Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Significant Moments: The Imaginary Friend On the Beach

What does paramita mean? It is rendered into Chinese by "reaching the other shore." Reaching the other shore means detachment from birth and death. Just because people of the world lack stability of nature, they find appearances of birth and death in all things, flow in the waves of various courses of existence, and have not arrived at the ground of reality as is: all of this is "this shore." It is necessary to have great insightful wisdom, complete in respect to all things, detached from appearances of birth and death—this is "reaching the other shore."
It is also said that when the mind is confused, it is "this shore." When the mind is enlightened, it is "the other shore." When the mind is distorted, it is "this shore." When the mind is sound, it is "the other shore." If you speak of it and carry it out mentally, then your own reality body is imbued with paramita. If you speak of it but do not carry it out mentally, then there is no paramita.
Commentary on the Diamond Sutra.
“ . . . I have had many thoughts, but it would be difficult for me to tell you about them. But this is one thought that has impressed me, . . .
Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha.
. . . my friend.
William Shakespeare, Two Gentlemen of Verona.
Wisdom is not communicable. The wisdom which a wise man tries to communicate always sounds foolish.”
“Are you jesting?”
Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha.
. . . his friend asked.
Henry James, The Lesson of the Master.
“No, I am telling you what I have discovered. Knowledge can be communicated, but not wisdom. One can find it, live it, be fortified by it, do wonders through it, but one cannot communicate and teach it. . . . ”
Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha.
He sank into a reverie and became lost within himself.
Hermann Hesse, Demian.
He hesitated, and then . . .
Neville Shute, On The Beach.
. . . he continued, assuming the role of a mentor.
Arthur Rubinstein, My Young Years.
King Janaka, the legendary ruler of the Kingdom of Mithila in India, was once conversing on top of a hill overlooking his city with a wise Buddhist monk. The monk said, "King, look down and across the valley. Do you see those flames? Your city burns." Janaka was not perturbed. He watched quietly for a few minutes, then turned to the monk and said these words, which have been handed down for centuries in India as the quintessence of wisdom: "Mithilayam pradiptayam, na me dahyte kincana (In the conflagration of Mithila, nothing of mine is burned)." The story is told to demonstrate detachment, and the transcendence of any sense of ownership. What was truly Janaka's (love, for example) could not be burned.
J. Moussaieff Masson, Final Analysis.
Where is now my wisdom in this confusion?
Richard Wagner, Gotterdammerung.
—In truth, . . .
The Diary of Richard Wagner: The Brown Book — 1865-1882.
I feel a little bit like Janaka without the wisdom.
J. Moussaieff Masson, Final Analysis.
As I look back over my development and survey what I have achieved so far, . . .
Franz Kafka, A Report to an Academy.
. . . both in the university and in the professional world of psychoanalysis, I see flames, and the consumption of my life's work. My bridges are truly burned. But while I feel any kind of sadness and a nostalgia for what might have been, I cannot truly say that I am sorry for the loss.
J. Moussaieff Masson, Final Analysis.
He paused.
Bram Stoker, The Man.
What might have been is an abstraction
Remaining a perpetual possibility
Only in a world of speculation.
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.
T.S. Eliot, Excerpt from Burnt Norton.
He begins to read, then lets it slip from his fingers, leans back, picks reflectively at . . .
Simon Grey, Butley.
. . . particles of sand . . .
Charles Darwin, The Voyage of the Beagle.
. . . On the Beach.
Neville Shute, On the Beach.
There was another place . . .
Richard Wilbur, Excerpt from Someone Talking to Himself.
. . . I have forgotten
And remember.
Simon Grey, Butley (quoting T.S. Eliot, Marina).
He paused again, dreaming, lost in a reverie, then just above a whisper, murmured:
Frank Norris, The Octopus.
some other place—
George Eliot, The Lifted Veil.
fuck . . . Where?
Simon Grey, Butley.
By the hallowed . . .
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust (Part II) (Final Scene).
. . . inner sanctum, . . .
Arthur Conan Doyle, The Lost World.
. . . at the portal . . .
O. Henry, The Headhunter.
. . . to that . . .
Oliver Wendell Holmes, The Guardian Angel.
. . . last of meeting places . . .
Neville Shute, On the Beach (quoting T.S. Eliot, The Hollow Men).
. . . in a world of time beyond me;
T.S. Eliot, Excerpt from Marina.
By the mystic arm immortal
Warning me to go my way;
By my forty years’ . . .
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust (Part II) (Final Scene).
. . . material existence . . .
Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Devil in Manuscript.
. . in this strange and savage world, . . .
Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan the Terrible.
May I be excused for saying that I was forty years old?
Jules Verne, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
In the waste and desert land,
By the words of . . .
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust (Part II) (Final Scene).
. . . my banishment, . . .
E. Phillips Oppenheim, The Great Impersonation.
. . . the sentence,
Traced in parting, on the sand—
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust (Part II) (Final Scene).
(after a pause).
Simon Gray, Butley.
So long ago!
Frances Hodgson Burnett, T. Tembarom.
There is a silence.
Simon Grey, Butley.
Since you . . .
Lucy Maud Montgomery, The Golden Road.
. . . miscall’d the Morning Star,
Nor man nor fiend hath fallen so far.
George Gordon, Lord Byron, Excerpt from Ode to Napoleon Buonaparte.
“You might say that . . . ”
Agatha Christie, The Secret Adversary.
You played . . .
Thomas Hardy, A Pair of Blue Eyes.
. . . an intellectual game for high stakes, . . .
Peter Gay, Freud: A Life for Our Times.
. . . And you lost
Bret Harte, The Three Partners.
That my friend, . . .
Jeffrey Farnol, The Broad Highway.
. . . was your fate, and that your daring.—
Richard Wagner, Epitaph for Karl Tausig—For the Marble Tablet.
‘I—suppose so.’
Thomas Hardy, A Pair of Blue Eyes.
I was an experiment on the part of Nature, a gamble within the unknown, perhaps for a new purpose, perhaps for nothing, and my only task was to allow this game on the part of primeval depths to take its course, to feel its will within me and make it wholly mine.
Hermann Hesse, Demian.
Perhaps my best years are gone. When there was a chance of happiness. But I wouldn’t want them back. Not with the fire in me now. No, I wouldn’t want them back.
Samuel Beckett, Krapp’s Last Tape.
As I look back now, it seems to me I must have had at least an inkling that I had to find a way out or die, but that my way out could not be reached through flight.
Franz Kafka, A Report to an Academy.
I could see he was talking about things he had brooded on for a long time and felt very strongly about.
Alexander Gladkov, Meetings with Pasternak: A Memoir.
He paused for a moment, then continued:
Arthur Rubinstein, My Young Years.
Many complain that the words of the wise are always merely parables and of no use in daily life, which is the only life we have. When the sage says: "Go over," he does not mean that we should cross to some actual place, which we could do anyhow if the labor were worth it; he means some fabulous yonder, something unknown to us, something too that he cannot designate more precisely, and therefore cannot help us here in the very least. All these parables really set out to say merely that the incomprehensible is incomprehensible, and we know that already. But the cares we have to struggle with every day: that is a different matter.

