Jury Deliberations Invited. ( Not many have showed up- bad sign! Court Reporter)
This follows the Court sessions on record. The Start of the Trial; Prosecution case: The Opening Day with Sir Alister Hardy; the Witness Reverend TG; and the Defence Witnesses Arthur Koestler, and the Author, a hostile witness.
Judge: (to Members of the Jury) You are assembled to deliberate the first charge against the book Involution- Odyssey: namely That you have persuaded the Author to write a deluded hypothesis in order to humiliate her, knowing she would bear the responsibility of your heedless suggestions.
You have heard the evidence both for the Defense and Prosecution and the testimony of the witnesses, including the hostile Author. At this point it is the ‘deluded hypothesis’ that is under deliberation.
What you have to decide is whether the skeletal argument is sufficiently robust to support the book in question.
You are not yet examining the second and third charges of the book’s lack of discernment in its selection of Author, nor the appropriateness of the timing or language or spurious inducements with regard to possible rewards. Evidence for those charges will follow.
All you are required to concentrate upon is the underpinning scientific hypothesis and whether what you have heard is plausible. You do not have to accept it in a single jump, or even agree with it , but to decide whether it merited a lifelong commitment, and the punitive and hostile reactions it received. If you should acquit the work of ‘delusion’ then the remainder of this case will be simply about ways and means ( or rather the lack of ways and means). If you should find the book guilty of a deluded hypothesis then the remainder of the case falls.
I would remind you that in evaluating the opinions of witnesses you have a duty of care in deciding how reliable, unbiased, or motivated those witnesses were. Professor Hardy intended a book of his own when he had gained the time to gather the necessary research; Professor Konrad Lorenz was already engaged in writing a similar work. Arthur Koestler had written much that furnished the Odyssey’s arguments with factual support as well as hypotheses on synchrony and holons. All had reasons to accept or reject the work. You also heard from The Reverend TG (in many ways the most innocent of prejudice) and his reactions. All these will assist you in coming to a verdict.
A few of you have already read the work and will be able to rely on forming your own opinions, and sharing them with others who have not.
The Author has very kindly agreed to offer e-copies of the book to anyone prepared to read and honestly review and take part on this Jury. ( email signup on home page column top right to provide contact details.)
The Jury Clerk has made refreshments available in the Jury room and you have as long as you need to reach a decision. Please begin by appointing a Foreman and by taking an initial vote so as to be able to evaluate the progress of your discussions. Make yourselves comfortable in the Comment boxes and feel free to offer wide ranging opinons.
43 thoughts on “Jury Called for First Verdict”
I’ll avail myself of the refreshments kindly offered by the author. And I’m happy to offer my opinion.
A hypothesis has a powerful inspirational function, though in science it requires testing before it becomes a theory.
The hypothesis of the book ‘Involution’ is totally inspiring, as well as scientifically plausible. The book is not to blame for the insights that inspired others to develop their theories. It is the failing of our status-ridden society that the author was side-lined.
I wish we could call our collective psyche (the universal Akashic record) into the stand, if only to establish that it holds the collective memory of everything alive, 99% of which 99% people are not conscious of.
Individuals with a deep respect for the unconscious, and those who cultivate, or are gifted, with an intuitive connection to the whole psyche from within themselves, have always been the innovators of humankind.
They should be cherished.
It takes life-experience and considerable strength of spirit to hold many viewpoints and express controversial insights.
It happened to Candace Pert http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Candace_Pert , whose friends say she would have won the Novel prize but for macho politics.
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Very interesting bonding observation. John Dockus is with you on the macho world of science, and suggested I should embrace the new feminism and do the job with a machete if necessary. Enough of all this even argument, ‘get burned or get out’ was the gist of his advice. I did concede by signing it P.A…personal assistant to the Akasha?
Yet this very day he was found and quoted as a man of rare perception ( by a friend who rarely comes). Since all the men here present have a working marriage with their Divine Feminine, and engage with Her as equals, I cannot see the need for that suffraget stridency. We are all androgenous, only some never get to know the better part of themselves.
I take that as a vote for acquittal?
Candace was at least recognised as an experimental pharmacologist with proper papers, peer reviewed. My machete is splintered for want of all that. Thanks for coming, hang about?
Joyce put it this way: “My imagination grows when I read Vico as it doesn’t when I read Freud or Jung.” Back in December 2013 Michael Pollan had a piece in the New Yorker titled “The Intelligent Plant” in which he suggested that plants have consciousness. The letters that followed suggested a hung jury. One from a biologist professor was most telling in the attitude that suggested a lack of imagination. He said, “Pollen has suggested plants have a consciousness; they don’t.” Pollen had ended his article with this: “So that’s the question: Can we now imagine something completely different, something inspired instead by plants?” But it seems many scientists have lost both their imagination and sense of humor. The basis of my decision (regarding the question at hand) is what reminds me of Joyce: My imagination grows when I read Mary Midgley or Philippa Rees as it doesn’t when I read Dawkins. Another imagination inspiring writer is physicist Robert B. Laughlin. But John Dockus has brought the matter at hand to clear focus in his comment of April 2. As a generalist whose primary interest is how literature works, I’m enjoying the script of the trial, the excellent dialog, the satire and wit. The focus of the question, its context of humiliation, brings up yet another important topic, the use of shame as a means to control. Parents and church folks and teachers and others in positions of authority or who otherwise want something from us resort to this frequently, and it takes someone like a Cornel West or Bob Dylan to help us dig ourselves out from under it. Now I need a cup of coffee and will avail myself of the refreshments and join Ashen outside in what free and fresh air there is.
