Listening With The Third Ear

I recently retrieved from my bedroom bookcase Theodor Reik’s book Listening With The Third Ear and began re-reading Chapter 18 Insight. Reik is a Freudian psychoanalyst, trained by Freud, and the 3rd Ear is a skill of a psychoanalyst listening consciously and unconsciously – how the analysand’s conscious and unconscious are being communicated is the subject of his book. The first part of this chapter details the specific operation of how the 3rd ear listens and then Reik follows with two case studies illustrating the operation of 3rd ear listening. Reik’s operationalization of the processes of insight is developed elsewhere and here I wanted to cite a passage that caught my attention as it mirrors a contemporary experience unfolding with Brett Kavanaugh’s interview for a position on the Supreme Court.

Dr. Reik writes this about the first case he presents: “Everything he said that seemed logical and sound, clear and consistent.  Nevertheless, the presence in me of vague but decisive feelings suggested that factors other than those of the reality-situation were responsible for his state of mind.  There were also a few inconsistencies or slight inaccuracies in his tale.  Imponderable impressions indicated that his grief, genuine and sincere as it was, came from some other source.  When he tried to prove to me that the report of a building commission came to certain conclusions in guarded terms his argumentation, though persuasive, was not convincing.  His own statements at this point seemed somewhat ‘reached’ as a scriptwriter would say.
   His yarn was good but there were little imperfections in it, slight unevenness not apparent to the eye but perceptible to testing hands that glide slowly and carefully over the fabric.  Small imperfections caused by the twisting of the threads are known as ‘slubs’ to textile experts.  For there were a few slubs in his otherwise perfect argument.  Other inconspicuous features that elude description suggested that unconscious factors had a share in his depression (193).
… Those minute unevennesses, those small inadequacies I had noted at the beginning, paved the way for the reconstruction of the emotional processes, but it was actually made possible by psychological clues that seemed very remote from the scene, by causal remarks the patient made and treated as if they were irrelevant. It seems to me that the analyst must differentiate between psychological facts and psychological clues. Facts are the data that are known and fully acknowledged as to their significance for the origin and motivation of the emotional process under observation. Clues are material of a special kind, whose importance has not yet been examined and whose significance is not immediately clear. Such clues can contribute much to the solution of a problem. Facts help us to figure out; clues help us to discover things that were always there but that we did not see. Facts are to be used consciously; clues have to be found. Facts appeal to our powers of reason and reflection; clues evoke responses from our imagination (emphasis added). Facts are connected with solid knowledge; clues are related to hunches. Facts give us intellectual security; clues arouse suspense in the realm of thought and ideas” (196).

I have emphasized the word imagination as it operates in Reik’s theory as an aspect of insight, which needs to be carefully unwrapped. This also is done elsewhere in order to see if Reik’s imaginative-insight method can be applied to the collective experience taking place in the Trump-Kavanaugh happening. To begin, we close our eyes and meditate on what surfaces: disappointment, embarrassment, shock, shameful, pathetic, sad, worried, and on and on. These might be identified as psychological facts of what is happening. What are the psychological cues in this happening? The clues that arouse suspense might be: were Trump and Kavanaugh psychologically or physically abused as a child, raised by an alcoholic parent, sexually molested, were there other significant traumatic ordeals in their lives. The issue of inappropriate sexual behavior is a common theme in Kavanaugh and Trump’s lives – is it a psychological cue, raising a hunch, arousing suspense in what is hiding.

At his point, I listened, took notes to The New School event “Foreshadowing the Present: The Legacies of Theodor Reik” (Seven Parts) co-sponsored by the departments of Social Sciences of The New School for General Studies, and The National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis, founded in 1948 by Reik. The event was devoted to exploring the impact of Reik’s work on the current state of diverse psychoanalytic theories, and their major controversies. Participants include doctors Otto Kernberg, Harold Blum, Martin Bergman, Jeremy Safran, Anna Aragno, and Dany Nobus. Carl Jacobs, NPAP program chair, moderates the event. I have let this foreshadowing of the present settle and slowly allow myself to sense clues reaching out to me.

The Legacies of Theodor Reik Part 1 | The New School

The Legacies of Theodor Reik Part 2 | The New School

The Legacies of Theodor Reik Part 3 | The New School

The Legacies of Theodor Reik Part 4 | The New School

The Legacies of Theodor Reik Part 5 | The New School

The Legacies of Theodor Reik Part 6 | The New School

The Legacies of Theodor Reik Part 7 | The New School

Whew, getting through this was a task – a very interesting one! The first issue presented is the way Reik facilitates an analytical session. It is described as “unconscious to unconscious communication”, which is said to address a gap between theory and practice. Intuition is important, with empathy and trust key factors operating as they are in authentic relationships. Jeremy Safran points out that “ongoing reflections on one’s own associations while they are working in order to understand the patient is an unconscious communication between patient and analyst. Analysts’ “use their own associations and the subjective aspect of the relationship as a source of information”. Can we make an effort to sense the ‘unconscious’ that is present in our Kavanaugh experience 10/5/2018 5:55 am cst.

