Archive for December, 1996

just vague thinking

I lost the first e-mail message, but there was something similar to what you said about being mindful.

I just feel like I am being way too self centered as of late. I am thinking that it might be a necessary part of the growth process that I will eventually be able to move beyond. I don’t like it. I feel incomplete without others. Not just others in the sense of what they can do for me, but what I can do for them. Being open in that way takes courage, and that is still the one thing that I have been lacking since I got here. Or better, the one thing that I have known that I needed since I got here.

When I wrote the last message, I said that the only way that I could possibly justify progoff would be if I could say that the depth of person that I would gain would allow a sufficient improvement in service to justify the discontinuation of service for a period of time. It would be like service in training. Most of what I am doing I might be able to justify as such, but I think that would not be right. That is not why I am doing it.

I can forsee a point where my whole life could be service, no matter where I am or what I am doing, but honestly that is not where I am at.

The youth work is all that I really have right now. I feel the need to justify my existence so that when I die and right now, I can look at my life and be proud of it. It is an important part of my self esteem to feel that I am a producer and not just a consumer.

I am considering putting off the responsibility for the decision, and trying to put it on your head. I really can’t know what I will bring away from progoff without doing it, so it is very hard for me to make the decision.

Rather, I think that I will ask for an opinion that will play a large, but not absolute part in my final decision. I see myself as fairly important to the youth, but I still have my problems that get in the way. I will talk to the other counselors, and in the end the decision will be mine. Responsibility for the ramifications will be mine as well.

I don’t know if I could have relinquished responsibility anyway, I have usually had a pretty bad authority problem, and relinquishing authority is something that I am not really good at, so it was a neat little passing thought.

Would that have been “playing the game” of external authority? Learning to trust, getting rid of cynicism. I wrote something on the value of codependancy somewhere. I think that it would do me some good.

Listening to the discussion last night after star wars made me weird. I journaled, but not on computer. When I write on the computer, I loose things. I wrote 8 pages in the time that it takes me to type 1/2.

I’ll have to copy it and give it to you, but it gets nasty at times. I am bothered by the unity of Good and Bad. Does that necessarily mean that good and bad are the same. I have utopian pictures of a better world, and I am bothered that they might not matter. I am trying to figure out what to do, but I need to go do school sanctioned writing; good writing.


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Hon101-03 Post

POST:6 USER:WJH3957 ALIAS:'WolvenSage (sic)         ' TIME: 12/6/96 16:05
FORUM 3, THREAD 2: Shadowlands

“Just” is such a relative term. From what I have seen of human past, a “just” god would have annihilated the whole human race a few thousand years ago to be fair to the earth. I am glad that god is not bound by my idea of what is just, because as Mark said, I can only see a little tiny slice of time and creation.

Also, the things that we get hung up on are relative as well. C.S. Lewis’ wife died in shadowlands, and that was certainly (well at least probably) a bad thing for him, but he wasn’t born as a slave in the old south, under a depraved master that raped him every night. I might feel that it is unjust for me to have to suffer academically in order to improve personally, but there are much worse things than bad grades.

I could be that wrongfully imprisoned guy in the Shawshank Redemption.

When I begin to extrapolate this where do I stop. At what point can I say that I have a valid grievance against god. “Just” doesn’t matter. I am not sure what does, but I don’t think that fairness is.


POST:7 USER:WJH3957 ALIAS:'WolvenSage (sic)         ' TIME: 12/6/96 21:29
FORUM 3, THREAD 2: Shadowlands

When I begin to extrapolate this where do I stop. At what point can I say that I have a valid grievance against god. “Just” doesn’t matter. I am not sure what does, but I don’t think that fairness is.

The thought that I began when I started was completely different than the one that I ended with. That’s what happens when you write BBS posts as you are writing an english report, surfing the web, and posting on another BBS; another of the casualties of multi-tasking.

Anyway… What I was going to say was that perhaps we are attempting to judge god by a scale that doesn’t apply. Most, nay all, of the things that I associate with being one with god are internal. Just cannot be made to apply because the things that we use to judge “just” are almost all external.