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Easier on the grass Joe. The imagination fed by the emotional heart is ( curiously) the arena explored by Candace Pert ( who I had never encountered until an hour ago). This is a valuable observation on what I hope will be a later charge of ‘inappropriate language’, and fundamental to clothing the skeletal idea in ‘symphonic prose’ ( I call calling it that a small stab to defy the ‘Not really poetry is it duckie/ question put by assorted poetry editors). About who I once wrote a poem and since it is not my role to contribute to this verdict I’ll post that up instead
Part 1. Mission Statement.
Poetry is solemn trade
So candle dark that we Company of Editors
Hoping that others will invest before we
No mass without perambulation
Let’s wait to spear the sainted Bull
We’ll join the chorus in good time
to ride the rising tide of absolution
Don’t rush the responses
Our expertise is not for experiments
in dismal rhyme, or rhythms with a soul-beat
We like it ineffable; to leave room
for our perception and of course our long acquired acumen.
After all the authorized version’s by Yeats
If Auden sings descant, and I can’t nail Eliot
Take it as a signal of modesty.
The matter is subjective.
We have our rules:
New fishers of men must prove themselves
By taking bait on lines, elsewhere…
Anything discarded we reject
Anything landed we won’t touch
Without the intercession of an intermediary.
That protects our public
From the circling sharks;
The questionable authors.
They and the agents can follow the wake
Dive deep in shoals, for tossed out scraps.
Subscribe the children’s dinner money
For the prize we will award
To names that seem to ring a bell.
They are welcome to participate;
We are not a narrow faith;
Nor a monopoly
A word of advice
Do not attempt noble sentiment
Or perennial truth; we’ve had a belly-full of both.
Put it this way
Salieri can be passed off as a discovery
Mozart is more difficult.
Be younger than thirty; write pell-mell
Genius and Precocity partner well
Keep it as short as a sound-bite
The limited page; can’t argue with that
Avoid philosophy or expertise
What’s Greek about the Peloponnese?
Even Pythagoras found thinking a bore
Go with the flow, but stop it spilling
Beyond the scrubbed pine to the cutting room floor.
One thing is important:
Eschew beauty of tone
You’ll never be Keats; or rat-a-tat Owen…
Paint miniatures in detail; children sell
Scour the moon but Aga it well
The Lady of Shalott? She had a nose, eyes and chin…rather
Make something of a chamber pot a la Tracey Emin.
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Who are the gatekeepers, and what is their role? Well, I’d not heard of Pert or Emin. But the chamber pot takes us back to Joyce (chamber music).
I cannot believe the sordid winner of the Turner Prize, Tracey Emin’s Bed has escaped you. That’s the first good news for a very long time. Here is the image URL http://www.saatchigallery.com/imgs/artists/emin-tracey/tracey-emin-my-bed.jpg I did not know Pert until Ashen, the fount of wide and immediately accessible memory provided her, either.
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I’m at 85% (which means I am deep in the footnotes) and was reading in the waiting room at A&E today. Once it is finished, a review will be forthcoming. xx
You are a methodical and diligent reader! Most skip the footnotes and play ‘I know where that comes from’ ‘I get that’ . Others quote in Latin and probably get much more than ‘that’! Do tell anyone likely that an ebook is available if interested?
I confess I often love reading footnotes because it appeals to my love of knowing masses and masses of background.
I’ll pass on to anyone that the book is in eformat, no worries.
P.S. On the intelligence of plants there is some interesting work done on pot plants that die when subjected to violent thoughts of intention to dissect or dismember! Can’t remember where I read it. Then also Emoto and other’s work on water retaining the memory of plants soaked in it, and crystallizing those shapes when evaporated. Both are suggestive of thought, as are the gardens of those with ‘green fingers’ where those fingers are under the control of thought that loves. I feel we have hardly begun to understand the intricacies of the Akasha, but Philip Pullman proposes ‘shadow particles’ in his The Subtle Knife’, particles that are only evident around objects to which human thought has been attentive, and going back to the emergence of Mankind, but not beyond. As though the Akasha was awakened to itself?
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It’s The Secret life of Plants by Tompkins and Bird http://www.amazon.co.uk/Secret-Life-Plants-Peter-Tompkins/dp/0060915870/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1428689415&sr=1-1&keywords=the+secret+life+of+plants+tompkins an excellent read if I remember rightly.