As we watched and listened to reflections on Kavanagh’s behavior we heard the psychoanalytical terms sociopath and narcissist describing his behavior. Each of these pathologies can be used to gain insight into both Kavanagh and Trump – two peas in a pod. However, in the Legacies of Theodor Reik sessions, we have the psychological pathology of masochism addressed. The full concept is Sadomasochism, which “is the giving or receiving pleasure from acts involving the receipt or infliction of pain or humiliation. Practitioners of sadomasochism may seek sexual gratification from their acts. While the terms sadist and masochist refer respectively to one who enjoys giving or receiving pain, practitioners of sadomasochism may switch between activity and passivity” (Wikipedia). The psychological clue now reaching out is that Kavanaugh and Trump have engaged in whipping women and probably being whipped by women.

Reik ends his insight chapter imploring that if this thought “proves valuable when we take it up again and subject it to examination, the requirements of analysis demand that we should, so to speak, let it sound till it fades away spontaneously. To get hold of an unconscious thought or emotion is only one part of the analytic process. To follow it, to observe its consequences, reverberations, and repercussions in the unconscious life of the person is the other part. It is important not to lose the thread one has a hold of. We shall then, certainly, allow the conscious intellectual effort to play a great part in following slowly and carefully, the further intellectual possibilities thus emerging. At the same time, it will not be possible to dispense entirely with the co-operation of the analyst’s unconscious. We might compare this pursuit of our own idea to the end, with the manner of bowing on the violin called molto sostenuto” (213). I hope the  Senate committee votes to reject Kavanagh so, we will not have to be further concerned with his life. Trump, however, is another very serious worry we will still have.

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The Frankenstein Trump Prophecies

I have kept Romanyshyn’s book The Wounded Researcher: Research with Soul in Mind close as I am often moved to re-read chapters. I recently re-read Chapter 13 Towards an Ethical Epistemology which requires researchers, all thinking/feeling persons, to examine their personal Shadows. This new epistemology demands that we examine how our personality impacts our research/writing projects. We are all ‘wounded researchers’ and understanding these ‘wounds’ is a given. In this effort, we are helped by considering the Frankenstein story, which Mary Shelley started writing at 18 and published anonymously at 20 – what imagination!

After an enjoyable evening of watching the Frankenstein movie and the Shelley documentary, we examine Romanyshyn’s work in The Frankenstein Prophecies, which addresses his work on Global Warming. This requires deep thinking on the fact that we have created a modern-day Frankenstein in President Donald Trump! How are we going to deal with this monstrous creation – this is our drama now unfolding “inside America and the Trump Administration”. Sweet Dreams!

Frankenstein | 2004 | William Hurt | PART 1

Frankenstein | 2004 | William Hurt | PART 2

BBC Frankenstein Birth of a Monster

The Frankenstein Prophecies with Robert Romanyshyn

The Frankenstein Prophecies: The Untold Tale—Robert Romanyshyn, Earth Climate Dreams

Deep Ethics: Psychological Meditations and the Transformation of Mind — Robert Romanyshyn

I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration

Lawrence’s guess: who’s the Trump official behind the… Lawrence O’Donnell considers who among the senior Trump officials could have written the anonymous NYT op-ed. Jennifer Rubin, Ron Klain and Jason Johnson share their guesses as well. Duration: 15:50




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The I Ching on the Kim Trump Summit

6/10/2018 6:42 am cst. In the news – the meeting between the US and NK. I am asking the I Ching this question: What of the meeting between the United States and North Korea, between Kim and Trump? I just discovered that Wikipedia has an entry on the summit –2018 North Korea–United States summit

6/10/2018 7:14 am cst. I am listening the MSNBC on the coverage – Kim is already on the ground in Singapore and Trump is about to land. One person was just challenged about his pessimistic view of what could come from this meeting. His point was how can we expect NK after putting 60 years into producing a Bomb, to give it up as it appears the US is demanding. I then realized that the South has put the same 60 years into becoming a member of the global economy, which produces some fine products in the world resulting in a living standards far beyond NK’s. There seems to be a large imbalance in this meeting where the art of the bluff will be active.

6/10/2018 7:22 am cst. Air Force One has just touched down in Singapore. Okay now I will ask the I Ching this question, present its response, and then a comment.

Question: What of the meeting between the North Korea and the United States, between Kim and Trump?

Response: 26. Ta Chu / The Taming Power of the Great with changing lines giving hexagram 51. Chen / The Arousing (Shock, Thunder)

26. Ta Ch’u / The Taming Power of the Great
____  ____  above Ken Keeping Still, Mountain
____  ____
_________  below Ch/ien The Creative, Heaven

The creative is tamed by Ken, Keeping Still. This produces great power, a situation in contrast to that of the ninth hexagram, Hsiao Chu, The Taming of the Small, in which the creative is tamed by the Gentle alone. There one weak line must tame five strong lines, but here four strong lines are constrained by two weak lines; in addition to a minister, there is a prince, and the restraining power therefore is far stronger.
The hexagram has a threefold meaning, expressing different aspects of the concept “holding firm.” Heaven within the mountain gives the idea of holding firm in the sense of holding together; the trigram Ken which holds the trigram Chien still, gives the idea of holding firm in the sense of holding back; the third idea is that of holding firm in the sense of caring for and nourishing. This last is suggested by the fact that the strong line at the top, which is the ruler of the hexagram, is honored and tended as a sage. The third of these meetings also attaches specifically to this strong line at the top, which represents the sage.

