Piece Three

Robinson Jeffers(Context of quote on picture…Hurt Hawks)

Robinson Jeffers is a poet I discovered in my twenties.  His poetry is tough, hard, philosophical, and he takes on the big issues that I struggled with as a young man in my late teens and twenties…and still do today in the first half of my 40’s.  He wrote much of his works while living in Carmel…a place I know well…I have frequently observed and admired the same natural beauty he alludes to in his poetry.  Here is a generic biography of Jeffers….(Background on Robinson Jeffers), but the core philosophical connection I share with this very intelligent and artistic man can be summarized by the below paragraph taken from the above link….

Jeffers coined the phrase inhumanism, the belief that mankind is too self-centered and too indifferent to the “astonishing beauty of things.” Jeffers articulated that inhumanism symbolized humans’ inability to “uncenter” themselves.  In “The Double Axe,” Jeffers explicitly described inhumanism as “a shifting of emphasis and significance from man to notman; the rejection of human solipsism and recognition of the trans-human magnificence… This manner of thought and feeling is neither misanthropic nor pessimist… It offers a reasonable detachment as rule of conduct, instead of love, hate and envy… it provides magnificence for the religious instinct, and satisfies our need to admire greatness and rejoice in beauty.”


Theory Of Truth

(Reference to The Women at Point Sur)
I stand near Soberanes Creek, on the knoll over the sea, west of
the road. I remember
This is the very place where Arthur Barclay, a priest in revolt,
proposed three questions to himself:
First, is there a God and of what nature? Second, whether there’s
anything after we die but worm’s meat?
Third, how should men live? Large time-worn questions no
doubt; yet he touched his answers, they are not unattainable;
But presently lost them again in the glimmer of insanity.

many minds have worn these questions; old coins
Rubbed faceless, dateless. The most have despaired and accepted
doctrine; the greatest have achieved answers, but always
With aching strands of insanity in them.
I think of Lao-tze; and the dear beauty of the Jew whom they
crucified but he lived, he was greater than Rome;
And godless Buddha under the boh-tree, straining through his
mind the delusions and miseries of human life.

Why does insanity always twist the great answers?
Because only
tormented persons want truth.
Man is an animal like other animals, wants food and success and
women, not truth. Only if the mind
Tortured by some interior tension has despaired of happiness:
then it hates its life-cage and seeks further,
And finds, if it is powerful enough. But instantly the private
agony that made the search
Muddles the finding.
Here was a man who envied the chiefs of
the provinces of China their power and pride,
And envied Confucius his fame for wisdom. Tortured by hardly
conscious envy he hunted the truth of things,
Caught it, and stained it through with his private impurity. He
praised inaction, silence, vacancy: why?
Because the princes and officers were full of business, and wise
Confucius of words.

Here was a man who was born a bastard, and among the people
That more than any in the world valued race-purity, chastity, the
prophetic splendors of the race of David.
Oh intolerable wound, dimly perceived. Too loving to curse his
mother, desert-driven, devil-haunted,
The beautiful young poet found truth in the desert, but found also
Fantastic solution of hopeless anguish. The carpenter was not his
father? Because God was his father,
Not a man sinning, but the pure holiness and power of God.
His personal anguish and insane solution
Have stained an age; nearly two thousand years are one vast poem
drunk with the wine of his blood.

And here was another Saviour, a prince in India,
A man who loved and pitied with such intense comprehension of
pain that he was willing to annihilate
Nature and the earth and stars, life and mankind, to annul the
suffering. He also sought and found truth,
And mixed it with his private impurity, the pity, the denials.
search for truth is foredoomed and frustrate?
Only stained fragments?

Until the mind has turned its love from
itself and man, from parts to the whole. 

Robinson Jeffers

First Communion

Quite honestly, I don’t even know what First Communion means.  My former wife was brought up catholic (even though she was originally from Lebanon) and has been rather insistent on indoctrinating our recently turned nine-year old boy into the Catholic religion.  As such, I was asked to join her and my son in his First Communion.  Philosophically, I have no affiliation with the Christian or Catholic religion.  The last two times I attended church included marriage and going way back my courting of a pretty young woman in high school.  Although I think the bible provides advice or a moral guideline, I cannot commit to ideals that are wrapped in fantasy given what I know about the cosmos and so many other broad concepts.  For instance, the idea of washing away sin through confession is completely foreign to me.  If we commit an act that is clearly beneath us, there is no washing it away with a confession.  We still committed the act and therefore should reflect on our behavior and correct it in the future. We should learn from our mistakes, but we can never simply make past decisions go away as if they never happened.  Rather, we should embrace them and learn from them as a means to understand who and what we are and how to move beyond them.

As I sat uncomfortably through this ceremony, I made several observations.  I noticed that many adults displayed an air of perfection, goodness, and self-righteousness.  They seemed to illuminate a smug confidence that they knew what was the right course for themselves and their children.  I wondered to myself what sins these perfect adults had committed in their life time and how they could appear so perfect believing they had washed their transgressions away via confessions.  I observed the priest or whatever you call the head of the Catholic church put on his show for this grand event and I wasn’t surprised when he hit up the congregation for a donation to pay for increased taxes imposed on the church.  But my broadest observation was how such an opportunity to bring people together under a beautiful structure was wasted on concepts and dogma that didn’t address the major issues we face as a human species.  Instead, we have grown men dressed up in costumes exploiting cute little people all dressed up to raise funds for an institution that doesn’t confront truth and reality or seek out logical and informed solutions to the huge obstacles that are inhibiting our species from progressing forward.

I have expressed my personal beliefs on religion to my son.  I told him there are hundreds of religions in the world and that the Christian or Catholic religions are merely a sample.  I have told him that Jesus was a great “man” and that his being and all that he believed has been documented and described by others rather than Jesus himself.  I have told him that I don’t know if there is a god and if there is a god I doubt that he made us in his image for the universe and or universes have an infinite array of images.  All throughout the ceremony he kept looking at me and on occasion would laugh or smile.  I didn’t sing the songs.  I didn’t repeat or read the prayers.  And he observed my behavior.  I love him dearly.  All I can do is offer an alternative for him to consider.  In the end, it is his choice to believe or not to believe and seek out his own path.

Averting Cannibalism

Man has made great errors in his purposes.  Often he believes the purpose at hand is to serve or be served, to exploit or be exploited, or to serve God.   To serve another is to be a slave and submit to exploitation.  To be served is an illusion of success and the perpetuation of exploitation.  To serve God is to admit failure, for God is merely a corrupted interpretation of the divine in man’s image.  As long as man measures himself relative to other men, or to God, he will continue on his miserable misdirected course and close in on and devour himself.  The only way out is to define and serve goals and visions defined by himself.  In this way, man can measure himself relative to the progression of those goals and visions defined by himself and rejoice in his open-ended and upward ascent, or shed tears of joyful sorrow in his fall.