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  1. #11
    Senior Membrane spirilis's Avatar
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    Fwiw, my hunch on this author's type is probably INFJ. He does command logic and reason with the precision of an expert, although an expert he is. I believe he wrote this book at age 53 or so, having been decades into a clinical practice. Really impressive seeing such a work of mastery.

    A theme I've noticed referenced only a couple times in this book, and seen elsewhere, is the fact that "spiritual development" only becomes of great significance in the "latter half" of a person's life, which either he or Jung (can't recall if this was his statement or quoting Jung) defined as "after 35", but I've seen mentioned elsewhere as "in your 30's" which is more to the point. Appropriate, then, how I couldn't ultimately comprehend this book at age 26, but certainly can now at age 33. I do believe it was Jung, he quotes in the book, who mentions how spiritual development becomes almost "feverish" (paraphrasing, perhaps I should go back and find the real text) in the latter 1/3rd of our lives. So this is only the beginning of the journey for me. Exciting, I suppose.
    intp | type 9w1 sp/sx/so

  2. #12
    Senior Membrane spirilis's Avatar
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    Hm. On the topic of "spiritual development after 30," I was thinking about *why* that is, from an evolutionary standpoint, then when I got angry (ok, "stern") at my 2 y/o son for repeatedly swiping a library book my daughter has to return tomorrow (he loves tearing pages out of books and I don't care to pay for it), the answer was obvious.

    Ego control, which is the immature mode of psychological (and in Aziz's description spiritual) orientation, is the only mode that young children understand and you often just can't get through to them with the mature mode, Ego strength.

    You can work with "nature's self-organizing flow" all you want but they are still going to rip apart your books, flood the bathroom and break the plastic panels in your car when you unstrap their carseat, get distracted by your other kid running off into traffic and the kid runs amok inside the car.

    To an extent the immature "ego control" is the appropriate language for them at that stage of development. And evolutionarily speaking, many children were probably born during the parents' teenage years or 20's and any children born during their 30's would be easier to handle with the assistance of the elder children.

    So perhaps, making a large jump in assumption here, that is an "evolutionary explanation" for why our advanced spiritual development doesn't kick in until our 30's.
    intp | type 9w1 sp/sx/so

  3. #13
    Senior Membrane spirilis's Avatar
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    Finished the book. Had chills and spine tingliness during those last 3 pages or so as he really summarized the content of the book and added a few more details in what gradually built up into a long-winded narrative that could stand alone by itself. Kind've feel like typing out those last 3 pages in here, but, it would really give away what is otherwise a very important and moving book IMO.

    Look for evidence of fixed form in your life, I almost want to call them "Si" impressions but I think that is unfairly missing the point (and concretizing "Si" itself in a false certainty), fixed form items which are being regarded as authorities for allegiance, and think critically if you or anyone else has sacrificed *meaning* for *certainty* in them, or should I say "false certainty". Reality changes and morphs all the time, and it is incumbent on us to continuously keep up, to continuously develop our consciousness of reality as it is constantly unfolding to extract meaning, to extract that which may prove our own (past-derived) conscious understandings naked and meaningless in quick time.

    To be a "life-long" learner is not a virtue, it is a necessity, lest one eventually succumb to, as Jung was quoted somewhere in the beginning of the book (and I have paraphrased), the idea that the "universe has a thousand ways of snuffing out a meaningless existence with surprising swiftness."

    Our capacity to sate ourselves with false certainty is astounding, but certainty must never be confused with true *meaning*, which is a feature only found by exploring and comprehending the *particular*, the details of our everyday Reality, whether they be details of a "concrete" nature as those of us here probably relate to them or of an "intuitive" or "patterned" nature, they are all "details" of the ever-unfolding Reality line in which we live.

    The spiritual "symbol" of the Syndetic Paradigm is the Empty Mandala, that is the circle of life in which there exists no appropriate fixed-form content to place in there--it is not a circle of nothingness, it is a circle of dynamic-everythingness. In it fixed form finds no place, in it everything is changing.
    intp | type 9w1 sp/sx/so

  4. #14
    Senior Membrane spirilis's Avatar
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    Adding to the previous post and reflecting on a short walk in the park (raising my heartrate in solitude is the best way I've found to truly process my mind's contents), one could say Ni is as susceptible to concretization and "false certainty" as is Si, to the effect that peoples' beliefs in general ideas and patterns may be based in past-reality as opposed to Present-Reality all the same.