One piece of evidence given in the argument against plant consciousness, that they don’t have a brain, is that they don’t have locomotion. It was argued that only a brain could produce locomotion. But I pointed out that it’s not at all true that plants don’t have locomotion. Plants move underground through their roots, in their seeds in the wind and down rivers to new locations, in the beaks of birds, and by partnerships with man and other animals. In any case, the amoeba moves; does it have a brain?
But on the subject of Emin’s bed, which apparently last sold for $2.5 million, imagine a bed-selfie, and unmade at that, in such demand. But of course a made bed would never have fetched as much attention or money. People want to see unmade beds. In fairness, I suppose many poems are nothing more than unmade beds. But when did a poem, made or unmade, ever suck in $2.5 million in a single breath?
I may find myself later today attempting some sort of bed poem.
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Look forward to your bed poem! Then you can follow Emin’s tent! Apropos a plant brain, I argue in the second Canto that the slime mould shows evidence of an intelligence in that it adapts to food shortages by turning from a single celled organisms into a multi-celled organism to reproduce. Brain is probably not concentrated in more than an adaptive molecule?
I suppose poems as unmade beds is a striking idea. That IS what they are.
Oh, yes, plants certainly get the message. I’ve warned many a bush that if it doesn’t flower I was going to dig it up. And sure enough the next year the bush has a mass of white flowers! Thoughts are indeed healing or destructive…energy streams forth from an angry, frightened or hating mind towards its object. I’ve experienced this when someone was convinced I wouldn’t come to a rendezvous because they were so afraid to meet me and I quite suddenly fell violently sick and ill. But I was determined and went and felt perfectly well!
I suspect your thought are more powerful than most! Welcome Loretta. Glad you could make it. Much fun to be had here!
“That you have persuaded the Author to write a deluded hypothesis in order to humiliate her, knowing she would bear the responsibility of your heedless suggestions.” Remove the word ‘deluded’ and I judge The Book Guilty as charged. This was not a deluded hypothesis. But books that choose their authors and nag and coerce and distract the author from their normal lives, family and friends,until their goal is reached, deserve to be persecuted as they persecuted their targets. But only after the book is written, for the work is often worthy.
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An original and feisty take on the matter. Persecution AFTER! Rather than guilty as charged. Had not thought of that.
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Let’s be honest, ma’am. The author has often felt persecuted. But I don’t feel she is guilty of deluding her readers. Oh no. However, she deludes herself that no one appreciates her hypothesis and thus she must defend it. She should have had more faith in the work. Let it speak for itself.
A sharp implement, deftly applied ma’am. Not persecuted. That would be some attention! But easily discarded. And I KNOW there are some (doffs cap) who appreciate, but there are devices by which to tease out biteable chunks of insight, and this was better than going on pretending I had anything more interesting to talk about. I know it breaks all the rules (YOu never talk about your book) but what else.Ten ways to fail gracefully? How much you can invest pointlessly? How many seductions lead to surrender? I just thought it more interesting to let the book speak for itself, not because I doubt it, but because I don’t;not really.
Oh, dear Philippa, how you speak for me! With a machete? Ha ha! And the “new feminism”? (I’d love to read a satire by you on the “new feminism”.) I never suggested you but express with your own voice, an incredibly powerful and nuanced voice which comes out of a fine, discerning mind, original and poetic in the best sense, capable of being oracular. A large part of you in your thinking exists outside of gender, and trickles down into gender. The water keeps moving at the height of your great spirit, continually circulating itself back to refreshing purity, and, as in all of us, it only turns to slime, mud and bog at the bottom. You have that higher vantage point, the oceanic mind. I don’t think you’d get lost in ideology, or tarnished and corrupted by it, simply by speaking up more for yourself and fellow women. Men like me enjoy the integration of diverse voices and are nourished by conversation of women about other women. I’m not talking about any “sisterhood” and the cloying and cliquish maintenance thereof, but frank and honest expression and discussion which aims at plain manifesting of truth.