Concerning this a man once said: Why such reluctance? If you only followed the parables you yourselves would become parables and with that rid of all your daily cares.
Another said: I bet that is also a parable.
The first said: You have won.
The second said: But unfortunately only in parable.
The first said: No, in reality: in parable you have lost.
Franz Kafka, On Parables.
When he finished talking, . . .
Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha.
. . . his companion, . . .
Rudyard Kipling, Kim.
. . . an imaginary companion . . .
Virginia Woolf, Night and Day.
. . . to be sure, . . .
Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil.
. . .both ideal self and . . .
Lancaster University, Seamus Heaney and the ‘Othering’ of Britishness.
. . . fantasized “Other” . . .
Nihan Yelutas, Otherness Doubled: Being a Migrant and “Oriental” at the Same Time.
. . . but no less . . .
Thomas Hardy, A Pair of Blue Eyes.
. . . his intimate and beloved companion . . .
Dorothy T. Burlingham, The Fantasy of Having a Twin.
. . . directed his somewhat weakened glance at him.
Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha.
It was very quiet then.
David Evanier, The Man Who Refused to Watch the Academy Awards.
A volley of the sun . . .
Richard Wilber, Excerpt from Someone Talking to Himself.
. . shone down on them out of a cloudless sky, warm and comforting;
Neville Shute, On The Beach.
. . . Siddhartha sat absorbed, his . . .
Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha.
. . . clouded mind in a flash of illumination became an open mind: vast like the ocean and the sky. Yes, the eyes . . .
Siegfried Hessing, Prologue with Spinozana—Parallels via East and West.
. . . his eyes far away yet gleaming like stars, . . .
Cosima Wagner’s Diaries (Tuesday, October 31, 1882).
. . . staring as if directed at a distant goal, the tip of his tongue showing a little between his teeth. He did not seem to be breathing. He sat thus, lost in meditation, thinking Om, his soul as arrow directed at Brahman.
Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha.
Then, quite unheralded, came the following cry from the heart:
Martin Gregor-Dellin, Richard Wagner: His Life, His Work, His Century.
"Why is it that you have not done great things in this world? With the power that is yours you might have risen to any height. Unpossessed of conscience or moral instinct, you might have mastered the world, broken it to your hand. And yet here you are, at the top of your life, where diminishing and dying begin, living an obscure and sordid existence, . . . reveling in a piggishness, to use your own words, which is anything and everything except splendid. Why, with all that wonderful strength, have you not done something? There was nothing to stop you, nothing that could stop you. What was wrong? Did you lack ambition? Did you fall under temptation? What was the matter? What was the matter?"
Jack London, The Sea Wolf.
He found it difficult to think; he really had no desire to, but he forced himself.
Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha.
He lifted his eyes to me at the commencement of my outburst, and followed me complacently until I had done and stood before him breathless and dismayed. He waited a moment as though seeking where to begin, and then said, "[Friend], do you know the parable of the sower who went forth to sow? If you will remember, some of the seed fell upon stony places, where there was not much earth, and forthwith they sprung up because they had no deepness of earth. And when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprung up and choked them."
"Well?" I said.
"Well?" he queried, half petulantly. "It was not well. I was one of those seeds."
Jack London, The Sea Wolf.

