Tag Archives: friends

Notes on synchronicity and creativity, friendship, sustainability, and, an amplification of parts multiplying the whole; plus Elvis

The Transcendent Function

SCalhoun, 2012, The Transcendent Function

The process of coming to terms with the unconscious is a true labor, a work which involves both action and suffering. It has been named the “transcendent function” because it represents a function based on real and “imaginary” or rational and irrational, data, thus bridging the yawning gulf between conscious and unconscious. It is a natural process, a manifestation of the energy that springs from the tension of opposites, and it consists in a series of fantasy occurrences which appear spontaneously in dreams and visions.

The natural process by which the opposites are united came to serve me as the model and basis for a method consisting essentially in this: everything that happens at the behest of nature, unconsciously and spontaneously, is deliberately summoned forth and integrated into our conscious mind and its outlook. Failure in many cases is due precisely to the fact that they lacked the mental and spiritual equipment to master the events taking place in them. (C.G. Jung; The Synthetic Or Constructive Method, Two Essays In Analytical Psychology, p.80)

In addition to inherent duality of Universe
There is also and always
An inherent threefoldedness and fourfoldedness
Of initial consciousness
And of all experience.
For in addition to (1) action, (2) reaction,
(3) resultant,
There is always (4) the a priori environment,
Within which the event occurs,
i.e., the at-first-nothingness around us
Of the child graduated from the womb,
Within which seeming nothingness (fourthness)
The inherently threefold
Local event took place.

R. Buckminster Fuller, Intuition, 1972, p. 14

Holly The Green Woman

Wandering Through Friendship

Many years ago, my three closest male friends were named Bob, Bob, and Chris. I met each of them in Middlebury Vermont sometime around 1976, after I had arrived in Middlebury to work the music desk at The Vermont Book Shop. As it happened, only one of the ‘Bobs’ was still living in the area when I departed in 1991. That is important because the bonds forged with the three men had everything to do with our mutual proximity, and, eventually, this proximity was attenuated and so became diminished.

As it turns out, over twenty years later, I know how to contact two of the three, yet I’ve lost touch with all three. One of the Bobs, about whom I will tell of momentarily, I didn’t stay connected with right from the moment he left Middlebury in the late-eighties. (Yeah, I should google him!) It was with Bob P. that I first enjoined a discussion about the nature of friendship. After all, we were friends. I forget how it came up and I forget what it was that we discussed, but I do remember having the discussion and also remember our agreeing on two elements: to be known by another is to, then, do the work of knowing one other.

For apart from inquiry, apart from the praxis, individuals cannot be truly human. Knowledge emerges only through invention and reinvention, through the restless, impatient, continuing, hopeful inquiry human beings pursue in the world, with the world, and with each other. Paulo Freire

Another consequential incident happened in 1992. I became friends with my boss, Patrick, and tis dovetailed in an absolutely synchronistic way with me working through unconscious images and the suggestions of Marion Woodman in her book The Pregnant Virgin. This book, for me personally, is the most profound book on masculine psychology. Paradoxically, its subject matter is feminine psychology, and yet its treatment of male friendship literally rapped me a little bit awake, like a Zen master might have done.

From that moment I became a close student of the nature of friendship. I made an experiential inquiry into my own friendships. Because it is my own mature nature to make a study of human phenomena as a participant and observer, eventually I organize my tentative comprehensions and modest understandings into my provisional knowledge of same–whichever subject is in my sight. So, it next becomes possible for me to know, and, articulate, my personal phenomenology and practice of friendship, and these are entangled in what amounts to an aesthetic of friendship.

By the way, I don’t lay any of this on my close friends, unless our collaboration in friendship happens to step back into this so-called “meta” viewpoint, stepping back at such a point into a dialog about that which comprises our different viewpoints (or aesthetic,) on the practice of friendship. This hasn’t happened betwixt my friends and me, and, paradoxically, I’m sharing this with anybody who happens upon this published description; including friends.

Friendship and a Colorful Symbol

One time it happened is when I explained to my close friend Holly that ‘to be a close friend of mine means for me to have entered the most close in circle of friendship and intimacy.’

Inner Circle

Obviously this kind of differentiation is not uncommon–when you reflect upon your relationships. She and I discussed what this differently meant for us, being in relationships which could be qualified in terms of closeness and whether or not someone was, in both effect and practice, in our inner circle.

