Shadow of the Groundhog # 20: Liminal Zone


Recently, today and yesterday, I have been doubting the meaning of what I am doing. Today is my “death day” so I suppose a good time to be “taking stock” of things.

As usual my dilemma comes down to not knowing why I am doing what I am doing and if it is “the right thing.” I was feeling quite despairing about it all in fact; why do I write?

It seems to be a constant, desperate attempt to validate my perspective and so attain autonomy (freedom from other people’s perspectives) that only reinforces my dependence on other people’s perspectives!

The problem with this questioning is that it presumes:
a) that I have any choice;
b) that I am doing anything at all; and
c) that what I “do,” by choice or not, makes any difference to anything

That’s a lot of presumption.

But of course, the sense that I have no choice, am incapable of real action, and that none of it makes any difference anyway is exactly the sort of despair-awareness I am trying to avoid by writing!

While my creative life isn’t entirely compulsive ~ there appears to be a genuine movement from the depths, a soul-expression at work ~ the desire to put it out there and receive some positive response, to know that I have had some effect, very much is.

Sometimes I feel as if I am exploiting my readership by dwelling so much on my internal processes. More to the point, I suppose, is that I may be exploiting myself in some way. Using “poetic genius” ~ in Blake’s phrase ~ to dissemble, to prop up a flagging illusion of autonomy.

I wrote to my wife today that at the root of all existential tension is the fact that, because we were denied our own autonomy, we are threatened by any hint of autonomy in others. To see others as autonomous (which happens whenever someone disagrees with us) is threatening because that would mean they could control US. It is a vicious circle: we try to control what others think (especially of us, but also of anything we have strong feelings/opinions about) to be safe from being controlled. This only feeds the mechanism of control, and reduces the possibility of acting autonomously, because we are always reacting to an imagined threat.

Then I wrote this: “the ego is an imitation of autonomy that prevents us from developing the real thing.”

Later I tweeted it and got a couple of new followers, Buddhist-types. Validation!!

I think this dilemma is at the heart of everything I write, and what drew me to the Kubrick mystery. This is my own liminal zone ~ the area between unbudging, opposing, and irreconcilable beliefs. I am seeking, by writing, to create a perspective large enough to incorporate those opposites. This, I perceive, is the only way to get free of negative identity, which asserts its “autonomy” by resisting the thoughts of others, instead of just thinking for oneself.

Of course the only way to think clearly and freely is not to think at all, because group think is installed into language like a virus inside a program.

(I tweeted that too; it got 3 favorites, & one retweet.)

What’s the answer? Step away from the keyboard and go build some legs for a cabinet & paint it. And in the process, mysteriously choose to mount it upside down. . .

Then go for a walk.

17 thoughts on “Shadow of the Groundhog # 20: Liminal Zone

  1. “While my creative life isn’t entirely compulsive ~ there appears to be a genuine movement from the depths, a soul-expression at work ~ the desire to put it out there and receive some positive response, to know that I have had some effect, very much is.”

    I like this ^^^^

    Personally I don’t let it bother me.. Whether I am actually “objectively” [which doesn’t exist] autonomous, or not.

    I don’t get bunched up in that mind game – as I see it..

    I have the sensation of choice.. and I believe that is a true sensation. And don’t get involved in mind puzzles which “say” I’m not. It’s sort of like a scientist telling me “you are not conscious – it’s just an illusion” It’s ridiculous, in some ways.. Of course I have volition. I experience it , to some degree, every second..

    There are definitely degrees of volition.. And I am a firm believer that I can not know what is the real right thing to do.. ever..

    But can only guess, and admit that I could be totally wrong.. “It’s not up to me” is my motto.. And honestly, I was trained that way in Yoga.. to renounce the fruits of my actions

    Ironically in this Enochian style magic ritual they do nearby where I live – the ritual performer is instructed to write the desire / end result / whatever, on a scratch of paper.. Mess up the letters – so you don’t remember what it is.. And then burn it or let it go.

    I think that is re-enacting the same principle – of detachment from results.

