the unconscious agreement with mediocrity

Saturday 14th April 2012.

I came home a few hours ago after attending Monika’s art circle at her home in Bryanston, my first attendance in a long while. It was so nice to see old friends and meet a new person. It was altogether lively and lovely, discussing inter alia a few art works that were presented by those who had brought their art works for criticism. I may comment later on a different and separate blog on those art works and what they expressed – for me – but for the moment just to say that the artworks were mostly to do with the descent into the unconscious; re-claiming the feminine; acknowledging the shadow, inter alia. I felt much enlivened when I left around midday.

When home, I had the pleasure of listening to a 9 minute audio on my computer by Michael Bernard Beckwith on ‘Breaking the Arrangement with Mediocrity’, courtesy of ‘Sounds True’ to which I subscribe. It was a wake-up call for me, speaking as he does about the status quo and how many of us get caught in it – I felt as if he was speaking to me. So I am blogging about this, this afternoon – do comment if you wish.

Mediocrity is like an insidious poison; it creeps silently like a snake in the night into one’s soul. Slowly, the status quo takes up permanent residence; my brain gets dulled; I feel enfeebled; I care less; I feel indifferent … I feel so stuck in this mediocrity and I have to wonder what my fear is towards getting out of it. That feeling of being stuck in the status quo is a feeling that I have experienced before (and written about) in my life – it is simply awful. I know that this is when I feel I have not a single creative spark in me. I feel deadened, dull, unable to move physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually, in an agony of impotence, fearful of making the first step towards getting myself out of the quagmire. I feel as if I have struck a bargain with the Devil no less when I try to put those dismal thoughts aside and reach out for some comfort usually by way of food .. it is all so unconscious and I am so often quite unwilling to confront this in an honest way.

As Michael Bernard Beckwith says and as I see as valid and true, there is a collective tendency to mediocrity, evidenced in society on many levels. If I look at the ‘Shorter OED on Historical Principles’ definition of ‘mediocrity’, it says, inter alia (point 5) ‘the quality or condition of being mediocre. Now chiefly disparaging. 1588’. The word ‘mediocre’ is defined inter alia as ‘of middle height’ … ‘of middling quality, neither good nor bad; indifferent’. Carlyle is quoted: ‘It is thus that mediocre people seek to lower great men’.

This tendency of our society towards mediocrity has been punted before in the press and on the radio. We have a few lively independent radio and TV stations as well as the press – at the moment. It is always refreshing to realise that there is awareness of mediocrity in many levels of society; but awareness is one thing and action is another. We actually do put up with poor service, poor delivery, unsatisfying relationships, uncreative lives, ‘living small lives in our sheltered and comfortable boxes’ to paraphrase Michael Bernard Beckwith. It is almost a conspiracy to keep things stuck in the status quo – don’t rock my boat and I won’t rock yours. If you do, you will be alienated in some subtle way.

He contrasts this with the impulse towards the evolution and unfolding of our souls, the impulse towards excellence and our ‘…conscious participation in the evolutionary impulse that governs all creation’. And it is on this hopeful note that I want to end. Doing something ‘out of the box’ is a great step in moving away from from mediocrity and towards that spark of creativity within ourselves, which yearns for ever unfolding and boundless expression.

On my side, I have placed torn strips of old newspapers into a large bowl, dampened thoroughly with water – and I plan to make something out of this. I am not quite sure what .. I think I will have to make a flour paste or something and let the newspapers and goo harden – and then just see where my fingers take me in fashioning something. It will be my attempt at striking a blow towards my inner tendency to mediocrity.

http://www.gardenofedenblog.com – my personal blog

MNINB

I have allocated the whole day today to catching up on the MNINB April challenge. It is extremely challenging – day 5 (I am still several days behind) requires that a posting be done to my blog today so I am doing that now. Day 4 required twitter account to be set up; that was done a little while ago with help of my son. Bob said in his Day 4 challenge to add ‘in comments below’ the twitter handle but I was not able to do that but I will use this blog post to add to this post. @susanscottsa

Pesach and Easter.

