METAPHOR as WISDOM

Posted January 25, 2016 by jackmeier
Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: , , ,

Information is factual — this is this and that is that.  Knowledge is categorical — this is this but not that. Wisdom is metaphorical — this is this and also that.

We live in the Information Age. Via the internet and many other means we can garner as many facts as we need for whatever purpose we decide. We might also call this the age of scientific knowledge. Science itself has many categories or sciences, and each science has many subcategories, all of which make knowledge easier to obtain and retain, However, metaphor has been pushed aside as being ‘inaccurate’ and ‘misleading’. It’s fine for poetry but ours has become a prosaic age. Once Joseph Campbell was interviewed on the radio by someone unfamiliar with the term ,so Joseph tried to explain its meaning. To say “he runs like a deer” is a simile, which the interviewer accepted as meaningful, but to say “he is a deer” the interviewer said would be meaningless and a lie. Or one could say it was a myth, today often used as a synonym for ‘a lie.’  So myths and metaphors are now considered by many as equivalent to lies. How then can one refer to them as ‘wisdom’?  As Jung wrote:

Wisdom is neither a question of belief nor of knowledge, but of the agreement of our thinking with the primordial images of the unconscious.

My first lesson in the language of the unconscious came from a message from Poseidon while traveling with my friend David in Europe by auto. I was at that time learning how to deal with Hermes through active imagination when he told me one night that he had a message from Poseidon, which I assumed was from the depths of the unconscious since in Jungian terms that is what Poseidon represented. It was: “You must drive on the mainland, but among the islands it doesn’t matter.” I assumed it was meant literally, and therefore could not obey since that meant that I would have to insist on driving the whole time until we reached the Balearic Islands which we were not intending to visit for a couple of weeks, and David would think I was crazy since he had not yet heard of my dealings with Hermes. So we continued to share driving and shortly after we both got very ill, I in France and he in Spain. We decided to cut this trip short and go to the islands as soon as he got well. Until recently, I assume we were punished for my disobeying an instruction, but now I have come to the conclusion that the spirit does not punish, (and why punish David for something he wasn’t even aware of?) but I had simply failed to get the point (and what better way could the so-called unconscious have figured out a way to do it?); that is, that the unconscious communicates primarily through metaphor, and Hermes wanted me to learn his language, a fact which he explained later, in a most informative way. Read the rest of this post »

Myth and Its Role Today

Posted January 11, 2016 by jackmeier
Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: , , , , ,

MYTH and its ROLE TODAY – How by viewing events in your life as a series of metaphors you may then see your life as myth.

How many things are lost through disbelief! 

We are starting today with a couple of statements which you might keep in mind during this session. One is what you just heard from Heraclitus and here is another from Parmenides:

If you can  think it, it is.

No one has ever added to the sum total of human knowledge by denying the existence of anything. In order to conceive of something, it must already exist in the collective unconscious outside of time and space. As soon as someone conceives of it, it enters time. If it is then created or invented, it enters space. Therefore, everything conceivable exists at least as a possibility. However, nothing is certain. There is nothing whose existence can be accepted except as a hypothesis. Everything depends on point of view. Even that we are here. It may be that we are simply being dreamed, As a Bushman once said, “There is a dream dreaming us.” I trust that you will be able to accept that as a hypothesis by the end of this session.

Initiation is not a ceremony; it is the beginning of a new way of using the mind. . . To believe is to see.

In the mysteries, initiation was kept secret because no uninitiated person could believe what the initiate had experienced, or even how the initiate was now seeing the world he/she was presently inhabiting. The initiate, however, has learned this new way of seeing; namely, one must accept all beliefs as hypothesis. As Jung pointed out in The Red Book, to hold beliefs as fact creates wars, magic, and religion, all of which, he said, were the same. Since all beliefs are hypothetical, one can see the world through the lens of each belief as it is presented. Read the rest of this post »

BODY, SOUL, SPIRIT: An Imperfect Connection

Posted October 12, 2015 by jackmeier
Categories: Uncategorized

According to an old Gnostic myth, before the universe existed, the Great Goddess bore a son who was the Creator God, but before he grew into maturity he began creating things so he could have something to play with. He thus created our world while he was still only partly conscious of what he was doing. Since he was Spirit, he wanted a connection with the matter he was creating, and this connection was Soul, a kind of switchboard which made communication possible between our body and the Spirit, but since he was himself not yet fully conscious, the Soul, like most of Creation, turned out to be technologically primitive and rather unconscious.

As you can see, this myth is a metaphor of our present imperfect condition in the world. Indeed, he made such a mess of things that when his Mother tried to find him among all his toys she herself got lost and caught in the creation, and this was the purpose of alchemy, to extract her from the matter in which she was caught. Alchemists did not discuss this much in the Christian world, however, since it tended to arouse the Inquisitors. Where, then, does our spirit derive the consciousness needed for the creative process to occur? Read the rest of this post »

Ancient Religion and Christianity

Posted November 16, 2013 by jackmeier
Categories: Uncategorized

O virgin Mother, daughter of thy Son.  (Dante, Paradiso)        

Many people today have rejected the symbols of Christianity along with the religion itself because they no longer find inspiration there. This is understandable, although such people are depriving themselves of a rich heritage of symbolism. The Christian Church took over much of the symbolic heritage of the ancient world and degraded it by turning these symbols into signs denoting historical events. To take the ancient and rich symbol of the cross, for example, and make it refer simply to a place to hang their dying savior on destroys centuries of accrued wealth of symbolism. As Plato had said centuries earlier,

 The Creator stretched the soul of the world onto the body of the world in the form of a cross. The duty of mankind is the release of that crucified soul.