The following is an excerpt from an episode of the HBO series, Six Feet Under.  Nate Fisher is relaxing with his girlfriend Brenda on an otherwise deserted beach in Los Angeles late in the afternoon.  Nate quotes from the Hindu holy text, the Bhagavad Gita. Brenda leaves for home.  Nate stays behind and has a dissociated experience in which he sees himself walking into the ocean.  At the end of the video Nate has a second dissociated experience in which he speaks with his father, who had died the previous December.

The following video is a TV commercial for a beer.  A male airline passenger has a dissociated experience, imagining himself alone on a deserted beach.  A female across the aisle requests a beer, which brings her to the attention of the male passenger.  In the end, the male passenger continues his dissociated fantasy; but now, he is joined on the otherwise deserted beach with the female passenger.

(Compare the flight attendant on the airplane, above, serving refreshments to passengers to my dream thought about "room service" in "The Dream of the Four Miltons."  Also, compare the theme of "the beach" with my personal biographical associations to Clifford Odets' play, Paradise Lost.)


Gary Freedman said...

Claymation of "Murder in the Lobby" posted on YouTube in January 2011:


Gary Freedman said...

Seeing the above claymation at this moment I think of another symbol of the dream thought of Jesse Raben being shot in the lobby in "The Dream of Murder in the Lobby."

1. Siegfried stabbed in the back by the villain Hagen in Act III of Gotterdammerung.


2. Oral fantasy of a fork stabbing a piece of food during the routine act of eating.

3. Dinner with Raben and Wisner, August 1989:


Gary Freedman said...

Quick!! Call a psychoanalyst and tell him to come at once. Freedman was just struck with another dream interpretation and he's free associating to death!! HURRY!!

Gary Freedman said...

It just occurred to me in this moment that so much of my blogging seems to be an attempt to vindicate Freud and his theory of psychoanalysis (vindicate my father?).