On Saturday 07 April 2012 at 4:16 PM, Susan Scott wrote:

> Sat 7th April 2012…. > > Pesach and Easter – both occur over the weekend of the full moon. At the Council of Nicea in 325 AD it was agreed that both would be linked to the full moon on or following the vernal equinox (in the northern hemisphere) and thus would fall on any Sunday between 22 March and 22 April. > > Chag Sameach to all of you – may it be a blessed time. And the same to all of you for Easter, may it be a blessed time. > > Just some thoughts from me about Easter and Pesach. I have undoubtedly bitten off more than I can chew but I do want to share a few things on this blog. > > Someone on the radio recently, took exception to people saying ‘Happy Easter’. That person said it was not a happy time because of Christ’s death. There was a brief discussion – this was not the topic of conversation on the radio – but the anchor did say that it was also a time of redemption and renewal. He captured this very well in a few words. > > Pesach or the Passover has a different focus to Easter. Pesach is what it says .. a Passover. > > Pesach is a time for ‘looking back to the going forward’, whereas Easter is inter alia a remembrance of Christ’s crucifixion and His resurrection. > > Pesach commemorates the Exodus (Greek : going out; second book of the Bible) of the Israelites from Egypt who up until then had lived as slaves since the time of Joseph. Four hundred years after the end of Genesis, Moses leads the children of Israel to the land which God promised on oath to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. Moses and the Israelites had lived as slaves under the rule of Pharaoh and the Pharaoh refused to release them. God sends 10 plagues upon Egypt, the last of which was the slaying of the first born in any home. But, God told Moses, none of the Israelites would be killed – their homes would be passed-over. Pharaoh pleads with Moses to end the plagues and so lets the Israelites free. They flee their homes with unprepared and unleavened bread and also after slaying their lambs. The Pharaoh reneges on the deal and chases after the Israelites but Moses strikes the Red Sea which parts and the Pharaoh and his army are drowned > > And as Joseph requested on his death-bed: > > Moses took the bones of Joseph with him for Joseph had surely sworn to the children of Israel, saying: God will surely remember you, and you shall carry my bones away with you. > -Exodus 13:19 > > This amazing story tells of the birth of Moses and the parting of the Red Sea under Moses, and their arrival at Mt. Sinai where Moses received the Ten Commandments. There is much much more by way of narrative to this story but it is not my aim to re-tell it. On their journey from Egypt to Israel, their hardships are great and many. My aim is rather to focus a bit on what this annual and very religious time means at least in terms of my (probable) limited understanding; and also in a way that has nothing to do with my being Jewish or non-Jewish. I like to think back and wonder what it all means in terms of me, today; and indeed the relevance for all of us today. > > And indeed, it is curious is it not, that Easter and Pesach overlap … and for me it is, as I write this, a duty almost, to look briefly at the symbolism of these two events. > > Christ’s act of His descent into Hell after the crucifixion is the ultimate act of individuation. It is in preparation for His ascension into Heaven. The scriptures tell the story of Jesus and His life and they are beautiful beyond imagining. Every word, every setting, every moment is painfully poignant. They are also very challenging – to take in the words of the scriptures in a meaningful way, is to enter into the story and feel it. From all points of view, from every angle, I can’t help but see that the scriptures are very psychological indeed – they speak straight to the psyche. How can He not be celebrated, not least for sacrificing His own life that our sins be forgiven; but also for His unconditional love, His sympathy and empathy; His poetic justice; His showing us that the spirit alone is of value; His love for the sinner who repented … so for me the time of Easter is a remembrance of Jesus’ life and message. > > The Pesach means for me the end of slavery and finally reaching the Promised Land; it is a remembrance of the fulfilment of God’s promise that is joyfully celebrated. In terms of my world today, it is timely to remember freedom from slavery which can take many forms .. being a slave to lust, material wealth, being trapped in so many ways and looking to myself to try to discern where I am a slave or trapped in my complexes. Joy in the possibility of being free from all forms of slavery; pain in Christ’s death – yet also a fulfilment of God’s promise and joy in that too. > > Well, I think I have bitten off more than I can chew … both Moses and Jesus long dead but their message lives on. > > All best wishes, > > Susan

> Susan Scott > — > http://www.gardenofedenblog.com – my personal blog >

weekly post

I am looking through a note book (one of many) and came across some notes I had made in this note book from scraps of paper. No doubt I had sort of tidied up my desk the one day and instead of putting the scraps of paper with their notes on it into yet another file, or another pile, I wrote them out in this particular note book ..

