Monday, December 12, 2011

DREAM: CHAOS AND IGNORANCE...September 13, 2009

My dreams of last night have led me temporarily  to a most irritated, discouraged and hopeless state of mind. It is the feeling that there is nothing worth pursuing with the human mind and inner experience. That what really reigns in our human environment is at best wishful thinking and at worst very destructive ignorance. I awoke with the fear that all my valuing of dreams is not one bit different than the ignorance I feel when I hear a ranting T.V. preacher or the claims of an untested 
This Painting Might Symbolize Chaos And Ignorance.
 pill to cure my arthritis. There are glimpses of what does 'seem' like truth but there are all kinds of shades of half truth, reasonable intuitions and there is obviously an ignorance that claims to know with all certainty what it is doing. There are proclaimed certainties that appear as statements pulled totally out of a hat or written on an ancient document. Does a human have any right to believe anything really? Is there a way to approach our very relative experience and genuine sense of being here in what we call a 'real world' that can give us a sense that we are being true to ourselves and to a genuine higher power? Can we be true to the very hard won human capacity to reason in a rational scientific type way and also true to our inner life that presents to us strong intuitions and untestable beliefs that strongly compel us to confess  a  sense  of  God? Is there a way where with integrity a human can rightly claim both reason and faith, matter and spirit, body and soul?Such dreams as from last night cause my courage and confidence to completely escape me. I think the thing that frightens me more than anything is the wonder if all things other than what is arrived at by strong science is simply debilitating human ignorance. And to me ignorance is a great enemy of a sound and well lived human life. I still think of ignorance as meaning 'to ignore'(our opportunities to embrace truth as it presents itself to us.) which makes me hopeful that conscious humans have a real choice in whether or not to yield our wills to that which on reflection does not authentically bear the marks of  'truth.'  Yet the  discouragement I experience is nearly overwhelming me even as I write this. I fear that what I am writing in this paragraph may itself be ignorance. And I sense an overwhelming , 'What is the use?'. Nothing of the mind and heart, it seems, is worthy of pursing for it is all Chaos and Ignorance. I know the world is full of humans who have or are trying to get access to weapons and information  they would use to murder basically innocent humans, including me , my family and millions of others. How dare I think the irrational dangerous beliefs and behaviors I see and fear in others do not also live  in my culture, religion and nation, in me? This is the horror of Chaos and Ignorance that I sometimes experience. It seems to melt any hope that trying to focus on what is real outside and inside of me has any merit or any hope of making myself or my world any more beautiful, true or progressed from the most barbaric ignorant and murderous times and places of human experience. How do I arrive at a way to be, to think, to feel, to hope that is 'sound' and 'fully human' and is not simply 'wishful thinking' or 'ego centered claims of certainty that comfort me but harass others'; that run totally contrary to careful logical reason ?

What kind of nightly dream leads me to this kind of horror and hopelessness? Where do I even start to describe the problem much less arrive at some kind of archimedian point to counter it with my integrity in tact? I dreamed I was a teacher giving individual instruction to a teen age boy. He seemed genuinely motivated and open to learning. We were in a large warehouse of educational material including electronic and mechanical instruments and gadgets. At first I was explaining to him how to read a calibrated instrument by first noticing into how many parts a number was divided. For example if there are ten spaces between the numbers 3 and 4, each division is one tenth so one might have a reading that is closer to 3.7 than it is to 3.6 or 3.8. So the accepted reading would be 3.7. He seemed to not be able to understand this. From there it only got worse. Eventually I was saying things to him out of a need to feel like a teacher. I was pretending to know about things that I simply did not know or understand myself. Nothing in the dream came to clarify this state of chaotic , unverified proclaimed certainties and shared ignorance between teacher and pupil. The only thing of hope was that the  manager of this lab expressed appreciation to me that I had put everything back like it had been before we used it. I was then headed to a math class knowing I was unprepared and knowing that the students had nearly no sound understanding of the subject and problems that were our assignment.

This is a negative 'animus' **dream. I become and act out my own negative animus when I begin grasping for and claiming knowledge and certainties that are not rational or commonly real. The best that can be said of me in the dream is that I did not leave things in worse shape than I found them. But that is only true of the lab materials. I and the student are left with an unhealthy experience that hopefully I will learn from... to be on guard when my negative animus nudges me to make claims that go beyond my humanity. And maybe I need to get myself better informed about the profession I am practicing. I'm relieved that I do not call myself a formal  teacher anymore, but then  there is my chaplaincy.