    An important point in the last 3 pages is that our collective consciousness perpetually grows to the effect that what is a perfectly able and capable level of conscious meaningfulness in one generation, might be intolerably backwards and obtuse in the next generation.

    Our present allegiance to the police as protector of our local communities is one that is being immediately challenged, has been for some time yet the fact that they exert so much power and are capable of such hideous acts of murder which work against their own mission is a compensatory sign that Reality has moved on, has progressed beyond what we knew of in the past, and has evolved to the effect that our past assumptions about the workings of society (and the role of the Police) are no longer relevant, and that we fail to see this results in the irrelevance making itself known in a variety of ways such as the past week, poignant seeing that the 6 policemen involved in Freddie Gray's death are being charged--that our suspicion about their role as killers has been confirmed, that our suspicion of the Police as protectors of society is being fundamentally questioned.

    In the future, this "Syndetic" paradigm itself may be challenged, and while I feel it is a mode of thought and relation to the world and Reality itself that is useful in the current Present and most probably the near Future, I excitingly await to see what type of modifications we will need to make for our own perspectives in the next 20 or 40 years (assuming I'm still alive to see it).

    More to the point, the Internet and our general global connectiveness to one another has already exacted some impacts, and will continue to exact even more impacts that we've yet to comprehend.
    intp | type 9w1 sp/sx/so

  5. #15
    Senior Membrane spirilis's Avatar
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    Read an interesting article today - jungian therapy jung: archetypes and self organization

    Since finishing the Syndetic Paradigm I've gone on to read other stuff directly or vaguely related to the topic, and one thing I keep pondering is the nature of the Archetype, or "archetype-as-such" as they call it in this article. That it's a basic "form of meaning" analogous to "forms of structure" we see in the physical realm.

    This article gets to the heart of the point that I think lead Robert Aziz to rework the idea of depth psychology as one defining the psyche as a "self-regulatory closed system" into one defining the psyche as an "open-system working within self-regulating, self-organizing Reality and Nature as a whole". The point of the article is to say that, just as physical forms have "geometric" basis, archetype-as-such has a natural geometric basis in Reality.

    One would assume then, that all creatures, and possibly all sufficiently-complex beings in the whole Universe have characteristics that could only be explained as an innate "observance" of the idea of archetypes. One would, then, expect any form of complex alien lifeform we encounter in our future to also have a psyche or analogous structure that observes and works with instances of archetypal constellation, generalizing certain observations into intuitive patterns and responding to them as our brains appear to do.

    Dreams, as messengers of archetypal messages from the brain, may simply be an adaptative activity whose purpose is to provide clarification on the archetypes-as-such emerging within our lives and personalities so that we may adapt our responses to them skillfully, with sleep being a physically rejuvenating experience but the symbolism of dreams serving as a sort of "mirror" reflecting back the current superstate of the brain's structure at the point in time when the dream occurs. (This is more or less agreed with here - Activation-synthesis hypothesis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ). A sort of "consciousness" whose inputs are chiefly internal in nature with a sort of random/entropy-based stimulus being generated by the brain stem to arouse the mental faculties, not mostly/partly external as they are when we're awake and using our senses. The dreams may be "random", but the impulses can only happen within the context of the *current* point-in-time layout and superstate of the brain. Genetic Algorithms work by a similar principle--that of "chaos" or "entropy" stimulating self-organization within an "ordered structure" that implements feedback and constraints.

    You may object that the dream image is only an ephemera. But that ephemera represents a principle of organization. Clinical evidence shows that when I dream of being bitten by a snake my analysis may be taking hold at a deeper level. Thus the principle of the snake catalyses change in the personality. I do not inherit the principle. What I inherit is a dynamic system, my personality, which may be gripped by the principle2.

