Words II

Thought is the past living in the present, modifying itself and the present… only when the mind is uncluttered can the new come into being, and for this reason we say that thought must be still, operating only when it has to- objectively, efficiently.

-Krishnamurti

I have quoted that before.

I leave yesterday’s post as a worthwhile attempt, and now wanted to get closer. I quoted David:

We are all born in sin, everyone’s inclination is to sin. People are tempted in different ways. Homosexuals happen to be tempted with the sin of homosexuality. All of this is sin and can be redeemed by Christ. So were they born that way? Sure, because we are all born into sin.

He has a neat framework for the World. Part of it is that he is a Biblical Christian, and therefore Good, and that Gay people unless they try very very hard to avoid appearing even a little bit gay are Bad. He has brought together two ideas from the framework of words people have created, to make himself even more certain that gayness is Bad.

His framework is a barrier to understanding. He may still meet a gay person, and in the encounter learn to value the whole of that person, but his framework makes that less likely.

Last year there was some excitement when it appeared that BICEP 2 had observed patterns in the cosmic microwave background confirming the theory of Inflation; but the Planck satellite failed to confirm the observations. BICEP 3 continues the search. The observations themselves are described in precise words exchanged between those equipped to assess the evidence. This is “thought operating only when it has to” as Krishnamurti says.

Perhaps David’s expression, though it distances him from other humans, is also such thought. That framework protects him from challenge, which might be too much for him to bear.

However, as I passionately desire an encounter with a human being whom I already know to be Other, thought may get in the way. Is she like that archetype, or that character in a novel? I could decide that she was, and jump to a conclusion which was very slightly different from the Truth. There is a person, in the moment, so even my memories of her may not show me who she is now. If I try to translate them into words, they drag me even further from true perception. There is only Now.

Yet I try to get my thoughts clear, and create verbal frameworks for understanding, because they reassure me.

David, the death of Socrates

Words

I move away from reliance on words. This is hard, for a writer.

My ideal is to respond to a whole situation as I perceive it in the moment. I think of this as a continual meditative state. I don’t thereby assert that those assessed by Myers-Briggs as judging rather than perceiving are wrong, but that I wish to develop other ways.

This is counter-cultural. School-children write essays about what Shakespeare plays mean: crushing an art work into an understanding of it. There is only the art work. There is only reality. The map or understanding is always less. Understandings are a way of stopping thinking and excluding difficult facts, or troublesome people. I love the cleverness of this comment, a verbal trick to justify hate:

We are all born in sin, everyone’s inclination is to sin. People are tempted in different ways. Homosexuals happen to be tempted with the sin of homosexuality. All of this is sin and can be redeemed by Christ. So were they born that way? Sure, because we are all born into sin.

So clear! So logical! No need for equal marriage, because it panders to sin. God save me from people who have the Answers. Whereas those who find LGBT merely sinful might have felt a need to deny that we are “born that way”, this formulation neatly avoids that. So it seems to me to defend the homophobic position against the complexity of real life.

I was fascinated by this article on Genesis 1-2. Sometimes there are common-sense readings of Bible verses, but the writer observes there seem to be several items in the creation narrative for which the plain sense meaning does not make common sense. Amazingly, rather than seeking a different sense as the popular saying would suggest, people often choose to add to or modify the Scripture, forcing it to make common sense. Here are some examples of such items.

So, if there was a “morning” before the Sun was created, some would say it was because of the light of God’s presence, adding to Scripture, and some would not. Some pursue clarity and understanding, some pursue acceptance of strangeness and understanding. I find the latter way better, because it leaves me open to greater understanding as I mature.

That second writer calls verses which anthropomorphize God “figurative”. God became man in Christ Jesus. Comparing God to a human being is a way for me to grope towards understanding, knowing that my understanding- even the Biblical verse- is not sufficient in itself.

To be fair to Words, I give a scientific example: the separate orders of trilobite need a precise classification. The artist’s words can create a human being entire, such as Hamlet or Shylock.

Peace passes all understanding.

Oh, I can’t end this post so I will just stop.

David, the intervention of the Sabine women

Elinor and Marianne

Elinor good, Marianne bad?

