Today

Today

I see in the news that scientists in Canada have deflated the Big Bang theory: they say the universe may be infinite, after all: science trying to unshroud the unfathomable, indecipherable code of life.

Inspired by this story, I wrote to him that he and I need to be weave our story from the fibers of this infinite universe: he and I.

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On following blindly

Perhaps the problem, indeed the tragedy, of living a life that has been cut out by the society one lives in or by one’s immediate environment is that in doing so one may fail to discover his or her uniqueness, may fail to find his or her bliss. I do not mean to say that following a society’s routine (school, job, marriage, house, car, career,corporation, children, school, grandchildren, death) is a bad thing in itself: I don’t think it is if the choice is a conscious one and if it comes from self-awareness and not from the collective self. There is nothing wrong with following a well-established routine: the trodden path. But there is something wrong when one identifies himself/herself with that routine: i am my job, my family, my routine, my cup of coffee in the morning,  my Facebook page. That would be a wasted life, a life that is devoid of the meaningful struggle to become better, to become more, to discover the unique, unrepeatable voice one has. What a loss of nature’s energy and beauty.

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Growth

I think every relationship is a chance everyone gets to change himself/herself: either for the better or for the worse. The people that come into our lives mirror some shadowy parts of ourselves. I call them shadowy because they resist coming into the light by themselves: they only manifest themselves into the world as a reflection, in our choices of friends, lovers, wives, husbands. But they can be forced to show themselves to the light of our conscious if we descend to these most secret chambers of our being.

I believe it’s only by understanding the role people play in our lives that we can truly become what we were all born to be: sparks of consciousness illuminating some aspect (or another) of being. We are here to understand the darkness of the mother goddess because she is black. Only by fulfilling this ultimate role can we fulfil our purpose. Shadow and light want to be known; shadow and light belong together. It is not the darkness of our being that stunts our growth, nor is the light. It’s our struggle against the natural descent to the abyss of our shadow, our constant fear of the unknown, our constant resistance to change.

Here’s Jung’s take on life’s events: ‘life does not come from events, but from us. Everything that happens outside has already been. Therefore whoever considers the event from outside sees only that it already was and that it is always the same. But who looks from inside. knows that everything is new. The events that happen are always the same, but the creative depths of man are not always the same.’

We tend to resist change: we cling to old patterns and to people as if they were the only choice out there, the only path. We cling to an old model of our lives because we do not know better. Yet, life begins when we begin to shine the light of our consciousness over our abyss, our shadow. As Jung said, ‘depths and surface should mix so that new life can develop’

So how can people that come/are into our life change us for the worse? By not accepting the challenge that they bring with them: the challenge of facing our own shadows. By not accepting the challenge, we create repetition of events and we become dependent on that repetition, on that pattern (imagine a mouse on a wheel) and we will call that pattern our life: we will call that pattern life and stick to it at all costs. Isn’t that madness?

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The Chymical Wedding

I can’t stress enough how beautiful this book is. I read it a second time after 10 years, only to discover new meanings in it and fresh perspectives in me. I believe that the archaic symbols in us, our dark side of the psyche can only have meaning when filtered through personal experience. These archetypes we all carry within need a form of expression (and alchemy was such a form in the past), but which has to be a form of individual expression that has been brought first to the conscious mind, post-experience, post-reflection. A constant dialogue with these forms of energy gives life and personal experience its richness, its touch of the ineffable. And once awakened and taken seriously, they do rub off onto our daily life – they are the key to understanding nature, poetry, music, literature and, last but certainly not least, the key to understanding our own contradictory nature.

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the wisdom of the heart

I am going to write about equilibrium, balance, which will be a bit difficult when listening to Brahms, the Piano Concerto No.1 in D minor with Stephen Kovacevich as pianist. The passion, the exhuberance of Brahms’ early work (he was in his 20s when he composed this piece) may tug at my heart and I may lose track, but here I go, nevertheless.