    Related to the snake is the principle of the spear which is seen in an airplane's body, a fish's body, a ship's hull and ice skates. The spear is a mathematical solution to the problem of moving through a resistant medium. In the personality it seems obvious that the same mathematical principle is expressed as penetrating phallic power.

    We know that Aphrodite personifies the archetype of beauty and sexuality. But she also personifies a principle of sets (a set is a group of numbers enclosed within a boundary): when two sets intersect they create a third set which includes components of the first two. Imagine a fenced-in field of beets which partially overlaps a fenced-in field of cabbages. In the area of overlap they create a new fenced-in field of intermingled beets and cabbages. This is the essence of sexuality, the sharing of genes, the sharing of bodies, and the sharing of psychological qualities.

    'Surely,' you object, 'a principle of sets does not do justice to Aphrodite?' It is true that my associations to Aphrodite are much richer, but that is why I personify her. Her principle pre-existed life itself. In my imagination I associate that principle with the image of a woman which I have absorbed from my environment. Then I use all that I know about the woman to elaborate the archetypal image.
    When posed in this context, the symbols and principles of religion suddenly begin to make sense in terms of why they have traditionally been suggested as the true "nature" of Reality itself, pre-scientific revolution. There is probably a sketch of truth in it all when taken in the correct intuitive context. The nature of symbolism, as I've come to realize from reading "Man and His Symbols" (coauthored by C.G. Jung, his last work before he died), is sourced from our dreams, but our dreams are constrained by the imperfect fact that it has very few options for presenting what is otherwise intuitive-archetypal-as-such information to us--it can only present things with images derived from our brain's current superstate (current state of all neurons + dendrite connections + genetic/epigenetic functional state). A limitation of the medium, so to speak.

    Now that we have sophisticated language to evolve our understanding of these things at a more skillful level, it behooves us to explore this world in earnest, to modernize our understanding of its implications and to correctly apply it in the modern era to the skillful extent that we've employed science to great feats. Carl Jung was really trying to do that, he was trying to build the bridge. He took us a long way but there was and still is quite a long ways to go. One thing is certain, dwelling too long on ancient spiritual principles confounds things to the extent that you need to figure out what's unskillful BS from what's ultimately meaningful going forward.
    intp | type 9w1 sp/sx/so

  6. #16
    Senior Membrane spirilis's Avatar
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    Several months out of reading all this, one thing continues to stick with me every day, in fact I find myself pondering it as a sort of reminder - one might even go as far as to assign the role of "prayer" to this idea, in so far as Aziz's work could be considered a spiritual manual.

    The sacred circle of life is the collection of all things and ideas interacting in a self-organizing totality, and the "Empty Mandala" is the symbol of this conceived as an empty circle in which there are no fixed forms, all reality exists and self-organizes in a continually changing dynamic whole.

    Access is granted to this sacred circle of life through the particular, the "developmental edge of the differentiating ego".

    Aziz meant this to substitute for Jung's concept of "Self as upward-spiralling staircase". You could say Aziz's perspective on the realm of self-development is deliberately less structured than Jung's - there is not always an "upward spiralling" of the self, though it's a useful idiom. Aziz's idea reminds me more of the "Snake" game from QBasic on MS-DOS. The playing field is like the empty mandala, the space of everything in reality, while our personal self is the current cursor of the snake; while it is not totally impossible for us to retrace our own steps, doing so to the exclusion of developing new space tends to stunt our growth, as we do nothing more than revisit old times to no further advancement. Even worse, allegiances to fixed-form ideals necessitates continually orbiting some arbitrary location within this playing field, never straying far away from its influence.

    Retracing old paths is best done in the context where those old paths are no longer the same, because we have grown in the crucible of all other experiences within Reality to the point that old memories, old spaces, old ideas can be approached from wholly novel perspectives. That is essentially Jung's "upward spiralling staircase" model. But it is never structured that well, it is never truly guaranteed, as we might find ourselves endlessly wrapped around the axle of a circular path retracing old steps without ever finding anything new .... this being an analogy of the Complexes.
    intp | type 9w1 sp/sx/so

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