The Taming Power of the Great.
Perseverance furthers.
Not eating at home brings good fortune.
It furthers one to cross the great water.

To hold to great creative powers and store them up, as set forth in this hexagram, there is need of a strong, clearheaded man who is honored by the ruler. The trigram Chien points to strong creative power: Ken indicates firmness and points to strong creative power; Ken indicates firmness and truth. Both point to light and clarity and to the daily renewal of character. Only through such daily self-renewal can a man continue at the height of his powers. Force of habit helps to keep order in quiet times; but in periods when there is a great storing up of energy, everything depends on the power of the personality. However, since the worthy are honored, as in the ruler, it is an advantage not to eat at home but rather to earn one’s bread by entering upon public office. Such a man is in harmony with heaven; therefore even great and difficult undertakings, such as crossing the great waters, succeed.

Heaven within the mountain:
The image of The Taming Power Of The Great.
Thus the superior man acquaints himself with many sayings of antiquity
And many deeds of the past,
In order to strengthen his character thereby.

Heaven within the mountain points to hidden treasures. In the words and deeds of the past and there lies hidden a treasure that men may use to strengthen and elevate their own characters. The way to study the past is not to confine oneself to mere knowledge of history, but through application of this knowledge, to give actuality to the past.

Nine at the beginning means:
Danger is at hand. It furthers one to desist.

A man wishes to make vigorous advance, but circumstances present an obstacle. He sees himself held back firmly. If he should attempt to force an advance, it would lead him into misfortune. Therefore it is better for him to compose himself and to wait until an outlet is offered for release of his storeed-up energies.

Nine in the second place means:
The axletrees are taken from the wagon.

Here advance is checked just as in the third line of The Taming Power Of The Small (9). However, in the latter the restraining force is slight; thus a conflict arises between the propulsive and the restraining movement, as a result of which the spokes fall out of the wagon wheels, while here the restraining force is absolutely superior; hence no struggle takes place. One submits and removes the axletrees from the wagon – in other words, contents himself with weighting. In this way energy accumulates for a vigorous advance later on.

Nine in the third place means:
A good horse that follows others
Awareness of danger,
With perseverance, furthers.
Practice chariot driving and armed defense daily.
It furthers one to have somewhere to go.

The way opens; the hindrance has been cleared away. A man is in contact with a strong will acting in the same direction as his own, and goes forward like one good horse following another. But the danger still threatens, and he must remain aware of it, or you will be robbed of his firmness. Thus he must acquire skill on the one hand in what will take him forward, and on the other in what will protect him against on foreseen attacks. It is good in such a pass to have a goal toward which to strive.

Six in the fourth place means:
The headboard of a young bull.
Great good fortune.

This line and the one following it are the two that tame the forward-pushing lower lines. Before a bulls horns grow out, the headboard is fastened to its forehead, so that later when the horns appear they cannot do harm. A good way to restrain wild forces is to forestall it. By so doing one achieves an easy and a great success.

Six in the fifth place means:
The task of a gelded boar.
Good fortune.

Here the restraining of the impetuous forward drive is achieved in an indirect way. The boar’s tusk is in itself dangerous, but if the boar’s nature is altered, the task is no longer a menace. Thus also where a man is concerned, wild force should not be combated directly; instead, it roots should be eradicated.

Nine at the top means:
One obtains the way of heaven. Success.

The time of obstruction is passed. The energy long been up by innovation forces its way out and achieves great success. This refers to a man who is honored by the ruler and whose principles now prevail and shape the world.

Changing Lines Result in hexagram 51. Chen / The Arousing

51. Chen / The Arousing (Shock, Thunder)
____  ____
____  ____   above Chen The Arousing, Thunder
____  ____
____  ____   below Chen The Arousing, Thunder

The hexagram Chen represents eldest son, who seizes rule with energy and power. A yang line develops below two yin lines and presses upward forcibly. this movement is so violent that it arouses terror. It is symbolized by thunder, which bursts froth from the earth and by its shock causes fear and trembling.

Shock brings success.
Shock comes – oh, oh!
Laughing words – ha, ha!
The shock terrifies for a hundred miles,
And he does not let fall the sacrificial spoon and chalice.

The shock that comes from the manifestation of God within the depths of the earth makes man afraid, but this fear of God is good, for joy and merriment can follow upon it.
When a man has learned within his heart what fear and trembling mean, he is safeguarded against any terror produced by outside influences. Let the thunder roll and spread terror a hundred miles around: he remains so composed and reverent in spirit that the sacrificial rite is not interrupted. This is the spirit that must animate leader and rulers of men – a profound inner seriousness from which all outer terrors glance off harmlessly.

Thunder repeated: the image of shock.
Thus in fear and trembling
The superior man sets his life in order
And examines himself

The shock of continuing thunder brings fear and trembling. The superior man is always filled with reverence at the manifestation of God; he sets his life in order and searches his heart, lest it harbor any secret opposition to the will of God. Thus reverence is the foundation of true culture.

6/10/2018 9:25 am cst. I have read these two responses, will reflect and comment on them in the midst of what is now unfolding in the Singapore Summit.


6.11.2018 8:30 am cst. I have been listening to just a little of the news with the World anxiously waiting this meeting. I will now re-read the I Ching’s responses and comment on what it senses about this summit.

