Oyez .Same Jury: Second Summary: Defense Closing Speech before the Verdict. Please pay attention.

The Trial of Involution. Final Defense Speech before the Verdict.

Counsel for the Defense. ( Closing Speech) 

The Jury by John Morgan.jpg
The Jury by John Morgan” by painted by John Morgan, uploaded to Wikipedia (en) by SwampyankThe Jury by John Morgan.jpg in Wikipedia (English). Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

I thank my learned friend for making my speech to you much easier. His Reason, it would seem, is merely the surface of reliance upon traditional authority, Professors with a vested interest in suppression ( like Alister Hardy and Professor Anon) are unwilling to consider an author untainted by their own influence and running free. Rein her in, is the essence of it.

He fails to mention those, like Konrad Lorenz and Arthur Koestler, who supported the scientific hypothesis ab initio, (and who were dismissed by these later and more arrogant witnesses) or those encountering the Author, like Canon Milford,whose enquiry was both modest and thoughtful and informed by their own long deliberations on parallel ideas in Teilhard de Chardin. Clearly so called Reason has tipping points of view. Yet you are called upon to put full weight upon it!

But I am not going to argue with Reason. Unlike the author who does that throughout the book through the voice of Soul, I am well aware that, in any challenging encounter with reason, only reason itself is re-enforced, but not truth. This book was written to undermine the strength of Reason, so why would I assist Reason to regain the throne?

What I appeal to is something different entirely: Instinct.

Instinct and your own psychological experiences of life and relationships.These are the questions I would like you to ask yourselves.

This book has come to trial with the consent of the Author. Why would an author consent to the potential destruction of a book she has spent a lifetime researching and writing?

Why would she invite the testimony of those bent upon ridiculing it?

Why were the witnesses summoned to support it; the Rev TG; Arthur Koestler; Konrad Lorenz and Canon Milford struck not so much by the intellectual claims of the work, but the self critical and doubtful questions of the author. Is calling them here in public not further evidence of those qualities they all referred to?

Are those the qualities of fanaticism, self-aggrandizement or delusion? Is there any evidence that the book prevailed upon her better nature and distorted it?

Or is what she said— that she would like to hear an honest verdict by a disinterested Jury, exactly and precisely BECAUSE of self doubt? She believed she had something of value to offer. She spent the best part of a life acquiring the requisite vocabulary. Of course the indifference must occasion her to question…yes…even her own sanity!

The Author has little life left. Given that, her choices are simple. Give up pushing a weight up a hill like Sisyphus and let it slide inevitably into oblivion or, (and this is the importance of this Jury decision), be encouraged to continue looking for an occasional reader whose life might, just might, be changed by the work?

You may think that a verdict of guilty would relieve her of her burden. In one way you would be right, (for the years remaining). It would, however, be a relief paid for by laying waste a meaningless life already spent, seventy odd years. Think about that.

The book itself refers to many notable people who died before the value of their contribution was ever recognised. The author knew the risks in the very subject matter she chose. She must have been well prepared for both ignominy and anonymity.

Why then has she brought the book to trial?

Could it be that after all that it required, including accusations of insanity, and incarceration in a mental hospital that she still retains a small flame of belief in its merits?

Not for her, but for the world heading for hell at a gallop? Who else is it for? Now?There is no glory to be had from a belated limping existence.

My learned friend has urged you to rely on Reason. I now ask reason to submit to deeper reason, psychological truth. It does not accumulate, it ‘divines’. It sees the whole, not the parts.

The Author’s testimony referred to the very strength of being anonymous, with nothing to lose but her life, no reputation, no standing, just the time and discipline to make a difference.

The book may be superficially guilty of the charges brought against it, but only judged against the weighing of established precepts, those heavy weights forged by vested interest, jealousy, self-preservation. Or the books already successful? The approved ‘genres’ with Dewey numbers? Are those the weights by which weightless inspiration can be measured? Or finding a new continent across the ice-flow, consciousness not yet mapped?

This book may not reach many, but I urge you to give it the wings of your approval to let it try. Shelley it was who said ‘Poets and philosophers are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.’ For him that legislation was the battle against revolution and oppression.He saw no gulf between poetry and politics, this book likewise sees no gulf between poetry and hard science. That gulf only exists in other minds. Those intent upon its relegation.

There is, as we have surely seen, oppression in the barring of the unorthodox opinion by the institutions of science. We heard of her demolition by the Epiphany Philosophers in Cambridge. The book is full of such instances; its rosary is threaded (and shredded) on them.

Courtroom Drawing Beineke Library Wikimedia Commons

Poetry and philosophy’s legislation is engraved upon freedom, the freedom to be susceptible to the muscle of metaphor, to engage emotionally but that does not imply irrationally. Rationality has not proved adequate or even sufficient a guide, as the world about us amply shows.

To quote Adrienne Rich* But when poetry lays its hand on our shoulder we are, to an almost physical degree, touched and moved. The imagination’s roads open before us, giving the lie to that brute dictum, “There is no alternative”.

This poetic history of Western thought might just ease a few into an alternative road, a new comprehension of how we arrived at the dominance of rationality and materialism, and why we are so embedded in the suck of its safety. Like a quagmire it seems to support our weight while we inexorably slowly sink.

Involution-An Odyssey does not destroy the material world, merely reveals its porous and transient nature, one that makes it permeable to thought. That alone is worth a punt, wouldn’t you say? A new kind of creative thought is hardly an invitation to extremism!