When I read Sense and Sensibility in my twenties, that was clear. Elinor was sensible, Marianne merely ridiculous in her emotional responses. I had not heard of Sensibility, the 18th century concept of human responses to particular stimuli. Now, it seems that Elinor does not lack any of Marianne’s emotional responses, but tempers them with common sense, so that she is not too hurt by circumstance.

It is not just the relative maturity of girls of 19 and 16, but attitude and principle. [Marianne’s] violent oppression of spirits continued the whole evening. She was without any power, because she was without any desire of command over herself. She believes that it is right to express what one feels, so feeds and encourages her violent sorrow as a duty. Also, she is responding to the immediate stimulus of Willoughby leaving;  she does not think, first, of what might the reason be, or what he might do next, which might console her: any consolation would be inauthentic.

Elinor is without affectation of any feelings but her own. They are introduced in the first chapter: Elinor, this eldest daughter, whose advice was so effectual, possessed a strength of understanding, and coolness of judgment, which qualified her, though only nineteen, to be the counsellor of her mother, and enabled her frequently to counteract, to the advantage of them all, that eagerness of mind in Mrs Dashwood which must generally have led to imprudence. She had an excellent heart;- her disposition was affectionate, and her feelings were strong’ but she knew how to govern them: it was a knowledge which her mother had yet to learn; and which one of her sisters had resolved never to be taught.

Marianne’s abilities were, in many respects, quite equal to Elinor’s. She was sensible and clever; but eager in everything: her sorrows, her joys, could have no moderation. She was generous, amiable, interesting: she was everything but prudent. The resemblance between her and her mother was strikingly great.

Perhaps Elinor is unduly negative, as her mother accuses: You would rather take evil upon credit than good. You had rather look out for misery for Marianne, and guilt for poor Willoughby, than an apology for the latter. But to me she has the gift of thinking through and judging circumstance as well as forming an emotional reaction to her immediate perception, which would make her happier as well as wiser. So I thought that the author identified with this character.

I would find Marianne incomprehensible, had I not heard that she followed a fashion for heroines to exhibit such sensibility. She boasts her closed-mindedness: At my time of life opinions are tolerably fixed. It is not likely that I should now see or hear any thing to change them. The mind can close, so young- how horrible! When Edward Ferrars first visits the cottage, then leaves after a week, Elinor has a variety of feelings- tenderness, pity, approbation, censure, and doubt- produced by the varying states of her spirits, but always with consideration.

David, Portrait of Adélaide Pastoret

Fear and courage

Why should going to the supermarket need courage?

I am in my best ever state of self-acceptance; femininity is OK. I am still entrapped by fear of the world and despair. Leaving my front door can take courage.

Well, what could go wrong?

Something completely dreadful, inexplicable, incomprehensible, could strike out of the blue, and I would die. At least I would be humiliated and crushed beyond repair.

Clearly, I am back in very small child territory. The monster will get me. I am doing my thing, and suddenly THE ANGRY MOTHER appears, and the bottom falls out of my world. I can only approach safety by only doing exactly what she wants, and I cannot always work out what that is. Better to do nothing than cause (for I am responsible) her anger. So I did. My life was constrained by her complete control.

Anything I want to do is equally dangerous.

Oh Wow. That is completely mindblowing. Here am I writing and I wish I could convey to you how I feel. It means that

if I can go to the supermarket,
then I can do Anything!

Or, to put it another way, the false barrier in my own head is the same for whatever action I might want to perform. If I can distinguish it from rational considerations and predictions of what might happen which I can produce as a rational adult, then I can gently pacify that hurting child.

It seems to be affected by my confidence level. When I lack confidence, perhaps because something bad has happened, I start to feel the monster will get me- perhaps because it feels like it has already. This may be what others call “overwhelm”. Or my procrastination may be exacerbated, because nothing can ever please the Monster. Whatever.

 The monster won't get me. 
There is no monster.

I have been doing some mirror exercises by Robert Holden. The world is your mirror- as you see yourself in the mirror, so you see the world seeing you. We see things not as they are but as we are. The first exercise is to declare to myself in the mirror, “I love you”. Yes. That is a lovely experience. I don’t have any of the self-judgments which others experience, about which Holden warns.