6/11/2018 9:19 am cst.  The Taming Power of the Great seems very appropriate to what is currently unfolding in the Singapore Summit. In order for this Summit to produce a Creative outcome, the power of Trump will need to keep still. This keeping still is further outlined by the hexagram’s threefold meanings: first is the “idea of holding firm in the sense of holding together”; this is further developed in that the idea of holding firm is the sense of holding back; the third idea of holding firm is “that of holding firm in the sense of caring for and nourishing”. This is then pulled together with the strong line at the top, which is the ruler of the hexagram, honored and tended as a sage.” This beginning introduction ends by stating that this third meaning, “of caring for and nourishing” attaches specifically to this “strong line at the top, which represents the sage”. If Donald Trump is the sage, how prepared is he to carry out what is now unfolding? Within the first minute, Trump says he will size-up the sincerity in Kin – only he can do this.

The Judgment is quite clear that the great creative powers Trump and Kim both need – are that of being clear-headed, honored rulers, having a presence of “firmness and truth”. We are then told that a man in order to continue to be at the height of his powers, can acquire firmness and truth only through daily self-renewal. The key judgment here is that “in periods when there is a great storing up of energy, everything depends on the power of the personality.” What do we see in regards to Trump and Kim’s personalities? Despite the differences in age, I think Kim’s personality is better prepared than Trump’s for this encounter.

The Image is most foreboding for the United States. Heaven within the mountain is the creative force and is the taming power of the great. It is “the superior man that acquaints himself with may sayings of antiquity, And many deeds of the past, In order to strengthen his character thereby.” Kim has been to the Heaven within the mountain and seen what is pointing to hidden treasures – treasures that men may use to strengthen and elevate their own characters. The way Kin has studied the past was “not to confine oneself to mere knowledge of history but, through application of this knowledge, to give actuality to the past.” When Kim sits across the table from Trump, surrounding and advising Kim will be his father, grandfather, great grandfather. Around Trump’s side of the table will also be his father and grandfather. Which ancestors would you prefer?

6.11.2018 3:00 pm cst. There are four changing lines that give us additional information on the inner dynamics of what is occurring within the overall unfolding experience.

Nine in the second place means The axletrees are taken from the wagon.  There is a absolutely superior restraining force and so there is no struggle taking place. There is a simple submission, while the impediment is being removed, one has to be content with waiting – “In this way energy accumulates for a vigorous advance later on.”

Nine in the third place means that the hindrance is cleared and a way forward opens. The clearance occurs when two men, with strong wills, begin acting in the same direction.  However, “a danger can still threaten and one must remain aware or he will be robbed of his firmness.” A skill is required that will take a  man forward and also protect him against an unforeseen attack. Of course, it is good to have a realistic goal to strive for. Trump says he has been preparing all his life for this moment – we will soon be able to judge how well he has been trained.

Six in the fourth place means to address the headboard of a young bull and this line indicates ‘good fortune’ to be coming. Of course, the young bull is Kim and before his nucellar horns more fully grow out, a headboard needs to be fastened to his forehead, such that when horns appear they cannot do harm. To restrain such a wild force is to forestall it and thereby achieve success.

Finally, a nine at the top means one attains the way to heaven – success! The response is: “The time of obstruction is past. The energy long dammed up by inhibition forces its way out and achieves great success. This refers to a man who is honored by the ruler and whose principles now prevail and shape the world.”

51. Chen / The Arousing (Shock, Thunder)

The changing lines of hexagram 26 Ta Chu presented above describe the initial meeting between Kim and Trump. These lines in turn generate hexagram 51. Chen / The Arousing (Shock, Thunder) that adds further knowledge occurring in the future – we are being forewarned that a violent upward force that arouses terror will burst forth from the earth causing fear and trembling. This coming from the eldest son, who seizes rule with energy and power.

The Judgment itself is shocking.
Shock brings success.
Shock comes – oh, oh!
Laughing words – ha, ha!
The shock terrifies for a hundred miles,
And he does not let fall the sacrificial spoon and chalice.

When a man has learned within his heart what fear and trembling mean, he is safeguarded against any terror produced by outside influences. Let the thunder roll and spread terror a hundred miles around: he remains so composed and reverent in spirit that the sacrificial rite is not interrupted. His is the spirit that must animate leaders and rulers of men – a profound inner seriousness from which all outer terrors glance off harmlessly.

Thunder repeated: the image of shock.
Thus in fear and trembling
The superior man sets his life in order
And examines himself

The shock of continuing thunder brings fear and trembling. The superior man is always filled with reverence at the manifestation of God; he sets his life in order and searches his heart, lest it harbor any secret opposition to the will of God. Thus reverence is the foundation of true culture.

6.11.2018 5:40 pm cst. Sweet Dreams!






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In The American Penal Colony – Trumpesque

The title of this blog entry comes from Franz Kafka’s essay In The Penal Colony. Modifying Kafka’s title suggests his allegorical framework can be used to examine America as a penal colony. Wikipedia’s entry says that allegory “is a metaphor whose vehicle may be a character, place or event, representing real-world issues and occurrences. Allegory use as a form of art is “largely because it can readily illustrate or convey complex ideas and concepts in ways that are comprehensible or striking to its viewers, readers, or listeners.” Kafka used allegory as a “literary rhetorical method to convey (semi-) hidden meanings through symbolic figures, actions, imagery, or events, which together create the moral, spiritual, or political meaning the author wishes to convey.” The issue explored, in part here, is how Kafka’s penal colony allegory can help us examine experiences In the American penal colony under Commandant Trump and more generally in humanity.