There is always that in poetry which will not be grasped, which cannot be described, which survives our ardent attention, our critical theories, our late-night arguments…’

So do not rely upon the dismissal of Professor Anon who said he could not grasp this work.  Grasping a butterfly invariably kills it.

Let your deliberations rest upon instinct instead, and watch it fly.

I invite you to dismiss all charges and find the book ‘Not Guilty’.

Judge. I urge the Jury to take time to consider these closing statements, and return, when you are ready, to deliver your verdict in the boxes provided.

All Rise.

Court in Session
Court in Session

* the distinguished medallist for her contribution to American Letters (an article in the Guardian)

Oyez Oyez…Last call for the Jury in the Trial of Involution. Closing Arguments: 1 Prosecution

The closing arguments in the trial of Involution. Jury called.

Court in Session
Court in Session

All Rise

Counsel for the Prosecution.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury. You have enjoyed a prolonged recess since the last witness in which to read the book on trial. Before I urge your verdict I must remind you that readers have varied reactions to books. You are not required to assess whether it is a good or bad book but whether it merited forty five years of dominating the author and whether anyone else should give it comparative importance. It is a singular work, unable to be evaluated against others. In that sense you are called upon to judge its adventurous masquerade and its claim to authenticity. Just because it looks like a book, and quacks like a book, is it, in fact, a book? Is it fiction or non fiction? Poetry or science? One book or two? Science or art?

Where would a librarian shelve it? Under Philosophy? Literature? History? New Age? Evolution? While she is making up her mind I suggest we persuade the author to cover (with nice brown velvet) the remaining copies of the doorstop Magnum opus as literally that. Doorstops. In two hundred years they will provide archaeologists with speculation. They were to ward off the evil eye? Contain the secret doctrine of the Gods? Clean boots? Enough; you get my drift…

With all that in mind  it is now my painful duty to persuade you to find it guilty of the charges against it. To refresh you may revisit the sessions from the beginning

The Jury by John Morgan.jpg
The Jury by John Morgan” by painted by John Morgan, uploaded to Wikipedia (en) by SwampyankThe Jury by John Morgan.jpg in Wikipedia (English). Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Apart from brief reminders of the evidence against it, and the authority of the witnesses whose testimony you have heard, my appeal to you is the appeal of reason, against the sentiment you are likely to hear from my learned friend.

If you recall, the book itself relies upon one spokesman Reason, pitted against the whispering claims of Soul. Let’s just examine what that means, and why I appeal to you to let Reason guide your deliberations.

Look at the world we live in! The irrational, so called extremes of religious fanaticism are taking us to the brink of destruction. I am not suggesting this book contributes directly to that irrationality; what I am suggesting is the seeds of danger that any reliance on sentiment carries with it.

This work is an appeal to permit, no, to give prominence to the universal longing for love, and in doing so it relegates the slow and substantial achievements of reason by supplanting them with a suggestion that they THEMSELVES were guided by the irrational: the dreams, the incoherence of inspiration by genius; genius in love with ideas, or contemplation. As though the methodical painstaking history of science can be dissolved simply in the fizzy water of a new hypothesis!

While I do not deny the role of inspiration in forging great leaps of understanding what has to be achieved—and this is THE ESSENTIAL POINT—is the anchoring of inspiration to a language understood by the mass of mankind. It is the interpretation of inspiration that is the measure of its value. Dreams are personal; expressing them forces the examination of their wider relevance.

Has this book succeeded in that?

It has signally failed to do so. You have heard Professor Hardy claim it is ‘unscientific’ and essentially ‘baloney’ ( his word), you have heard Professor Anon claim it ‘slips away from being grasped’. Even the sympathetic priest the Rev TG admitted it was turning ‘everything on its head’ ( Darwin upside down.) These men are the gatekeepers in the world of rational discourse. I urge you to give heed to their views.

I would go further and invite a wider consideration. Have any of you, before this Trial encountered this Book? Heard about it? Read a review? If not, why is that? You would think the media might have run with ‘Old Woman has Big Idea’. Why didn’t they? Okay the author may not look like Madonna or have Random House behind her but you would have expected some excitement, given what she proposes?

Is it because the opinion of the world of potential readers have better things to do than struggle with something calling itself ‘symphonic prose’ to put forward an alternative THEORY OF EVERYTHING written by a NOBODY? If it was half as important to the market of ideas as it has been to the diligent author, we should have heard of it.

However sympathetic you may feel about the struggles of the Author, dominated by a deluded sense of mission I ask you to set that aside in evaluating the merits of a book seeking not merely paper to print it, trees to die in its cause, but vying for attention.

There are rational, logical, graspable books written by rational men, and yes, some of them echo elements contained within this work. If you want poetry read Dante or Milton, if you want science read Dawkins, if you want speculation read Ervin Laszlo. So let us remove this book of confusing baloney from the shelves and let those rational alternatives be more easily found. Do not mistake the few scintillating reviews by ordinary readers, thirsty for a belief in the irrational, or longing to perceive that Western Science has betrayed its promises, deflect the argument.

One of those said ‘It just feels right…’ Well, I am sure that the man who took a hammer to his mother-in-law would say exactly the same. In fact it probably felt the only thing to do at the time.

This is a test case about a market flooded with books. What we are here addressing is whether the time has come to evaluate books claiming importance that threaten the solid achievements of academic prowess, with suggestions of dubious merit, a pot-pourri, an aromatherapy, as valueless as fantasy. If you want fantasy read Harry Potter or Terry Pratchett. They do not call themselves science and are much more diverting.