Perhaps the case of Saliarie (like I can spell) where he was given the gift to realize that he was not good enough. That seems to be an unjust god perhaps, but I think that Saliarie could have handled his problems differently than he did. The death of C.S. Lewis’ was also fairly internal…

Nevermind, I am truing to use the system to defeat the system. I really do not have the concepts to define what it is that is important, but there is a greater … that cannot be affected by external forces.

Perhaps this is just wishful thinking.


POST:8 USER:WJH3957 ALIAS:'WolvenSage (sic)         ' TIME: 12/7/96 13:35
FORUM 3, THREAD 2: Shadowlands

I have been separating the levels of effect of experiences into two main parts. There is a variety of levels of internal effect that I am having trouble separating.

Its like the source of thought that I feel. When I describe a duality of selves, that goes back to how I define neurosis. Neurosis are subsections of a greater whole of personality that are deviant from a “true” self. The true self is not really a true personality, but personality is an aspect of the true self evidenced.

For example, I have a neurosis on my e/i mbti axis. I believe that I am a “true” e, but oftentimes in social experiences, from the outside I would appear to be an i.

The i comes from inside me, but not as deeply as the e does. The i is a product of fears, anger, and other dark parts that I don’t like to face.

But face it I must, not really must, I might be able to live my whole life without working out my neurosis, but that is not what I feel called to do. The need to strive for something higher is like hunger or thirst.

I have neurosis from all parts of my life. Most of them are defense mechanisms that I used when I didn’t want to deal with reality. Some of them are my greatest strengths, but they still need to be faced. Also, some of them are an inherent part of the societies that we exist in.

I am not real clear on the idea of “distortion filters” (which is not good considering the amount of my last english paper that was based on them), but I used them along with the “absolute heterogeneity of meaning” that Mary Louise Pratt mentioned along with “contact zones”. I said that every person has sets of distortion filters that are created as a product of their environment, as well as some that are inherent parts of creation. They color our experiences, so that I can watch the exact same event as someone else, and have it mean something entirely different.

Take religion, because the distortion filters that we get from religion are some of the strongest, being “divinely ordained”, and some of the most (apparently) diverse within a small section of the culture. For an easy one, take a Buddhist monk meditating. I can see it, and see a holy man in pursuit of god. A fundamentalist can see it and see a deceived person who is following false teachers, and doomed to hell if he doesn’t accept Jesus as Lord and Savior.

For me right now, I place value judgements on the colors the distortion filters lend to experience, and thus ourselves. I prefer openness to closeness, I prefer love to hate, I prefer forthrightness to fear.

I can see that all of these are opposite sides of coins; shadows of each other. The right way may lie in the integration of the sides, but not for me right now.

We all recognize the contact zone, or joke starting with: a priest, a rabbi, and a atheist… would make as much sense as a man, a man, and a man (I am being sexist for the benefit of simplicity, if you have a problem: deal with it)


I kinda forgot what I started writing about, I’ll try to get back on topic.


There is a true way to exist without distortion filters/neurosis. At this point I would consider a person truly human. It still would leave someone with a personality. That personality is the one that comes from creation. This might be congruent with the union with god state.

  • Awakening is the beginning birth of the thirst for a higher power, and the realization of neurosis.
  • Purgation is the integration of neurosis and the pursuit of the “true” self.
  • Illumination is when individual destroy a neurosis, and reaches a small point of union with his “true” self.
  • Dark Night of the Soul is perhaps the final integrations of the societal neurosis that are innate portions of our identities.
  • Union is when you are the person that you were meant to be. You are one with god in the fact that you are the person that god meant you to be. But you are still you and god is still god.

(I am making this up as I go along, using only what I have overheard in the lounge about these stages, so I could be confusing things)

This set of stages would be able to explain why Christian mystics apparently stop after they reach union, because inherent in all of the interpretations of the Christ story is the idea that god has to pick you to be one with him, and even then it is god and I. The duality of the Christ picture as the son (individual) of god as (not individual) confuses things considerably for people who have the traditional concepts of god that Christianity imposes. The traditional picture of people as broken in need of a savior essentially shoots people in pursuit of god in the foot, because it says that you can’t get there form here.