I started several times to read Wolfgang Giegerich’s psychoanalytical essay “Ending Emancipation from History: Kafka’s ‘In the penal colony’” (1985) and on, 8.8.2017, picked up the paper from my den floor, starring up at me like a Kafka metamorphosing bug  – for sure, this essay has been metamorphosing and will continue doing so. This all began as another of my bookcase experiences – Wolfgang’s article  was calling out, “read me!”  However, shortly after beginning my read, I realized I needed to re-read, to study, Kafka’s In The Penal Colony. So, I started listening to this 65 minute unabridged audio-book  In The Penal Colony – it is subtitled a “horror mystery”, beware, it is – just as many now realize Commandant Trump’s American Penal Colony is horrifying!

In The Penal Colony by Franz Kafka

As I started to study Kafka’s essay, I had a memory of meeting my high school English teacher, Dellis Schrock, at Fargo’s Street Fair. I asked Dellis if we could meet for coffee and next I heard he had passed over. I was looking forward to exploring his knowledge of literature. So, with Robert Romanyshyn’s epistemology as outlined in his book The Wounded Researcher – Research with Soul in Mind close by, I now have Dellis and Franz sitting here at my table looking over my shoulder, participating in what is unfolding – welcome guys! I cannot remember, Dellis, did we read Kafka in your class – can anyone remember? Excuse me for this  dialogue moment, I hope you are both well and reading good books.  The Trail by Kafka – an interesting choice Dellis. I am reminded of Pink Floyd’s The Trial and its demand to “tear down the wall” opposite of Trump’s “to build a wall”. Tearing down a wall is the psychoanalytical challenge to understand the Other first in ourselves and then in Others among us. This is the Deep Jesus, Us  is each of us.

Franz Kafka’s The Trial movie seems to be getting ahead of what is unfolding. However, complexity informs us that what is unfolding is complex – so let’s get this documented and fermenting – metamorphosing, alchemizing toward what is just & true. And guys, many are now expecting America to soon be having a Trump Trail so, when watching Franz’s The Trial movie, look for a foreshadowing of Trump’s impending trial. There are many parallels, besides Josef K. wanting to “grab” every woman he encounters. An important parallel is that Josef K. and Donald T. both say they are “unaware” of what they are being charged with – “there is no collusion”. Are we seeing in The Trial a future trial of Trump?

So, returning to the main thread of our investigation – the relationship of two horror mysteries: Franz Kafka’s In The Penal Colony and Donald Trump’s sequel In The American Penal Colony.  How is Kafka’s Penal Colony story foreshadowing the unfolding horrors in Trump’s real Penal Colony?  The boy protagonist in Haruki Murakami‘s novel Kafka on the Shore,  calling himself Kafka, imagines the colony machine as “a substitute for explaining the situation we’re in.” So, when we watch the following short Penal Colony movie, I suggest again that we note the parallels in our unfolding Trumpesque Colony – the scariest is the issue of “torture” by the machineAmerican Culture, that Trump is now reconstructing in his demented effort to carve into American flesh his desires.

In the Penal Colony – Short Film

My bookcase was not finished calling to me – this time to pick up Giegerich’s Volume III Soul Violence and turn to Chapter Nine The alchemy of history. This chapter is 61 pages, with Part I Salvation from History: Historicism, Natural Science, Psychology beginning with this quote from Goethe’s letter to Wilhelm von Humboldt 12.01.1831: “I  willingly admit, that in my high age everything is becoming more and more historical to me: whether something happened in the past, in distant kingdoms, or is happening spatially quite close to me in the present moment, is quite the same, indeed, I myself more and more appear historical to myself.” I was struck by how this beginning quote is an experience that is now happening to me in my old age. It is now apparent that there is a personal element, a mystery of some sort, slowly being chiseled into my hide – ouch, this hurts!

After a short introduction, Part I: The invention and production of the past and the second section, The bottomless of history make up Giegerich’s theoretical paradigm – and this is tough deep reading! I am reminded of Romanyshyn’s advise that reading with a struggle is necessary to advance consciousness, which is the theme of living under the First and then  Second Commandant – the advance of consciousness is alchemical – dialectic analytical. In an interview, Haruki Murakami reveals the secret to reading his novel lies in reading it several times: “Kafka on the Shore contains several riddles, but there aren’t any solutions provided. Instead, several of these riddles combine, and through their interaction the possibility of a solution takes shape. And the form this solution takes will be different for each reader. To put it another way, the riddles function as part of the solution. It’s hard to explain but that’s the kind of novel I set out to write”. What are the riddles in Trump’s penal colony? Can we make sense of what is happening and craft a solution?