It is easy at a time of crisis to suggest almost any hair-brained alternative and get away with it!

I am asking you to throw out the solid anchor of Reason and find this work guilty of all charges against it, a deluded and scientifically unproven hypothesis about the encoding of memory; inappropriate language; ill judged timing, and certainly the last, an inhumane indifference to the consequences to the author of single-handedly taking on the wall of scientific opposition and total indifference.

Her arguments may look ingenious, her scientific facts seemingly persuasive, but nobody can say anything about her qualifications for such facts or arguments. That is why we have institutions to impart rigour and peer reviews to examine that rigour. This author has not been refined in such fires of analysis. Even she is not sure, or she would not be here!

Exonerate her and you will condemn others with delusions of importance to lives spent in fruitless pursuit.

Any other verdict would simply encourage the benighted author to continue, and give encouragement to others to do likewise. You heard the author appearing as a hostile witness in this case. Why was that? Because she was as anxious as I am in seeing the book set aside and being relieved of its burden of obligation.

I urge you all to be prepared to be unpopular and find the book guilty. Such a verdict would be an act of courage. Thank you.

Jury box cropped.jpg
Jury box cropped” by Ken Lund from Reno, NV, USA – Cropped from the original, Pershing County Courthouse Jury Box. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

.Judge. We will take a short adjournment before the Defense Counsel’s closing speech. Please return at the same time tomorrow.

All Rise

Court in Session
Court in Session

* the distinguished medallist for her contribution to American Letters ( 2006)

Verdict imminent! The final evidence in the Trial of Involution-Odyssey.

The insane fool a lot of people ,they do!

The Last Word- A Mental Hospital Attendant Contributes Telling Evidence. (Follows previous session) All rise.

Court in Session
Court in Session

Judge (to Jury) This will be the final day of hearing evidence for all the charges brought against the Book Involution-An Odyssey.

Prosecution Counsel: I call the final prosecution witness Mrs Danvers. Mrs Danvers you were Matron at Sheerstoke Hospital when the Author was admitted were you not?


(Getting close to insane, this trial. Still, more interesting! Court Reporter)

DANVERS Not Matron, no. They was no matrons then. I was Ward Sister, and good at me job , though I say it meself…

PROS  Can you tell the Court the nature of Sheerstoke Hospital?

DANVERS. Not much to tell. It was for the terminally insane, them as was no hope for. We just kept them safe from theirselves, drugs and…other things. I was good at it because I never judged them, never. They was life’s unfortunates…

PROS. Do you remember when the Author was admitted? How did that come about?

DANVERS. I wasn’t on duty when she come in. It was the middle of the night. She was admitted on a Police Order. By the time I came on duty she was already in a security cell, and chained to the bed…

Caught and Bound
Caught and Bound

PROS Before we get on to the sordid detail, can you clarify for the Court the nature of a Police Order?

DANVERS It meant there was no way out, or not for long. Them on Police Orders have to be returned wherever they run to, there’s nothing like bail for them is thought a danger to theirselves, or others…

Judge. To Counsel. Would you both approach the Bench. To Prosecution Barrister. Can you clarify the reasons for calling this witness who is clearly unable to offer any opinion on the merits of the Book on trial?

PROS M’lud. The Book is accused of a callous disregard of the Author in pursuit of its single minded self-importance. This woman is a critical witness to that degrading consequence.

Judge  Who was responsible for taking out a police order to commit her?

PROS  It was a member of the Royal College of Surgeons who summoned the police. Judge  For what circumstance had he encountered her?

PROS. She had appealed to him for help. They had had previous correspondence.

Judge Why was he not called as a witness instead?

PROS He refused to appear. This was the best I could do to expose the callousness of the Book. The agents seem to me irrelevant.

Judge ( to Defence)  Do you have any objection to this witness?

DEF None whatever. Bring it on.

PROS  Mrs Danvers. Can you clarify why the Author was chained up?

DANVERS She tried to run away see, even got as far as the porter’s lodge afore they brought er back, struggling like a ferret in a sac. Even escaped from a locked cell. Had no choice see…?

Goya Laughing women246px-Mujeres_riendo
Goya Black Paintings. Mujeres riendo

PROS. From your experience was escaping a common event?

DANVERS. Not common, no. Most are very sedated, and some, the catatonics, just sit and mope lookin at their feet, don’t they? This one was different, a right obstinate kipper, thin as a whip but strong as they come…Had to chain er up…

PROS  What was your opinion of her condition?

DANVERS Mad as the rest. Just a bit original an’all. She kep on whirling round or dancing like she had invented Spring; and when we let her out into the open ward she just lay under the bed with the covers all down, so we couldn’t get at her…

PROS  Why was that, do you think?

DANVERS Don’t need to think. She refused to take any drugs. Pills never had any effect, even when we made er swallow in front of us, she’d go and spit them out, and injections? Well, whenever I was going to stick in a syringe she just rolled over. Number of needles I wasted! That’s why we had to think of different clinical options.

PROS A hopeless case, would be your opinion?

DANVERS Worse than hopeless, a roight pain-in-the-backside, ‘scuse me French.

PROS Did you know she had written a book before being admitted? DANVERS A book? Never! She couldn’t stop long enough for a simple conversation, not even a how’s yer father. Must have got that all wrong. Never a book!

PROS  No further questions.

Counsel for the Defence/ Mrs Danvers have you ever read a book?

DANVERS Me? Who’s got time for books? Maybe when I retire I could try a book, rather take up crochet or go to the Bingo…

DEF  Did the patient have any visitors?