The next dream is that my little car came totally apart as I was headed to an important class that I was not prepared for. I got out to look and it was a disaster. Wheels were off and broken. I had no idea of the condition of the engine and transmission. Then a self defined mechanic came on the scene. He very confidently identified the problem which he showed was where a main union between engine and transmission had totally come apart. He stated he could repair it for sure. I saw him force the two pieces into each other and it was obviously not a true or solid fit. He actually believed he had fixed it for a moment and then it popped right back apart. It was totally ridiculous. He was full of ignorance that he had no awareness of. He was working from no tested protocol of how to go about repairing a car. Only ignorance and chaos abounded and he did not have one hint of being aware of all this. He then confidently told me that ' so in so' is 'back on the job' and would be in the shop soon. He said the two of them would have the car running in short order. The person he referred to I knew had even  less knowledge and skill and basic intelligence than this man.

Here was perfectly demonstrated what may be the actual human situation with respect to such things as 'war in mid East', 'war on terrorism and drugs', 'religious training in churches' , 'financial markets' , 'love and marriage', and 'health care' to name a few. And this may be what is actually going on with Jim Hibbett in his story of 'visions', 'dreams', 'hopes for a world about to discover the deeper meaning of love' and confidence that in spite of greatly disturbing his children 25 years ago they will somehow through his ' unusual path to individuation' be blessed rather than harmed. Is the world and is Jim Hibbett more a demonstration of chaos and ignorance than of any genuine situation of mature spiritual development moving toward an evolved higher state of consciousness that will result in a blessing to some others? This is where I have been in my mind ever since waking. This dream feels like I've been handed a pile of shit, not some kind of helpful content from the mysterious but enlightening  ' collective unconscious'. And I feel right now like an extremely ignorant, arrogant child pretending that I am being a responsible well informed, educated and trained adult.

Again the dream features my animus at his worst. He is claiming skills and knowledge that he does not have. He is making promises that he cannot keep. He is leading from ignorance not competence. Sadly, these very same statements can be said of much religion including much of orthodox Western Christianity and certainly political organizations. It is a serious thing to make promises that one cannot keep, though it is essential that we make sincere promises. There is no such thing as any promise we know for certain we can keep. The ego has no such total control over life or love.  But promises built on wishful believing and thinking, not on any direct experience are dangerous and can do great harm. When the animus, or our religious belief, is this negative we need to stop and literally 'have a conversation' with the inner offending party. Ask, 'Where are you coming up with these claims, these certainties, these promises? I expect you to be a far better and more reliable guide than this.' Jesus warned of a religion that only piled up irrational demands and helped little in the living of life. Is that not what much of it has become? When a relationship is established with one's inner world, whether the anima or the animus, only over time  and perseverance does it become more responsible and more friendly. Sometimes the O.T. shows humans seeking such communication with an irrational God and that such an effort  has a far better outcome than if the human simply 'blindly accepted'  some of the outrageous claims and behaviors by Jehovah. The inner world, though totally essential for human existence, is not perfect. It requires our work and continuous attention.  The small human ego must stand its ground and seek mutual relationship with the forces of God... recall Jacob wrestling , and winning, with the angel or 'the Lord'  to secure a blessing.

 I certainly had to painfully seek  such courage with respect to my anima in the months following August '85. 'She' originally, through her capacity to overwhelm my ego with her powers and enchantments, seemed to be saying that I had no real choice in important matters of life. That all I could do was accept what happened, that my ego's sense of responsibility and capacity to shape reality was totally an illusion. I had to work hard to stand up against this exaggeration while also attempting to learn the humility that life is far more 'determined' outside of my efforts than I had wished and imagined before.

Even if my primary nature is not like this chaotic and ignorant animus figure I am still just as bothered for I do see that as very much how things are in the world around me. A raving T.V. preacher proclaiming non sense and stating metaphysical certainties that he has no direct experience of at all other than to read them from the pages of an ancient text. A text to me that is full of beautiful and powerful symbolism but he is stating it as literal and historic and as if he 'knows' something that applies to everyone for all time. People  claiming that all one needs to 'know God' is completely found in their image of Jesus. The Unconscious does not allow for such 'one and only' answers for the religious question.  This is craziness and a total cleavage from the rational mind that was so long evolving in humans. I see it in the totally unsubstantiated claims and fears of political ideologues fighting against any effort to provide healthcare for the nation's citizens. And seeing that much of this fight is coming from the same people who claim that Jesus loves them and is soon coming to take 'them' away and punish all of the others. A high number of the people who sit in congress are people who demonstrate such chaos and ignorance in their 'belief' and in their actions. These are people who we are entrusted to help humanity find direction and guidance for the problems listed in the above paragraph. People who haven't the foggiest notion of how to relate to their own inner world where they might actually get what they  need to think and behave responsibly in this very new age we have entered
The Mouth Of Truth... Rome @ 1st Century
Here is a picture of a Roman marble sculpture that was placed in the Church of Santa Maria in Rome, Italy. The related  medieval legend said that anyone who tells a lie, while holding their hand in the mouth, will have their hand severed off.  Now will you speak your certainties with your hand in its mouth? This could be an attitude we need to have in our post modern day about the 'beliefs' we so easily claim as truth. Truth seeking needs to be a strong value of  post modern humanity, not making blind claims about certain truth.