Several years ago, I had read Part I alchemy of history and when as I finished re-reading it recently, I was surprised to see that Part II was Ending salvation from history: Kafka’s “In the penal colony. The other shorter separate Giegerich essay is here but now more deeply addressed. As I mentioned, understanding this is metamorphosing and several more readings are needed before having a fuller understanding of the riddles in the processes of advancing consciousness. Giegerich states his final point thus: “In the same way that the condemned prisoner in Kafka’s story mindlessly and uncomprehendingly endures what happens to him, the modern consciousness of the Explorer stands ignorant vis-à-vis what is happening and attempts in a variety of ways to defend itself against the heart-rending pain caused by the Harrow digging into him, in the mistaken belief that he can escape the collapse, which has long ago taken place, or expose it as something unreal. Among the defense mechanisms that it deploys are appeal to ethical responsibility and emotional dismay, political and social activism, confessions of quilt and hubris, stubborn insistence on human rights, a clinging to religious or tradition, of secularism, and of socialist activities, or the liberal’s condemnation of irrationality, mysticism, and imperialist forces. All these attempts to keep out of what is really happening – namely, the breaking away of the ontic basis of our being and our collapse into the  unknown, underworld depths of the ontological – while nevertheless mediating between the redeemed consciousness and the factual, now indisputable existence of the new program diagram in the now-operating machine. But the ignorance of the person exposed to the apparatus and his clinging to the familiar perspective oriented towards his ontic mastering of life is part of the essence of the machine, which is always beyond one’s horizon and which has long since started to work on the person strapped into it before he even notices what is happening to him and, especially, before enlightenment begins to come to him.” (413).

This is an extraordinary conclusion that describes what Americans are currently living through with President Donald Trump and we need a new word to describe what is unfolding. We have been exploring Kafka’s book In The Penal Colony as an analogy to America’s unfolding story and the underlying literary framework in this essay relies on Kafka’s work described as Kafkaesque. There is now sufficient experience with Trump to coin the word Trumpesque. The following clip What makes something Kafkaesque uses Kafka’s The Trial to illustrates the impending trial of Donald Trump. Reading “In The Penal Colony’ as an allegory of history is how Giegerich approaches his essay on the alchemy of history. We can use What makes something Kafkaesque? to begin construction on what is unfolding as Trumpesque.

What makes something ‘Kafkaesque?

So, this clip gives us elements of what is Kafkaesque and by extension a view of what Trumpesque is beginning to look like. However, I sense a problem in uncovering what is Trumpesque is that Trump has never clerked in an office like Kafka. Trump has no real-life experiences at the bottom of the organization, only those at the top of his own. This clip makes the point that “It is not the absurdity of bureaucracy alone but the irony of the character’s circular reasoning and reaction to it that is emblematic of Kafka’s writing.” His writing acts as a “mythology to our industrial age, employing dream logic to explore the relationships between systems of arbitrary systems of power and the individuals caught up in them.” I caught myself hoping Trump will soon wake up in Kafka’s story Metamorphosis and find himself transformed into bug unable to get to work. Or like in Kafka’s story, The Hunger Artist, when Trump sees his reality-act loses popularity, he will starve himself to death, realizing his “art of the deal” has always been a fraud. There is humor in Kafkaesque but is there humor in Trumpesque? Okay, SNL, we still do have the power to create.

We end with Kafka’s story The Judgment, which has many interpretations. Russel Berman suggests that “the exiled friend in Russia exerts considerable power over the other characters—Georg, his father, and his fiancée, Frieda. In his diaries, Kafka wrote that the friend is the strongest connection between Georg and his father, for it is through this link that his father is able to reassert himself as paterfamilias and his son’s enemy and that Georg is able to submissively accept him as such. Kafka goes on to relate that the fiancée exists, in a tangential sense, only because of the father-son bond that the absent exile creates.” This appears to be giving us an uncanny view into Donald’s relationship with his father Fred, his impending marriage to Ivana, in the midsts of business discussions with a Petersburg Russian acquaintance – named Vladimir? Georg commits suicide by jumping off a bridge – not a wall!

The Judgment By Franz Kafka

To be continued with a deeper probe into Giegerich’s thesis in Volume III Soul Violence Chapter Nine The alchemy of history.


Giegerich, Wolfgang, David L. Miller, & Greg Mogenson. 2005. Dialectics and Analytical Psychology: The El Capitan Canyon Seminar. New Orleans: Spring Journal Books.

Giegerich, Wolfgang. 2007.  Volume III Soul ViolenceNew Orleans: Spring Journal Books. Chapter Nine The alchemy of history.

Kafka, Franz. 2018. Collective works presented above.

Trumpesque Blog Posts: 