DANVERS. Twiggy? Never. None of them had visitors. Nobody wants to know people in that ward. The forgotten-and-good-riddance lot we called them. But now you mention it she did get one phone call and I was a fool to let her take it…’

DEF You called her ‘Twiggy’ Why was that?

DANVERS Best to ignore who they think they are, give em all a nickname, saves remembering… and she was thin; it suited.

DEF Why were you a fool to let her talk on the phone?

DANVERS Well it gave her a hope of getting out. Somebody outside missed her. Never should have called her to the phone, but we get accused of keeping them prisoners so sometimes it’s better to…

DEF Who was it called her? Do you remember?

DANVERS I think it was the gentleman who was here last time. He and his wife came to get her out. Bad mistake. We had the operation all lined up for two days later.

DEF What operation?

DANVERS They reckoned shock treatment wouldn’t have any effect because she wasn’t depressed, so they was planning a lobotomy, not both sides, I think, just the one. Anyway she managed to get herself discharged, sly you see…must have got wind…

DEF How did she manage to be sly, as you called it?

DANVERS Well she wrote to a psychiatrist she must have known of, and he came to talk to her and then he authorised her to be discharged.

DEF So she could write and post a letter? What followed?

DANVERS  She gave him some names and he said these people could come and fetch her. The couple said they would look after her. Nearly as mad as she was…

DEF How so? Mad?

DANVERS Well maybe not mad but certainly reckless. They listened to the psychiatrist and nodded and said yes a lot, and then the wife hands out the car keys and, this is not a word of a lie, they asked her to drive them home! Like they thought she was normal! I saw her setting off at the wheel, and I thought, that’s going to be three casualties within the hour…Morris_Traveller_(2050242604)

DEF But as we heard last time they all survived. Was she ever returned?

DANVERS Not that I heard.

DEF That fact does not occasion a change of mind about your diagnosis?

DANVERS. If you knew what I do you wouldn’t even ask! You would not believe how clever the insane are, fool a lot of people they do.

DEF I suppose it’s difficult to distinguish the really clever when they are camouflaged in the middle of so many clever catatonics. No further questions.

Judge (To Jury) This concludes the evidence. We will hear the closing speeches from both Prosecution and Defense in due course. I would ask that you retire to consider what you have heard. This witness has certainly added weight to the charge upon the book of a callous disregard to the Author’s welfare.

You heard the plea in relation to this charge: (That this book, Odyssey, was not present when these distressing events occurred). That may indeed be the case, however the skeletal structure of an earlier draft had already been written and it could be argued that this treatment simply added to the Author’s determination to re-write it. After all, stripped of even the assumption of sanity, there is not much left to lose. If anything it adds further weight to the prosecution’s case.

On the other hand the Defence is likely to argue that being committed to a mental hospital by a man who is unwilling to give evidence, to defend his responsibility calls into question the safety of any diagnosis, particularly as the Author managed her discharge without help, and without any medication.

I would ask that you set aside the details of this harrowing incarceration and give attention only to the responsibility of the book as materially contributing to it. It is a moot point, but the Author has repeatedly stated that the Book Wrote Her Life, and given that assertion we must consider elements of that life which included a narrow escape from a lobotomy by being timely and devious!

Balancing Act
Balancing Act

All rise. All images Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons A Circus Queen, timely Absurdity- Francisco Goya  http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Francisco_de_Goya_y_Lucientes Bedlam  Chained to Bed This file comes from Wellcome Images, a website operated by Wellcome Trust, a global charitable foundation based in the United Kingdom. Walls of Bedlam This file comes from Wellcome Images, a website operated by Wellcome Trust, a global charitable foundation based in the United Kingdom.

‘Lady Chatterley Witness’ Appears for Involution-Odyssey

All Rise.

Court in Session
Court in Session

Judge to Jury   We will now continue the case for the Defense on  the  third Charge: That the book Involution-Odyssey persuaded the Author to adopt inappropriate language- something that masquerades as ‘symphonic prose’ and at an inappropriate time.

Bear in mind that even the BBC now operates by Twitter and Soundbite. This Homeric epic must be judged against that prevailing climate.

Counsel for the Defense. I now call Canon Richard Milford to take the witness box. Canon Milford you have appeared as a witness in similar circumstances before. Could you clarify that for the Court?

(An aristocratic old tweed- very frail, it’ll blow him over- gentle man. Court Reporter)

RM Well yes, although I would prefer to forget it. I was a witness for the defense of  Penguin Publishers in the trial of Lady Chatterley’s Lover.

Lady Chatterley's Lover

DEF Counsel  Why did they ask you?

RM Well I had just been appointed as Master of the Temple and I supposed they thought my august position would speak louder than ever I could.

DEF Master of the Temple sounds Masonic. Is it?

RM  Quite the opposite. Far from secret. It is a Royal Appointment that came with a charming house in central London and very few duties except to eat dinners and take a few services in the famous church of the Knights Templars. A figure head that still vaguely connects the Law to the Church, historically, but the modern  Benchers, the senior barristers, would prefer to forget that. They have managed to sever Law from morality. It was a retirement sinecure that I hoped to enjoy; being left alone to study and play chess.

Master's House
Master’s House from Inner Temple Courtyard.

DEF Why did you agree to appear for the defence of Lady Chatterley. Presumably you supported the book?

(Hardly one of the world’s shakers CR)

RM I read it, at the publisher’s request, for the first time, and could see nothing wrong in publishing what essentially is a book about love. Love ennobling sex, as I saw it.