I’ve been through a period of changes, tremendous changes, I would say and I feel this is only the beginning. I’ve felt joy and pain, and then pain again. Upon reflecting on what has happened to me, I’ve understood something about myself and my relationships with people in general, love relationships in particular. I realize now that every person that has been into my life has revealed something of my psyche in its whole complexity: shadow, unconscious and self. I understand now that what I need to work on is to integrate all the aspects of my psyche into a flowing continuum, or into a balance. There is nothing negative about our selves, and there’s nothing positive either. All there is is this continous struggle to gain supremacy of some force or another, and our (my) continous yielding towards one aspect or another. To strike the balance is to learn how to dance to this counterpoint of life’s music; the opposites are in fact two prefectly interdependent voices, and dancing to them means hearing them both, but yielding to none, lest the dance become skewed, unbalanced, biased.

So I am now at the point when I am listening to this music trying to understand the 2 voices and especially, the point where they meet. What keeps me from hearing the music in its complex simplicity is the need to control things, superficiality, the need to be loved, the need to love, the need to change myself, the need to change others, and above all, the need to change all these things. I am stuck with all this now, and probably the only good thing about it is that now, for the first time, I am bloody aware of it. I am aware of the fact that I am lived rather than living.

And here’s good ol’ Henry Miller who suffered and loved and created, above all, he created. He inspired the title of this post.

http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/10/09/the-wisdom-of-the-heart-henry-miller/

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Istanbul and Tarlabasi Today, September 6

Am back to Istanbul, and back on the street. I had to force myself go down the Tarlabasi streets again. Every time I take a break from it, I find it difficult to return. Today, for instance, I had to summon what the Taoists called the “te”, the inner strength, roughly speaking, but it means more than that.

Some of the people of Tarlabasi are apprehenisve, don’t want to be taken picture of; others are thieves; I am usually not afraid, and that may have deterred thieves from approaching me. But there are also nice, friendly people, such as the ones I’ve met today. This is a Christian family from Mardin, or “the fortress” in Aramaic. I befriended the daughter, Sevim, who studied French in school, but whose life is inevitably tied to her father’s. He won’t allow her to marry because he want her to help around the house and take care of himself and his wife when they get older. A sad story.

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September 6, 2012 · 12:07 pm

August 05 journal

Late summer, “you’ve gotta be more, you’ve gotta do more” (from Dead Poets Society, the flick)

Started to cut down on my hours of sleep. Went to bed at 10.30 and got up at 5. That I can wake up to something soothing like Bossa Nova is a relief (alarm set to it). I calculated that I need to work almost all day to read all that I need to read, to study and to write/do photography, in other words, to encompass with my mind all this diversity in my life. But writing comes first; I need to condense the  theoretical part of the study, from 40 pages to a merely 10.

On a personal level, there is cleansing to be done. I need to reconstruct the “masculine,”  which has been affected by the lack of essential manly qualities of the last man I was with. But watching A Man There Was by Victor Sjostrom was a step ahead; my choice of this film, after all, may have been unconscious, And unconscious too have been my love choices so far. I have been able to dig out what the dynamic forces of my unconscious that favoured those choice were, but there is need for those forces to be counterbalanced now, to be understood, cured and let go of. They form indeed to muddy bottom of the lake where my creative impetus comes from, but they need to be honed, or they threaten to paralyze me completely.

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Fragments of a journal

Almost finished reading Eliade’s Autobiography, vol II, describing his odyssey from Ithaca (Bucharest) to Troy (Washington). Eliade was a Ulysses who never returned to his Ithaca, which was probably because his Penelope wasn’t there. He met her in Paris in one of those  moments in which the profane (“the terror of history” he called it) started to shed its illusionary veil for the first time since he had moved abroad and to reveal the sacred hidden underneath. Beautiful description of the first moments of love, when love was new. Their walks, the emotion, the anticipation of the future together. Christinel and Eliade discovered America together, but they both seem to have stayed Romanians: they made themselves at home in the new world, but did they fully adapt?  I read somewhere once that only inferior people adapt…Probably creative people re-create the new space they inabit, adjust it to their needs; this should probably be the opposite of “adaptable”: creative, transforming.

I am decades away from the happenings in the Autobiography and feeling a strange familiarity with those events and with Eliade’s life. For I too am away from my Ithaca, and I too feel the effervescence of the creating force within me, the unsettling feeling that things need to be done while there is still time,  that I need to do something Romanian while I still have the time to do it: bring my contribution, that is. This thought though may be only the result of fear of losing my identity in this melting-pot.