Where in the uncertain state of reality does the 'thinking and feeling' human find a place to stand that honors both his/her head and heart, rational thinking and reflective intuitiveness? I'm only left with the seeming weak position of being aware of my own individual attempt to keep personal integrity and to apply as best I can the mindful faculties that I've been given. I do this knowing that really 'nothing is certain' for the human being. My hope rests on the assumption that there are ways to be fully and only human and that the best shot I or any person can take is to attempt to be as fully and wholly themselves  as possible. This is sound simply because we are human and human only as far as we have any claim to certainty. To desire and attempt to be human and only human seems to be the only way we can possibly maintain an integrity that would allow us to stand unashamed were there some superior intelligence, itself with full integrity, that was to evaluate us.

One of the basics of being fully and only human would be to exercise one's rational capability at a consistent and sincere level. The most genuine and honest way this has come into human grasp is the method and attitude of science. This is to use the senses aided by critical thinking and  instruments that extend the power of the senses to carefully observe the physical world at a macroscopic and microscopic level, and to trust the observations that the broad scientific community has made of the same material. And to accept the tentative rational conclusions reached from the scientific community who make intuitive models to explain these observations and test these models unrelentingly in peer reviewed reports. It means to practice a similar way in everyday life of finding the highest 'truth' regarding the physical world and the demonstrated energies that affect it.
To be fully and only human means in today's world to take the present best results of science as absolutely important. It means realizing that the scientific approach does not ever tell us 'exactly' what the truth of the physical world is but by its proven successful process it rules out a limitless number of conclusions and ideas that are not worthy of  trusting. This would result in a person not being gullible to declaring the arbitrary statements of religion and political ideologies as being literal physical truth if not supported by the available science that is applicable. This would put a hush on many irrational religious and political beliefs that drive the deepest and most determined actions of millions of humans.

An example of a belief that being fully and only human by using science would hush is, ' If I die as a martyr in killing other humans considered to be the 'enemy' I will reap pleasurable rewards.'

'Madonna And Child' Symbol of Incarnation @ 13th Century.
Another example would be the belief that ' If others do not believe the spiritualized way that I do about Jesus of Nazareth who lived 2000 years ago they are less connected to, even separated from, the ultimate source of life and goodness(God) than I am." The inner and outer negative implications for the world from this simple irrational belief are a far greater threat to humanity's future than we innocently imagine. To believe as a physical certainty that Jesus was physically resurrected one would be challenged by the principle above that they are violating their own intellectual integrity by an irrational compulsion to believe the irrational regarding the physical world. On the other hand , by the inner world principle that I will share below, a person could fully embrace the ' resurrection of Jesus' as a valid part, even the foundation of, their inner/spiritual world while being fully and only human. Their human integrity would not be violated but fully supported by their own humanity and genuine inner experience. They would still, and perhaps more fully, be Christians. This is my symbolic understanding of this central image in my Christian religious heritage. Also, the Christian story of the 'Incarnation of God in the Christ'(see painting above) can be seen as saying the goal of human life is for us each to approach being  'fully human' and that to become more fully human is precisely  and paradoxically the same thing as becoming more fully divine in our nature.

Another example of the irrational inappropriately accepted: ' Even though it is demonstrated scientifically that vaccines save millions of lives, I will not vaccinate my children for I believe it is likely to cause them to have autism. So I will follow my irrational belief even though, if many others did, it would make the world much less safe for all children.' This list goes on and on . But these kinds of willful irrational ignorance(unfortunately sometimes  called 'faith' ) and the chaos and destruction they can produce are fairly easily recognized once one accepts the premise that one is morally obligated to take seriously our human capacity of rational thinking and the soundness of the scientific approach to affirming physical reality.

Secondly , to be fully and only human(which is what it seems obvious that we should strive for) would mean to take ones inner life seriously and with consistent reflection. One's inner life is an ongoing describable 'experience' that lies beyond the capacities of the scientific approach to reach definite peer reviewed conclusions regarding 'truth'. The inner life of a human consists of the feelings that come and go and vary in intensity including fear, anger, joy, sadness, envy, excitement, boredom, attraction, repulsion. This is a list that general consensus could likely be reached among devoted rationally( in the sense described above) thinking humans. The inner life is also any and all ideas, images and intuitions that pass through a person's conscious awareness. All of these, if the inner life is to be honored, should be considered real, worthy of reporting to others and worthy of reflecting on to the extent they capture the rational mind's awareness. The inner life also consists of how things considered Sacred such as ancient texts and images affect and arouse emotion. The inner life also consists of day and night dreams. What is important for one, to be fully and only human regarding the inner life, is that no part of the inner life be considered as necessarily and always eternally true. The inner life and personal 'truth' of one person should never be considered to contain reality that is or should be necessarily someone else's inner life and 'truth' . The inner life of one should not be considered to be a revelation of what the rules and laws of the outer life of humans individually or communally must be. The inner life is to be reflected on using the rational faculties that are the first assumption above. That does not mean that rationality and science always trump the inner life's reality. One's inner life and truth can be maintained with integrity by an individual even if it is not in harmony with present conventional scientific 'truth.' In other words one can maintain confidence in his/her inner world even when it's contents appear irrational. It is OK to inwardly sometimes be 'crazy.' Such 'craziness' may rise up to eventually overturn a present collective rational belief or attitude. One can claim and believe with integrity that the inner life can reveal personal 'truth' that will eventually be shown to be closer to reality and a higher morality than rational scientific truth can presently ascertain.