In noting this particular approach, a crucial point to understand is that feeling my way through a human phenomena like this is part and parcel of what I do just in being who I am to be. This point of fact goes along with two elemental aspects that qualify, for me, a friend being in my inner circle: one, such a person has put in the necessary time; two, such a person has mutually submitted to the actuality of each of us being who we happen to be.

The essence of marriage is friendship. The secret of life is friendship. The core of love is being a friend.


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Free Play Perfection

LArry's Back

Larry's Back

Free Play Softball May 7, 2012

hat tip to Gwen and Laura

My definition of an ideal Sunday softball morning at Field #8, Forest Hills Park, Cleveland Heights, Ohio, USA, North America, Planet Earth, is when a minimum of sixteen people show up by our moving-target-of-a-start time.

Full field, baby! (This is partly selfish, I hit between right and left center, nowadays after decades as a severe pull hitter, so I really need to face three outfielders.) Our group has become very resourceful, so we can have a game with five-a-side, but, let’s face it, full field even with the batting team supplying the catcher is beautiful.

Yet, nine-a-side is perfecto! Add in flawless weather.

Pick-up softball every Sunday at 9:45am – see you there.

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Pagan Men of Fall

The tricker treaters came in waves. I asked a group including two Jedi masters to step back and pose for a group portrait.

By my count the Free Play Softball League has notched 28 games, going back to April. It’s something like a warrior ethic that inspires a turnout in November. We close off a section of the outfield, and play six-on-six. (We played seven-on-seven today–huge turnout!) In a few weeks Dave K. leaves for warmer environs, passes the equipment on, and, the final test is passed when at least 10 show up for a post-Turkey day softball game. It’s happened once in 9 years. I’ll be there.

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Happy 75th Abdullah!

Ibrahim & Hoon
Roughly in this picture of the two of us, Abdullah Ibrahim is the age I am now. Twenty years ago, on the sidewalk in Middlebury, Vermont.

Although we’re no longer in touch*, my beloved friend Abdullah Ibrahim, turn 75 today. He is, to put it simply and also grandly, the deepest musician the continent of Africa has produced so far. To say “so far” with the musical Africa, is to imply a long period of time: the expressly musical sound world of humans may well have begun in Africa many hundreds of thousands of years ago.

As a composer, bandleader, instrumentalist, he has over a 50+ year career created an immense body of work aimed by his deep intelligence at the receptive human heart. This is a very serious operation! For him, music comes to the manifest world from its origin in the divine vibratory chain of becoming. So, his intention attends to the possibility presented by the sensitive and receptive listener. Well, this is as I have heard it. From this, the possibility of transmission is realized. So, for example, his people’s music synched up with his people’ struggles, and, struck THE chord.

Dr. Ibrahim’s capabilities extend beyond music. He is an educator in diverse fields that include history, martial arts, nutrition, and other healing arts. He is a poet and a world class raconteur. When he returned to Africa after its liberation, it once again became his home base.

In 1996, I commenced a web site, Abdullah Ibrahim’s Mantra Modes, devoted to his artistry, and six years later stopped updating it when his own official web site came online. At the Mantra Modes link there’s lots of content, including some recollections evoked by our brief association.

On the nogutsnoglory studios blog I have, today, delineated a very concise recommendation of recordings.

*he emailed me this year a single sentence: “Is that you?” Given a history of his providing me with learning opportunities, I couldn’t take it as just a simple question! I give my self low marks for how I handled those opportunities way-back-when, yet, nevertheless, I have retained some of the threads. His impact on me remains great, and I remain grateful.

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Space, The Final Frontier

(click for large windowbox version)

If I reflect upon phenomenologists about town…well, there aren’t many of us. Anyhowsa, Frank M. Mills is one of the few. In the past few days, he’s melded his family of web media locations into emptyspaces. This will make it easier to keep track* of Frank.

I’ve done a little walkin’ and talkin’ with Frank years ago. With Frank, if you walk down–say, Virginia Street (above) in Lakewood–he’ll stop and talk with people and stop and contemplate and, otherwise go about it as if the real deal isn’t between points A and B. Great fella with which to get lost in space.

…since KW has gone off grid, I better look him up. Frank and KW are the only flâneurs I’ve ever met.

