The same.
When the buildings
Decay
And collapse,
They rebuild them
In exactly the
Same fashion.
Nothing ever
Changes
And everything
Stays in
Stasis.
They must
Relive
The same day
Over and over
Again
For all of
Eternity.
They think
This is romantic,
I think this
Is ghastly.
I never want
To go to this
Place ever
Again.
Some would
Call it
Purgatory.
I would call
It
Hell.
I hope it burns
To the ground.
Then the
People who
Live in eternal
Torment
Will
Finally be
Free.

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Saoirse

We sit beside the fire side,
Purifying flames,
Surround us and fill our eyes.
Our ancestors survived famine
and oppression.
They strove for more.
Centuries of
rebellions and uprisings,
To escape the shackles of
Bondage, through sedition.
Some misled, died
In the mud strewn hell
Of Flanders.
Some walked through the
Mountains, the rain
And the storm,
To get to the roadside
To fight for the cause of
Liberty.
They died, but the cause
Will go on.
Some built the railways,
Some built New York,
Others, worked in shipyards
And the mines,
Descending and ascending
From the Gateway of Death,
Each day.
Ireland’s soul lives in her
Valiant daughters who
Through their sacrifice
And tears, supported
These
Small, but noble victories.
From the west coast of Ireland,
To the majestic north sea.
With each day that passes,
We get closer to the moment,
We can put our indelible
Mark on the world,
And turn away
From the fire side,
And witness
The rising of the moon.

Gordon of Eden

Part of a continuing series: stream of consciousness writing, part 3.

Aum, aum, aum. We stand before the mighty tree on the cosmic altar. Alternate cerebral reality of the divine insurmountable divinity. Blessed moon goddess of the eternal. We meditate before the altar. Tomorrow is the rising of the moon. Aum, aum, aum. Put your hands over your ears and you can hear the music of the universe.
– I once walked through a gallery and heard the music of the spheres, I said. I’m not joking.
Aum, aum, aum. We move through the chakras. We beckon to a higher level of conciousness. She stands and pauses for thought as she considers what next to say. Out of character for her. She smiles the biggest smile and says:
– We should take salvia.
Aum, aum, aum.
– We can reach higher conciousness without the psychotropics.
I tell her about my experience of kundalini yoga and my theory of the chakras. The lower chakras are the earthly ones, the sensory ones. The higher ones as the snake uncoils relate to an awakening of consciousness and I tell her about the snake in the Gordon of Eden. Aum, aum, aum.
– But if you want to do the salvia, we’ll do the salvia. I took the salvia once and had a great awakening. I reflect on it.
– We can’t chase the experience all of the time, we must have monastic discipline and kill our desires
– Just this once, she says.
– Okay, lotus take the salvia.
All of time and space transcends and unfolds. The temporal boundaries of reality uncoil like the mighty cobra. I see the rust above the window ledge. All is clear, all is bright. We wander along the great Silk Roads, we walk for 490 days and then enter the great chamber of the holy underworld. We walk through the labrynthine corridors down the swirly whirly staircase where we are greeted by a mighty sphinx.
– Good day, sphinx, I say, dia duit.
The big sphinx is silent and gives me a stony silence. Aum, aum, aum.
We walk past the big sphinx through a cacophony of music. It is the works of Rachmaninoff. The stony labyrinth has excellent acoustics. We continue walking down the steps until we reach a lift which will take us back to the upper tier. We take the lift and the music in the lift is now Chopin’s Nocturne. Up, up, up we go.
– Chopin is portentous, she says.
– I do quite like his Nocturnes, says I.
Up, up, up. We get to the well lit balcony on the great terrace. We are before the cosmic gates.
– This reminds me of The Neverending Story, she says. Will we meet the princess?
– I hope not, I’m a republican, I say.
The blonde haired woman stands before us surrounded by her shimmering nimbus of golden holy and divine light. She has many faces and many forms. She looks at us and then turns around and looks back out into the eternal. We are high above the world, and we can see all of its roundness and all of the clouds and it is very nice, I think to myself. All is holy, all is bright.
– We can see all of eternity from up here, she says.
– Isn’t it nice, I say.

Naturally Born

I have a dubious relationship with contemporary art. By which I mean that I generally dislike all contemporary art, but as a general concept I love it. This is essentially due to the notion of alchemy – turning the ordinary into something extraordinary or using it as a means of representation for something greater than itself.

The best contemporary art exhibition I ever saw was at the Baltic in Newcastle around 2005.

I used to have a poster of this on my bedroom wall when I was 18.

It was an exhibition of the work of Edward and Nancy Kienholz. It was a collection of free-standing environmental tableauxs. Kienholz’ assemblages were of found objects – the detritus of modern existence, often consisting of figures cast from life. It was vulgar, brutal, and gruesome. The idea was to confront the viewer with questions about human existence and the inhumanity of twentieth-century society. This was largely achieved. While on one hand these were mostly a graphic and almost Ballardian commentary on the nature of the American dream, there was also The Hoerengracht. On the surface, this was Kienholz’ visual representation of Amsterdam.

As you walked through The Hoerengracht, full of garishly lit alleyways and tacky, seedy, run-down rooms, the joke was that by viewing the exhibition, you became part of the grungy, sordid, voyeuristic spectacle.

I was reminded of this tonight as I was watching Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers. I honestly think it’s one of my favourite movies. It is so good on every level: amazing cinematography, editing and storytelling. It is all here. If, as a career path, Kienholz had opted for film-making rather than creating tableauxs, I suspect you’d end up with something fairly similar. A movie that starts by driving through a psychotropic collection of images of America, but is set up and presented in such a way, that the viewer is watching Mickey and Mallory watch a movie. So you in turn become part of the spectacle, because what you have here from the off the is a the story that is overtly built around cinema as a medium.

I suppose you could do a negative reading of this movie in which it is simply an extended bit of nasty sadism and torture porn, but that would lead to an interesting commentary in itself, as the year this movie was released, 1994, was the year the World Wide Web was born. In the movie itself, there is a very clear link between sex and television in terms of the depiction of Mallory’s abuse at the hands of her father. As the World Wide Web is still being born, we’re at the point in history where the link between television and pornography is still growing, and hasn’t yet been usurped by the internet. It’s ’94 and we have VCR, which means that television isn’t just simply a broadcast medium but a medium of storage and replaying. Which means, of course, that it’s possible to have pornography on it. In practice, though, most of the pornography that could still actually be easily obtained at the time was scarcely what you would consider pornography by 2018 standards – it was mostly soft-core titillations. More common throughout the rise of VCR was cheap, dirty, and violent movies, dubbed ‘video nasties.’ So in turn, the movie is at once transgressing against these kinds of ‘video nasties’ of the eighties, while alluding to the every increasing public fascination with celebrity, sex, violence and what is to come in the form of the internet. Interestingly, in terms of sex, celebrity and video, arguably the most famous example would arrive the following year in the form of the Tommy Lee and Pamela Anderson sex tape, when the medium would reach its zenith (nadir?). Natural Born Killers is a fascinating insight into this time period, as it stands at the precipice of a new era. This isn’t actually a film about two mass murderers. It’s a film about us and how we consume media, and how in turn a veritable buffet of mindless sex, violence and celebrity becomes a consumer product. Like Kienholz’s tableaux, and this is evident from the very first shot of the movie, through viewing we become part of the spectacle.

