October 8.

With tongue-in-cheek, Stephen Hawking, through the computer that emulates his voice, said : "I don't think there is much survival advantage in discovering the ultimate theory of the universe, because it doesn't have any practical applications."5 Yet, as creative beings, we will continue to probe for ultimate theories.

The creative wrinkle may have occurred when the human brain became conscious of itself by reaching a bilateral agreement on a subject. As we are a social species, the surfaces gleam in the sunlight and glisten in the rain. The rock surfaces are rarely pure white, except when seen from a distance. They range in colour from an off-white creamy surface, to shades of silver and blue-grey. In places the initial stages of art were performed in concert with various stages of sacred and secular rites.


When I bought what I thought were rechargeable batteries for my camera, only to discover they weren't, instead of returning them I found that the camera worked better. Rechargeable batteries are an elegant idea, but the chemistry of their cells weakens with each resurrection.

I was thinking again about gods who can be plowed back into the earth, or seeded into the sky, to grow greener gods, or rain fresh ones down onto a parched imagination, as re-ligere is literally the relationship between earth and sky. A new god gestating in Earth's womb. "Who is this new visitor? What is this oscillating, fluid mystery inhabiting her body? Is it human or vegetable, monster or something completely unknown to our collective psyches?"6
       Sudden shower—
       beneath a tree’s branches,
       robin and I seek shelter.


With trees shaking their leaves like shamans rattling gourds, some years ago, I sauntered onto the desert's deceptively attenuated body, dodging an industrious army of ants, and black beetles who bounced the sun off their backs as iridescent flames of purple and blue. With nothing to startle a wary eye, I faced a distant mesa as if its morphology still hid uncharted reveries.
     In New Mexico the ancient Native American fertility shrines are called Mother Rocks; they are incised
     with vulva symbols, male and female figures, seeds, serpents, and rain symbols...

A small jack rabbit hopped out from behind a creosote bush's thick lubricious smell, its tall ears rising like antennae from impervious sand. As memory is reception, Mnemosyne's children are born with eyes wide open. "This kind of artistic Memory begins as an embryonic potential that exists in and around the artist, a nascent spark of life that awaits its conception in the artist's psyche"8

I catch myself walking in circles, the city behind me melding and dissolving into a rational hum. The rabbit is gone, leaving the fragments, preserved between sheets of glass, respond to the infra-red spectrum—ink invisible to the naked eye can be seen and photographed. The fragments form part of a giant 'jigsaw puzzle' to be reassembled. Missing 'pieces' can be supplied from quotations by later authors, and a maze of prints, only slightly more human than not. Here one is prone to ask foundational questions, such as: To arrive at self-consciousness did we look in the wrong direction?
Genesis announced the beginning of the development of a new kind of ego as a new psychic construct in human evolution. Characteristic of this ego was its allegiance to a deity that was more like humans than like nature."9   

In Chinese folklore, rocks are the roots of clouds. Yet you can walk for weeks in the desert and see only wisps of a jet plane's vapor, a dragon's shadow crossing the sun, or the breath of an eagle diving to snatch its prey. It wasn't by chance that all the monotheisms were dowsed in the desert, as deserts pander to our thirst for visions. Living in New Mexico, one New Year's Day before dawn I packed all my possessions in a hatchbacked car and drove toward the East. A few hours later, sun lighting the desert, I turned and returned home.

For our goal was not only the East, or rather the East was not only a country and something geographical,
but it was the home and youth of the soul, it was everywhere and nowhere, it was the union of all times.


On this mild overcast morning, the trail is dry again. Yet the creek has retained the volume of its recharged voice. “Talk of mysteries! Think of our life in nature, daily to be shown matter, to come in contact with it, rocks, trees, wind on our cheeks! The solid earth! The actual world! ”13

A forest is immensely complex and fiercely individuated. At a glance so much looks alike. On closer look, each tree, bush, leaf, green or giving itself back to earth, is distinctive. Although scientists parse and classify, understanding by elimination, reality is not stable between forms; rather, it is deterritorialized, a state in which

a subject no longer occupies a realm of stability and identity but is instead folded
imperceptibly into a movement or into an amorphous legion whose mode of existence
is nomadic or, alternatively, whose 'structure' is rhizomatic rather than arborescent.