Gary Freedman said...

Note that this section of Significant Moments contains a veiled allusion to Freud's June 1938 flight to England from Nazi-occupied Austria and his death in September 1939:

"reaching the other shore" (below)

Here in this house . . .
H. Rider Haggard, Montezuma’s Daughter.
. . . in London, . . .
J. Moussaieff Masson, Freud and the Seduction Theory.
. . . Between one June and another September . . .
T.S. Eliot, Excerpt from Marina.
. . . Freud lived out the year he still had to live . . .
Peter Gay, Freud: A Life for Our Time.
. . . extremely ill; . . .
Henry James, The Chaperon.
. . . an exile, . . .
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Excerpt from Evangeline.
. . . alone in an alien culture.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, The Flight To Italy. Diary and Selected Letters (Explanatory Note by T.J. Reed).
What images return
T.S. Eliot, Excerpt from Marina.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, The Flight To Italy. Diary and Selected Letters.
crossing the Channel
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness.
through the fog
T.S. Eliot, Excerpt from Marina.
by the night boat
Peter Gay, Freud: A Life for Our Time.
water lapping the bow
T.S. Eliot, Excerpt from Marina.
Then, land!—then England!
Elizabeth Barret Browning, Aurora Leigh.
reaching the other shore
Commentary on the Diamond Sutra.
the first eight weeks of freedom
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, The Flight To Italy. Diary and Selected Letters (editor’s note).
June, May . . . April . . . February . . . November
Simon Gray, Butley.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, The Flight To Italy. Diary and Selected Letters (editor’s note).
this long disease
Simon Gray, Butley.
his daughter Anna,
Peter Gay, Freud: A Life for Our Time.
Freud, Living and Dying
Max Schur, Freud, Living and Dying.
—his death and her sorrow—
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness.
the final summons
James Fenimore Cooper, The Last of the Mohicans.
What is it—what?’
Robert Frost, Excerpt from Home Burial.
My daughter.
T.S. Eliot, Excerpt from Marina.
“—and the doctor.”
Martin Gregor-Dellin, Richard Wagner: His Life, His Work, His Century.
his loyal and loving physician
Peter Gay, Freud: A Life for Our Time.
the morphine
Jack London, The Sea Wolf.
Freud’s end as a stoic suicide
Peter Gay, Freud: A Life for Our Time.
syringes and needles
Alan Dershowitz, Reversal of Fortune: Inside the von Bulow Case.
the portal where they came
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust (Part II) (Final Scene).
this last of meeting places
T.S. Eliot, Excerpt from The Hollow Men.
The pulse in the arm, less strong and
T.S. Eliot, Excerpt from Marina.
his last words
Wilkie Collins, The Law and the Lady.
the words of bliss, the sentence,
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust (Part II) (Final Scene).
This form, this face, this life
Living to live in a world of time beyond me; let me
Resign my life for this life, my speech for that unspoken,
The awakened, lips parted, the hope
T.S. Eliot, Excerpt from Marina.
My hope
Henry James, The Aspern Papers.
My daughter.
T.S. Eliot, Excerpt from Marina.
And now, in this house, . . .
Agatha Christie, The Mysterious Affair at Styles.
Anna Freud—
Robert Coles, Anna Freud: The Dream of Psychoanalysis.
. . . who was . . .
Alice Sokoloff, Cosima Wagner: Extraordinary Daughter of Franz Liszt.
. . . inordinately proud of being her father’s daughter . . .
Bertolt Brecht, Galileo.
. . . listened in stony silence while I painted a marvelous mural of all the hidden truths coming to light; doors being unlocked, things falling into place.
J. Moussaieff Masson, Final Analysis.
She seemed staggered by my confrontation and retreated by sinking into her body.
Irvin D. Yalom, Love’s Executioner.

Gary Freedman said...

Senator John McCain talks about how his ability to dissociate preserved his life and his sanity during his years of imprisonment in North Vietnam. McCain was a war prisoner for five and a half years in Vietnam. He stayed at the Hanoi Hilton--the hotel from Hell.