They are to do with women mostly, with Lilith too –

Here is a quote from Hegel: The master and slave cannot exist without each other.

Lilith’s story emerges out of a struggle for domination in marriage. Dominance invariably means fantasies of omnipotence which in turn implies LACK or EMPTINESS at a person’s core. Love and dominance cannot co-exist.

Womens’ voices are emerging from centuries of silence and being silenced. Religious traditions or many traditions are entrenched in the legacy of patriarchy.

Anyway .. that is all I am posting for today. Reading group is at my home this evening – we are studying the Red Book (CG Jung). Tonight we are reading ‘Hell’. But I will quote from reading we had last year:-

He who comprehends the darkness in himself, to him the light is near. He who climbs down into his darkness reaches the staircase of the working light, fire-named Helios.

this and that

Sat 24th March

If any of you have visited my blog post in the last 2 weeks and seen nothing there then I can only apologise. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

It is strange perhaps, to consider *why* the procrastination … I speak for myself but I am coming to realise that it is oftentimes that which is most important to me, is the very thing that I do not attend to. The resistance on my side is great … the more important it is to me, the more I do not pay it its due or give it attention. It is almost a self-destructive act. Me against my own-self. Dear heavens.

I am so very keen to get a good blog going – one that serves me and serves you .. and there is a part of me that knows I have been procrastinating. Avoiding putting myself out there …

But procrastination has a purpose in some instances. It is like a cooking … a stewing … a simmering and a plotting and a planning even if a little haphazardly.. lying fallow for a bit and then a bit of a spurt of energy and writing some thoughts down and making other connections – but still resisting in some very real yet ineffable way.

The ‘why’ is always important. Sometimes the question is more important than the answer. The ‘why’ is always a philosophical question and as such is an endless debate, as it should be.

But it is the ‘what’ that is a question that needs to be answered first, before the ‘why’ … I have to ask myself *what *is the resistance to my getting a ‘good blog going’ and *what* does that resistance stand for … and then perhaps to seek the ‘why’ .. and attempt to get to the bottom of the complex for my own psychological health or health of my psyche asserting that this is task worth doing

Anyway, now I AM posting something. I want very much to get a serious blog going. Once a week. It is a task that I have set myself. It will be a two-fold possibly more approaches with a goal or goals in mind. It is a little too soon to explain any more at this stage. I have a lot of work to do in finding out EXACTLY how to go about this. I know nothing and don’t want to make unnecessary mistakes. I have quite a bit of useful info on my computer that I’ve received from various sources that I have not as yet looked at in any depth. I hope to collate all this information over the next several days and to use it professionally. I really hope that you will join me in this at a later stage …

I asked my son David if I could post something to my blog of his that I came across I think on his FaceBook as I thought his message and music was magical (and of course he is my son and I am proud of him …). He gave me permission so that is on my blog. I had such an interesting response to Davey’s ‘philosophical ramblings’ (that was the title he gave it) and music in an e mail from Gillian who lives in Durban. Gillian I would so like it if you would post what you said on this blog??

We are off to Plett tomorrow back next Saturday. This coming week will see me paying valuable attention to the construction of my blog and maybe web page – though I think the blog and web are already connected but I am not sure. Son Mike will help me this coming week …

I look forward to more soon.

philosophical ramblings

My son David posted the below on his Facebook Wall the other day and this is what I am posting as my blog for today.

Philosophical Ramblings by Dave http://www.thekiffness.com/author/david on MARCH 10, 2012 in RANDOMNESS http://www.thekiffness.com/category/randomness

Was playing guitar today, and I had a random thought: what if I was playing a G, but then the guitar decided to play an F instead? Like it just decided it’s not gonna obey the laws of physics and just do it’s own thing. It would be flippen crazy! Or if you dropped a pen, but then it decided it’s not going to obey gravity today, and just hover in mid air. MADNESS!