    I truly believe detachment from results brings better results.

    And it is a practice..

    . .. That I can perform an action is a true sensation. that of volition, In the tradition I was schooled in.;And not a mirage.

    However, seemingly, both sides of the questions (volition or not) were answered in the affirmative.for volition and for determinism by my teacher.. .. . I assume that is because of the structure and limitations of our 3d / 4d + reality matrix. Both are true, on different levels?

    Also, in our system, Kaishmir Shaivism, because the little contracted “self” forms an identity with ParaBrahman, the notion we were taught is that the small self is caught in a revealing/concealing scenario “SAMSARA” , which limits the powers which actually inhere to the true “Self” (although , of course, “concealment / delusion” is one of the powers of the Self)..

    The “true Self” could be thought of as a guardian angel, from the perspective of a conditioned or limited “incarnation” / state..But the little self participates in all the powers of the ParaBrahman – which , as you can imagine, are considerable. According to our doctrine.

    So , to make a long story short, I identify the sensation of volition with the larger Self’s / higher self’s power of Will. It’s a power, which is limited in my case, naturally, because I’m an embodied poor little wretch. .. However, I say, it exists.. That’s how I reason it.

    I feel what I think is the same as you do vis a vis writing to an audience – I need a sympathetic audience in order to write. I f i feel I’m writing to strangers or to people with whom I have no rapport.. I lose the interest.. I only need a handful or less of “like – minds” to get me going.

    • it may seem like a mind game when it’s turned into words but the entirety of culture may be sourced in just such “mind games” ~ i.e., how we avoid an awareness of our insignificance in the light of eternity/death.

      i think my point was more about assumptions, and specifically, that the possible illusion of volition is, for me, frequently a reason to castigate myself. which of course wouldnt be a choice, either!

  2. While your writing is quality, I think that your best and most interesting quality is your spoken word voice. Not just the sound of it, but what it says off-the-cuff In “real time”. If there money to be made for you, your vocal cords would probably be the money-maker.

    • i just made an audio yesterday that I thought of releasing, bu decided against because of how compulsive that desire is. doug lain & i are currently discussing the framework for a podcast collab.

      • It’s the non-infectiousness of your voice/presence too. It’s flat while simultaneously super-unflat (or round) It’s distant and it’s very close. It’s quick and it’s slow. It’s full of agenda and empty of a feeling of care about results.

        Not too many voices out there like it.

  3. RE: my previous comment.

    I would drop 20 clams (or thereabouts) for an audio book copy of The Lucid View and would probably do the same for your upcoming book.

    Anybody else out there would be in on this this as well?

    I think that you could get one hundred people to buy an audio copy of The Lucid View (with your updated forward), Jason … with the help of just a little advertising and retweets and whatnot.

    • There’s merit in this, thanks! Maybe I will make it one of the goals at Patreon ~ which I haven’t launched yet as the iron doesn’t seem hot enough. It would probably require a monthly payment which would then mean, provided enough people subscribed, I would post a chapter audio per week until it was done.

      • Everyone , but …

        A director’s commentary at the end of each chapter would be nice, available for subscribers only, though.

  4. IF one is one of the one’s, the only meaning is in completing one’s mission.
    Everything else will just be an attempt of substituting one’s dissapointment over the failure to complete that mission.

    Damn you mission!, why you so hard?! 😀

    ….and I said IF…not trying to impose psychotic thoughts or so.. ^^

  5. The mission is so hard to complete so it feels like it cannot be done. It feels like, that maybe there is not even a mission, that it might not even be as one feels, so how could one complete something that might not even be real, or even if it is, is so hard that it feels like it could not be accomplished.

    • And that video was appropriately (at least to me) released on the same day (Dec. 7th) as this “shadow of the groundhog” post … knowing what I now know about Horsley’s classic “Sisyphus complex” that all individuating artists work to breakthrough/down … eternally pushing “art boulders” up the mountain with much disdain, at least until each integrates his big ole stone , if not the whole mountain.

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