DEF So not one to corrupt the servant classes?That was an allegation wasn’t it?…

RM If they could read it, probably not, but I have never had servants since my nanny departed when I was seven, so I would not know.

DEF Canon Milford you were an incumbent priest at St Mary’s Oxford, the Founder of Oxfam, the Chancellor of Lincoln. What made you expose yourself, if you will forgive the expression, for a highly public trial of a questionable book?

RM Frankly I did not anticipate the consequences. I thought it was a moral question being examined. I simply lent a little weight to the argument for creative freedom. I learned a lot from it. We really were an imprisoned generation. The crippled husband in a wheelchair summed us up. I considered it both brave and poetical, necessary for the time. It banished the fetters of Puritanism, to liberate sex as something joyous. It has now been cheapened, of course…

DEF What were the consequences that you say you regretted?

Temple Hall for Dinner with the Templars
Temple Hall for Dinner with the Templars

RM I was blackballed by the Benchers. After that I ate my dinners off a tray in my charming living room. My poor wife had hoped to be released from cookery, (not her forte- she preferred T’ai Ch’i), instead she had not only to cook but to ferry trays. It was a small kitchen designed for a bachelor with a housekeeper who made tea.

DEF Blackballed why?

RM Rigid protocol really. It was not considered proper, as a member of the Temple, to participate in a show trial that might change the Law. Setting precedents was as reprehensible as appearing in court without a wig, or in church without a surplice, but I did not realise that. I read a book, defended its right to exist, and the sky fell on my head.


DEF Well let’s hope this book will treat you more kindly. Please give us your view of this new edition of Involution?

RM Like Lady Chatterley it is equally a necessary new vision for our time. Unlike sex it won’t have the same appeal…God is for Sundays, and rituals, not daily bread and butter.

DEF What does this book require us to banish?

RM  The outdated views of both God (as an external ‘mover’) and the natural world (as also external to us ). There is only consciousness, or God. Tough but there He is. I believe it a valuable contribution to the approach began by Teilhard de Chardin, the perception of the incremental spiritualisation that underpins evolution, what he called Christogenesis…

DEF Which means what?

RM The increasing unity of creation, and particularly in its convergence to Man of a consciousness of all participating in the collective cosmogenesis-the evolution of the Cosmos. I find that a great comfort in reconciling the gulf between science and my own theological belief, it renders the spiritual both magical and rational. Nothing divides us from the world about us, once you understand that.

(Good point. He is quite sharp for all the etiolated frame and thick glasses CR)

DEF  You support this poetic prose language to express that? That scientific view?

RM I suspect it is the only language worth attempting since science will not take this Author seriously anyway. She seems to have found a new way of expressing a very old  and universal understanding, just as de Chardin did.

DEF  We have heard the charge of inappropriate authorship and the book was cleared. So writing poetically addresses another readership?

RM I believe it might. Not many, but some will understand it, if they are ready to…It is not difficult.

DEF So it does not trouble you that the Author has been lassoed by a book for which there will be few readers?

RM That has been true of many. I don’t believe she expected otherwise. To be ignored, or even shunned, is not a crime. You might as well suggest that everyone who fails should never have tried.

DEF No further questions.

PROsecution Counsel. Canon, you befriended the Author over many years. Don’t you think you should have made that clear?

RM I was not asked the question but it is not material to my opinion. Had I thought the Book of no value I would have been the first to spare her both the effort of writing it, and the vilification from the heartless world of academia. That I am more than familiar with; it is brutal.

(Knows whereof he speaks -an otherworldly fellow who started Oxfam! and walked smack into the strong arm of the Law! CR)

PRO What attracted you to the Author and her book?

RM (silent)

PRO Will you answer the question?

RM I will but I doubt you will understand the answer. You are bound to misinterpret. I had spent close to sixty years looking for belief, real belief. I have read widely from the theological convictions of others, but they never reached the core to afford me any kind of peace. I have preached about love, and not practised it enough. I have never been blessed with religious fervour, much as I might have wanted it. When the person you call the Author blew into our lives, barefooted usually, destitute, yet full of joy I knew it could only be because she had found what I had been searching for. She was infectious. I was infected, perhaps at second hand, but undeniably. Not something a court would understand. It wasn’t her theory, although it was interesting as a means of conveying her experience, and something to hold on to, it was simpler than that, simply an irrepressible joy, and a great deal of humour…I loved her. As did my wife…The language of the book is the language of joy, admixed with enough factual logic to make it comprehensible to those whom Joy had eluded…

PROS  Yet it was you who recommended her visit to the Inquisition at Cambridge? You were happy to risk her innocent joy to that destruction.

RM I hoped they might be both kinder and more interested. It was an error of hope over experience. I try and believe declarations sincere…they claimed an interest which proved untrue. But she also understood that, and could forgive it. She was a good mimic and gave a great performance of her reception…

PROS You did not, perchance, hope they would kill it off?

RM I did not. The Author was truly impoverished, living in our modest caravan through the winter, without her children, and I hoped…

PROS That someone would take her off your hands? She and her obsessive Joy!

RM How base a suggestion! No, if she was weighted with anything it was the belief that she had to impart a critical new vision before the materialist viewpoint did any further damage. I wanted to help in any way I could. Contrary to your suggestion, we thoroughly enjoyed her company, my wife had it through the days of sewing and searching for a place for her to live, and I had her in the evenings over the washing up, when we talked about her extraordinary experiences…and de Chardin…and played games finishing each other’s limericks. She taught me some biology, especially about the structure of DNA which she made fascinating; I taught her chess. She was not good on defensive play, good on the attack…

PROS  Extraordinary in what way?