Imagine a world where there was no uniformity, where everything could just do what it wants. Imagine you could say ‘hmmm, screw gravity, today I’m flying Peter Pan style to freakin Japan!’ It would be flippen kiff!

Although it would be awesome to say ‘screw it’ to gravity and fly to Japan, imagine if everything and anything could do likewise… Chaos! Next thing you know there’s a train flying into your face. Imagine you’re playing a concert in front of thousands of people and your guitar decides it’s just gonna play random notes. NOT KIFF MAN, NOT KIFF. You’d have to be like ‘Sorry guys! Seems that the Law of Frequencies is acting up again. You all have comps to my next show.’

And then I thought, wow – the universe is pretty good at sticking to the laws of physics. As far as I know, these laws of nature have stood us in pretty good stead. I can pretty safely say that I can make a sandwich without fear of the butter knife flying randomly into my eye ball.

So I think it’s pretty safe to say that I don’t have a say in whether a pen will float or not if I drop it. It’s going to fall. Gravity has determined that already. But what I think is really interesting is that I DO have a say in what I say and do and that’s pretty awesome. I can choose to lie, or I can choose to tell the truth. I can choose what music I feel like making, or what sandwich I want to make. There’s no law called ‘The Law of Dave will eat a peanut butter sandwich on Saturday’. Screw that! I’m eating a strawberry jam sandwich today.

I do somehow feel that there is another law – a law of the heart, or a law of the spirit that we’re *meant* to follow. I think CS Lewis calls it ‘The Moral Law’. The difference is, we get to CHOOSE if we want to obey it or not! CRAZY! Although, it doesn’t seem so crazy, because people disobey ‘The Moral Law’ so often that it seems normal. What makes me so sure of this?

Well, the proof is in the pudding! The world is in freakin chaos! We might not have trains flying into our faces at random, but I think we can agree that there’s a lot of spiritual, mental, emotional chaos in the world today, and I think it’s as a result of people ‘breaking’ the laws of morality. And then I thought, wow – we’re pretty good at NOT sticking to the laws of morality.

I like to kiss random girls, I like to get drunk, I like looking at naked ladies, I like feeling really important, I like to talk behind peoples backs. I think part of me likes these things because they don’t stick to the laws of morality, in the same way I’d like to fly to Japan because it would disobey the laws of gravity. And then I wonder why my life’s a mess. It’s kiff for a while to ‘disobey’, but I know for a fact that it will come back to hit me in the face like a train that doesn’t want to obey gravity.

I really enjoy what the Bible says. Jeremiah 31:33 tunes that God will put His law in our minds and write it on our hearts. I think it’s so true because you don’t need to tell someone when they’re doing something wrong – they’ll already know it. You can tell by how people always try to cover something up if they’ve done something wrong, or how they’re unashamed if they’ve done something good. In Romans 8:2 it says that through the law of Jesus, the Spirit of life will set you free.

I could carry on but this post is already getting a bit long.

Thanks for reading!

Listen to this song I made to contemplate what you’ve just read.

(David’s song ‘Beatitude’ can be accessed by http://www.thekiffness.com/2012/philosophical-ramblings).

blog

Sunday 4th March.. I plan to change focus on ‘commitment’ and look at other topics eg ‘otherness’ and what this means to us – ie if otherness is too strange for us to comprehend and when it does not fit in with our world view or our upbringing or our socialization, we discard ‘the other’ and what does this really mean. Do we short-change ourselves by not broadening our worldview or is ‘otherness’ and discarding the other so entrenched in us that we cannot change. What does this mean? Does it mean a conscious effort on our part to embrace ‘otherness’ or at least come to a different view point by becoming more conscious?