* or sniff his trail

“Better to follow the perfume, than the tracks.” (Shams)

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The Kids of Summer

Thanks to Alice for snapping this shot from September 6. Age range: roughly 16 to 66.

We started our Free Play pick-up softball league in April on the first Sunday after tax day. We’ll play until it becomes too insane to play. This usually means sometime in November, several Sundays after it is merely insane to play.

In a month we’ll hit the third anniversary of the Sunday when I lost a ball in the late fall sun and caught it with my nose. This turned out to be the $6,000 catch, as far as the medical assessment went. This is meaningful this year because I found my old confidence in left field only to lose it on my worst fielding day ever a month ago. As Walt said to me, “Snake bit, eh?”

This year has been interesting for several reasons. First, from May through the end of July, as a result of an email notification experiment, the game attracted between 24 and 30 players. Everybody gets to play–as long as he or she has reached the age of 11–so, as the person who divides the mob into two, the resulting line-ups were obviously long, with eleven fielders, and as many as four people rotating in every inning.

I wondered out loud with Alice and Dave, what this meant for the ethos of the game. It was clear at the time that the game’s remarkable consensual process of accommodation was coming under some pressure from players, including myself, who weren’t 100% dedicated to an experiment morphed to include a substantial degradation in playing time and plate appearances.

Dave, on the other hand, simply told me, “Hey, after July 4th, the turn out will fall back to normal.” Well, it did, but the email announcements were halted too!

Among several developments, two more stand out. Two new players, Mark Jr. and Mark Sr. have come out and delighted the old timers with their consistent and crafty play. Mark Jr. is both a golden glover and a tricky, tactical hit-to-any field batter. He was part of a paradigmatic moment last week, when he drove a swinging bunt fifteen feet down the line and made it safely to first. Except, he was called back for crafting a “bunt-like” hit, where the rule is no bunting. But, it wasn’t a bunt.

He protested to me that “It isn’t fair to make up a new rule in the middle of a game.”

I told him, “It’s fair if you look at it a different way. But, it’s also the kind of game where an unfair rule gets conjured when it serves a bigger purpose.”

It took me a few seasons to embrace how situational rulings emerge in ‘free play!’

The other really notable development is the blossoming of Cat. He’s 16, perhaps? Wiry. He’s been playing off and on for five years. After a big growth spurt, he’s truly arrived with a beautiful swing, rapidly improving fielding instincts in left field, and, well, he’s always been quick as a cat.

It was sometime in mid May he launched a ball about 300 feet and about 100 feet behind where I was stationed in left field. (After nine years patrolling left, I’d guess it was a top five blast.) There’s no fence, so you turn and fetch the home run ball. Fluke? No, several at bats later he hit one 50 feet beyond my more prudent–but not prudent enough–position. He hit it about 275 feet.

Stand back, Cat’s at bat!

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From 1989 until I left Vermont in 1991, I lived in a farmhouse in Waltham with Ron and two fine Ethiopian gentlemen and musicians, Seleshe and Kiflu. The latter was known as the ‘world most handsome man.’ The two were brothers and musicians and dancers. During the summer of 1990, I played color percussion very quietly in the four person rhythm section of The New Nile Orchestra on three occasions. Kflu told me with a wink–before the orchestra took the outdoor stage at The Discover Jazz Festival, “You’re okay as long as I can’t hear you.”

We had an immense amount of fun as roommates even if Selesshae Damessae, an internationally famous ex-patriot folkloric musician, wasn’t around much. I’ve never ate as well as I did back then. Ron and Kiflu melded vegetarian and ethiopian cuisine and often Breakfast was the main deal.

Once a month or so during the summer the Jehovah’s witnesses would come by and we’d hang with them on the front porch until they got jumpy as tourists in their own land sometimes do. You have to picture Ron and myself with our long hair, the coal black adonis Kiflu, the Jehovah’s men with us on the porch, with wife and daughters sitting in the car. We extracted their agreement: we’d listen to their scripture reading if they’d partake of our own. However, they’d always book once one of us went into the house to get our book.

Ethiopian music is ancient. Here’s two music videos from the brave and poor land that capture the two sides of the this most unique of countries.