RM  Well constant synchronicities, some almost worthy of calling mystical… They happened to us when she was about. That’s when I began to see the integration of thought and event, not as theory but a living reality. I am naturally sceptic, much too absorbed intellectually to notice such things but once I suspended disbelief they started happening all the time. The more I accepted her reality, the more it became ours…I found a renewed love for my wife, and indeed life itself. It was a wonderful period.

PROS Are you saying that her mere presence distorted time?

RM No, nothing so inflated, what it altered was my perception, and therefore influenced the unfolding of events; they became immediate,

PRO You can judge these? You have had similar encounters with the allegedly mystical?

RM No, unfortunately. I usually take my theology straight, not laced with visions and voices, but I have read enough of the mystics to recognize their qualities. I believed her entirely without pretension, or grandiose inflation. She is very straight forward. That above all is what convinced me that her book was based on genuine experiences, akin to de Chardin… He failed to find the following his work deserved, as she has. Luckily I am not sufficiently worldly wise to rely on the opinions of others. I form my own opinions from what calls to me…Her dedication in the face of extreme hardship was another reason I believed she had something valuable to convey.

PRO What has been the legacy of your relationship with her?

RM That s the first meaningful question you have asked. I came face to face with inhumanity, I leaned about the hypocrisy of academics who claim to seek truth, and the so called spiritual organisations who seek to suppress it. From her I leaned that I needed blinkers to carry on living, and ploughing a narrow furrow. It is not the book that should be on trial but the world itself. You are asking all the wrong questions.The book is on trial because it failed, but its failure was presumed before it was read. Neither it ,nor the Author fitted the mold. Who decided on that mold? The vacuous, conformist, correct-way-to-do-things… It should be the sardonic, contemptuous, self serving institutions…

Judge Thank you Canon. You may stand down…

RM On the contrary it is time to stand up…

Judge. Canon , if you continue I shall hold you in contempt of Court…

RM Don’t worry. I have taken contempt for myself. Save yourself the trouble.

(Wow! Who would have thought the old man to have so much blood in him. Must interview him before the fire goes out. This will be worthy of a front page tonight…Yippee. CR)

The Temple Church-Inner Temple London
The Temple Church-Inner Temple London- the original round church visible at the far end.

Judge (to Jury) I direct you to ignore the outburst of the last witness. It is not relevant to your deliberations.

All rise

Barred and bolted. The Inns of Court- Temple gate.
Barred and bolted. The Inns of Court- Temple gate.

(http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons Masters House By Herbert Railton (1857–1910)[1] [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons (Masters House drawing) By Matt Brown (http://www.flickr.com/photos/londonmatt/4272503062) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons (inner Temple Hall) By Patrick Nielsen Hayden (http://www.flickr.com/photos/pnh/464206477) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons (Gate)

Court in Session
Court in Session

An Invitation from the Serpent of Eden (DNA)

While the Jury is ‘out’ I thought to anticipate the next stage of the trial ( inappropriate language) by giving you an introduction to ‘said’ language!

This five minute reading illustrates and invites. Rather than board Tardis ( as previously suggested) this is a short journey on a tall ship. A taster of the journey you might wish to take? This reading might clarify ‘symphonic prose’ and a book more intimate than Magnum Octopus, really a bedside companion with which to go skinny dipping.

Join the Human Odyssey, and welcome the sip to port?
Join the Human Odyssey, and welcome the ship back to port?

Recording kindly provided by Dmitry Selemir and taken at Scriggler Live Event on 17th April.at The Harrison Pub’s underground theatre.

Imagine being kidnapped in the Tardis by Doctor Who ~Involution – An Odyssey reconciling Science to God by Philippa Rees.

Since the Jury needs all the help available in reaching their verdict I found this today…so interrupt your deliberations to bring forth a clear opinion…

Zen and the Art of Tightrope Walking

Imagine being kidnapped in the Tardis by Doctor Who ~Involution – An Odyssey reconciling Science to God by Philippa Rees.

Over several weeks, my reading matter was something totally out-of-the-ordinary, and I’d like to share with you the review I wrote for Amazon:

Imagine being kidnapped in the Tardis by Doctor Who. That’s the only comparison I can make for the reading of Involution. It’s a wild ride across Time and Space (inner and outer), and the author accompanies you with the same infectious enthusiasm and love for humanity that the Doctor expresses. You are treated to the same expectation that you can and will keep up with the Doctor’s energy and understanding but also with the acceptance that at times you simply won’t be able to and it doesn’t matter as long as you are enjoying the ride and trust that you’re going in the right direction and experiencing…

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‘AUTHOR SELECTED ‘Without Deliberation or Discernment’-Odyssey Accused on Second Charge

All Rise.

(Judge ever so cross. Was hoping for a guilty and wrap up. Court Reporter)

Court in Session
Court in Session

JUDGE Involution-Odyssey. The Defendent Involution-An Odyssey has been cleared by a majority verdict on the first Charge.

The Trial addresses the Second Charge Against the Book

The Second Charge
That you Odyssey acted without deliberation, or discernment in harnessing the Author to a lifelong service and made promises of reward that you have not fulfilled. How do you plead?
BOOK. Not guilty on both counts

PROSECUTION. Let us dispense with the easy one first. How many beautiful copies of yourself have been sold?

BOOK. Sold? Probably about 100. Given away? About the same.