When they reach union it appears that this is the end, because we are separate from god. I don’t see the idea of us as god anywhere. In fact, it is likely to get you burned, drawn and quartered, drowned, hung, or crucified; perhaps all of them.

That is the first step in my picture of the pursuit of god.

Then I think that there is a universal shadow that is a a product of the illusion of existence of separation. That really deep shadow can only be faced when someone has overcome all of surface shadows.

(I’m tired now, I must go and write some papers and study for finals, I might try to finish the universal shadow part later.)


POST:9 USER:H     ALIAS:':)                       ' TIME: 12/7/96 14:04
FORUM 3, THREAD 2: Shadowlands

I don’t remember if you said this or not, but I thought that i would try to clear this up. The christian mystics didn’t really explore, or at least they didn’t write it down, the different levels within union. But again, they didn’t stay in the union state. Just because this is the last stage listed, that doesn’t mean that it’s the last thing that you do. The christian mystics did a continual process of achieving union and doing a dark night. They didn’t get to union and stop….it doesn’t work that way. :). Sorry to keep knocking holes in your arguements there Will. Maybe you should read Underhill’s book instead of conjecturing and getting it wrong. :). My advice would be to start conjecturing after you have the facts. Trying to conjecture from fuzzy facts usually only qualifies it as creative BS. :). Good thoughts though.


POST:10 USER:WJH3957 ALIAS:'WolvenSage (sic)         ' TIME: 12/7/96 15:10
FORUM 3, THREAD 2: Shadowlands

I plan to do some reading when I have time, but until then I am going to keep working with what I have got. There are certain positive and negative aspects of going with tradition. Tradition can lend the wisdom of those that have gone before, but if followed too closely, it can lend the limitations as well.

Consider me to have deviated from Underhill officially. Anyway, if I waited until I had all of the facts before I tried to conjecture about reality, then I would never do anything. Even if I did get all of the facts, I think that a maturation of the mental processes as we learn to handle more and more information is necessary before we can ever consider the really big concepts.

So I will attach and then detach as is necessary. Never attaching is the old attachment to detachment. I need to make peace with the fact that I am not “there” yet before I can start my journey. Consider me at least semi-awakened. If I had a complete answer, then I would not need to bother laying it out.

I need some place to stand before I can reach higher. I had the Zen progression described to me as a series of attachments and detachments. I am simply building a level a little bit higher than where I was before, so that I can build another after that. I must attach to this picture before I can have a basis to build a bigger one. “Grounding” so to speak.

Anyway, I just wanted to add a little bit onto that last post.

Since the first level of distortion filters are internal reactions to external stimuli, then as you integrate them, you would be internalizing your authority structure, and I understand it that is the progression in the Perry model of development.

Back to the Christian mystics, I heard (75% sure on this) that there were not stages of no self in their traditions. Am I mistaken? Perhaps they reached a point where they had to abandon the true self that they had worked so had to reach, and the lack of a backing for this decision from within their wisdom tradition they were trapped within the point of union.

Form what H wrote, it is apparent (to me at least) that they did not believe that they had “arrived”. They were still trying to progress using the methods of integration that had served them so well up to this point. But their old methods now needed to be abandoned.

They might have even to be able to dent the glass ceiling that entrapped them, but they could not progress. Creating levels of union rather than progressing to whatever might come next.

The stages of no self come after the distillation of the true self.


If I am seeming rather linear, it is because I am simplifying significantly. The layers of distortion filters that are imposed on the true self are not individual entities. I am only treating them as such, because I don’t have a free week to type. My religious views affect my political and my political views affect how I view societal structures. They work together as a whole, and as different neurosis are dealt with, it affects the others, and not dealing with some neurosis affect how well I can deal with others.

They really all go together into a surface self that must be dealt with as parts because I cannot form an entire concept of the whole, because some neurosis mask others.

I need to go work now, really bad!

