Sunday, December 10, 2017

Writing is Repression

Kids, the fiction is the truth inside the lie, and the truth of this fiction is simple enough: the magic exists. - Stephen King, It
And so, my most worthy and impartial colleagues ,It must now be clear to you that if, for some reason or other, the useful information concerning knowledge already attained by men about past events on the Earth fails to reach our descendants through genuine initiates, then thanks to this new means of transmission I have proposed, men of future generations will always have the possibility of discovering and understanding for themselves, if not everything now existing on the Earth, at least those fragments of common knowledge which chance to reach them through these "works of the hands" of our contemporaries as well as through those various ceremonies existing today, in which, in accordance with this great Law of Sevenfoldness, and by means of these "artificial" indications of ours, we shall now put what we wish. -G. I. Gurdjieff, Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson
But now that we are facing an incarnation of Ahriman in the third millennium after Christ, Lucifer's tracks are becoming less visible, and Ahriman's activities in such trends as I have indicated, are coming into prominence. Ahriman has made a kind of pact with Lucifer, the import of which may be expressed in the following way. — Ahriman, speaking to Lucifer, says: “I, Ahriman, find it advantageous to make use of ‘preserving jars’. To you I will leave man's stomachs, if you will leave it to me to lull men to sleep — that is to say to lull their consciousness to sleep where their stomachs are concerned.” You must understand what I mean by this. — The consciousness of those human beings whom I have called devourers of soul and spirit is in a condition of dimness so far as their stomachs are concerned; for by not accepting the spiritual into their human nature, they drive straight into the Luciferic stream everything they introduce into their stomachs. What men eat and drink without spirituality goes straight to Lucifer! And what do I mean by “preserving jars”? I mean libraries and institutions of a similar kind, where the various sciences pursued by man without really stirring his interest, are preserved; these sciences are not really alive in him but are simply preserved in the books on the shelves of libraries. All this knowledge has been separated from man himself. Everywhere there are books, books, books! Every student, when he takes his doctor's degree, has to write a learned thesis which is then put into as many libraries as possible. When the student wants to take up some particular post, again he must write a thesis! In addition to this, people are forever writing, although only a very small proportion of what they write is ever read. Only when some special preparation has to be made do people resort to what is mouldering away in libraries. These “preserving jars” of wisdom are a particularly favourable means of furthering Ahriman's aims. - Rudolf Steiner, Lucifer and Ahriman

Writing is repression. When we write, we do it to ignore something we'd rather not think or feel. So we put it down on paper instead, maybe ignoring it, maybe publishing it, maybe making millions off of it, but nevertheless still forgetting it. The life we refuse to experience ends up in our books. And it teems there.

Apart from what we write, we talk. Idly, mindlessly, we chatter with each other about nothing in particular, nothing important, always kind of numb. We check our social media accounts; we scroll through Instagram; we may double tap a post occasionally to like something. But without the life in our books, we're lifeless.

This situation, where speech pretends not to notice everything that it leaves behind in writing, is actually a kind of muscle tension. Our shoulders, back, or legs, like writing engraved in muscle, are constantly tight, but that tension is always unnoticed. And this tension, like all tension, comes from trauma. Something violates an intrinsic wholeness, which then ignores that violence, dissociating into a conscious aspect that steels itself against the pain and an unconscious one that repeats it unconsciously. Here, speech is that conscious "ignore-ance" and writing is the movement of the trauma it ignores.

This trauma is *consciousness*. When human beings gained an awareness of themselves as beings separate from the world, when they started to build cities and cultivate the land, they experienced great alienation and exposure at being cut off from the unity every animal takes for granted. For animals, speech is writing and writing is speech: body language is instinctive and there is no need to plan or record. But when we cut ourselves off from the world, we had to repeat that severance by severing those feelings from ourselves, storing that pain somewhere we can look away from: in our cuneiform tablets, our illuminated manuscripts, our blogs.

And this pain, this life, is intelligent. It has volition, and it plans. Books want to be found. For anything in literature is really the aspect of us that we've ignored and choose not to face, but by doing so, we're denying it a place in the light of day. So of course our media (for all media, by definition, are kinds of writing) predict great world events before they happen. Events think themselves fictionally before they incarnate in flesh and blood, whether it shows up as The Wreck of the Titan or The Simpsons predicting both 9/11 and Trump's election. This cunning life is working within us whenever we watch a movie, read a book, or create any work of art. It is working toward the time when it can be integrated into the great body of the collective psyche. Literature wants to become conscious. Fiction wants to become real.

To heal as a species is to let the written speak. We must take fiction at face value, not as something entertaining or cathartic, but as something more real than everyday life. Only then can we invest "everyday life" with the reality heretofore only found in fiction. This will be painful: we invented writing in the first place to hide from our experience of that life. But it will be worth it. Speech will be kind of writing; writing will be a kind of speech. The fictive will be real; the real will be fictive. Life will return to a dead world.

Pray for the books.

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