(Blimey! A fuss about a limping loss. CP)

PROS. Not a resounding success are you? Given to whom?

BOOK  People the Author thought would be interested, Authors of alternative science, and others of spiritual bent who might review and endorse.

PROS  How much do you cost to print and send someone who might be interested?

BOOK A little under ten pounds.

PROS  So the Author cast you upon the waters at a personal cost of about a thousand pounds. She has faith in you even if we don’t. How many of those lucky recipients replied or reviewed?

BOOK  Initially four.

PROS  Presumably the Author had selected them? Not a great endorsement of your worth. Not even gratitude for a relatively expensive book.. You may stand down. I call my first witness on the second charge. Professor ANON.

(Behold the aesthete! Looks like a Vampire, never seen the sun. Only comes out at night.  CP) Shhh…

Poet, Critic, Academic Director, Reader, Lecturer. Esteemed Authority.
Poet, Critic, Director, Reader, Lecturer. et al. Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License;

Professor ANON. I understand you agree to appear on condition of anonymity. Please tell the court why you were selected as one of these unfortunate recipients?

ANON Let me see? It could be be because I head up the educational programme of a very prestigious Institute ( so Rare we are almost bleu CP), or maybe because I am a poet with a poetic open vein and the author thought I might be infected by her poetry, which I have to say hardly qualifies… Or maybe because I am also Critic with fine forceps for the phoney, and then I am an Essayist able to sustain a Marathon. Or it might be because I hold readings of poetry from various traditions to gatherings and I suppose she hoped…

PROS  Clearly a modest man of parts… How did you react to the work? What was your opinion?

ANON Frankly, (well maybe not very frankly) it was hard to form any opinion. Opinions need meat to chew upon. It is certainly not poetry, but it does not have the clarity of prose either. It purports to put forward a scientific hypothesis but grasping it is problematic because it uses the same word ‘Involution’ for two very different processes, the enfolding and encoding of experience, and the manifestation of that encoded memory through the scientific recovery of it. I made a serious effort to grasp the book, and read it twice, but in the end abandoned it. I got glimpses but then they evaporated… most frustrating…

(Pompous git. Needs his dose of blood presto.CP)

PROS  Not easy for you then? What is the purpose of your Institute ? Its mission if you like?

ANON  Well! That would be telling. If forced to be rough I’d say roughly ‘To foster a bridge between the perennial philosophy, science and poetry’ but it’s much more complex than that….

Mahabarata Gathutkaca
Mahabarata Gathutkaca Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

PROS I am sure it must be. It is not a characteristic of the Perennial Philosophy that the experiences giving rise to it are ephemeral?Is that not also the characteristic of poetry- to allude or suggest but not quite define? So you would not consider this book of scientific allusion a contribution to that bridging endeavour?

ANON  Well I have been working on almost identical ideas for a number of years, so it is not new to me. Limited in value would be my opinion. If I were her supervisor I would suggest the author would have been better writing a scientific hypothesis in scientific terminology so that her thesis might have been debated amongst those of us able to evaluate it. As it is, it will remain unread and understandably so. Unfortunate but there it is.

PROS So, as a promoter of the perennial, and elusive you would have preferred instead a defined and argumentative hypothesis. No further questions.

DEFENCE COUNSEL Can you clarify how you came to be approached to read this work in the first place?

ANON  The Author, I believe, had researched the Institute of which I am a Director. We are the only one of its kind. She wrote to ask me to give an opinion

DEF And you agreed to receive a copy?

ANON I did, somewhat apprehensively, and rightly so, as it turned out. She turned quite nasty..

(Good oner…CP)

DEF  Dr ANON I have a copy of an email written to the author in which you said and I paraphrase… I read the comments from Koestler, Lorenz and others…they were less than unequivocal. None of them offered to use their influence in getting the work published, and one word from them would have undoubtedly done the trick. You recall the instance? You took your appraisal of its likely merits before you saw it? Simply because she had self-published?

ANON Well in my position one does take the opinions of others before embarking on what may prove a pointless waste of time. There’s very little of it about. Time, I mean. One of them, (I think it was Koestler) expressed his doubts about the likelihood of publication.

DEF Yes. He said ‘I am less certain about publication’ Does that not imply it would be difficult, rather than unwise? In the same letter Koestler also said ‘ ‘To expand your thesis would undoubtedly be worthwhile‘  Interesting that you selected only the doubt but not the validation.  How did you know of these other authorities; Koestler, Lorenz etc?

ANON The Author had made an completely unsubstantiated claim in her letter that they had supported her thesis.

DEF  You did not believe her? So she afforded you the stick with which you then beat her?

ANON No, no. Their letters suggesting approval were not full endorsements. Had they been so, given the authority of both eminent men, the earlier work would have been published when it was first written in 1970. They were simply being kind as one is in private letters to a needy supplicant…

DEF  Was it kind in your first letter to the author when you said ‘It always seems to me dubious to quote people’s letters: they feel compelled to be polite and so say positive things that they certainly would not stand by in print. I would not like my letters quoted to all and sundry?.That is quite a generalisation. It does convey your doubts before you even saw the work. Were you aware that the Author had personally known Konrad Lorenz through her first husband’s work with him at the Max Planck Institute?


DEF Or the nature of her correspondence with  Koestler?

ANON No. How could I be?

DEF But you did not ask, did you? You simply assumed because you had never heard of her that the claim was spurious. For all you know these eminent men meant what they said. Perhaps not everyone is as ‘kind’ as you are? Are you aware the work has been endorsed, openly and freely on the cover by Ervin Laszlo.