Byz. Cross-cropped

If the cross is simply the place to hang the dying Christ, what meaning would Plato’s statement have? Hence, to reject the symbols which the Church has degraded is, as you see, a rather foolish act. By undoing today what the Church has been doing for centuries, we are being heretical and even diabolical in the eyes of Christian fundamentalists. We are here relativizing the Scriptures and denying the uniqueness of the Christian message. Jung put it rather forcefully:

 The insistence on the uniqueness of Christianity, which doesn’t even allow it a mythological status conditioned by history, renders the gospel unreal; all possible points of contact with human understanding are abolished, and it is made thoroughly implausible and unworthy of belief, and empties the churches. It is very convenient because then the clergyman doesn’t have to bother about whether the congregation understand the gospel or not but can comfortably go on preaching to them as before. Educated people would be much more readily convinced of the meaning of the gospel if it were shown them that the myth was always there to a greater or lesser degree, and moreover is actually present in archetypal form in every individual. Then people would understand where, in spite of its having been artificially screened off by the theologians, the gospel really touches them. Without this link the Jesus legend remains a mere wonder story, and is understood as little more than a fairy tale that merely serves to entertain. 

A religious tradition severed from its archetypal roots, its mythologic grounding, becomes a set of signs or rituals without depth. Rather than rest everything on the uniqueness of a religion, one might better argue for the ways in which it taps the same mythic sources that undergird every other religion. This is the best antidote to bigotry. Read the rest of this post »

LANGUAGE

Posted September 15, 2013 by jackmeier
Categories: Uncategorized

“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is really a large matter. It’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” (Mark Twain)

A few years back on TV I saw a group of rabbinical students sitting around a table in a room reading from Hebrew holy scripture, aloud. Each seemed to be reading a different passage and so the sound of their reading was an incomprehensible sound between a mumble and a roar. I did not understand what the meaning behind this exercise was, but now I believe I know. I discovered it while reading David Abram’s “The Spell of the Sensuous”, aided by my having briefly studied that language in graduate school. It seems that Hebrew has a single word for both ‘spirit’ and ‘wind’ — the word ‘ruach’. Thus spirit and wind are very closely related in their religion. The very first sentence in the Hebrew Bible, the “Torah”, states:

When God began to create heaven and earth — the earth being unformed and void, with darkness over the surface of the deep and a wind (ruach) from God sweeping over the water. . .

At the very beginning of creation, before even the existence of the earth or the sky, God is present as a wind moving over the waters. This idea exists also among the Navajos, and can be found among other primitive groups as well. And breath. as we learn from the next section of Genesis, is the closest link we have to the divine. For after God forms an earthling (adam) from the dust of the earth (adamah), He blows the breath of life into the earthling’s nostrils and the human being awakens. The Hebrew term for breath of life is not ‘ruach’ but ‘neshamah’, which denotes both breath and the soul, the more personal, individual aspect of wind, the breath. In this sense, it represents conscious awareness. As we find in the Emerald  Tablet and also in Meister Eckhardt, “Words derive their power from the Original Word.” Read the rest of this post »

Myth, Religion and Spirituality

Posted July 22, 2013 by jackmeier
Categories: Uncategorized

Parmenides wrote: If you think it, it is.

No one has ever added to the sum total of human knowledge by denying the existence of anything. In order to conceive of something, it must already exist in the collective unconscious outside of time and space. As soon as someone conceive of it, it enters time. If it is then invented, it enters space. Therefore, everything conceivable exists at least as a possibility. However, nothing is certain. There is nothing whose existence can be accepted except as a hypothesis. Everything depends on point of view. Even that we are here. It may be that we are simply being dreamed, As a Bushman once said, “There is a dream dreaming us.”

In the mysteries, initiation was kept secret because no uninitiated person could believe what the initiate had experienced, or even how the initiate was now seeing the world he/she was presently inhabiting. The initiate, however, has learned this new way of seeing; namely, that one must accept all beliefs as hypothesis. As Jung pointed out in The Red Book, to hold beliefs as fact creates wars, magic, and religion, all of which, he said, were the same. Since all beliefs are hypothetical, one can see the world through the lens of each belief as it is presented.
Read the rest of this post »

Sacrifice

Posted March 5, 2013 by jackmeier
Categories: Uncategorized

ImageSacrifice is essential for life.  We see it all around us all the time. The problem lies not in its existence, but in the fact that we have forgotten the original meaning of the word and that means that we don’t know how to deal with it

As you most likely know, the word ‘sacrifice’ comes from the Latin meaning ‘to make sacred’. Today we go through many sacrifices without thinking there is anything sacred about them. And perhaps there isn’t, but when you stop to think about it, they often turn out to be a significant part of your individuation process, what we call maturation. But right now I am thinking about it from a Christian point of view which I think you will see is not significantly different from the psychological except that the religious standpoint adds a minor factor called immortality, at least of a sort, what we might call ‘survival.’ Let me explain. Read the rest of this post »


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.