Why Being an INTJ Sucks

The greatest thing about MBTI when it comes to the INTJ, is how favourable its description of us is. In reality, certainly, if you’ve also tested as an INTp through Socionics – which in terms of the cognitive functions amounts to the same thing – you’ll get a more honest, if not an entirely complete picture – as Socionics doesn’t describe the type based on what amounts to an idealised superpower interacting with the outer world.

Let’s be real, Carl Jung – the greatest psychiatrist in history and essentially the founding father of MBTI said it best, ‘The introverted intuitive is the most useless of (persons)’ and truth be told, he was completely right. So it’s amusing that anyone who isn’t one of us, would lay claim to being an INTJ/INFJ.

For the INTJ – introverted intuition is a high powered perceiving function. When interacting with extroverted thinking, it throws up an endless array of possibilities, images and ideas that the extroverted thinking function aims to apply some degree of order to, and thus make them applicable and useful in terms of the real world. The reality is somewhat different. For the INTJ, they relentlessly consume information, and the mind is a veritable never-ending cycle of images of ideas and future possibilities, 99.99% of which never get acted acted upon, because the INTJ is essentially passive in terms of that they are all about thinking and not about doing. The INTJ is mostly engaged in the inner world and actually couldn’t care less about whether any of their ideas actually come to fruition in the outer world. They are almost entirely consumed by the inner function. INTJ’s are ideas generating machines, but their practical application is almost zero. On paper this still sounds great but the reality is: for an INTJ they simply couldn’t care less about practical application. ‘But, but, introverted intuition is useful in the work place, because you can like totally predict the future’… In reality, this ability has pissed off far more of my superiors than it has won any kind of favour. You don’t actually have to have read Machiavelli’s The Prince or Robert Greene’s The 48 Laws of Power to know that absolutely no-one likes a smart arse, and why that is.

The alarming thing about all of this is, that for an INTJ we know exactly what we should be doing, but there’s a total indifference towards actually doing it. For someone of my age, I know instead of spending in the vicinity of – my Kindle tells me -the next 390 hours reading the full works of Balzac, I should be applying myself to reading books about business, entrepreneurs and endeavours that have a practical and financial real world value.  That said, we also know the correct macro-nutrient ratios and workouts to look like 1978 Arnold Schwarzenegger, because we read The Encyclopaedia of Modern Bodybuilding cover to cover, as have we consumed the works of others such as say Mike Mahler. Further to this, we also know all of the specific steps to seduce the woman of our dreams – we actually also know specifically who the woman of our dreams is in acute detail despite not necessarily having met her yet, we know exactly what kind of value we should be bringing, but we’re not as remotely interested in the practical application of any of these things as we are about speculating about them. We’re great strategists and planners, but for other people who can actually stick to and follow our ideas, not ourselves.

This is the crux of the introverted intuitive. We have great ideas, but we have absolutely no practicality whatsoever. We live solely in the realm of ideas. We love the idea of things much more than the actual reality. For example, I love the idea of playing guitar, but when it comes to the practicality of learning things such as scales – then I drift off. I understand the fundamental concept of how music works but when it comes to the practical application? Then I just move on to something else. I wrote what amounted to a Celtic rock opera for one of the few women I’ve dated who wasn’t actually an N type (read: an ENFP or an ENTP), one of those rare sensory ones who actually persevered in getting to know me – was it complete in the sense that I, or anyone else could perform said Celtic rock opera? Fuck no. What I gave her was an essentially – for all practical and useful purposes, an incomplete complete Celtic rock opera. I mean, let’s be honest, this fucking sums it all up. The idea is there, but the practical application? Generally, the only thing of any remote value we might be able to offer is our ideas, but when in terms of actually being able to translate them into something of say, a physical value, we’re completely out of our depth. We’re so deeply entrenched in our thoughts and ideas we haven’t actually bothered our arses to actually learn any of the practical skills to go with applying them to reality.

My younger brother who is an ISFJ god bless him, writes a blog about Bruce Springsteen. Despite me expressing my disinterest in his blog to him (which actually in practical terms makes me a dickhead) for what amount to INTJ reasons (I.e. basically, it doesn’t offer any insight into the human condition, it doesn’t speculate as to any deeper meaning towards the big picture, it doesn’t seek to interpret the broader symbolism of the body of work, whatever, etc) it is far more successful in its own right than anything I’ve ever written in my life. I mean, I can move the goalposts of success and argue that I might still be a better writer from a technical standpoint than my younger brother, whatever, but I mean, that would be ridiculous, his blog is more successful than this and will always be more successful than this – you know why? Because, while us INTJ’s may scorn sensory types, his blog deals in facts, absolutes, things that are concretely verifiable, not what amounts to speculation over what something might mean. The truth is, introverted intuitives don’t have any interest in history, people, the past or basically anything the wider population of the world is interested in, unless it is somehow useful toward fuelling our own speculations about the future. Further to this, we are completely unable to self-promote in any kind of meaningful capacity. While my writing has always been done for myself, it would probably still be somewhat astonishing if the amount of people who read this post in full is in double figures.

Further to this, in MBTI terms, there is at a push only two types who we are actually compatible with. As we have established that we are basically fucking useless people with zero social or practical engagement, there is two types who – I mean assuming we are vaguely within the remit of what they might physically attractive – who might actually like us. These are types who make up a very small proportion of the overall population, and who unless we actively seek – which ironically might work against us on this one – just might find us somewhat endearing: the ENFP and the ENTP. My personal experience with ENTPs is that they are effectively the shadow of the INTJ. Which is to say, they are basically what I look like when I go all out to be social. I click with them, I like them, but they don’t exactly set the proverbial heart ablaze, because in an odd, round about kind of way, I find them to be too similar to myself. But, the ENFP… as I said, unless we’re ridiculously proactive in seeking them out, in terms of our day to day lives, we might actually only meet an ENFP every couple of years (contrast this with ESFPs for an ISTJ, who seem to be absolutely fucking everywhere), but when you do meet the ENFPs, you know instantaneously because your extroverted thinking met by their introverted feeling, followed by introverted intuition met with extroverted intuition hits you like a sledgehammer. Then:

The indifference can be a somewhat attractive quality and it isn’t that we are necessarily short of people hitting us, however, in practical terms, you aren’t going to get someone into bed by constantly indifferent – you actually have to drop the indifference at some point and show a warm, healthy interest to seal the proverbial deal. Except in our case, the indifference isn’t an act, except for perhaps a small handful of people, we generally just can’t summon the emotional energy to actually you know, go through the entire process of picking someone up. It’s not the case we’re lacking in social awareness or empathic abilities – in fact, I imagine you’d be hard pushed to ever find an INTJ who has been accused of being say, autistic, we’re totally indifferent to small details for a start – we’re just overall not that interested in people. For a while, I actually made it my goal to improve my social abilities to a high level following a bad break up – as I found that this required a reliance on my less developed and shadow functions, and the irony is, that I can never meet someone who I actually connect with in any deep and meaningful way, by you know, actually pushing myself to be social. Essentially this is because by using the shadow functions, on a fundamental level I am not being true to myself. Plus, eventually, as there isn’t an endless supply of emotional energy and investment beyond the goal, you’re always going to revert back to type, anyway. We’re always going to be most attractive to a certain type when we’re not trying and we’re just quietly getting on with doing our own thing. This might seem quaint and even somewhat romantic, but there is a reason why we might actually only meet these types every few years, or rather they meet us: we don’t generally run in the same circles, the same workplaces or environments. Although, in terms of my own career, occasionally I will meet something of an outlier.