Bulworth “Lonesome” Trump
Posted on January 15, 2016

Donald Got His Gun
Posted on January 25, 2016

The Fool and The Magician
Posted on March 14, 2016

Air Kiss of Death
Posted on July 21, 2016

Dark Knight Rising
Posted on July 22, 2016

I Ching on Trump
Posted on August 12, 2016

Trickster Trump
Posted on September 25, 2016

Atlas Shrugging
Posted on October 10, 2016

Trump A Killing Trick
Posted on October 12, 2016

Trump: A Space-Time Traveler
Posted on October 24, 2016

Trump: A New Moses
Posted on October 25, 2016

Cyclops Trump Amor Fati
Posted on November 11, 2016

Trump Wins
Posted on November 14, 2016

The Trump Borg
Posted on November 23, 2016

Trump Hyper Normalisation
Posted on November 29, 2016

Trump Proposal
Posted on December 5, 2016

Anonymous Trump
Posted on December 14, 2016

Trump’s Ode to Joy
Posted on December 16, 2016

Trump Watching Over All With Loving Grace
Posted on January 4, 2017

Trump Death Before Dishonor
Posted on January 6, 2017

Black Swan Trump
Posted on January 12, 2017

Black Swan One Dimensional Man
Posted on January 20, 2017

The I Ching on Trump’s Election – Gathering Together
Posted on February 20, 2017

The I Ching on Trump’s Election – Wooing
Posted on March 9, 2017

Sly like a fox
Posted on August 29, 2017

Fuck You Donald
Posted on March 26, 2018

America’s Sandy Hook is Germany’s Auschwitz
Posted on April 7, 2018

Our Modern Odyssey
Posted on 

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Our Modern Odyssey

IN-SHADOW – A Modern Odyssey – Animated Short Film

Anonymous – Incredibly Honest Animation Shows What’s Happening In the “Shadow” of Our Society

You Will Wish You Watched This Before You Started Using Social Media | The Twisted Truth

Aldous Huxley interviewed by Mike Wallace : 1958

Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World

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America’s Sandy Hook is Germany’s Auschwitz

I received a message from a high-school classmate commenting very positively on Ed Raymond’s most recent HPR column, Enough to make you puke, on the Parkland school shooting. He is calling for us to rise up and support the students now marching for gun controls. I have recently made a decision to try and change the way our culture influences my well-being. I cancelled Dish Network service so no TV in the house – sad, I had to miss Roseann’s comeback. I still have internet service but it is mainly used for research/writing purposes. However, I still peek into The Rachael Maddow Show, now selectively and without commercials, in order to keep an eye on what Mueller, Stormy, and our Teens are up to. Years ago, I stopped the Fargo Forum but still get Time Magazine, and I only access local TV News for the morning weather report. I had not read the HPR this year and am pulling back from Facebook and YouTube visits, Zuckerberg’s intrusions are most troubling – I hope he and LaPierre soon gets drawn & quartered. Whew, where is this coming from?

It just dawned on me. I was recently identifying a book my son Aaron and I could read and discuss together. I had gone to my bookshelf and taken out Hesse’s Steppenwolf and Thoreau’s Walden for us to consider. The next day an Amazon package arrived for Aaron, it was Walden and he then told me it had been assigned in his NDSU English class for next week. This was synchronistic and we set about reading it together, expecting like in years past I would be able to attend his class.

We prepared reading half the book for the first-class session. I soon realized that as Thoreau was in the process separating from society, moving to his pond, I also was separating and moving away into an upper-room den. Then the professor said I could not attend. Aaron was having some issue with the young professor but this was not why I wanted to attend. Every year I have attended one of his English classes, with no problem. I called the administration and was lectured on the Federal Regulation protecting the civil rights of the other class members. The professor, if agreeing, would then have to follow a maze of regulation. I must admit, I was itching to interact with him – knowing how Aaron was challenging him, he probably wanted nothing to do with a contentious 74 old year old who thinks he the new 24-year-old. I didn’t blame him, at times I can be cantankerous.

I used to read the HPR, published a few essays there and penned a few letters to the editor. After reading Ed’s most recent column, looking at several others, I was reminded of why I had stopped reading his column. Ed is a good Gadfly writer, however, I am not now into his writing style. Ed is good at outlining an issue but not so apt at providing deeper analysis and solutions, if in fact there are any. I know there is a role for Ed’s kind of writing, however, it seems he rarely goes ‘deep’ into the psychoanalytical-state of the issues. Here it may seem to be the ‘deep-state’ in our lives – we know who reminds us of this, however, Trump has no idea of what ‘psychoanalytically deep’ means. Trump himself needs to be on a couch!

My classmate mentioned that one of our high-school teachers Mr. Olson had his students read W. Cleon Skousen’s The Naked Communist, I still have this book and wondered how I came to own it – but I never had Olson for a teacher so, I am thinking, it must have been more widely assigned. What we should have been and now be reading is The Naked Capitalist but not Skousen’s book by this title – a different one, not written by a John Birch Society member, which Skousen was. One has to wonder what Olson’s political views were or who authorized the reading of this book. I see Olson probably to the right of another of our teachers, Mr. Barney, who I see as a progressive. Can you imagine a Native American wife in 1960 Fargo. How about reading and discussing Capitalism and Schizophrenia with the reading notes by Deleuze and Guattari.  Yes, I know where this suggestion is going with current Facebook mentality.

Children lined up to German camp

I do not think my classmate needed to pull his punches with other classmates supporting the NRA’s gun stance. Mr. Barney, wrestling coach, would never suggest we jeopardize a match by being gentle on an opponent – the take-down is the first and important move. Supporters of the NRA’s position should be ‘shot-in-their-footsies’, preferably in their  big toes – taking them right off, let them bleed red-blood like the children of Sandy Hook. I now see my classmate as unwilling or worse not knowing he needs to challenge the system of capitalism – it is more than mental health.