I think I’ve been helped to become as I am because I grew up the middle child between two sisters, and having in my nature and sensibility more affinity with my Mom than with my Dad. I love my Dad, but I had a hard time with him growing up. He’s a law enforcement man, and I’m a sensitive, intuitive artistic type. I don’t really need to say more. He used to put me down as “Mr. Metaphor” and that I wrote a “tome” when I’d write no more than a couple paragraphs to him. This sort of thing at a young age hurt and discouraged me and drove me into a shell. Yet in my youth, I was good at sports and enjoyed them. I always got on better with my Dad in relating and conversing about sports and such. I’m not a militant champion of women, just comfortably used to the woman’s voice, feeling in many ways more in sympathy with it. I’ve integrated it into my own personality. “Soul” is feminine. “Ego” is masculine. Soul is the womb of art. I have a living and breathing, organic relation to the concept, like Joe Linker pointed out in the example of Joyce’s preference for reading Vico over Jung or Freud, and that article “The Intelligent Plant” by Michael Pollan. I feel the same in my relation to art and literature. There are certain artists I go to and I feel my imagination is nurtured and grows. Your own poetry is of this variety. Such beautiful lines of depth and power, and musicality, one could go back and read them over and over. As I wrote to you at the very beginning, it’s clear yours is work of devotion. Other writers and artists I go to frankly because of how sick they are, how like torture chambers, or factories which produce kinds of agonies. But I owe in my formative years real gratitude to my sisters and my Mom for helping me discover and sustain a good working relationship, a marriage, with the eternal feminine. My own Mom is unassuming and plain, very approachable and down to earth, a petite woman with all the virtue of simplicity, practical, and curious. She has hard stuff in her despite appearances; one had better get out of her way when something must get done. I’m amazed at some of the things I’ve witnessed her get done. I don’t think I could do what she does. I’m just a dreamer with my head in the clouds, a contemplative in my moments of clarity, sometimes poetic, sometimes – but rarely – brilliant, but for the most part an ordinary, good-natured guy. I’m not a great man of action. My younger sister Amy has the same tenacity and persistence my Mom has, which at times can appear as stubbornness. It’s remarkable to me that when I draw attention to this, not its negative side but in its virtuous aspect, both don’t seem to realize it. They just roll up their sleeves and do what must be done. They push through what would stymie and defeat me. Both my Mom and Dad worked hard throughout my and my sisters’ childhood and adolescence. When they were kids in Chicago, they knew what it meant to be poor and the value of a dollar. My Grandparents are the children of the Great Depression. But my Mom now in her elder years goes out for hikes or long walks, and maintains a healthy desire to see and experience new things, and often dotes on my Dad, has to drag him kicking and screaming out of his cave, where he’d rather have some drinks and watch a ballgame. I think he wouldn’t have had half as interesting a life if she didn’t plan new things for them to do. Regular guys are generally like this. I have it in me too to be an ass like any other guy. Isn’t the human being we are an on-going project, never finished?
Funny anecdote: The other day I loaned my dvd copy of Michael Powell’s 1960 movie “Peeping Tom” to my gay friend Steve, and I suggested he watch the short “making of” documentary about it. The movie is disturbing but psychologically interesting. The main character is portrayed sympathetically. The writer of the script for Peeping Tom, Leo Marks, was a brilliant and ingenious code-breaker, a cryptographer during World War 2. He mentions in the documentary that he feels code-breakers and peeping toms have a correlation. His own cryptography work is what gave him the idea for the script – Looking in without being seen, decoding secrets. Anyway, in the documentary Marks mentions, with a wry grin on his face, he learned to break codes of all kinds, but there was one code which has always eluded him throughout his life and which he feels may be unbreakable: women!
Do you think now that you made a mistake in how you published Involution? If so, one wonders about the nature of your regret, or if you do regret it now; and if you could do it over, what you’d do differently, what you’ve learned. What kind of wisdom and advice would you give to a brilliant young woman who has just given you the manuscript of her first book, and, seeing yourself in her when you were at that point in your writing career, you find that it’s poetry of the highest order? This is an interesting question to ask someone like you, given the actual greatness of your talent, and following in its train the resentment and contempt you appear still to be working out of yourself. Part of you might not want to give the young woman good advice, plain from your heart. You might rather give her loaded advice, trying in some way to compete with her and using your own gift to subdue her. Or you might withhold the advice while keeping a pleasant face and being very nice. Or you might feel an evil urge to steer her down the same path you went down, to learn the same bitter lesson filled with hurt and pain and feelings of rejection, to exclaim then, “You see! That’s how it is!” It depends how much the resentment and contempt still has a hold on you, how much of it you’ve overcome. I mention this because of my own personal experience on a much smaller scale. I’m getting older and on the margins. I fell through the cracks when I was younger. I don’t aspire to be known in any larger sense, to be published or displayed in any notable galleries. I definitely don’t think I’ll ever be famous. “My own personal heroes weren’t famous anyway in their lifetimes,” I say to comfort myself. I feel I missed the boat. I don’t have any great breakthroughs to offer for the benefit of humankind. Thus when I see a younger person full of promise and more accomplished than I was at that age, part of me – to be completely honest – retches and I mumble a curse to myself, or I grow loud with sarcasm and dismissal. “Oh, he’ll see when he gets older.” Lucifer couldn’t acknowledge and utter the name God after he was tossed out of Heaven. This resentment and contempt is destructive. It wants in revenge to destroy what couldn’t be had or attained when it manifests in others, and “collateral damage” (awful military term) may include innocents in moments of blind rage and fury.