The point is, anyone who would want to be an INTJ or an INFJ when they aren’t is insane. Whether that be because of our terrible memories, our general disinterest in people, our complete disregard for practicalities, authority, hierarchy, history, empirical evidence, small talk, the present moment, the past, emotions, being functional in any conventional sense, developing useful practical skills, whatever,  if you want to persist with the notion of being an introvert – rather than hitching your horse up to the nearest extroverted function – as well as being an intuitive, at least aspire to be INFP, at least they’re cool and largely fucking likeable.

In terms of other types, it’s quite interesting and illuminating that in terms of actual everyday success, you will likely find more ESTPs and ESFJs in positions of success. It’s interesting that these types possess the four main cognitive functions of the INTJ and INFJ but in reverse. The focus for these types as a result is thus the exact opposite of Ni (introverted intuition) dominant types: they’re almost entirely focussed on relationships with the outer world, whether that be indulging in business, fashion, taking parts in sports and all the world has to offer. Thus, although they have Ni in the inferior position, unlike an INTJ or INFJ they will have no interest in trying to understand that aspect of themselves beyond the aesthetic, certainly not beyond the sensory and outer forms that take precedence.

I was recently having a conversation with an ESFP who was talking about her paintings, she mentioned she often drew circles (she was referring specifically to mandalas) and about an abstract painting she had done that didn’t have a face. An INTJ or an INFJ wouldn’t have mentioned that: They would have been aware that the painting represented this persons struggle with her identity. However, for her, this was a minor inconsequence and was mentioned just as a means of building rapport with a person and making conversation to build up a better working relationship with someone (in this case me), as mentioned, the Ni dominant time would be too consumed with the symbolism and its significance to even bring it to the surface, they certainly wouldn’t use it a manner which was constructive in such a way.

I’m quite interested in people’s tattoos and what they may reveal about a person. In terms of the ESTP, and this is the personality of the likes of Donald Trump, Conor McGregor and many other types who you will find tend to be often brash and successful despite what you might think of them, and happen to be INFJs in reverse, I was on Instagram earlier and I stumbled upon a former Geordie Shore character who has taken up MMA fighting, I’m not sure why this person popped up as it isn’t the kind of content I would generally look at on there, suffice to say he is very much in the ESTP mould and I was interested to see this tattoo:

Located on exactly the part of the throat where that sound is made. I would imagine that this probably wasn’t an intentional detail and was added as an aesthetic. You know, unlike the INTJ/INFJ type, the ESTP person in question is probably too busy being successful and doing things that bring relative value in the real world, going to the gym, working on a TV and MMA career and hanging out with people to give these details much thought.

Varanasi

Following on from yesterday’s theme:

Around the head of the bed are shining illuminous colourful orbs of light, the shakuhachi music fills my ears. The ghosts are singing at the door and the angels are at my head. Uncomfortable vicissitude of feeling. Unfamiliar sense of the illuminous. Negligible neon Tokyo nights. Wrestling with the indivisible. All is temporal and we are in orbit around one another ready to crash towards the visceral surface of ones other. It cannot be stopped now. Temporal vicissitude of the illuminous. Diamond mountain with gold embers above the still lake. Shining gold beacons upon the lotus leaves. Solitude surpassed into temporal becoming of the virtuous vicissitude. The indivisible illuminous. Anam Cara of the atom carry through into the unfounded nature of visible betwixt being. The voidious vacuum is filled with the nature of the surpassing of the temporal separation. The collision of atoms. Boom boom boom. Large Hadron Collider of the infinitesimal feeling. We are down the Ganges side and take the boat to the old abandoned cinema with the art and the paintings. We are here now and suddenly it has been repaired since my last visit. Temporarily temporary fixes but we can look at the paintings of the abstract artists. We have made it to the far shore surpassing all obstacles between us. There is no us, just the oneness of being. All that is temporal and divisible is now eternal and fulfilled. We are in the orbit high high above the clouds of separation through the atmosphere of tumultuous inconvenience we will quickly bypass and crash into one another. All that is temporary all that is eternal and we discuss the nature of our being, our becoming. All the gravity is surpassable but only in due time in due course now is not the time to insurmount the gravity of our situation. The images flow freely into my mind. Colourful squares of bright red and black light. I hold onto this image longer than I am used to. It is like a Mondrian. A red and black Mondrian.

I am ready to return to the fulness of being. I am pulling through the transcendental cosmic moment. My experiences of these last few days have been profound. It is when we see the divine and the godhead in all things that although we can never understand, we can have full acceptance of the essence of being. We are in timeless virtue of the divine. In full providence of the total essence. The totem reaches to us and we both grab it and hold onto it in full rejection of the external outliers. A painted white and red mask upon the shores of Varanasi.

Through space and time,
We go at Whitsun tide
To see the Earthly sublime
On the Ganges side

The fires and the butter lamps light up the river. Conciousness is acquiescing to the sublime essence. Ineluctable modality of the visibility, said Joyce. I hear your modulations through space and time, an infinite rhythm only I can hear, calling to me in totality. I am ready to take your hand I say. I am ready to take yours, she says. I tell her about the musical I am writing. I am writing it for her, for her only. It is a music only I can hear. There are no instruments yet invented that can play your song, but I will invent them so that I can listen to your music for all of eternity. The music of the spheres says I love you. It cannot be rationalised or reasons, there is no scale or tone, it comes to me in a music that can only be heard on a subatomic level. No musician or scientist yet has the tools to impart this profound music of being that only I can here. I know you can here it too I say. Yes I can, she says. I know there is a place that only we shall go. I can’t wait, she says. The day, the moment is fast coming, fast approaching. There is no going back now. There is a course of events in motion that will set us on the path to one another fully and in totality.

Irremutable

Some stream of consciousness writing. This is something I do, these days.