Which brings me to the title for this blog, pause here for a moment and reflect on this title… Read it again… What images comes to you? Sheer Horror? Our children lined-up to enter their American schools (Clara Barton and Horace Mann) as German children lined up to enter Auschwitz. I suspect we now will be having nightmares – oh,  the power of nightmares!                                                

Last night I was re-reading Romanyshyn’s book the Wounded Researcher’s Chapter 12 Writing down the soul and this passage on the qualities of writing necessary to write with soul in mind, stimulated this blog title. Romanyshyn writes that, “All of these qualities characterize the metaphoric sensibility, in which the appeal of metaphor is through an image that it evokes, which is neither an empirical fact nor rational idea. To say that “Jefferson Davis is the Lincoln of the South” is not to proclaim a fact. Nor is it just a mental idea. The metaphor presents an image between fact and idea, which invites a way of seeing that opens a world of possibilities that might become a work. Hence, I would argue that the alchemical art of writing inclines one through an image toward a vision of something. The art of alchemical writing is not, therefore, about convincing the reader through facts and ideas about some truth, but rather, of persuading him or her to see, through an image, some issue in a particular way, to look at it from a specific perspective. In this respect, psychological writing, writing that makes a place for the unconscious, writing that keeps soul in mind, is a rhetorical art” (325).

I have been trying to raise images from this title, America’s Sandy Hook is Germany’s Auschwitz. This is frightening, in fact, I actually hesitated using active imagination for what I actually feared it might conger up! You try imagining into this title and see what you experience – “what are the possibilities that might become a work”? Here is GK Chesterton’s outline of sanity that might be part of the possibilities. Does this seem farfetched? The Outline of Sanity.

Yes, it seems farfetched because as Pinky suggests to overcome structure, power, and agency in our way of living, we would need to commit class treason and this is a very challenging task! Pinky begins by stating, “A child dies every 5 seconds from not having enough food to eat.” Oh, is it time for our class lunch by the lake. Enjoy, however, next time let’s be thinking and discussing what does it mean to commit class treason. This clip ends with a university professor (hitting close to home) telling his wife he is planning to commit class treason, giving up his position, and then comes to the conclusion with their mortgage payment due – this needs more thought!

Where are all the children going?

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I, Robot

Some interesting news on the MSNBC Morning Joe Show  7/18/17. Elon Musk issued another warning against runaway artificial intelligence, stating “AI is an existential risk to mankind”. Even more than Trump? Here is Musk’s warning …

And here is Musk’s full interview. “Musk on Regulating Existential Threat of AI Robots”

Wikipedia’s entry for “Existential risk from AI” is this. “The argument for the existence of the threat is that the human race currently dominates other species because the human brain has some distinctive capabilities that the brains of other animals lack. If AI surpasses humanity in general intelligence and becomes “superintelligent”, then this new superintelligence could become powerful and difficult to control. By way of example, just as the fate of the mountain gorilla depends on human goodwill, so might the fate of humanity depend on the actions of a future machine superintelligence.”

I then remembered “The good-ol days – when people killed people” from the movie I, Robot, where I think Musk’s AI programing challenge is described. The year is 2035, only 18 years hence, when robot technology has created “trusted beings” in our homes, schools, offices, and can we hope in government. However, something is going wrong when a renowned robot designer, Dr. Lanning is found murdered. Robo-phobic police detective Del Spooner, robo-psychologist Dr. Calvin, and Sunny a prototype robot with human emotions team together to stop Musk’s existential threat to mankind – a real terminator.

In this interrogating scene from I Robot, before detective Spooner enters the room to interrogate Sunny, he winks at another detective, which Sunny immediately registers and then askes Spooner what the wink means. Spooner says “it is a sign of ‘trust’ that robots would not understand.” Sunny responds that his father, the murdered scientist Dr. Lanning, tried to teach him human emotions – they are very difficult, Sunny says. Something like passing health care legislation – you thinks? Sunny says he was hiding at the crime scene because he felt frightened – Spooner says robots do not feel fear, they do not feel anything. Sunny says “I do, I even have dreams”. “No,” Spooner says, “you do not dream, human beings dream, even dogs dream, but not robots.” Then Spooner tries to put Sunny in his place by challenging him, that he can not write a symphony, to which Sunny asks, can your write a symphony – of course Spooner cannot and begins to realize he is being challenged by new level of robotic intelligence.

Spooner still probes the case with his assumption that Sunny is ‘simulating human emotions’ and killed his farther, designer, Dr. Lanning. This pushes Sunny to slam his fists onto the metal table they are sitting at, denting it 3 inches. Spooner recovers from the outburst and says, “That emotion is called anger.” Sunny insists that he did not kill Dr. Lanning and wonders if it was something he did, self-reflective, that caused his suicide? Then Sunny reveals that Lanning was troubled about something and had asked Sunny to do something for him. Spooner is now very curious, sits forward to learn more as Sunny asks, “When you love someone you have to help them, don’t you?”

So, here is a project, it seems, Elon Musk, son Aaron, and other programmers are working on. How to program anger and love into a robot? I think we begin with what are the origins of human anger and then how love next is evolving. We need to understand that this evolution is occurring now? What makes us angry and how does anger evolve into love? A nice day-project for the 70s some – before the Terminator arrives. Seems the Terminator evolved, how so? Science fiction leads reality is many ways – the challenge is tracking this.

Singularity University Summit



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