To me, how you went about getting Involution published, you appear to have associated with worldly wise individuals, individuals of a different nature than your own. You have something they don’t. You’re a mystic, but a rational one with an intense, rigorous mind, and you’re a genuine poet. You have music in your soul in a way I certainly don’t. It’s your calling. Strictly speaking, you’re not a scientist. You’ve admitted this. But you’re not living in a fantasy world. I didn’t mention Simone Weil to you for nothing. I think you have some kinship with her. She was personally flawed, had some strange ideas, but what a soul, what a mind, her heart too – magnificent. No one like her. No like you either, Philippa. Simone Weil’s words are up there where yours take shape. Clean and pure and powerful and emitting such light that one desires to revisit those words again and again, coming away each time with something in oneself illuminated. Another mistake is that your whole name should be on the cover: Philippa Rees. That was the first bit of bad advice given to you by the worldly wise ones. The cover is clever, how Involution is superimposed over but not really blotting out “evolution.” But the apple, bringing to mind the garden of paradise, Eve receiving it from the serpent, and God then casting Adam and Eve out of the garden of paradise. The idea of woman born of a man’s rib can’t help but come to mind. It’s all wrong. Magritte and his image “This is not a pipe” is wrong too. Foucault beat you to it anyway. Now Turner and his great painting comes closer, and doesn’t contain these associations antithetical to you and your actual identity in the world. Funny thing what I thought of recently when contemplating Turner’s painting, and you: Albert Pinkham Ryder’s wonderful painting of Jonah and the Whale. Google it and take a look at it. It also has what Brian George termed a “stormy womb-like space.” The Whale is the Involution book and you are Jonah. Decreed by God you have gotten swallowed up by it. (How I love Albert Pinkham Ryder! He’s one of my favorite painters. A true folk original. He was a mystic painter with the most beautiful soul. Really the soul of a child, innocent and naive, but woman and man was in him too, in a wonderful harmonious blend of androgyny. He and his work moves me so deeply. Sea and sky and earth. He paintings are comprised of the simplest elements, but fleshed out intuitively with deep feeling. He was known to have wandered around bad parts of New York City at night, oblivious of the criminal element, staring up at the sky, lost in its depths, following the movement of the clouds, the play of moonlight on them. The Muse of poetry visited him and moved his brush. I can return to his paintings over and over and feel love.)
To end with some whimsy of the Jury, it appears I’m the, ba boom, ba boom, big bass drum of the heart, and Joe Linker is the warm, sunny side of intelligent and sensible imagination, birds flitting around trees and flying over fields of flowers and singing. Susan Scott is sweet sentiment and the marvel of butterflies in their delicate splendor. I haven’t got enough sense of Viv yet to place her, but let me venture that she’s that place where the rainbow touches the earth. Course of Mirrors or Ashen is the wonderfully uplifting spirituality, the refreshing air, the wind and fragrant breezes (perfect and passionate summation, Ashen; not much one can add; I like the comments you make – I vote you Jury foreperson too), and Mellizwarren is the down & dirty reality side of conscience (feisty indeed, ha! Something about her reminds me of my deceased Aunt Eileen. Rough and gruff on first impression, a straight-shooter, no bullshit, which often raised eyebrows, but when you got to know her, full of good sense and with a heart of gold.)
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I’m giggling at me being *the place where the rainbow touches the earth*, John.
Yes, and I rather fancy being a St. Francis though I hope not for the stigmata.
Maybe it takes someone else to identify the best part of what we might ( deeply) be? There is a curious impressionistic accuracy I feel. If only derived from the short grass comments. On the other hand Jonah is not wholly attractive! Methinks John thinks too much and pours calumny on his own head, and then rinses off with cheerful tributes to those he loves and sees quite clearly. If I were half as oceanic and profound as his tribute I would surely be drowned by such tempests and tsunamis of understanding. Now we all wait for the truly big beast of erudition, but he is much too busy digging out truffles, and shaving them for every dish, so he may never darken this door. I’ll leave a tray outside his door in case….
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To attempt to answer such an essay John needs a steady mind. But first a leaping heart because it is difficult to ignore the most important part of its contribution, its generosity and spilling on the page. Also its willing vulnerability, rare in this age anywhere, but rarer on the internet confined in a ‘comment’ box. Since it was posted less than an hour ago it must be midnight where you are, so suggestive of impulse acted upon without care, better for that.
You are an ideal Jury member inasmuch as you are not even afraid to evaluate the characters of your companions, and go for broke regardless. In that we are much alike! All the analyses are kind and it will take the analysed to decide whether you are accurate! So many aspects to address.
One stands out: Your sympathy and identification with the oppression of a book, and the reactions to it. Yes, in the early days when I believed the concept might have the power to change the prevailing materialism the contemptuous rejection was hard to bear. I did believe I had been ‘shown’ an alternative and yes it did cost everything, but its rejection has shaped the Odyssey and made it better for that. Largely because that very rejection explained the patterns of genius, and the loneliness of the long distance runner, out in the headwinds, limited only by the residual energy of new vision and stamina, and how they interplayed.
I once wrote an autobiographical account of that harrowing period and it was called The Catalyst. Nothing justifies that idea better than this very catalysing going on here, a raw honesty, whether of points of view or the more tender qualifications each brings to bear. You suggested earlier I should not waste more energy on a politely argued court case. Perhaps these responses have changed your mind? They have certainly encouraged me to continue.