A forest may be imagined as a zone "of liberated intensities where contents free themselves from their forms as well as from their expressions, from the signifier that formalized them.”15

As the human mind abhors a state in which "all shapes become undone,"15 what is lost is rebuilt into different forms, in time as well as space. These tropes, I suggest, are influenced by the myelin insulation of the brain, which adjusts "conduction velocity so that volleys of electrical impulses arrive at the same neuron simultaneously from multiple axons."16 Although it is not completed until one's mid-twenties, and will never coat all the axons, like packets of information sent through the Internet via multiple pathways that arrive at a computer precisely together, on a much more massive scale the brain is almost always sending and receiving billions of signals from distant disparate lobes that converge to form the sensate patterns that are our experienced life.
I am going to school myself so well in things
that, when I try to explain my problems,
I shall speak, not of self, but of geography.


C.G. Jung opined that the West "with its bad habit of wanting to believe (in Asiatic religions) on the one hand, and its highly developed scientific and philosophical critique on the other, finds itself in a real dilemma."18 He counseled that Westerners remain to true their parents' religion, usually Judaism or Christianity, which were themselves imported from the Orient.

It's been nearly a century since Zen Buddhism arrived in America, and it still hasn't settled into this country's cultural norms. Its indigenous teachers continue to confirm their lineage in Japan, although some of its aesthetics have entered Western spaces. Thus, I am sitting in a Japanese Garden reading the poems of Taneda Santōka, who was an unhappy mixture of Zen priest and incurable alcoholic—
I cannot seem to die,
on the other bank a red flower blooms.19

How to return with dignity to the communal house, where I'd been comfortably living? What madness made me give that up for the ascetics of someone else's culture? When I finally announced I was leaving the temple, to continue the practice under other conditions, they didn't let me buy the gray robe I'd worn through so many arduous hours. Defrocked, then, I joined the dusty world again.

In 2004, Zen Master Sueng Sahn passed away at a temple in Seoul, Korea. His teaching was "the don't-know mind."

Clear morning sky—
a green flower blooms
on Sueng Sahn Mountain.


When the innards of computers were still mysterious, it was "Garbage in...garbage out." Yesterday's information is still tossed out, and wisdom is still looked for in the distant past. At the cusp of the 20th Century, an Alutiiq youth “was turned into a shaman by his maternal uncle, who put the boy in a garbage pit for a whole winter. When the boy emerged unharmed in the spring ‘He knew what was on everyone’s mind. He knew a further structurally negative characteristic of transitional beings is that they have nothing. They have no status, property, insignia, secular clothing, rank, kinship position, nothing to demarcate them structurally from their fellows. Their condition is indeed the very prototype of how people would live in the future. He was a person who knew things.’”20



Last Friday night, after a mild day, New York analyst Morgan Stebbins delivered a talk to Oregon Friends of C.G. Jung. Its title, "Context and Essence," was abstract enough to encourage him to traverse a large area of uneven ground, if rather too quickly. His talk was in two parts, connected by Jung's teaching that "we conceive of dreams as purposive and meaningful causal connections."

Furthermore, it lies in the nature of the earliest dreams of childhood that one usually does not get related associations: they are a manifestation of a part of the unconscious, standing alien in time. These early dreams in particular are of the utmost importance because they are dreamed out of the depth of the personality and, therefore, frequently represent an anticipation of the later destiny.21

Decades later we received James Hillman's acorn theory: "The myth says that the roots of the soul are in the heavens, and the human grows downward into life. A little child enters the world as a stranger, and brings a special gift into the world. The task of life is to grow down into this world,"22

The religious attitude is "a dynamic existence or effect not caused by an arbitrary act of will."23 Paraphrasing Jung, Stebbins illustrated this attitude by projecting ten Oxherding Pictures from 13th Century China that represent the stages of consciousness Zen students continue to seek, Ox representing the wandering mind.