As for a possible contribution, I am focusing dilligently on finding a new way of categorizing languages based on the speakers’ relation to the geographical space they live in. And here I feel that my solid bond with the earh could help me define this relationship, for my solid bond with the earth MUST BE the bond that my ancestors felt and that feeling may have been carved in our language.

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Dreams, Akira Kurosawa

The way to the human heart, the heart of hearts, is strewn with horror stories of sacrifices and murders, of wars and plunders, of unrequited love, of tears and sorrow, of pain. It is in the mud and the dirt, in the most unhygienic, dark and desolate corners of the human psyche that beauty finds its dwelling place. It is only through digging that one finds the treasure: if only there were a way around it! The outside world is only a reflection of what lurks beneath the conscious mind, in the marshes and swamps and the bogs of the unconscious, where giant snakes and dragons live. To understand an age, one needs to understand the archetypical mind. To change a trend, one needs to steer the steeds of the unconscious; unless that is done, the steeds will go wild, and it will be the trend that will change people, not vice versa. Jung warned about the danger of nuclear bombs when the egotistic ambitions of the white man are allowed to manifest their daemonic nature through the lack of awareness of his peers, through renouncement to the teachings of the old and by removing oneself from Nature.

Fortunately, we have the Arts to remind us of the psyche’s hidden treasures left unexpressed in modern times. Fortunately, we have the artists to enter the back doors for us and to walk for us down the winding paths of the dark forests. But if we grew up without listening to the old stories, the stories that build one up by helping the inner child reach manhood/womanhood, we may not have the key to understand the artists’ cryptic message. For what is growth but an unending laying of bricks on the foundation that will later become the Individual? And how can an Individual fully become when there are missing bricks in this foundation? Then his/her house is doomed either to collapse or to find support in the illusory embracing of the world’s spider webs. And the world will indeed weave its webs around and around until sunshine stops coming in, and the great night of the mind takes over.

These are thoughts inspired by one of the greatest works of art of the past century, Akira Kurosawa’s “Dreams”. The movie was inspired by the producer’s own dreams and follows the journey of the Hero: leaving the childhood home to set off on the adventure (poetry and mystery, but danger, for the child has to die to make room for the man); encountering love and loss, loss and love; getting caught in the illusion of this world of opposites and contradictions: “snow is warm, ice is hot”, but succeeding in freeing himself from it; causing death, understanding death and his role in it (the hero understands that he cannot blame War for the death of his troop, that he has himself to blame, for He is the one who has made the decision); meeting Art in its Dionysian form of madness: Van Gogh and the orgy of colour, suffering, love, death and life; then meeting his own daemons, his own madness, but not succumbing to it; and then meeting Life.

According to Wikipedia, the movie failed to impress: “Shooting took more than eight months to complete, and Dreams premiered at Cannes in May 1990 to a polite but muted reception, similar to the reaction the picture would generate elsewhere in the world”.

If that is true, the public back then failed to find the key. Will we ever?

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on artists

Been pondering Jung’s viewpoint on art and the artist’s taking to the back streets and alleys of the society because he/she can’t “endure” the main stream, the “broad highway”. And by doing so, Jung thinks, the artist has the chance to enconter the unexpressed, the supressed archetype, the archetype that is not allowed manifestation in society because it represents the opposite of the mainstream attitude. But the supressed energies do need to take part in our lives, or they will lurk in the darkness of our subconsious threatening our very well-being; and so the artist takes these silenced voices and brings them to the light of our consciouness transformed, digested, so that society can accept them; and by doing so the artist transforms “our personal destiny into the destiny of mankind” allowing us to survive the “darkest night”, the night in which our subconsious might have taken over.

So, I wonder what the unexpressed archetypes of our age are; what forces lie in the darkness of our psyche waiting for the moment when the man who follows the narrow winding path through the woods will discover them, aknowledge them, give them a chance to be?

There are groups talking about the universe at large, time travel, discovering new worlds. But the universe is here, within us; what we need to learn is how to live here, with our daemons, instincts, passions; forget the cosmos. For these are the forces that keep us alive and alert; these are the forces that we can chisel and transform, and by doing so, we create life, we teach creation how to understand its own shadow.

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