Your question about what regrets I might have about how the book was written? I don’t think any. ( Though if I do continue I hope for further views on that!) The moment I started to write as I did, it wrote itself. One thing I wanted to avoid at all costs was a thinly poetically disguised polemic, a device of language to argue new science. There is so much NEW SCIENCE and written by incisive minds, often made strident by panic. All of it is important but panic never makes for persuasion that lasts beyond the reading. What Involution hoped to do was to ennoble the Odyssey already taken, pay tribute to the heroic, and only gently introduce an alternative reading of the evidence. In that I gave myself permission to wander at whim.
So yes, it is a kind of autobiography of impulse, of sympathy, and if it errs as a book it is probably for its freewheeling ‘divertissements’. But in defence of those, what THEY hope to augment is the ‘field of influence’ whereby what was shaping science was reflected in painting and music, for it was the field of recovery that opened out the vistas to dissolving distinctions, abstraction, symbolism or silence. I hate coercion, even coerced agreement, so it hoped to offer entry at any point. In the very few who have encountered it, that seems to happen.
So again in answer to your question about what I would advise a younger self? I would probably warn of possible consequences, I would not hold back on the vehemence and the need for stoicism, but I must plead not guilty to bitterness. I was never tempted to bitterness, or anger, but these are sometimes projections drawn from the facts. The evidence of Alister Hardy might seem based in indignation but in truth it was, for years, simply perplexity, until the facts about his own work was known, and the timing. I see no reason to be coy in saying so, simply because what it illustrates is the general self interest that determines all reactions to new ideas, or even the superiority of better expressions of those same ideas. ( Jealousy and the hugging of what is mistaken originality is all-too-common- but naming it does not necessarily reflect contempt.)That has been more reinforced in recent reactions from so called ‘spiritual seekers’ who I did believe might support it, but whose seeking is on paths already mapped out and narrowly certain of a destination that brooks no time for mine. I am still learning that the message is seldom more important than the messenger. ( More on this anon).
If I was unwise in the advice I followed ( P.A. rather than Philippa- and I now agree that was not necessary) it was because one area about which I knew I knew nothing, was the interface between an author and his/her potential readership. Without a publisher ( not for want of trying by both me and Ervin Laszlo and David Lorimer) I took what seemed authoritative advice and all of it was inapplicable to this book. The readers of it select themselves (and perhaps their friends) and they are as scattered, and as individual as seeds blown by the wind. They are not to be found in institutions or clubs, but may be found on blogs (as you all have been!)
This is why you and Brian and Ashen and Joe, Viv and Melanie are rare and wonderful. All have celebrated the book and engaged with it and now the Catalyst develops. A marvellous party in this Jury room! I am by nature pretty recluse, and comforted ( in a way) by the book’s seeming languishing. I do enjoy talking when invited, and find interested reactions, and if the book ever ‘took off’ I would obviously be pleased that my life had had some value but perhaps anonymity is my default, as it tends to be for those of us unwilling to use the machete. It would seem to have been true of most of you too?
I doubt that many authors receive the very real support this case is receiving, or the committed energy of that expression.
Thank you for Albert Pinkham Ryder and Jonah…and the analogy. It pretty well makes the case on its own, and according to Melanie should be found guilty of swallowing the author whole. But yet…? A marvellous image for the Lone Scout which could be the same side of the coin too…the desert and the wide and splintered sky.
Thanks are insufficient John.
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Philippa, I provide a mirror. You always then play at modesty? You see what perceptions we give each other. The questions you wrestle with and you express in your poetry are not small, but gigantic. Holons and the torus donut for crying out loud. I’m the flea-circus ringleader, definitely not you. Both of us could probably use an image overhaul. Calumny itself is too strong a word. I don’t wear a hair-shirt and sleep on a bed of nails. I’m a rather joyous individual. As for your more complimentary remarks, nothing ventured, nothing gained. You call out for more feedback and comment, and I give it to you, but I could never match you intellectually, so I go with the heart and laying myself bare. I was hoping your comment section would become warmer and more humanly inhabitable, not so stiff and stuffy, and it seems to be happening. I hope it continues. As I noted of my last paragraph, it’s a whimsy, meant in good fun. I’m glad Viv is tickled and giggled (glad to meet you, Viv), and I hadn’t thought of Joe as St. Francis, ha ha. You know, this may be a great irony, but I’m not particularly religious, but look at the kind of metaphors which come up here. In my deepest nature I’m probably religious after all. The stuff Brian George writes about is not foreign to me. The language he uses is written in my own genes. I must come to terms with this. It’s so ingrained and natural to me. As I noted to Brian George, I’ve been in a deep freeze for a long time, ice everywhere inside me, and relating to such individuals as you has been helping me gradually thaw out, and bringing me back in touch with the real person I am. I can’t talk to a lot of people. Many individuals don’t have room enough inside them, don’t even appear to have a soul! It’s horrible. Most artists become double-agents in this world, showing one face to the world and role-playing, camouflaging themselves or blending in like chameleons, for reasons of protection and self-defense, while keeping their real identity and self concealed and private. But consequences come of this. I’ve got a winter wonderland inside me. I’ve been hanging out too much in regions where Nanook of the North haunted. Joe Linker and his healthy mentality is as important to me as you are. He’s healthy in a way I’m not, but sincerely would like to be. The idea of growth in his work, in his writing, isn’t just an idea, but a manifest reality. I’d like to be like that, to have flowers and trees come to mind, the flow of rivers, the beauty of sunsets, animals in their natural habitats – living, breathing things – when others encounter what I write or draw or paint. Wouldn’t every poet like to be like Orpheus? As much as I have expressed, it has given in return, helping me thaw out. I have as much need of help as anyone else, and I pour myself out because I find truly sympathetic and like-minded individuals here.