Will “my mom calls mr Mr. Rationalization” Holcomb

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TBC post

POST:87 USER:WJH3957 ALIAS:'WolvenSage (sic)         ' TIME: 12/6/96 16:39
FORUM 1, THREAD 1: General

I am making this up as I go along, so bear with me. _-~-_-~-_

As to why we would need to work to achieve god, as a state of being, I think that we have the innate capacity to be god (rather for god to be us), but that there is an essential darkness of the human condition that forces us to hide this from ourselves.

I can see that if we did indeed evolve from “lower” forms of life that a survival instinct would be necessary in order for us to survive. I personally do not like that survival selfishness. It might have been necessary for us to survive when we were not able to take care of our basic needs, but as we have developed better methods of taking care of our basic need it is not as necessary.

I think that right now, the survival selfishness is more of a self fulfilling loop than a necessity. We do not make only what we need. The selfishness does not turn off. As the rich get richer, they are better able to make more money, and do. The elemental thought of self preservation becomes perverted at some point and becomes greed. That is where I have a problem with it.

What if we could change the primary focus of society from material possessions (this is part of my position paper that I need to write very soon *worried little laugh*) to something spiritual. People would no longer need to have the vast accumulations of material possessions to validate themselves. Society as a whole could progress much faster if we were not working against one another.

The ramifications that I see are a dramatic decrease in crime, a better educated populace, and a much higher level of satisfaction with life.

Perhaps this is just a little fancy of mine that can never be realized, but I think that it would be cool if we cared more about each other and less about ourselves. There has been a recent surge (last 15 years or so) in various indicators of dissatisfaction with life. Therapy, religion, and divorce have all been booming.

Selfishness is a limited kind of love. What happens when the life of a child becomes a burden to the parent. The more self oriented they are, the shorter that they will allow their own self interest be violated to accommodate that of the child.

I see the whole concept of love as opposed to greed. Love is caring about something beyond what it can do for me. Greed ends when the benefits do. The terms agape (infinite love) and philio (conditional love) (I don’t know exactly how to spell them) as well as the following passage came to mind.

1.If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2.If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3.If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. 4.Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5.It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6.Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7.It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8.Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9.For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10.but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11.When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12.Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 13.And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13 (English-NIV)

*direction change* I don’t know if anyone else is on the Wesley Foundation or BSU mailing lists, but last week I got a devotional that really made me think. There was a story behind it, but it ended up with a father that had to choose between saving the life of his son, or preventing a passenger train from being derailed. In the end, he stood his post and kept the tracks locked in place rather than run and pull his son from the tracks.

What would he have done if he had a conditional love?

In the post-darwinian evolutionary mechanism of “kin selection”, people care more for those that they know, particularly those that they are related to.

Would the man have been justified to allow a train full of stranger to die in order to save his son? Perhaps, I am not ready to shout a vehement no. (When I say that, I mean justified by relativistic measures of value as opposed to absolutes that might be found spiritually)

I am certain that he would have preferred to. It was not in his personal best interests to save those strangers. I think that he was on his way to god. I am not sure that I would have had the strength to reach that level of self sacrifice.

>When do we accept our faults and move on instead of whining about it?

When we lie down peacefully and let the darkness overtake us. Myself, I hope to “rage” for a little bit longer now. It is not accepting or making excuses. If I look within and find an area where I feel that I am lacking, I (ideally, what really happens is entirely different) don’t use that as an excuse, but I don’t ignore it. I realize that I have a challenge that has to be overcome, and I adjust so that I conquer myself.

I think that eventually we can still the sea of uncertainty that is ourselves, but again it takes honesty and work.

“It is easy to be flexible when one is spinless.”

I don’t like “accepting” things that I see as weaknesses. It might get me to a place of peace, because I stand for nothing. I still cannot see getting to the bead rationalizing my faults. How does that make them go away? I need to work so that I wear away at my edges and expand my center until they meet in perfect smoothness. +++++++ I guess that introspection is a waste of time if you are at one with your soul. I still am working with a massive duality of my selves, so oftentimes my gut is not what I want to or should do. Again, I think that I could find happiness if all that I did was to accept my initial reaction and go with it. I could “accept” that this is who I am, and never look back. If I was standing so solidly in one place, then I could certainly rationalize almost anything, and so long as I did not move my house of cards might stand forever.