Derikuyu Derikuyu. I walked into the underground chasms of my mind made from the soft volcanic rock, through the many chambers and down to the lower levels. I had made a painting of her in the style of Dante Gabrielle Rosetti. The painting was all I had at this moment. I was alone in the chamber beneath the burgeoning metropolis. It was designed so that the winter solstice could shine through the many levels and light up the floor. Burgeoning gold paradise of the soul. From the thermo-nuclear furnace came beauty and divinity. I knew I would see her soon. That we would overcome the usurpers. I looked at the other paintings in the chamber. Ones created and not yet created. Visceral radiance of the divine.Transmutation of the visible viable connection. Transmutavisible transcending light shines around me. I continued to transverse through the many chambers of the cave. Man made upon nature. I looked at the sculptures, the marble and bronze statues. Metaphors for creation. Sculptures of others are sculpted in our own essence. The concentric circles upon circles shone upon me from an unknown light source. Here was safe from the infidels. Secret safe space beneath the metropolis. The cold air hit me and brought me back into the moment. I saw the lotus floating upon the water. I walked over to the beach, and looked at the calm waters. Crystals reached high up to the voluminous ceiling of the cave. High mighty crystals both peaceful and imposing. A delicate balance for sure for sure. When I had met her we had in an instant moment drifted far from the shore. The world collapsed and faded out of view and there was only me and her, her and I. A thermo-nuclear reaction of the soul. The heavens shone and lit up within me. We were in space, in perfect temporal balance and alignment. The world did not exist anymore and there was only me and her, her and I. Alchemical virtue of the irremutable. Irremutable: adjective. That change is required so that everything should stay the same and in perfect alignment. A natural law that was irrefutable.

Blessed angel of the caves
Divine moon goddess of the night,
The light ember eternally paves
a path, that we should find the light.

Inconstancy of the way, fuelled by opium dreams. Pretentious transliterations of the eternal order of the viable. Irremutable. Irremutable. High and mighty ceiling beckoning to me that I should resurface to the metropolis to engage with the intangible accelerations of the world earth. I entered another room. I looked across the paintings. The curation was all important in telling a story and in how easy it was to decipher the symbolism. There were many bad curators. The aesthetics taking precedence over the Vitruvian. Firmitas, utilitas and venustas. The music bled in. Beyond the water, I walked for a while longer and reached the diamond mountain. It reached into eternity. It was here I took my rest and thought about leaving the shore. Despite my injuries from the journey, I was happy and content that I would see her later and we could discuss the irremutable and irrefutable and make sense with one another of the gravitational waves. I knew that she would be coming down the diamond mountain very shortly so that we could ascend it again together to reach the headiest heights of eternity amongst the great majestic heavens. I could already see us together walking amongst the pillars of creation, to plant our flag amidst the mightiest foundations of the cosmic cosmos. I was excited by my excitement and filled with a heady intoxicating joy far beyond the pallet of anything I had ever experienced before. We would reach Babel by noon and then be back home in time for tea. In physical cosmology there is the theory of the multiverse. I was looking forward to her exploring my universe, and myself exploring hers. Then reconciling them into the theological, cosmological vision of the divine. Imperative vision of the transcendent beauty, bequeathed by my impassibile peripheral, deep within the caves there is the majestic ferocity of the soul, already vastly alit by your tangential being. Excited excitement is awake within me.

To Dwell in the Subconscious

I’ve been laying bed thinking about something my friend said. She said I should paint my wall with murals. This is quite an interesting concept to me. Essentially what I want to achieve through my painting is to explore and create my internal universe. The paintings and the writing are the external representations of the inner mind – the inner world. In Sherlock, he talks about having a mind palace. This is an interesting and notable concept.

According to myth, the Greek poet Simonides of Ceos invented the technique after attending a banquet gone wrong. Simonides stepped outside to meet with two young men. But when he arrived outside, the young men were not there and the hall was collapsing behind him. Though his fellow banqueters were too badly crushed by the collapse for their remains to be identified, Simonides was supposedly able to put a name with each body based on where they had been sitting in the hall. That ability to remember based on location became the method of loci, also known as memory theater, the art of memory, the memory palace and mind palace.

To use the technique, visualize a complex place in which you could physically store a set of memories. That place is often a building such as a house, but it can also be something like a road with multiple addresses. In the house version, every room is home to a specific item you want to remember. To take advantage of the mind’s ability to hold onto visual memories, it often helps to embellish the item being stored—the milk you need to buy at the grocery store might become a vat of milk with a talking cow swimming in it. When those memories need to be recalled, you can walk through the building in your mind, seeing and remembering each item.

Greeks and Romans, such as the orator Cicero, employed the mind palace technique to memorize speeches, marking the order of what to say within a complicated architectural space. To write something down in that era was expensive and time consuming, a luxury not to be wasted, even on rhetoric The method of loci continued to flourish through the Middle Ages, when monks and other scholastics used it to commit religious texts to memory.

Of course, this is also somewhat mundane. Why have a palace, when you can have your own internal universe.

We don’t just passive perceive the world, we actively generate it. The world we experience comes as much from the inside out, if not more, than from the outside in.

I’m not particularly interested in generating representations of the external. I consider the worlds of Blake, who said that copying nature deadened the force of his imagination. For the rest of his life, Blake exalted imaginative art above all other forms of artistic creation, scarcely any of his productions being strictly representational. This is the ultimate goal of the writing and the paintings, to represent and render the internal universe.

Both SJ’s and NJ’s internalise — but it’s totally different things.

SJ’s: categorise the real world.

NJs: don’t. They instead want to dwell in “the unconscious.”

Carl Jung, father of MBTI, asserted that intuitives (N’s) have a “remarkable indifference” to “anything outside their unconscious pursuit,” and NJ lives in the abstract, “Without establishing any connection between the phenomenon and himself.”

And as a result,

“An intuitive type acts not on the basis of rational judgment but on sheer intensity of perception.”

The closest representation I have seen of this in media is Christopher Nolan’s movie Inception. As mentioned here, I’m always quite amused by the debate about whether the totem falls at the end. It completely misses the point. If the subconscious and its many layers is not as real to the INTJ or INFJ as outward physical reality, it is certainly more highly treasured and valued. While it’s unclear if Dom the lead character in the movie played by Leo Di Caprio chooses to spend the rest of his life lost in the subconscious, we can probably presume that the movies INTJ director Nolan, given half a chance, would. It sounds absurd, but Inception is one of the movies I most relate to. Watching someone tussle with choosing between their internal worlds and the physical world is something that resonated with me a lot. Of course, in practical everyday terms, someone who is completely introverted and focussed only on the internal would be a schizophrenic whereas someone who is entirely extroverted, which is to say external experience would be all that is important. Thus, to maintain any semblance of what is considered normal, we spend our lives flitting between two worlds, but we will always know where we are happiest. As an aside, I’ve pondered if there is a correlation between reduced usage of sensory function and asexuality. Not so long back, I saw a woman on a data site who had a rich and fascinating profile, displaying something of a rich mind, however, the woman described herself as having a form of dissociative personality and as asexual. What she was looking to find on a dating site isn’t entirely clear. Which is not at all to say that all relationships have to be sexually orientated, however, I suspect with reduced libido also comes a reduced interest in other people outside of yourself, in the most general terms. This is something I will have to explore further. Still, it made me wonder.

In one of my paintings recently, I was considering the tree of life in the Garden of Eden, I have considered that the tree is symbolic of the birth of the central nervous system and of consciousness and of man’s ability to abstract and to create meaning. To take something from the tree of life is both an act of creation in itself and an act of defiance towards god. That is why it was the original sin. The ability to give meaning to things and create makes our lives richer, it is also an act of defiance because it infers that gods creation and nature is not enough. That is why we have such difficult lives. We live in defiance of god and the natural order.