“commitment ..”

my commitment this week is to decide about where to travel in May. Decisions decisions decisions. This is what commitment is in part about – making decisions. Which means that choices present themselves and from all alternatives, a choice has to be made. Which is turn means trying to take into account all sorts of considerations and possible future consequences. How much can I afford to spend on this trip in May? Is it ok to spend a large amount of money on myself? Well, the answer to that is not so difficult – I have the money and though I am inclined to be a bit reluctant to spend money on myself, I also know that that is self-limitimg thinking from which I need to break free. I am normally very cautious with money and I am pleased to have the particular attitude I do towards it. For me it is now or never with regard to taking an adventure with my friend Susan. She is from the States and I am here in Johannesburg South Africa. For each of us, a hunk of time away from our homes, travelling to somewhere neither has been before. Maybe we have given ourselves too many choices – Russia was a serious thought, Turkey also a serious thought, so too South America, and now Viet Nam presents itself. Does pressure help in coming to a decision? I think so. Unsure whether that is a good thing or not. Once we have decided on the destination, we will have to do much co-ordinating of flights, visas and who knows what else …

commitment ..

I met with Iain this evening who lives in my cottage on my property. I noted on his Facebook page several days ago that he had given up smoking. I asked him if was now a non-smoker and congratulations …

We had an interesting discussion about this .. how he achieved this. This was also of particular interest to me as I am a smoker ..

He explained his process – reading books, being in contact with websites devoted to helping smokers kick the habit, wearing patches. But there came a moment when the light bulb was switched on and all the chatter in his brain was switched off and it was an easy decision. He has been 2 months now of non-smoking. He realised that there was always a ‘longing’ for a cigarette and that that longing was in part a longing for something else and that it had been an habitual or habituated feeling for him. He changed focus and came to see that all that energy that was being expended in smoking, needed another focus. He was able to switch focus and now is able to ‘micro-manage’ his time and life better. He feels better, runs, swims, creates –

I said to him it seemed to me that he made a commitment to himself to give up the weed. And that he succeeded in keeping his commitment. He said he had been preparing all along by way of his reading about giving up, wearing nicotine patches, joining websites and re-iterated what he had already said above. And that he was encouraging others by way of a blog which he said he will send me.

I shared with him my recent experience of getting my book ‘out there’ as a free Kindle download this past week and all the angst and hiccups I had with regard to this. And my huge and very grateful surprise to see that MANY have downloaded my book. I managed somehow to get onto my own personal amazon account* last night *and only by fluke, and I could hardly believe that in excess of 500 people had downloaded my book. This was the hugest surprise. I had been so busy this past week with getting the info out, people coming to stay and a 100 other things were keeping me occupied with no time to think ”was anyone downloading my book?” I think in a sense I had no attachment to outcome, if only because there was no time to think about it. But I do think that I had made a commitment to myself to get my book out there – that this was an opportunity in spite of my aversion to being so public.

So, I have learned in a meaningful and personal way what commitment means and am gratified by this.

Of course, this does not mean to say that my free download will be read!! But I achieved something and for that I am grateful. I am glad of my commitment.

commitment

To commit, to make a commitment: a heavily laden concept.

I’ve just had an sms from my sweet sister in Cape Town who said in a word, that she is weeding. I responded to say ‘weed out all those negative thoughts and let the ego take a back seat. Work well … xx’.

I also took a stroll outside to my garden now in the lovely mid-morning sunshine, walked down to the end of it and looked at my secret garden that I fashioned some years ago. Over the years it has been added to, looked at and admired by me. It has a small Ghanian chair on which to sit. The basics of it are still the same with its mandala of bricks and plants planted just so … it is still overhung with beautiful branches and really, it is a delight. One day will commit to sitting on that chair – maybe just sitting, maybe just thinking, or meditating …

It brought me back to my essay “Gardening” wherein I write about this process of creating a secret garden, that no-one could see from any vantage point of my home, even if one goes right down to the perimeter of the garden. You have to know what you are looking for to know that it is there.

I remember writing what hard work this was over many many months, though there were times in-between when the project lay fallow, in part due to seasonal changes .. But what was so interesting and revelatory to me, was that when one commits, the universe seems to support that commitment and the process unfolds.

Somehow, it seems pertinent that this, my first blog, is about both commitment and gardening …

I hope we can get something really interesting and fascinating on the go by way of blogging – about commitment.

Susan