then projected pictures from the Rosarium philosophorum, medieval renderings of alchemy's quest for the Philosopher's Stne, which parallels the Oxherding pictures in that they both seek a realization of mind-in-world: one hrough suchness, the other through substance. And while some alchemists toiled to harness their imagination only, "to the alchemist, the magian, the Sufi mystic, and to Jung, the imagination was anything but unreal."26

1- Bering, J. "The End?" Scientific American Mind. Oct/Nov 2008.
2- Snyder, G. From, "For/From Lew." Here the ghost of the poet Lew Welch appears to teach his old friend.
3- Vitebsky, P. "From Cosmology to Environmentalism: Shamanism as Local Knowledge in a Global Setting.” In, G. Harvey, Editor, Shamanism: A Reader. London, England, 2003.
4- Nils-Udo. “Towards Nature.” In, H. Besacier, Nils-Udo: Art in Nature. Paris, France, 2002.
5- Hawking, S. "If There's an Edge to the Universe, There Must Be a God." In, R. Weber, Interviewer, Dialogues with Scientists and Sages. London, England, 1986.
the surfaces gleam in the sunlight: C. Tilley, The Materiality of Stone. Oxford, England, 2004.
6- Cowan, G. "The Sacred Womb." In, M. Tobias and G. Cowan, Editors, The Soul of Nature. New York, NY, 1994.
7- Lippard, L.R. Overlay:Contemporary Art and the Art of Prehistory. New York, NY, 1983.

8- Hort, B. "The Sacred Story of the Divine Hush." Spring Journal 70 (2004).
the fragments, preserved between: D. Keys and N. Pyke, “Decoded at last..." The Independent News Service. 17 April 2005.
9- Bernstein, J.S. Living in the Borderland. London, England, 2007.
10- Bishop, P. Dreams of Power. London, England, 1993.
11- Jabès, E. "The Desert." In, From the Book to the Book: An Edmund Jabès Reader. Hanover, NH, 1991.
12- Hesse, H. The Journey to the East. New York, 1972.
13- Thoreau, H.D. The Maine Woods. Harper & Row: New York, NY, 1987.
14- Bruns, Gerald S. "Becoming-Animal (Some Simple Ways)" New Literary History. Vol. 38, 2007.
15- Deleuze, G. and Guattari, F. Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature. Minneapolis, MN. 1986.
16- Fields, R.D. “White Matter Matters.” Scientific American, March 2008.
17- Neruda, P. From, “We Are Many."
18- Jung, C.G. Psychology and Religion, West and East. Collected Works, Vol. 11. Princeton, NJ, 1976.
19- Santōka, T. Written in 1939, a year before he died.
20- Crowell, A.L. and Leer, J. "Ukgwepet—'Our Bodies.'” In, A.L. Crowell, et.al., Editors, Looking Both Ways: Heritage and Identity of the Alutiiq People. Fairbanks, Ak, 2001.
a further structurally negative characteristic
: V. Turner, “Betwixt and Between: The Liminal Period in Rites of Passage." In, L.C. Mahdi, et.al., Editors., Betwixt & Between: Patterns of Masculine and Feminine Initiation. LaSalle, IL, 1987.
21- Jung, C.G. "On the Method of Dream Interpretation." Children's Dreams. L. Jung and M. Meyer-Grass, Editors. Princeton, NJ, 2008.
22- Hillman, J. "The Soul's Code: An Interview with James Hillman." M.N. Stearns, Interviewer. http://www.personaltransformation.com/Hillman.html
recent research suggests: J.L. Nelson, “Your Cells Are My Cells,” Scientific American. February 2008.
23- Jung, C.G. Psychology and Religion. New Haven, CT, 1938.
24- Weishaus, J. Oxherding: A Reworking of the Zen Text. With Block Prints by Arthur Okamura. San Francisco, CA, 1971. The pictures adove were made by the contemporary artist, Tomikichiro Tokuriki.
25- Dōgen, E. "Mountain and Waters Sūtra." In, K. Tanahashi, Editor, Moon in a Dewdrop: Writings of Zen Master Dōgen. New York, NY, 2000.
26- Raff, Jeffrey. Jung and the Alchemical Imagination. Berwick, ME, 2000.