(I will change that. Avoiding putting the preposition at the end of the sentence feels clumsy and wrong. Which Holden warns about. Language is a living thing, and rules change, and I take refuge in this analysis

I’m back. The second exercise is to look in the mirror and say “Life loves you [or, ‘me’]”. Life, Existence, Being, God, whatever, but he says “Life”. Well, I am loveable- and when I say it I feel confused. Not uncomfortable, exactly. I think OK,,, yeah,,,

God loving me could be just me and God in our bubble. Life loving me is the beneficence of the World.

He says, “see if you can find the place where you can accept that life is not criticising or judging you, but is absolutely on your side.” If it is too much, say “Today, I am willing to let life love me”.

Perhaps my confusion is that I do not know what that love might mean. He says it is not about changing the World, but about noticing how the World is.

“Complete the sentence, ‘one way life is loving me today is…’.”

Basic trust is the realisation that you do not have to do life all by yourself. Support is everywhere.

David, 'Madame Récamier'I look in the mirror and say “Life loves me”, and am overcome by anger and misery. Well, it has a fracking awesome way of showing it. All this pain and loneliness! And if it is merely a matter of my “letting the Love in”-

how on Earth am I supposed to do that?

Why vote UKIP?

Don’t, obviously- but I wanted to hear what they have to say for themselves, so bought Why Vote UKIP? written by Suzanne Evans, assisted by the chairman Steve Crowther and policy “guru” Tim Aker. Evans is a former Tory councillor and now deputy leader of UKIP.

The book is an angry whine of ignorance, without the self-knowledge to realise that. Evans confuses the European Court of Justice with the European Court of Human Rights. She appeals to the pub know-all: UKIP believes the government which is best is the government which governs least. To that end, she says the British taxpayer would not miss the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills so UKIP would close it, or at the very least scale it back. Whereas it fulfils the functions of the former Department for Trade and Industry.

If you sat with that pub bore and explained what DBIS does, he would accept it is worthwhile and should not just be abolished. Evans does not want to explain. She needs his ignorant anger. She feels he would also not miss the Department of Energy and Climate Change, though even she might think we need to plan what electricity generation we need, to avoid the lights going out. She is against wind and solar power, and in favour of fracking, whose proceeds she would invest in a “Sovereign Wealth Fund” rather than paying off the national debt.

She would also close the Department for International Development, which administers foreign aid. She mocks spending on children’s TV in Kenya or £80,000 on a study on the link between gender equality and growth in Nigeria. She cites the Daily Express, but this pdf might be the report she means: it is the kind of evidence needed for useful change.

“Green” is a term of contempt, and she would stop charities from lobbying government. That is political, not charitable. The charities include the World Wide Fund for Nature and Friends of the Earth, which provide “evidence” (her scare-quotes). “Green” is good only in “Green fields” which she claims the Government are wickedly turning into building sites. The effect of her policy would be to increase house prices and price more people out of decent housing.

She does not mention Trident, but “would keep out of foreign wars unless there is a clear danger to British interests or a strong moral justification for intervention”. This is typical of her pettish contempt: as if anyone would go to war except for that, or any politician calling for war since 1980 has not imagined that applies.

Multiculturalism is worse than environmentalism for her. She takes pride in Great Britons such as James Watson, and in our Empire ruling half (actually a quarter) of the world. Multiculturalism is hostile to British values like the stiff upper lip, and causes forced marriage and female genital mutilation. The answer is British values. Education should explain how we won [freedom] historically, how hard Britain has fought for it and why therefore it is of paramount importance.

You and me, we’re the good people, she croons. We are right to feel angry and frustrated and miserable. Vote UKIP to stay that way!

David, the Oath of the Horatii

What I want

On the bus-

I love the front seat on the upper deck of the bus. I never tire of it, as we judder and clank round Blaenau Gwent Road or past the landfill, looking down at the houses and cars and across the fields and valleys. “You see things differently from up here” said the woman. Yes. She was telling her friend about her relationship: “I’ve been alone for so long- six years or more”. Her new man has been very silly with debt. “I just don’t talk to him for a couple of days, and he comes running.”