I would liken the closed mind to a stone wall, with all the strength and the same amount of life.

Even deeper than that, after I have become a true human, then there is a deeper shadow that must be overcome to reach god.

Well, Malachi is kicking me out of the computer lab again, so I had better cut it short. Merry Christmas.

-Will “stream of consciousness” Holcomb

Also, welcome to Donnie who I have heard rumored to be haunting these electronic halls.

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If your vision doesn't scare you, then both your vision and your God are too small.

‘ello again,

You never got my first ‘ello. When I do e-mail, i use a file on the scratch disk, so that if I have to go, I can save it and come back later. Well, I got busy last night, and what I wrote last night got erased when the scratch disk was cleared.

It started with the fact that my English portfolio is due tomorrow (now today) and that I couldn’t write much.

Then I touched on the difference between what the 4Q said and what it meant.

The meaning, I decided, would take at least 4 more workshops to discover. I think that I have one level of meaning, but that I was imposing my order on the poem rather than seeing all of what was there. I need another workshop to draw all of my meanings together into one part of the whole, after I have that system of meaning solid, then I could explore others, and draw them together as individual wholes (that’s at least 3 more workshops) then I might be able to see what the poem means when all of the parts go together into a really big whole. I don’t think that this can be accomplished by myself at the present time, and probably by the time I was able to see the real meaning I wouldn’t care anymore. I will go into my little meaning when I have time to write a whole bunch; I don’t now, my lease is being called in.

The 4Q said what I have been thinking for a while. Philosophy is wrong for me now. I am hiding in it. I have used it to reveal my obstacles, now I must begin to cross them. Right now, I think that my process is to examine, then move, then examine, then move. The parts of myself are bound together in such a way that until whatever it is that I am holding down is free, the parts that are free are bound. (Boy, that makes a whole lotta sense.) Elliot told me that I need to go out and live. (Actually, I think that I am still telling myself and projecting on Elliot, but I still think that it needs to be done.) It said more, but I forgot what.

I have read my handbook. I got that poem from my friend at UTK, and it was much more special that way. I read the models of growth this last weekend, and I discussed a bunch of stuff with my parents. Mostly stuff for my portfolio which I was writing. My buddy at UTK has been barred from my house for arguing too much politics. He ranted at my dad for about 2 hours. I explained what he was doing using Perry stages to my mother. I hope that I did not skew them too much. I said that I didn’t think that he could stay like this for long, because of all the energy that he puts in his arguments. He must be wearing himself out.

I haven’t had much time to write as of late, and for the next two weeks, I won’t have much more. I used to think about some of my fundamental assumptions about right=good, but good and bad are relative. Right and wrong are not necessarily. Philosophizing is good for me, but it is wrong, because there are other things that I need to do and I am sleeping in thought. It is an emotionless thought.

I have no earthly idea what progoff (sp.) is. I am usually free on Sunday afternoon, but usually only until 6:00. I would like to find out more, so that I can make an executive decision about what to do.

My family went to “First Contact” in Johnson City (Mark O. was there) and afterword I quizzed my brother. I am not sure why I do this. I think that he likes it, but I am afraid that I am doing it to impose my mental superiority over him. I would like to bring him into discussion… don’t know yet. I thought it was a cool movie, especially because my family was discussing the makeup of society, and the cost of being a part.

I think that my position paper will include a poem, and a tirade in the beginning. I wrote about half of the poem a long time ago, and I think that I can finish it. The tirade will be not problem; they never are.

Welp, I need to go define myself for Univ105, so I guess I’ll be headin’ off. C-ya.

-Willaim (Ye Olde English)

I think that I’ve got a semi-good post for the BBS, but I need to tone it down. I hope that I can without loosing the meaning.

I used “distortion filters” as a big part of one of my essays, what does the phrase mean exactly. I attributed it to psychology; is that right?

I hope that you don’t mind quotes as subject header, I am just running out of original things to say. 🙂

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