Still, it is a form of alchemy to turn the ordinary into something extraordinary or to use it as a means of representation for something greater. What we might take from the external world is concepts and ideas to use and build something greater.

I have always had a rich internal life. I was a precocious and imaginative child. My issues with identity are to do with expressing my inner world outwardly – which I have certainly not always been inclined to do – far from it – in conjunction with interacting with the outside world.

In Christianity, there are four layers of reality. There is the body, psyche, soul and spirit. The outward is the one that I always struggled with. This is what I refer to when I speak of identity issues. At your core you cannot be unaware of who you are. Simply, you just are, however, I have, for a multitude of reasons often found reconciling that notion outwardly, dealing with and reconciling the expectations of others and being around people one of the great challenges of my life. As a small child I would imagine future careers, which is probably not uncommon, and create whole worlds in my head, which may not be uncommon either. I was however more interested in my internal world-building than I was in dealing with the outside world, which probably is. I was always more interested in the world of make-belief as my parents would have it, than I was with the actual physical world. I think even as children, we know that this is not the normal accepted mode of behaviour.

One of the most interesting books I read in my early twenties was ‘A New Earth’ by Eckhart Tolle. Like most books that people love, or at least the ones I do, it was a book that was about things I subconsciously, already knew.

Tolle talks about the ego as a mode of being, and a story we create about ourselves, often, but not always for the benefit of others. Whereas self-esteem is something that you are born with and is in essence your truest nature, as your life progresses, for a multitude of reasons, the ego story is created and replaces self-esteem. From an early age, I didn’t believe I have my own voice when interacting with people. For reasons I’m yet to fully explore in depth, I was almost entirely incapable of being my self around the majority people. For whatever reason, I was led to believe the onus was on me to make connections with people and not on the other people. Thus, the ego partially developed as what I now view as a failed means of trying to make both my interactions with others and my outer life a bearable, and from a largely societal view a bearable one. This is a complicated issue in itself. There is variety of reasons this happened and I don’t suspect any are less valid than the others: Even as a child my interests were internal ones, this will almost always manifest itself in being less interested in interacting with others – and perhaps, as a result, they with you – the effects of my parental upbringing, the nature of schools. These are some reasons, but are not the only ones.

For example, I haven’t ever shared any deep bonds or any great connection with my family. With my mother, I do not share a single cognitive function, with my father I share extraverted sensing which is his auxiliary function and my inferior function, and introverted intuition, which is my dominant and preferred function and his tertiary function. Of my two brothers, one is an ISTP like my father, and the other’s MBTI test results were almost identical to my mothers. Suffice to say, the relationship between my parents and myself was despite their efforts not a close one, it was complicated, and their values and expectations largely did not align with what I expected from my parents. I recall a lot of my thoughts between the age of around 6/7 to the age of 16 being characterised by wishing to be free and independent and to live as I chose and being somewhat repressed by being conscious of my dependency on them. Also how living as myself would be consciously at odds with them as people. This was always a part of my internal conflict. Independence versus dependency, being myself versus living up to the expectations and desires of others. That the expectations of others might lead to an easier, but not always a happier one, or one that is true to your own inner expectations of yourself.

I found childhood and my adolescent years stifling. I do not remotely wish to blame my parents for anything. I generally believe they tried their best to raise me. I understand that their inability to understand me and provide any relevant support in key areas of my life was not a conscious failing on their part. I think they tried their best to guide me as best they could, however, that direction could never be one that is true to myself, and thus it was on whatever level, rejected. I consider that the failings of my childhood, my adolescence and subsequent failings are all almost certainly my own. I can live with that. Though, as we go through life we are exposed to a vast amount of social-conditioning, so as we go through life and our story progresses – the operative phrase being story – we can be oblivious and cast adrift by the expectations of others. It is a powerful realisation to be able to recognise expectations, those of others and of yourself. This is often a conflict that can be difficult to reconcile at the best of times. It becomes a minefield if you do not have the awareness to recognise the nature of expectation when those who have expectations of you differ so wildly from yourself.

To be continued.

An Exploration of Extroverted Intuition

There are two versions of this post. This one mainly focuses on aspects of the nature of extrovert intuition which is a function of ENFP, INFP, ENTP and INTP according to the Myers-Briggs Types Index. The other post is more functional and says many of the same things, but is looked at in conjunction with an exploration of introverted intuition. This post is more fun and will explore extroverted intuition via a detour into Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1972 film Solaris, and the first season of Hannibal (2013) which I’ve recently started rewatching.

Time is a perception, a way of organizing and understanding through units that divide and compile the universe into sometimes arbitrary formations. Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky explored temporality in a manner not unlike Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark who, just moments after seeing his father’s ghost and realizing the earthly and spatial planes are not aligned, observed, “time is out of joint”. Given the perceptive nature of time and its relation to space in cinema, more than merely time is out of joint in film; the spatiotemporal form remains displaced, illusory, assembled through the filmmaking process of image-making and editing.

Hannibal is a fascinating TV show and other than borrowing the names of characters and some tropes, it bares far less practical resemblance to much of the subject it borrows from than you might expect. I am happy with this. I can’t actually think of anything worse than trying to redo ‘classics.’ Bryan Fuller decides to inhabit the space Hannibal exists in, and tell a completely different story with different characterisations, even if most the names within this space stay the same. Curiously this isn’t something he does with American Gods which would also be interesting to look at, but I’m happy to assume for the purposes of this that American Gods by Neil Gaiman (INFP) is told through the lens of Shadow Moon (INFP) so for Fuller, he has an easier relationship with the original text and therefore doesn’t have to take as many liberties with the source material to relate it to himself and subsequently tell the story he wants to tell. I’d go as far as postulating that, although I have never read a single Thomas Harris interview, (but a few books amounting to a few hundred thousand words which to varying degrees outline your interests, preferences, desires, hopes, dreams and what makes you tick is the next best thing) other than being aware that he is a novelist who has wrote a grand total of four novels in the past 37 years, and the last two appear to have came out of nothing more than pure pragmatism because they were going to make new Hannibal Lecter movies post Silence of the Lambs whether he’d wrote the source material or not, and due to the fact that his novels are vaguely surreal, deal in symbolism and intellectual games, it makes him by my reckoning, almost certainly an INTJ.

