Probing Hermes

Lit review for my Archetypes of Cyberspace essay:

The Art of the Classical World

This is a nice image of the staff and makes me think of the sign for Mercury and is pertinent to the strange debate about the symbolism involved. Here is a link to a site that claims the caduceus is not the medical symbol at all.

In other words, the Caduceus was just the wand of a conniving god of thieves who helped folks to Hades, and had nothing to do with medicine, let alone healing.

More on that here. With a more traditional image of the caduceus:

Fuller discussion here and here.

Ginette Paris argues more convincingly for two medicines that need clarifying: Hermes and Apollonian.

Interesting too is the link between Hermes and the later Hermes Trismegistus, here is a page light & clear.

Arthur M. Young

Young when young!

I had never heard of the man until recently, and now he is everywhere. Seems he has a lot to say relevant to the psyche and cyberspace, and specifically to the questions raised in the Talbott / Kelly discussion.

Here is a bio.

In 1976 The Reflexive Universe and The Geometry of Meaning were published. These books attempt to identify valid universal first principals and correlate them with modern science. As well, they provide a holistic system for organizing the data of science and generating first order hypotheses for scientific research.

“The theory of process,” says Stanislav Grof, “is a serious candidate for a scientific metaparadigm of the future. His metaparadigm is not only consistent with the best of science, but also capable of dealing with non-objective and non-definable aspects of reality far beyond accepted limits of science.”

Arthur Young believed that the real function of science is the exploration of the human spirit. A bold, humorous, patient and original pioneer, he continues to inspire scientists and philosophers alike towards a truly interdisciplinary vocabulary by opening doorways to the universe of the spirit.

Cybertime

Cybertime
Meg Hourinan in O’Reilly Network: What We’re Doing When We Blog [Jun. 13, 2002]:

What distinguishes a collection of posts from a traditional home page or Web page? Primarily it’s the reverse-chronological order in which posts appear. When a reader visits a weblog, she is always confronted with the newest information at the top of the page.Having the freshest information at the top of the page does a few things: as readers, it gives a sense of immediacy with no effort on our part. We don’t have to scan the page, looking for what’s new or what’s been changed. If content has been added since our last visit, it’s easy to see as soon as the page loads.

Additionally, the newest information at the top (coupled with its time stamps and sense of immediacy) sets the expectation of updates, an expectation reinforced by our return visits to see if there’s something new. Weblogs demonstrate that time is important by the very nature in which they present their information. As weblog readers, we respond with frequent visits, and we are rewarded with fresh content.

Cyberspace is what we called it but cybertime might have fitted as easily. Space is shrunk so we have a global village (perhaps) and time has altered the notion of now. It has altered it to the extent that we have to use words like “real-time”, synchronous, asynchronous. The passage by Meg Hourinan draws attention to this simple phenomena, the use of time… not unexpectedly in web logs. Yes the content is “fresh” or stale… but a strange thing happens, by logging it old content becomes fresh. I think so anyway. I often log old items here, because I think they are still fresh. Sometimes because they are particularly old, like my notes on Huxley’s Crome Yellow. The asynchronous nature of email and web groups is a way that the now has stretched. But for it to be experienced as a stretch we need to see the date. This dating of items is needed so we can get the timing right on the wave we are surfing. Dating items on the web was there from the early days with the conventional Last Updated line at the bottom of the page. With weblogs it has promoted itself to the top. Hmmm, as in newspapers, hence the weblog is more like journalism. Journals too have dates. Rebecca Blood mentions

In early 1999 Brigitte Eaton compiled a list of every weblog she knew about and created the Eatonweb Portal. Brig evaluated all submissions by a simple criterion: that the site consist of dated entries. Webloggers debated what was and what was not a weblog, but since the Eatonweb Portal was the most complete listing of weblogs available, Brig’s inclusive definition prevailed.

All this is of particular interest in that it echoes what happens in the psyche. From the outside it looks as if people in therapy are examining the past, but that is not so. What they bring to a session is “fresh” — because they brought it! And why? Because the pattern of the past will be repeating in the present and the pattern is the interesting thing. Patterns of the soul – archetypes – are worth catching. To be fully there – the ‘past’ also needs to be time-stamped — it is impossible to imagine a specific feeling without a specific moment (or span of them). The underlying pattern is outside of time. Fits with the idea that the soul is eternal. e-ternal, not a reference to the e words but just wondering if it means outside of time?

BookPage Interview February 2000: Peter Matthiessen

BookPage Interview February 2000: Peter Matthiessen

To the suggestion that such attention to detail is part of his appeal, Matthiessen replies, “I think in any writing you’re paying attention to detail. E. M. Forster made that wonderful observation that good writing is administering a series of tiny astonishments. The astonishments aren’t things you never knew. What they are is sort of the first articulation of something you knew but you’d never seen set down in print. And you say, Ah, yes! How true.”

I have been listening to a tape: The Zen of the Writers life – Loving it – a lot of the good stuff is also in this interview.