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Almost immediately after going online in 1995, I ran into new friends via email discussion lists. This was a comfortable mode for me although when I look back at my experience I recognize how I let a lot of counter-productive personality impulses stream online too. Nevertheless, I can name the people who I am in relationship to today, to some degree, by virtue of our falling into the same discussion locales way-back-when. In noting this, I title this post hoping to hint at the paradox of proximity as it is obtained in the online world. I have met face-to-face but three of my online friends, Lexie, Hugh, and Heward.

Let me sing some praises on behalf of friends.

Heward Wilkinson, a UK-based psychotherapist and philosopher of science and social science has published a book, The Muse as Therapist. A New Poetic Paradigm for Psychotherapy (Karnac.) I bet this has been the book that has been percolating for all his life.Muse As Therapist By Heward Wilkinson I’ve fallen out of touch with Heward for about four years, but for several years we had a wonderful back-channel–to two different ‘Jungian’ discussion lists–dialog going, a dialog full of meta-commentary and informal poetics. I count Heward as an important guide, not the least of which included his pointing out the work of Daniel Stern, (The Present Moment In Psychotherapy and Life.) I was grateful for Heward’s attention because I am a piker in comparison to his erudition. On his web site are papers he’s written that are important in the scheme of the philosophy of psychology, and, several are touchstones for my own perspective. My first recommendation is Phenomenalogical Causality, at the bottom of |papers|. hewardwilkinson.co.uk

I have never met Alice O. Howell, the celebrated archetypal astrologer and author. Yet, one of the first delights of my online travels was joining an email list Alice was a member of. I was delighted because I was already familiar with her fine book, The Dove and the Stone. It was sort of like meeting an old friend. We’ve talked once on the phone, many years ago. Over the years I have on occasion given her a hard time. But since she is the prototypical wonderful person, she used her eight plus decades of experience to deal with me gently and generously. She has a blog, Credo. On it are her credos. They are profound. Yet, the key work of hers–for me–is an essay, God, The Verb. On the Stratification of the Archetypes.

It opens:

Over the years it seems that there is only a growing confusion over the nature of Jungian archetypes. For some it is a primordial image, for others it is a god or a character in a fairy tale and so forth. All of which are true on different niveaux and thus the arguments represent “a dilemma of levels”. The great obstacle in understanding the essence of an archetype is that we have to use words to define what is essentially a direct experience. We cannot even mention the nature of a verb without turning it into a noun! To say “swimming is delightful.” is to turn the gerund into the subject of the sentence, i.e. a noun; or “to swim is delightful.”, the infinitive to swim again becomes the subject of the sentence. All our hows turn into linguistic whats. Thus we must remain conscious of a mercurial trickster stopping the flow of the action as one would frames in a reel of film. So to write of archetypes is at best a challenge. “In the beginning was a verb” is actually a simple transliteration of the words of John: “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was God.” The word verb means “word”. This is so obvious, it takes a simpleton like myself to get the joke. If we say that God is a verb, we are on the right track to understanding the essence of an archetype because the nature of archetypes is at its most essential a process, a verb. And postulating energy (God!}, for lack of a better word, as the Primal Verb, then the archetypes become the different modalities inherent in both the invisible and the visible world.

I will urge her to publish the full piece on her blog. In the meantime, Credo.

I’ve been hanging with Robert G. Longpre for 13 years, starting out with Walter Logeman’s Psyber-L list. I consider Robert a kindred soul. We’re close to the same age and I imagine close to being moved by the same inveterate curiosity about what makes the cosmos sound; errr, sound here being the Godly verb! Robert pops up now and then. When he does I often am moved to reflect upon my first moves in cyberspace. Robert has a blog, Retired Eagle. On it are ‘photos viewed with a Jungian Psychology filter.’ This unique theme is given its due, and, I would sense from Retired Eagle that all outer travelogues go along with the inner kind. Turn the lens inward, travelers, yes?

Mike Dickman sent me a kind note a month ago. One thing we share is we both have didgeridoos. I’ve never learned to circular breathe, although once during a trance-like state I almost got it. I purloined his picture from a listing for one of his books on eastern religion, The Saying of Old Ch’Eng on the Nature of Original Mind.
Mike Dickman
I like his picture. I project upon it and say to myself, ‘happy hippies are where it’s at.’ He maintains a web site, Mist, attached to JungCircle. I’ll ask permission after the fact, but here’s one of his translations of Monk Tan Hsia. ->>Better picture and interview.