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It strikes me that something unique is going on here. The disparate natures ( which you like to label and identify John) are really only possible in this disembodied virtual world, where only minds engage, shorn of circumstance, age, employment. The facets of each reflect one another, throw off different lights, and re-reflect. Unlike ‘real’ life engagement when we tailor what we show to that judged appropriate, and each person sees a different splinter, here we walk round, in the round, because we are caught in the imaginative collective of what has been gathered as a ‘Jury’, a shared imaginative world when only honest opinion matters.
That should have wider applications, but any wider applications would lack its spontaneity, and voluntary participation in spontaneous nonsense is critical. A smell of good bread is detectable.
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The Friend Who Rarely Comes would like to let you know, P, that she feels herself on unsteady ground in a roomful of folk who are more like-minded to you, in ways that she is not, nor could hope to be.
That said, I don’t know whether you are guilty as charged (taxing the patience of clinical scientists who know the provable, the repeatable, to be the only standard worth observing! How could you!) or innocent of all save suppressing what you know, in your soul of souls, to be true.
All I know is that clinical observation is only good for what can be proved in our time and in our limited sphere of observation. What Shakespeare knew of science, well, that was what could be proved in his time. We know better . And what we know will not be all that is known and proved in the future.
If I trust anything, it’s that Big Thinkers who pride themselves on what they know will be forgotten for their smallness and pettiness of mind. You, however, have added to my sphere and I thank you for that, in all the ways that can’t be underlined enough. I think about the Eye and don’t forget.
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The Friend Who Rarely Comes has the advantage of the prodigal son, the table is newly laid and all manner of good things to welcome. It is not true that the Woman of Asperity has less in common with the assembled company ( or I don’t think so even if She does!) She tethered my foot to the ground long ago and although I appeared to ignore her advice, I remember and don’t forget either.
John accuses me of a kind of artificial modesty. I have, as they say, much to be modest about. Mostly the danger of being mistakenly considered erudite, just as the buildings I inhabit in real life are not more than the ad hoc consequence of using the ‘stone I picked up’and was laying about.
It was so with the science I picked up to build an argument. No more than that.
Although it is this Book under consideration, and its thread of scientific veracity ( and yes that is all that is honoured at present) it is only life that matters, and warmth and acknowledgement, above all friendship. Since the Book has earned me good friends ( not least the Lady who understands jet engines and writes the manuals) that validates it in deeper ways.
I take issue only with the science of Shakespeare which I suspect was wiser than what has succeeded it. If only for being content with understanding wider patterns
There is a tide in the affairs of men.
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.
Please be seated and know you are not here to agree, or find fulsome words. John has enough for all of us!
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I’m not sure whether to avail myself of tea and cake or a very strong whisky before making a comment among such strong correspondents able to express themselves poetically. Thank you John for your comments about me and if you see me alighting on your shoulder or fluttering by, I will be sipping the nectar from your words and breathing them in. As I have in reading this link.
Lyall Watson (SA born, a biologist of note) wrote of the consciousness of plants. And of the connection and communication between whales and elephants in the Knysna area.
My cards are on the table, I have only begun Philippa’s book. Already some months ago. I feel a kinship with the book in that I know it is beautiful and unusually and extremely artistically written. With kin, I may not see them for a while but it is does not lessen my kinship. And a joy it is to return to their embrace. I look forward to my embracing Philippa’s book. I have followed the jury and the witnesses and the author and all I can say is stuff the jury & prosecution. They wouldn’t know nuffink if they were hit over the head with it. Dolts. Domkops. Dunces. Damn them.
Welcome Susan, A timely serendipitous mention of Malcolm Lyall Watson who was my first husband’s best friend before they went in different directions! They were at Michaelhouse together where they spent Sundays finding snakes and hitchiking to Durban snake park to sell them by the foot. I often imagine those oblivious drivers with mambas in a sack in the footwells of conversation! ‘N Bietjie Padkos? They made good money at it, and David ( Hughes- husband- wild life photographer) did not get bitten until he decided that studying the fang sheath of puff-adders was a good prospect for a research project at Witz. Then he nearly copped it.
Nothing he liked better than terrifying his wife ( moi) by keeping boomslangs in the garage. We lost a maid when she opened the fridge of an early morning and a coiled green rope fell out, sluggard and frozen, until it thawed and moved sharpish out of the door. Drop for drop the most poisonous snake of all.