Fuller as an INFP (dominant function: introverted feeling, auxiliary function: extroverted intuition) opts to tell this story through Will Graham who appears at once doubly opposed to Hannibal (Just for those keeping score, Mads Mikkelsen’s Hannibal is an INFJ whereas Anthony Hopkins’ Hannibal in keeping with Harris’ source material is a cunning INTJ).  So from the outset, we have on one level, Hannibal as the creator in that he commits art murders, whereas Will, is the detective interpreting those murders and is therefore the critic. On the other hand, it is Will who is presented as the imaginative figure, whereas Hannibal is reduced to a responsive role, reinterpreting other people’s murders. Will Graham is a classic INFP. It doesn’t really come as much of surprise as characters in fiction will often be reflections of their creators. (As an aside,  for quite a while, I’ve wanted to do a blog with meta-readings on movies that people think are bad, as often the meta-readings will provide a really fascinating contextualisation to the movie. The Godfather Part 3 and its correlation with Francis Ford Coppola’s career being probably the ultimate example. Also going back to the previous proposition about the correlation between creators and their characters. Although Mario Puzo created The Godfather, Michael Corleone especially in The Godfather Part 3 is very much a reflection of Coppola. Literally to the point Michael Corleone’s daughter and sister are Francis Ford Coppola’s actual daughter Sofia Coppola and his sister Talia Shire.  I know little of Puzo. There is a parallel with Thomas Harris in that his involvement in the screenplay for The Godfather Part 3 came about out of pragmatism as the movie was being made, with or without him. Frankly however, there is a number of ways you could read into that.)

Fuller makes an interesting choice to position Will as on the autism spectrum. This is an interesting move with regards to his stated skill of empathy. In practice the show plays more than a little fast and loose with what exactly it is that Will does. As an INFP what Will obviously has is what most would call: extroverted intuition, so it’s interesting how Fuller chooses to frame this within the narrative. To serve the narrative however, it doesn’t actually serve much purpose to call it this, and we also have the conceit that: neuroatypical people are good at understanding other neuroatypical people, just as neurotypical people are good at understanding other neurotypical people, so we will go with empathy.

There is however an interesting oscillation between framing it as empathy and imagination. On the surface these are two very different things: empathy is perceptual, imagination creative. The division is readily healed by looking to William Blake on the subject of imagination. For William Blake, imagination is a faculty to be added to perception. It is the fact of man’s imagination that creates abstraction and order over the dead-eyed, vegetative world of nature. Imagination is thus more real than mere perception. It a higher order of the cosmos.

Or, to highlight James Joyce’s Ulysses and Stephen Dedalus’ theory of Hamlet, which I have also linked at the beginning of this blog:

Stephen mysticises the process of fatherhood and, as was commonly done by Renaissance writers, apparently makes the maternal link the only certainty:

Fatherhood, in the sense of conscious begetting, is unknown to man. It is a mystical estate, an apostolic succession […] .Amor matris, subjective and objective genitive, may be the only true thing in life. (p.266)

The artist, however, has the power to ‘weave and unweave his image’. Artistic creativity/paternity is here presented as a kind of potential auto genesis:

When Rutlandbaconsouthamptonshakespeare or another poet of the same name in the comedy of errors wrote Hamlet he was not the father of his own son merely but, being no more a son, he was and felt himself the father of all his race… (p.267)

This is not the traditional kind of bardolatry but there is a belief in a somewhat transubstantiating power behind artistic creation. Here is a fantasy of redemption and freedom from both biological and metaphorical parental authority. Stephen makes Shakespeare ‘Himself his own father’ (p.267); by aligning himself with Shakespeare he reveals to us his own desire, and by implication Joyce’s, to be free of the fetters of origin. Stephen in Portrait declares: ‘When the soul of a man is born in this country there are nets flung at it to hold it back from flight. You talk to me of nationality, language, religion. I shall try to fly by those nets.’ Ellmann highlights how focused Ulysses is on confronting issues of origin and paternity:

A theme of Ulysses, Joyce intimates, is reconciliation with the father…Insofar as the movement of the book is to bring Stephen, the young Joyce, into rapport with Bloom, the mature Joyce, the author becomes, it may be said, his own father.[27]

The crux of Stephen’s theory is that all art is autobiographical.

Within the context of Hannibal, this adds an unsettling light to what Will does. If the empathy that he brings to crime scenes is an act of imagination then the resulting sense of design must belong to Will, not the killers themselves. Will creates a higher structure out of the victims before him, and this structure proves more real and more powerful than the killing on its own. Going back to the nature of the show that Fuller has created, and Will and Hannibal’s relationship, on a basic level this can be read as a crude and obvious comment about the relationship between art and audiences, but it has many other implications that are both more interesting and more disturbing.

There is another interesting thing happening at the same time from not just an aesthetic standpoint. Hannibal has extremely distinctive establishing shots. These are as important as the richly saturated colour palette in creating its distinctive atmosphere. The time lapse establishing shots, with clouds whizzing overhead, frame what happens as taking place outside of time, in a fractured dreamscape. Fractured time is a recurring motif in the show, where it serves to indicate the blurring of internal and external landscapes.

Further to this, when you combine the particularly outlandish murders of the first season in conjunction with the gothic dreamscapes, it only serves to solidify the total unreality of the show. Simply put, this clearly isn’t happening in the real world. This will be something interesting to explore as the show progresses, Will’s empathy is stretched to breaking point and Will’s internal world begins to collapse.

Many of Tarkovsky’s characters and settings inhabit time, but they do so in dreamlike or even imagined landscapes that have no precise orientation within logical space, what for Deleuze might be represented by a “chronic non-chronological order”. Tarkovsky often wrote about the philosophies of Heraclitus or Arthur Schopenhauer in relation to time, though he did not adhere to a consistent time-philosophy for himself. What remains consistent in every Tarkovsky film is not a philosophy about time, but rather the profound treatment of time as a factor in both his formal and narrative approach, and his visual treatment of time in slow movements and pensive, unhurried shots. Tarkovsky also wrote extensively about time in texts like Sculpting in Time and Time Within Time, where he links, albeit without a steady application of his ideas, the notion of time and space “out of joint” but having a shared pattern or togetherness, associating such ideas through what has been described as “meaning-laden images whose meanings are elusive”. Whether he successfully or clearly communicates the potential metaphoric or symbolic meanings of his images remains the responsibility of the viewer to determine.

What did Schopenhauer say about dreams? I recently watched a show on Netflix called ‘The Power of Myth’ which is a series of discussions with the acclaimed mythologist Joseph Campbell. To quote Campbell:

“When you reach a certain age,” and he (Schopenhauer) wrote this when he was in his 60s or so, “and look back over your life, it seems to have had an order. It seems to have had been composed by someone. And those events that when they occurred seemed merely accidental and occasional and just something that happened, turn out to be the main elements in a consistent plot.” So he says, “Who composed this plot?” And he said, “And just as your dreams are composed by an aspect of yourself, of which your consciousness is unaware, so your whole life has been composed by the will within you.” Then he says, “Just as those people whom you met by chance became effective agents in the structuring of your life, so you have been an agent in the structuring of other lives, and the whole thing gears together like one big symphony,” he says, “everything influencing and structuring everything else.” And he said, “It’s as though our lives were the dream of a single dreamer, in which all the dream characters are dreaming too, and so everything links to everything else, moved out of the will in nature.”

That’s a beautiful idea. It’s an idea that occurs in India, in the image of what’s called the “Nee of Indra” or the net of gems. Where it’s a net of gems where every gem reflects all the other ones. And they also have the idea of a spontaneous and simultaneous arising. Everything arises in relation to everything else, and so you can’t blame anybody for anything; it’s all working around. It’s a marvelous idea. It’s as though there were an intention behind it, and yet it all is by chance. None of us has lived the life that he intended.”