In the subtle truth there’s nothing you can gain
Which also doesn’t mean that all is vain
The moon reflects on the sea, the fish all disappear
You — fisherman — why do you cast your hook again?

Eve Neuhaus is author and searcher. She’s another in the Jung karass. Congratulations Eve on your your book Journey to Mythaca obtaining a second edition. The book and Eve have a web site. I just asked Eve for the secret password to get inside its magic realm. I dig the children’s artwork, and so will you.

Oh, what a party we old time cyberians could/should have!

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I returned Monday from New Mexico. The service and wake for Jamie was spontaneous, soulful, and deeply moving. There was country rock, desert vistas, and Jamie’s karass. It was an event every bit as spiritually complex, and necessary, as the man himself.

click pic for larger version / Photo montage created by compositing unknown student photographer’s photo of Jamie this year, and, scenic picture taken by me Sunday September 28.

I’ve been warped by the rain, driven by the snow
I’m drunk and dirty don’t ya know, and I’m still, willin’
Out on the road late at night, Seen my pretty Alice in every head light
Alice, Dallas Alice

I’ve been from Tuscon to Tucumcari
Tehachapi to Tonapah
Driven every kind of rig that’s ever been made
Driven the back roads so I wouldn’t get weighed
And if you give me: weed, whites, and wine
And you show me a sign
I’ll be willin’, to be movin’

I’ve been kicked by the wind, robbed by the sleet
Had my head stoved in, but I’m still on my feet and I’m still… willin’
Now I smuggled some smokes and folks from Mexico
Baked by the sun, every time I go to Mexico, and I’m still

And I been from Tuscon to Tucumcari
Tehachapi to Tonapah
Driven every kind of rig that’s ever been made
Driven the back roads so I wouldn’t get weighed
And if you give me: weed, whites, and wine
And you show me a sign
I’ll be willin’, to be movin’

[Willin’ by Lowell George]

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March, 1972; at the Cohen family’s ‘ranch.’ Two Cosmic Cowboys
In 1997, at our 25th reunion, insisting to Jamie that the bar be set high, we worked to configure our relationship to be about who we both are, and not about what we know, or who we know, or do. Our relationship became man-to-man. And this was a ‘no brainer’ for us both too. My deepest memories of Jamie flow out of the hearts’ meeting this transformation evoked.

The cosmic cowboy phase thus came to a close. (envelope from 1974.) Wrong Address

Synchronistically, yesterday, I ran across the following lines from Anthem, by Leonard Cohen, found in an article about Elizabeth Edwards and her values.

You can add up the parts
but you won’t have the sum
You can strike up the march,
there is no drum
Every heart, every heart
to love will come
but like a refugee.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
That’s how the light gets in.
That’s how the light gets in.

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On September 9th I published a post to celebrate two new artistic creations by my soul brother Jamie Cohen. Yesterday I received a call from my other soul brother David. He told me Jamie had passed away on September 11th. Man! Ripped away.

Losing Jamie is to lose one among the handful of people who are simply a deep part of me. There’s much I could say. Later.

For now, I love you Jamie. Your adventure continues.
Jamie the Dynamo Man
(from Jamie’s myspace gallery; used without permission) Check out the gallery. Jamie was a gifted artist and artistic all-rounder.

Taken at our 25th reunion May, 2007. I last spoke to Jamie three weeks ago, to tell him Susan and I had married.

Tempted and tried, we’re oft made to wonder
Why it should be thus all day long
While there are others living about us
Never molested though in the wrong

When death has come and taken our loved ones
It leaves our home so lonely and drear
Then do we wonder why others prosper

9/17: friends are invited to comment.
Living so wicked year after year

Farther along we’ll know all about it
Farther along we’ll understand why
Cheer up my brother, live in the sunshine
We’ll understand it all, by and by

Faithful ’til death, said our loving Master
A few more days to labor and wait
Toils of the road will then seem as nothing
As we sweep through the beautiful gates

Farther Along, Byrds version of course!

9/17: Friends are welcome to comment.

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Walter Logeman and yours truly go back a bit. 12 years. The first person I added to my virtual karass. We initiated some experiments and adventures.

I’ve never met his body. I wish I could go visit him in New Zealand.

His new blog In This Moment. Then there is his Psybernet.

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