Since I am supposed to be ( no, I actually am) indifferent to the verdict I shall tell tales ( none of them tall!) But the whole point the book is about is the integration of consciousness, and here you are bringing up Lyall Watson!
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My marvellous mother played Mozart to her plants and veggies in the garden on a battery operated cassette player. Never has anyone seen or tasted such magnificent specimens, and this isn’t a tall tale! ‘Elephantoms’ was Lyall Watson’s last book I think before his death. My husband was also at that midlands school … tall tales indeed from out of there!
I would not have believed any of them, unless subjected to adequate grounds for divorce! I was at the sister school, with nothing resembling a tall tale EVER! Re Mozart and cabbages, one of the witnesses (Alister Hardy) was reputed to be playing Mozart to cabbages and/or cows but I suspect under ‘experimental’ conditions they failed to respond. Too much Hardy, not enough Mozart!
This is all too great, very moving to me. I want more of this. This makes me so happy. Involution needs to be humanized, and this is what does it, this pleasant and natural flow of talk and tales, and ultimately, is what would bring in more readers. Joe Linker mentioned the shaming and rousing of guilt as a method to control, implicit in the whole enterprise of a court case. A good point he brings up. Involution and you are not guilty, never were from the beginning. The whole thing is a farce. You could keep it going, but in my opinion it must be Monty Python-esque farce, or something like that. The subject matter is very serious, is no joke, but much of the court case you’ve written trying to put it on trial is tongue-in–cheek and can’t help but to come out that way. That in itself says something. I’m with Susan Scott. Really wonderful to hear more from Susan Scott. I love imagining your Mom, Susan, playing Mozart to her dear plants and veggies, on a creaky old cassette player. That’s fantastic. My Mom would never do something like that, but she’d be tickled by the idea. She loves characters as much as I do. I live across city from my parents in a small studio apartment. (Like a true loner, from youth I’ve always needed my own private space, or I literally plunge into despair and depression.) My Mom has a small patio area of plants and big potted small trees of variety and orderly in their presentation which she attends to with care. I think it reflects her personality. My Dad – I should mention my Dad. I mentioned I had a hard time with him growing up, he caused me a lot of pain and grief and suffering, but today I get on quite well with him. One forgives, one grows. We’ve reached a level and created a comfort zone between us which allows us to express our love for each other and share manly banter. Men love ribbing each other. It’s one of the chief ways men express affection for each other. I’ve learned, as I have around others, to keep my artistic side and interests more to myself around him. But it’s funny, my Mom has the larger collection of plants and small trees on their patio, and my Dad has this tall-legged old wooden table pushed against a wall, with several bonsai trees on it. I love this detail about my Dad. He loves those bonsai trees and calls them his babies. I’ve watched the Old Bear water them, spritzing them, sometimes whistling, picking little fallen leafs out of the soil and flicking them aside, pretending not to notice him while he’s doing it, and it’s a very moving sight to me. It’s one of those things one discovers about someone where you think, “I never would’ve thought -“
I feel I should reword my writing “like-minded individuals” with the welcome appearance of Kristin Yates. Inclusion and acceptance and diversity of voices, different and unique voices, is what it’s about. The more the merrier, and the more cross-pollination can happen. How do you know Kristin, Philippa? “I think about the Eye and don’t forget.” That Eye I see too. I wonder about the psychic connection of it in the mind-scape rooted in psyche, the fact that I and others can summon this Eye and see with it and through it. Where does that Eye originate? Are we receiving images of it passed down through your intense visionary experience? You ocean, we rivers and streams. Or is that Eye something there, really there at this moment when I direct attention to it, or any of us does, hovering in a shared collective space, which we all see and belongs to none?
A pleasure to hear of Lyall Watson in this shared universe. My hippy readings. Someone who assured me it’s cool to talk to creatures, plants, sticks and stones. A few of his books sit tattered on the same shelf as Philippa’s books. It escaped me that he died. Did a mamba get him? What a loss.
Yes John. All good. Kristin and I go back as far as my first forays onto www, and thereafter as meticulous commentator on two books, one of which was Involution, about which she had some reservations ( often, no, probably mostly, ignored) and I read her work(s). She knows more than she probably wanted to know about me. She is a witty and sharp observer, and strips out the lard, where I persuade her to add a little.
Re the Eye. It is always there for all who choose to see it, and through it.
I don’t know why Lyall Watson died relatively young, but I doubt it was a mamba.
I may not be writing the book I thought I had to write but my time is still full of writerly obligations…
I must absent myself from further proceedings but would like to make a sincere suggestion:
The trial should be rendered in e-book format and given away through as many digital portals as possible………
It has been suggested I should turn it into a stage play! Just think of books piled in the theatre lobby! Sorely tempted, no actually seriously thinking about it, even if it just sees my time out of this mortal coil! So glad to have persuaded you to bone up before the verdict. Thanks and again thanks!
Loved reading this thhank you
Welcome and thank you Pete. A new and unexpected reader is as good as a knock on my (solitary) door. I had almost forgotten the trial and the fun it elicited, all my best friends and I have only actually met one of them