ANON I am now.

DEF Would you say Ervin Laszlo is an eminent man of the calibre of Koestler or the Nobel Prize winner Konrad Lorenz

ANON Yes. But…

DEF Are you also aware that Laszlo tried to get his publishers to take on the publication, as did another endorser, and both failed. Does that in any way give an indication as to the merits of the work?

ANON Probably not. It merely means it is not a commercial proposition.

DEF Rather contradicting yourself aren’t you? So the failure to attract a publisher is not a measure of the merits or value of the work? Yet it was the first assumption that you made, as well as casting doubt on the integrity of the author in quoting them. Would you say that gives an impression of ‘open mindedness’ in an approach? Either towards the book or the Author? Is it,in fact, appropriate to the promoter of the ‘Perennial Philosophy’ which, if anything is about openness and trust, to immediately doubt an account of such perennial experience and relationships with others?

ANON I am an academic. All that was explained before I agreed to consider the work. One can meet a lot of crackpots these days. I was just protecting myself from a possible crackpot.

DEF I see. Author armed with book. Very hazardous.Given that initial reaction, it was generous of her to even continue communication with you. But she still gave you the opportunity to reconsider and sent a copy.

ANON She needed my help, obviously. I am rather well known in the field…

(So are cows and sheep. Slaughter anyone? CR)

DEF   So after you had read the work of the possible crackpot, you communicated your negative views about it to the author?

ANON I cannot remember but I expect I did.

DEF Let me refresh your memory. You received the book in early March. It was at the end of August that the author wrote and I quote  As I think our preliminary correspondence made clear I was in search of help, support, contacts, dissemination. Since you have been either unable or unwilling to provide even a comment I wonder whether you might be prepared to return the book?. I am very short of copies for review and there are others to whom it could be sent. I will certainly refund the £3.00 postage if you wish.

Did you return the book as requested?

ANON No. I had made copious comments in the margins. It could not have been used for another review. I sent a cheque for the cost of the book instead.

 (But not before taking it all in! And not until asked!CP)

DEF. You deface books. That’s interesting. So you were interested enough to copiously annotate this misguided book. Was the cheque banked?


No further questions.

PROSECUTION I would recall the book to answer the first part of this charge. Odyssey, you are charged as follows:

Will the Defendant Stand?
Will the Defendant Stand?

That you acted without deliberation, or discernment in harnessing the Author to a lifelong service. How do you plead?

BOOK Not guilty

PROS. Do you deny the lifelong service required of this Author?

BOOK No, but that was hardly my doing. The witnesses already called have explained the climate of rejection and unreadiness: more specifically, as in the last witness, their personal prejudices against me, I’d invent a new term and call it ‘Bookism’. You need letters behind your name before you write a book as speculative as me…

PROS That brings me neatly back to the first part of this charge: your lack of discernment in selecting this author to carry the ignominy of your claims! She was not an appropriate choice was she? She had no standing in either academic circles or spiritual community. What you call Bookism was directly due to that lack of discernment. Why would she pass muster? It was inhumane to subject her to such judgement was it not?

BOOK  There is an expression ‘Judge not lest ye be judged’ It does not mean the superficial interpretation; that if you judge others you will be judged by them. It means your judgement itself enables the measure of your prejudice, your limitations, your preconceived ideas. You have heard a poet saying I am not poetry, a scientific Professor saying I am not science ( or not until he published first) but a few who had similar ideas offering some applause (and who are then disbelieved!) The market is no measure of a book, because it would choose Fifty Shades of Grey as the paeon of value. You will have to do better than that.

Mask COLLECTIE_TROPENMUSEUM_Houten_wajang_topeng_masker_vermoedelijk_Durna_voorstellend._TMnr_1886-8
Tropenmuseum of the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
PROS No further questions

DEF There was another poet, a Professor of Poetry at Oxford who was approached. Why that one?

BOOK Because she held a temporary Chair for the promotion of poetry in contexts where it is not usually found.

DEF  So a History of Science written in poetry would seem exactly what she was paid to promote? What was her opinion?

BOOK  She said she did not have time to read the work of ‘other poets’ and declined to accept a copy.

DEF  Ah  how elastic is the public purse for self-interested people…So why did you choose this Author?

BOOK. She is still here. That’s why.

DEF  You mean she has survived?

BOOK No. Not survived. Believed.

DEF In you?

BOOK. Not so much in me, but in the importance of what I contain, an alternative to destructive materialism, an alternative to intellectual argument. More importantly a kind of irreverence to upstage the dogmatic…any dogma…particularly intellectual dogmas. I am about intuition…

DEF  Irreverence! You are all about God!

BOOK. God is all there is. That’s what she believes anyway. That’s why I chose her. She never would have joined a ‘prestigious Institute’, or an ‘established congregation’ of any kind. She has nothing to lose, because she has no standing, no pre-established loyalties, and she has been so vilified by the academics she has written a book for everyone else. That stoicism and broader appeal took a lot of training, and dare I suggest, some considerable discernment. I very carefully picked and trained a bloody-minded virtual orphan and made sure she never settled comfortably anywhere. Nobody with good opinions to lose would have written me.

DEF No further questions.

JUDGE (To Jury.)
I direct you to give full weight to the evidence presented today. If you find the defendant acted with right judgement in the selection of its Author you are bound to find it Not Guilty. The question of financial reward as a measure of value I direct you to ignore. Please confer before the next Charge is brought, relating to inappropriate language and timing.

All rise.

Court in Session
Court in Session