Sunday, August 22, 2010
Thursday, August 19, 2010
This is a insightful and witty commantary on all of the books included in the Famous Fourty. These blog postings are short and to the point, so you can get an idea of which of the books you would like to read, and which you might want to pass over.
Pumperdink is an archive containing more in depth discussion of the books. It includes books beyond the 40, as well as other works by L. Frank Baum. My only gripe is (and it's a small one)--the contributors seem to expect narrative consistency. While this is not necessarily a bad quality in a published work, in a world such as Oz, it is simply not necessary. To draw upon the model I used in my blogs on identity, Oz is a cosmos made up of many, often conflicting, bits. Each and every author who takes up the quest to "write Oz" gathers the bits that they want and excludes the bits they don't want. So what if RPT didn't use Shaggy Man? Or that John R. Neill and Jack Snow cherry pick or ignore RPT's contribution? Just pick up the bits you want and put them together! After all, if you have already succumbed to the temptation to believe you are worthy to "write Oz"...and this includes everybody who reads it, I think...then you might as well enjoy yourself and have a great visit to this marvelous land!
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Saturday, August 14, 2010
But these seemingly benign personas have trapped me. They are difficult to live up to, for one thing, and the bits of me that are excluded from their mix cry out for attention--and go off to form personas of their own. (Be quiet, Mariko! Not NOW!) That may be the norm in Second Life, where these personas can be given pixilated form, but in Real Life, this process becomes problematic. As narratives of support for or the failures of these personas weave themselves around them, they become like prisons.
So how can we free our identity from these personas, which grow in power as we use them in our interactions with others, and as narratives grow upon them like weeds? Julia Kristeva says we should use language to free ourselves from these bonds. We must disrupt our process of identifying with the personas we have created or have been created for us by the expectations of others. When we believe in and act out our narratives, we are in as much of a fantasy world as Oz or Middle Earth. The narratives are easy and comfortable habits to slip into, but they are self defeating as they keep us going around in circles, stuck in the same ruts. Help me, Julia! If I cannot be a sage like T'oegye, free from narrative attachment to the past or the future, at least let me have more conscious control over what I do have.
*Ahem*...anyway, to get back to the original problem, the personas that have attached to the narratives of why I am such a person who should like these topics or should read these books...today, here and now, I confront you! Monk, Renaissance scholar, Hermetic Philosopher, Wm. Blake scholar, JRRT lover, Bible student! You are not me! (What a presumptive collection!) All of you together have included in your make-up parts of me, but not some of the most important parts (like humor, general silliness &c)! Begone, I adjure and command you, in the name of the Thrice Great Hermes and his disciple Tat...(oops), ummm...I mean, in the name of Ozma, fairy soverign of the marvelous land of Oz! Ok, that's done, now...back to the books. Anyone want a 38 volume set of the Church Fathers?
Saturday, August 7, 2010
But sometimes stronger forces are at work within us, often related to residual emotional content from out childhood. This content is often raw and pre-verbal, coming from a time when we did not have the mental capacity to process it. How then does this content affect our analog-I? If it is strong enough, or if it receives outside encouragement, other self-images may develope. These at first have the same name as we do, but over time may become self-named, for example Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta became Lady Gaga. But not all alternate analog-I's become so powerful. For the most part, they exist as shadow people, emerging only when the environment is safe for them to do so.
In a virtual world such as Second Life, the bits of our identity can be broken out of their analog-I and shadow people shells more easily than in real life because their are more options and opportunities for us to really "build" ourself. Some people take a safe route and reproduce an idealized version of their real existence; others pick one of their shadow people that they have always wished to display, but for whaterer reason were unable to do so in real. Even those who experiment radically with image and name eventually find the form(s) with which they are most comfortable.
Lacan tells us that the core of identity itself is a falsehood. We are really all the bits of us, but the image we think we are and the name that attaches to that image can only hold a few of those bits. Therefore that analog-I, in whatever form we try to present it to others, is not really "us"--it is just a picture and a word. Perhaps Lacan was right, we can never experience the Real--all those bits of identity that make up a human being. But that should not keep us from experimenting!
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Each situation we experience as a now is unique. We must use the tools at our disposal as they are needed, and find a way not to allow negative narratives to overwhelm our good intentions. To live in the now is to become unattached from the narratives and deal with each experience as it arises.
These thoughts arose out of an attempt to explain my actions to someone. In the past I have thought of these actions as a form of magick. Attempts to manipulate the environment of the now to gain the outcome we desire. For the most part this is not consciously done, because the nows pass so quickly, but it can be. Master manipulators are known to exist, and mass media only extends their power. A good book on the history of this art is http://www.amazon.com/Magic-Renaissance-Chicago-Original-Paperback/dp/0226123162
A virtual world, like Second Life, can help us sort out the various bits of what we are, by giving us a way to express them in real time interactions. Being aware of these bits of ourselves will help us to use them more effectively, though sometimes just acknowledging their existence can be a huge step forward. Sometimes fear will hold us back, fear of what others may think of us, fear of admitting to ourselves that we even contain some odd bits within us. But all that we find, all that is encompassed within that boundary we have set between us and the world, is truly us, and must somehow be integrated into the whole.
Pictures can also be useful. If you like a picture, ask yourself why, especially when it is a picture of a person. Do you desire the image, or identify with it? And if you identify with the image, then--why? Whom do you "see" as seeing the "you" in the image? Explore the idea of the interaction of the you as the image and the ideal viewer of the image. Images are useful in unlocking the narratives attached to the bits of ourselves we are looking for, but anything may trigger a memory. So let's go and explore the puzzle box! Accept the bad and build up the good, and be prepared to use what divinity and experience have given you to make your cosmos a better place for everyone.