Blogging, audience, oral tradition and the difference

“audiences”

But for all its pretensions to be an extension of this everyday orality, blogging is instead a) textual and b) radically public. In the blogosphere there’s no possibility of controlling audience boundaries and the numerous voices I use to speak to those many audiences who don’t overhear my conversations with the other audiences. Blogging requires me to choose one way of expressing my thoughts on a subject, one persona, for all possible audiences once and for all time. The fact that I can later elaborate or change my mind or my tone pales in comparison to the massive reduction of that oral multiplicity of audience and voice I described above to a single text which is not only archived–thus welcoming exegeses to which an oral conversation is rarely subjected–but which all potential audiences anywhere in the world can read upon its first posting. There is a rather severe sense in which blogging makes impossible any flexible, modulated negotiation among audiences; there is only the One Audience, the Mass Audience, and it imposes a good deal of constraint on how you speak and what you decide to say at all.

I post this because somewhere I just added to the already stale notion that emails and weblogs are somewhat of a revival of oral tradition. Turbulent Velvet (pseudonym) writes on the refreshing ufobreakfast. There are comments on the site, and there of course the more usual idea that this is a conversation is defended.

McLuhan Interview

mcluhan interview

People are beginning to understand the nature of their new technology, but not yet nearly enough of them — and not nearly well enough. Most people, as I indicated, still cling to what I call the rearview-mirror view of their world. By this I mean to say that because of the invisibility of any environment during the period of its innovation, man is only consciously aware of the environment that has preceded it; in other words, an environment becomes fully visible only when it has been superseded by a new environment; thus we are always one step behind in our view of the world. Because we are benumbed by any new technology — which in turn creates a totally new environment — we tend to make the old environment more visible; we do so by turning it into an art form and by attaching ourselves to the objects and atmosphere that characterized it, just as we’ve done with jazz, and as we’re now doing with the garbage of the mechanical environment via pop art.

I was looking for something on the theme that old media is transformed by the new. I had in mind how the Saturday matinees I used to go to as a child have gone, and were replaced by TV. But movies were not replaced by TV or video for that matter. The presentation on the big screen with big sound and comfortable seats were part of the come-back. I found some interesting items… related but not quite what I was looking for. This classic is one of them. I think I read this in the original at the time. I was a McLuhan fan in the sixties. I have originals of his books. I think he had more than a touch of genius. I have maintained a page on McLuhan since I started this website.

Art, the Net, the collective unconscious

Shakespeare’s Royal Self

by James Kirsch, M.D.

The root of all neurosis is the refusal to accept conflict consciously; once an unconscious conflict becomes conscious, it is no longer neurotic and neurotic suffering is replaced by authentic suffering, which brings about the healing of neurosis

This is by Ediger – found it in my old EditThisPage Weblog File (will post that up soon.) I like the quote and did a search for it, but only found my original post. PLUS other nice stuff.

Particularly the item linked here by James Kirsch. The cgjungpage is such a great resource! What struck me most was the quote from Jung. I am relating this to my earlier posts re Hillman and also to the nature of the NET.

The Net is an expression of the collective unconscious – like all great art. That is a BIG idea.

Art, by its very nature, is not science, and science is essentially not art, both provinces of the mind, therefore, have a reservation that is peculiar to them, and that can be explained only from themselves. Hence when we speak of the relation between psychology and art, we are treating only of that aspect of art which without encroachment can be submitted to a psychological manner of approach. Whatever psychology is able to determine about art will be confined to the psychological process of artistic activity, and will have nothing whatever to do with the innermost nature of art itself.

What contribution can analytical psychology make to the root problem of artistic ‘creation,’ that is, the mystery of the creative energy? . . . Inasmuch as ‘no created mind can penetrate the inner soul of Nature,’ you will surely not expect the impossible from our psychology, namely a valid explanation of that great mystery of life, that we immediately feel in the creative impulse. Like every other science psychology has only a modest contribution to make towards the better and deeper understanding of the phenomena of life, it is no nearer than its sisters to absolute knowledge.

C. G. JUNG

Stuff that dreams are made of

2.03: The Economy of Ideas

Last line from the JPB item linked before:

And finally, in the years to come, most human exchange will be virtual rather than physical, consisting not of stuff but the stuff of which dreams are made. Our future business will be conducted in a world made more of verbs than nouns.

Stuff that dreams are made of… there is the clue… to psyberspace.

BUT… Information is as much a real product as material goods – it arises not only out of dreams but hard work. I think it un-psychological to not see the real thing and then to see into it imaginatively. It is particularly skewed to selectively imagine.

That is central to my whole way of doing therapy. It goes back to the “seduction theory”. Must dig up an article I wrote on that. To put it simply: just because it really happened does not mean we should neglect our dreams.

One thing I loved about this article is the opening quote from Jefferson. JPB certainly found the right bit to quote.

Jim Kent & the Genome Data

O’Reilly Network: Keeping Genome Data Open [Apr. 05, 2002]

“Jim Kent was a graduate student in biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC), when he wrote the program that allowed the public human genome team to assemble its fragments just before Celera’s private, commercial effort. His program ensured that the human genome data would remain in the public domain. Kent wrote the 10,000-line program in a month, because he didn’t want to see the genome data locked up by commercial patents.”

A hero indeed! One of the spin-offs from now using GNU/Linux is that it is easier to see how locking away human knowledge for the benefit of the rich is just evil!