For healthy human inner and outer psychological/spiritual life there must be a balance, a harmony between outer rational life and inner irrationalities. Any human system that attempts to discount the irrational is doomed to fail at living the full human potential. I've read the NYT best seller ' The End Of Faith' by Dan Harris. It seeks approaches to the problem of terrorism by examining religion in general. It is an excellent work and one every American would be positively challenged by. But, in my opinion , he fails to appreciate the presence, power, reality and necessity of the irrational nature world of the Spirit, the world of the unconscious. This is the mistake that most materialistic criticisms of faith and religion make. Religion has much due criticism but it will never go away. Jung , to paraphrase, said that if all religion and mythology were to be destroyed from human memory it would all return again in its basic themes in one generation. Religion, to serve humanity, has to be questioned and even confronted when it leaves the inner world which is its appropriate domain and seeks to usurp the outer world where unquestioned it can reek havoc. But if reason and rationality alone worked as a prescription for life it would have proven itself many wars, ethnic cleansings, addictions and many unhappy marriages ago. It was the dream of the 'age of reason', which so influenced our American founding fathers(Most modern fundamentalist Christian 'patriots' seem quite ignorant of this connection. They would die if they read founder Thomas Paine's critique of religion.), that reason would bring the world's salvation.  Materialistic rationality  has proven a sorry guide for discovering life with meaning when working alone.

This is very sketchy but to the best of my capacities is what I am devoted to for arriving at a view of truth. I think it provides a way that humans can attempt to be fully and only human without denying anything that is an inherent experienced part of their humanity. And it protects humans from being coerced by other human individuals or communities to deny their own human integrity and their conscientious effort to practice it to the fullest.

I am a human being who is trying to keep my integrity by responsibly owning the tentative truth offered by the scientific approach to the physical world with its matter and energy forms and by taking very seriously the  inner world restraining any need to press others to accept it as a standard of their reality. Though I am hoping that more people are taking the irrational side of their life seriously, such as by paying attention to their dreams. It would be my hope that as humans begin to honor their  inner world and reflect rationally on it and to report it to others .... that there will be rising consensus about what are common truths and values found in a very broad range of human beings. For I assume that the same 'collective unconscious' connects us all and feeds us all, through the archetypes, with similar ideas, feelings, attitudes and even appropriate and needed common values. These come from the living eternal, if anything can be so described, archetypes of the Collective Unconscious. This is the equivalent in psychological terms for the living reality that has always been called God or 'God's voice'. This for me is the best that I can do to hold ignorance,my own and others, and the chaos it creates at bay. Then we humans individually and collectively may reach higher levels of consciousness that are more and more informed by the insights coming to us from scientific consensus and our mutual exploration of the living Collective Unconscious. Jim Hibbett

**Note: 'Anima' is a term used by Jung to describe an inner aspect of the human male psyche. 'She' is a living 'function' that appears in dreams and fantasies and turns out to be a major factor for a man to discover and relate to in his adult psychological/spiritual development. The 'anima' when not conscious' arouses unpredictable emotion and alarming instinctual forces; emotions  that are generally at first not welcome or are outrageously exhilirating. Jung spoke of a similar male function in the human woman's psyche, the 'animus.' The 'animus' when not conscious is known and expressed for its ungrounded and endless opinions that exasperate others. So when the unconscious 'anima' of a man and the unconscious 'animus' of a woman encounter each other arguments without end happen. And both of them wonder later, 'What got into us?' So above I speak of my 'negative animus' for the behavior I'm describing consists of unfounded opinion as if it were certain truth. I tend, perhaps unlike Jung, to suspect that women and men have the 'inner female anima' which might rightly be called one's soul. And that both sexes can be under the influence of the 'animus.' As these inner parts of personality become more conscious they are seen to become positive, very helpful and trusted parts of oneself; the 'anima' helping a person to own and express a wide range of honest emotion and the 'animus' being a kind of rational guide through the spiritual/psychological, as well as outer, challenges of life. Jim