“If I fall on the stairs don’t laugh” said the friend. The other caught my eye and smiled shyly- and stopped seeming a threat. When she got off the bus she told the driver it should have a lift, and he agreed. Risking them hearing my maleish, trans voice, I joined their conversation: “You could have a vacuum tube thing, to suck you upstairs,” I said. “And a fireman’s pole to come down.”

“That would be fun,” she said, smiling again.

That is what I want. Human contact, finding how we think and feel alike, and joking together. Hugs and cuddles are nice too. Last night I was back in the thick of old anger and misery, of how I had wanted a friendship with Emma and she had at first seemed enthusiastic then snubbed me and how I had not understood why the change. Feeling connected and hearing warmth and then, not. And the same recently. Not understanding makes it worse.

What else do I want? To avoid situations where I feel out of control or threatened. The prospective interview at the DWP about the “support available to me”- trying to find ways of stopping my benefit, so that I must support myself- frightens me. Working terrifies me. If I am to change this I need sympathetic holding and tiny steps. So- “To feel I am doing something worthwhile”? No, actually.

I loved walking in the sunshine on Monday.

In the Autumn I would have been judging this. I am not, now. I might have been less sure of it, or conflicted about it, and am not that either.

 ♥♥♥

I do not have to justify this to you, but it reassures me to justify it to myself.

I am Abigail. I no longer deny and suppress that, completely beyond consciousness; then I loathed, despised and feared it, and do not now do that, either; my contempt and anger at being Abigail, being that feminine, soft, gentle, peaceful, being who I am, lessened: now I do not even regret it.

I have emerged from a lifelong battle, and I am exhausted.

And the ways I have of understanding other people grew in the complex of lies I introjected to despise my natural organismic self; and they do not work. Being so intelligent, I pursued the impossible goal of understanding others: one may only know them.

I have had difficult experiences, and I fear the world. Then I read of the DWP’s deliberate programme of sanctions with the intent of destroying the benefits system as a safety net for vulnerable people. “There will be wars and rumours of wars”- the world has often been worse- and still I fear it.

And I rejoice that I feel that fear, and do not hate or reject it, and am not bullying myself, now, to fucking get on with it!!!

I am Abigail! At last, I am Abigail, and how cool is that?

 ♥♥♥

The man who accused me of being “condensating” is now one of my myths. The claimant had been a heroin addict, and had had her children taken away. Yet she had come off heroin, and they were now living with her. Probably, her claim was not granted because the TCO did not believe her, though they did not say that. I felt she had accomplished a great achievement, though still in a vulnerable state- just like me. I felt his great hostility, and my powerlessness, and it became a symbol for me of what my work was like: miserific, and pointless despite all my effort.

Marge was probably a more typical DWP HEO. She was completely fair and I could persuade her on occasion. In my work, I had some success. But I despaired. It might be good to come out of my despair. Perhaps I could.

Jacques-Louis David, Portrait of Madame de Verninac

May General Election Predictions in Full

My general election predictions, in order of likelihood:

1. Both the Labour Party and the Conservative Party come out with around 280 seats each. With no other viable coalition, they enter a grand coalition. A quarter of the MPs of each can leave in disgust and they still have an overwhelming majority. The Labour Party is annihilated in the 2020 election.

2. The Labour Party, slightly ahead, forms a coalition with the Greens, Scottish Nationalists and Welsh Nationalists. David Cameron, proclaiming the slogan English Votes for English Laws and declaring the government illegitimate, boycotts Parliament, supported by the Tory councils across England and Tory Police Commissioners.

3. The Green Surge continues, increasing geometrically not arithmetically and buoyed by the success of Syriza in producing the first economic growth in Greece in five years and of Podemos in the Spanish elections. A Green majority government abolishes nuclear power generation and scraps British nuclear weapons. Foreign nuclear energy companies sue Britain for hundreds of billions of pounds in lost profits through the Investor-State Dispute Settlement procedure of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Britain refuses to pay up, and the USA invades to enforce payment backed by a UN resolution and the gleeful concurrence of Mr Putin and Mr Xi, who hope America will stop being so holier than thou at last. Jacques-Louis David, Helen and Paris