To take another detour, I can frequently become completely disconnected from my body, I’ve missed flights, I constantly day-dream, an ability to make order out of chaos doesn’t mean I’m organised. My friends are for the most part other n types. Genuinely, I much prefer other intuitive types for the unconscious sense of comfort, instant recognition and mutual understanding. There is something of an instant click. This may be sometimes the case for other intuitive types too. I recall an INFP friend who had been off work for some time actually insist that she be not separated from me at work on the basis I was the only one who got her. I basically spent most of my twenties pondering the dynamics of social interaction, yet still, any friendship or relationship I might have is determined by any one of three factors: I stumble across another n type and there’s an instant click and sense of mutual recognition. A determined ENFP folllows me around long enough that I effectively give in and accept we’re in a relationship. This is effectively what happened with my ex, this was a person who despite the incessant red flags would ring me constantly and literally invent drama as a means for having a conversation. This included claims prior to us even meeting such as ‘I’ve been arrested.’ It doesn’t exactly take a genius to figure out this was absolutely fucking flagrant bullshit, and you wouldn’t be ringing someone off a mobile if you were under police custody, followed around half-an-hour later by, ‘The Garda have released me.’ I mean, anyone in their sound mind would have distanced themselves from someone like this, but that rather discounts that an intuitive such as my ex could basically have me smitten by giving me a constant stream of problems to solve (even though we both knew most of these were actually fucking fictitious) along with a predilection for having lots of sex. I’m a person who generally speaking solves the proverbial rubix cube pretty quickly, so there’s something both depressing and intriguing that my own ‘rubix cube’ was, ‘make up problems for this person to thrive on solving’ and ‘he really likes sex.’ There’s something of a generalisation about ENFP’s  that they’re air-heads. Personally, I’ve found on multiple occasions that this is generalising, while on one level true, really does them a grave injustice. I’ve often found myself in relationships with this type where I would actually consider myself vastly more intelligent than they are. What this discounts is that this type has a powerful extroverted intuition and you’re left with the sense that while on paper you might be more intelligent, this is a type that at their best seems to innately and instinctively know all of the important things in life. At their most turbulent, although they possess extroverted intuition as their primary function, their are similarities with Jung’s description.

Stephen says bitterly, “It is a symbol of Irish art. The cracked lookingglass of a servant.”

Sometimes through the cracked lookingglass you see reflections of yourself. Through the cracks there is a mutual recognition. Here was a person who would muddle through life, who was absolutely terrible with money and possessed little to no sense of organisation, with only what appeared to be miraculous good fortune protecting her life from becoming absolute chaos at every turn. Possibly the most acute depiction I’ve seen of this is in the Netflix show based on Douglas Adams’ ‘Dirk Gently‘ (in keeping with earlier in the blog, click the link just for fun) about a “holistic detective” (ENTP in the book although in the show, Samuel Barnett’s actual portrayal is actually far closer to being a re-enactment of Matt Smith’s varicoloured version of Doctor Who (ENFP) than being reverential to the source material) who makes use of “the fundamental interconnectedness of all things” to solve the whole crime, and find the whole person. The characters are imbued with such a sense of randomness, that for a show that at its core is a mock up of a detective show, you’re less concerned with the nature of the ‘crime’ as you are just bewildered that the characters actually somehow manage to not die (I mean I should clarify here that there is a fundamental difference between ENTP’s and ENFP’s of whom we are in the midst of addressing. They are similar enough as to be in the same neighbourhood, but different enough as to be two contrasting architectural styles. Douglas Adams was an ENTP as were his characters: Dirk Gently and Zaphod from HHGTTG, and there’s something to be said for the fact that a big theme through Douglas Adams’ work is that his idea of hell is petty bureaucracy. So yes, there is a big difference between an ENTP and an ENFP). Undoubtedly every flag indicated this would be a deeply unhealthy relationship. Every single aspect of this woman’s life was dictated by what most people would observe to be complete randomness of chance. I first saw her on a dating website. Having been on this particular website for a number of years and having observed the kinds of people who gravitate to this particular dating website, or at least through my own bias the people I mostly notice, this woman is not the kind of person I would have expected to find on it, let alone send a message to. The only reason I actually did was because I thought her eyes had quite a startling resemblance to another woman I had previously dated. This is generally speaking not remotely how I choose potential mates. Of all the dating websites in the world, like all things in her life, there is no reason I can possibly discern as to why she would have been on this particular one, other than absolute chance. I often pondered how she had actually found that website. In the entire time I knew her, I can scarcely recall a time she even looked at the internet. Her haunts onto eBay and other websites I do recall were like almost everything else in her life. Chaotic, haphazard and usually ending up in some kind of unusual drama. Buying a template to make a dress instead of the dress she actually thought she was buying. Or buying things that she could barely afford which would turn out not to work, or where the novelty value would quickly wear off. I recall her spending months trying to claim a refund for a broken violin that turned to have been imported from China. Hers was an all consuming passion. She was a nurse. She would ring me when she woke up. She would go to work. She would ring me on her break. She would go back to work. She would ring me on her lunch. She would go back to work. She would go home and ring me again. She would go and sit with her family. Or visit her aunt or cousins or her friends. Her whole waking life was consumed by constant interaction with people. She wasn’t the type of person who would actually stop and think. I could never imagine how she had ever found it. She wasn’t someone who looked for the answers to her life’s questions in Google: How do I get out of debt? How do I use eBay properly? How do I stop getting pulled into disciplinary meetings at work? Or, how do I find a boyfriend? Where do I find a boyfriend? First you’d actually have to stop to actually ask yourself something akin to these kinds of questions. She never did. She was a person who was oddly compelling. From a rational perspective the most remarkable aspect was that she somehow managed to maintain anything vaguely resembling a functioning life at all. Jung said:

This attitude has immense dangers — all too easily the intuitive may squander his life. He spends himself animating men and things, spreading around him an abundance of life — a life, however, which others live, not he. Were he able to rest with the actual thing, he would gather the fruit of his labours; yet all too soon must he be running after some fresh possibility, quitting his newly planted field, while others reap the harvest. In the end he goes empty away. But when the intuitive lets things reach such a pitch, he also has the unconscious against him. The unconscious of the intuitive has a certain similarity with that of the sensation-type. Thinking and feeling, being relatively repressed, produce infantile and archaic thoughts and feelings in the unconscious, which may be compared with those of the countertype. They likewise come to the surface in the form of intensive projections, and are just as absurd as those of the sensation-type, only to my mind they lack the other’s mystical character; they are chiefly concerned with quasi-actual things, in the nature of sexual, financial, and other hazards, as, for instance, suspicions of approaching illness. This difference appears to be due to a repression of the sensations of actual things. These latter usually command attention in the shape of a sudden entanglement with a most unsuitable woman, or, in the case of a woman, with a thoroughly unsuitable man; and this is simply the result of their unwitting contact with the sphere of archaic sensations. But its consequence is an unconsciously compelling tie to an object of incontestable futility. Such an event is already a compulsive symptom, which is also thoroughly characteristic of this type. In common with the sensation-type, he claims a similar freedom and exemption from all restraint, since he suffers no submission of his decisions to rational judgment, relying entirely upon the perception of chance, possibilities. He rids himself of the restrictions of reason, only to fall a victim to unconscious neurotic compulsions in the form of oversubtle, negative reasoning, hair-splitting dialectics, and a compulsive tie to the sensation of the object. His conscious attitude, both to the sensation and the sensed object, is one of sovereign superiority and disregard. Not that he means to be inconsiderate or superior — he simply does not see the object that everyone else sees; his oblivion is similar to that of the sensation-type — only, with the latter, the soul of the object is missed. For this oblivion the object sooner or later takes revenge in the form of hypochondriacal, compulsive ideas, phobias, and every imaginable kind of absurd bodily sensation.

The last time I saw her was not long after she’d returned to Ireland she was admitted to the CUH in Cork. She asked me to come see her. I did because it seemed the right thing to do. I took a flight over to Dublin and got the night bus up-to Cork from the airport. I arrived in the early hours and stayed the night with her. In the morning her cousin – the only member of her family to actually visit her – turned up and berated me. I left and went to check into the hotel. She phoned me and said to come to the hotel and stay with her again that night. I did. We walked from the ward to the chapel. I said to her that I didn’t think churches or chapels were necessary. If God is everywhere, why then do people confine God to lone, insular spaces and then act as if God doesn’t exist once they have left those spaces? She said this was a wise outlook but there is still a comfort to be found amongst other people, in these small spaces, secluded from the rest of the world. I stayed until morning and never saw her again.

Solaris exists on several spatial, temporal, and fantastic levels at once and, as Bould notes, while watching the film, it becomes “less important (or possible) to distinguish reality from imagination than to manage the various levels of memory or fantasy.” Tarkovsky uses images to transcend space and time, to render the elusive connection between the human mind and an alien planet whose consciousness invades the film’s characters. 

Deleuze believes that only lesser films contain time-images set only in the present; superior films employ time-images that exist on multiple planes at once, representing a convergence of past, present, and future in a single shot. From Kelvin’s memories to the manifestations of the alien planet, much of Solaris dwells in the boundless, unconscious, and otherworldly spaces that Deleuze yearns to see, often representing them in both formal and metaphorical terms that enable equally boundless contemplation.

American Genius

I just picked up a story I started writing nearly ten years ago. There were a few aspects I liked, so I’ve decided to give the concept a rewrite:

The unnamed narrator is ostensibly a Henry Chinaski type character on steroids.

The story itself is set in a dystopian 2009. The world is a miserable vast abyss of cities which are all *exactly* the same. Huge shining shimmering skyscapes of drollness. ‘The last great literary novel has been written; and has been replaced by the self-help book (and travel guides).’

Our hero wants to destroy those who have kidnapped his girlfriend. He hopes to achieve this by seeking out his hero Charles Bukowski. Who he considers to be the last great American genius. Our narrator’s dilemma is: is Bukowski still alive? While conventional wisdom states Bukowski has been dead since 1994, a mysterious woman says that she has seen him being thrown out of several bars and hanging around a local bookshop. On top of this, our hero is having to contend with problems at work, and a strange warning apparently emanating from out out of space indicates ‘the world is going to end in two days.’

This is all set in glorious panavision in an over-the-top world of deserts, beaches, jungles and cities with huge skyscrapers that blast through the stratosphere and block out the sun, aswell as dirty terrifying streets with gangs of chodes who will kill you as soon as look at you.

Can our hero save his girlfriend?

The lesson may very well be, can the girlfriend save our hero from himself?

Or has the magic of life been drained through the bleak miserable purple sky?

As our hero later muses, ‘Maybe just one sociopath wanting to rennovate the world into a nasty deserted pulpit of skulls, bones and slave women like an overcompensating Chinese sweatshop owner isn’t the biggest threat to humanity. Maybes humanity is the biggest threat to itself.’ Quite. Our hero is very succinct. Of course, with this kind of attitude. It’s only a matter of time before our hero wonders why he’s bothering to risk his life for a lost cause, anyway.

Our hero notes, that this may be down to a religious upbringing. He wonders whether hope is truly the human condition. Perhaps, despite his cynicism that it’s only hoping for something better that truly gives us the feeling of being human, and putting yourself on the line and offering something back, may be the most supreme of all human acts. The suffering in the face of adversity is perhaps the only thing that keeps us grounded. ‘Maybes it’s because at our core, we are hopeless and afraid, and the thought of telling someone you love the truth and being hurt in the process physically or emotionally makes us want to hide for all of eternity. All we have is the hope that somehow, just somehow we will work up the strength tomorrow to be a little bit braver, a little bit stronger than we are today.’

He then muses that for all people are stupid, he always had a strong belief in himself. ‘With so many people always trying to tear you down, why should you tear down yourself?’ Of course this makes little difference to our stoic and angry hero. He is terrified by the thought of going into battle against the person who has kidnapped his girlfriend, he believes this person may be immortal and is intent on destroying the planet so he can transcend into a being of consciousness. He is also terrified by the prospect of having to truly put himself on the ‘line’. The ultimate test of his character. He tries to gain the requisite confidence from looking at himself in the mirror and at his beloved ripped abs. For once, this doesn’t work.

It’s only when he finally cries himself to sleep. That Bukowski comes to him in dream. There is a stream of conciousness diatribe on human consciousness and ego. Our heroes ultimate realisation is that for all he is an ego-maniac and has always been somewhat arrogant and deluded, he understands that the ego is merely a story you tell yourself. For all he ultimately tells himself that he is better than everyone in the world, which he believes to be ‘confidence,’ as Bukowski makes him aware that he is still deluded. He tells our hero that he is ‘worse’ than many of the people whom he disdains. He then leaves our hero with a message ‘True confidence is there at the very core. Your self-esteem. Your soul. It’s not in your head. Your ancestors survived and replicated for millions of years just so you can be here now. You can survive. You can even overcome. You have to lose the ego first. Unleash your soul.’ Our hero wakes up before he can hear the last of Bukowski’s words. He is even more confounded by thoughts of how he can ‘unleash the soul’ of which Bukowski speaks.

He has to come to the realisation that ”it isn’t until he can stop thinking and just act” and that he is wasting ‘his life’ away.

The mysterious woman appears to him one last time, he demands an answer on whether Bukowski is still alive. ‘You know the truth’ she tells him. ‘Bukowski died in 1994 but he lives on in your cynicism. You will die tomorrow, because the old man must die, but he will discover to his inexpressible joy that he has never existed. You are fighting against nature itself. It is time to undergo the process of reorder. It is not possible for two beings to come into contact and not be changed by it.’

Our hero after some contemplation approaches the final battle. An ominous scene is set. In the most underwhelming climax of all time, our hero effortlessly takes down the chode’s army of warriors, before our heroes girlfriend kills the kidnapper by strangling him. ‘I was told I was going to die.’ As the planet begins to explode, they watch from the rooftop the end of days. They hold hands. ‘Don’t go, stay a little longer’ she tells him.