The Writing Life

Discussion of Joseph Campbell's work with an emphasis on the personal creative impulse as well as the sociological role of the artist in today's global community.

Moderators: Clemsy, Martin_Weyers, Cindy B.

Locked
User avatar
Vissi
Associate
Posts: 847
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2003 3:16 pm
Location: Symbol City, Deep In the Heart of the Sonoran Desert
Contact:

Post by Vissi » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

If you write, always wanted to, passionately love the craft, or are an inveterate reader, please feel free to join in this conversation whether you want to state an opinion, share an experience, or post a question for discussion.
User avatar
Vissi
Associate
Posts: 847
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2003 3:16 pm
Location: Symbol City, Deep In the Heart of the Sonoran Desert
Contact:

Post by Vissi » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Author Dan Brown's woes and legal travails associated with The DaVinci Code have recently been in the media regarding Brown's use of other works within his own. Rather than focusing on the legal aspects of this case or what constitutes fair use or ethical research standards, I would be interested in knowing what others feel is the proper boundary between inspiration and being influenced by the work of others. Are any works completely original or are we, as humans, so influenced by all we learn, observe, and experience, that anything we create is simply a unique amalgam of influences?
User avatar
Clemsy
Working Associate
Posts: 10645
Joined: Thu Apr 04, 2002 6:00 am
Location: The forest... somewhere north of Albany
Contact:

Post by Clemsy » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Hi Vissi!

First, fascinating subject for a thread. I'll watch it with interest.

Anyway, I think inspiration is one thing, and may result in some similarity with its source or not. Influence is something else altogether. We really can't escape it and besides, isn't it true that imitation is a sincere form of flattery? For example, there are guitar players with uniquely distinctive sounds, such as Jerry Garcia, Carlos Santana or Dicky Betts. You can hear their influence in other musicians and really don't hold it against them.

I have no doubt the same is true for writers. My genre of choice is science fiction/fantasy. No doubt the influence of the writers who jazzed Tolkien, Asimov, Herbert, DeLaney, etc. can be seen in their work, as the influence of those writers is pretty obvious on authors today.

One has to be careful about how one uses ideas. For example, Clemsy Diggs is a fully developed fictional character. However, I have no vehicle for him other than the one he was created for: the virtual community based on the Alvin Maker Series by Orson Scott Card.

I've been waiting for years for something to come to mind that won't be an obvious rip-off of the world Card created.

However, if something does come along, I would have no problem if someone saw the influence that writer had on the work.

As for the recent Brown controversy, I'm a bit suspicious about the recent case, which brought significant attention to The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail and resulted in a spike in sales the authors would otherwise not have seen.

Besides, that's a nonfiction work. What's the problem?

Cheers,
Michael (playfully known as Clemsy)


Give me stories before I go mad! ~Andreas
davepots
Associate
Posts: 127
Joined: Fri Nov 12, 2004 10:57 pm
Location: Columbia, MD
Contact:

Post by davepots » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

I am an aspiring writer, of sorts. It happened accidentally and totally not on purpose... it is the last path I ever imagined I'd find myself walking. And now that I'm on it, these convictions of the past serve as some sort of reminder that I'm indeed on the proper path.

Anyway, this is an interesting topic you bring up. I suppose on a superficial level, I agree totally with what's been said -- certain storytelling elements are bound to be found and re-found and repeated in stories from now until the end of time. At the same time, the blatant stealing of ideas can certainly get you into trouble.

My writing hero is the filmwriter/director Quentin Tarantino. He is my absolute favorite movie-maker, and has been for well over ten years. Recently, as I've learned more about him, I have realized how much I appreciate the blatant stealing he does from other films/stories. He is not the first (I'm imagine) to say "good artists borrow, great artists steal."

In my writing endeavors (by that I mean the story / personal mythology I'm creating), on a very subtle note, I find myself naturally implementing very small references to myriads of pop-culture artifacts from my life. Call them shout-outs, homages, or references, all are done in (what I hope and am pretty sure) is non-copyright infringement fashion (that is, it isn't the *ideas* I'm stealing, but plays on names, lyrics, quotes, etc). These are for the most part very very subtle and (in a sense) a tremendous afterthought. That is, to do this is not the reason I'm writing what I'm writing.

Surely, my story came first. And it really isn't even "my" story -- I feel it is a pre- and omni-existant story that has "come to me" and is my job to bring into the world. And on a very small part of the side, I happen to be filling it with these small cross-cultural references.
User avatar
Vissi
Associate
Posts: 847
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2003 3:16 pm
Location: Symbol City, Deep In the Heart of the Sonoran Desert
Contact:

Post by Vissi » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Hello Michael, dave, all,

Michael wrote:
First, fascinating subject for a thread. I'll watch it with interest.
Michael, I realize your time is limited but please feel free to take the discussion in any direction that strikes your fancy; nothing is off-topic in this thread, so long as it pertains to writing or the writing life and, of course, conforms to the forum guidelines (the same invitation is extended to all associates, please, feel free to join in and raise topics).

I just discovered this evening that bodhi has a thread on journaling in the Personal Mythology forum so perhaps I'm duplicating here, I don't know. There are so many talented writers in our midst at JCF. Because we're scattered across the planet and can't easily meet at the Algonquin or at a lively bistro on the Rue Ste. Honore, I thought perhaps a thread dedicated to the experience, craft, and love of writing might allow for a wide-ranging discussion. Campbell himself tried his hand at short fiction, if I remember correctly, so surely mythology and writing are akin.

Michael quite eloquently observed:
Anyway, I think inspiration is one thing, and may result in some similarity with its source or not. Influence is something else altogether. We really can't escape it and besides, isn't it true that imitation is a sincere form of flattery? For example, there are guitar players with uniquely distinctive sounds, such as Jerry Garcia, Carlos Santana or Dicky Betts. You can hear their influence in other musicians and really don't hold it against them.
Yes, you make a clear and cogently stated distinction for how the influence of one generation of artists helps shape the creative lexicon of the next. I don't mean to trivialize the hero quest in any way but in my estimation, there certainly are guitar heroes, those who stretch the form and birth new possibilities. And to my way of thinking the same holds true for writers, painters, sculptors, actors --- any group among whom creativity reigns, expression is valued, and the boundaries of art are ever mutable.

Michael then wrote:
I have no doubt the same is true for writers. My genre of choice is science fiction/fantasy. No doubt the influence of the writers who jazzed Tolkien, Asimov, Herbert, DeLaney, etc. can be seen in their work, as the influence of those writers is pretty obvious on authors today.
Absolutely. In addition to the greats you've named, I would also mention Lem, Dick, and my sentimental favorites:Bradbury; Heinlein; and Marion Zimmer Bradley.

Michael then wrote:
One has to be careful about how one uses ideas. For example, Clemsy Diggs is a fully developed fictional character. However, I have no vehicle for him other than the one he was created for: the virtual community based on the Alvin Maker Series by Orson Scott Card.

I've been waiting for years for something to come to mind that won't be an obvious rip-off of the world Card created.
Ideas are the currency of intellectual property. I'm sorry to admit I don't know Card's work but if Clemsy's birth was a result,well, it sounds fascinating. I've often hoped Clemsy would be inspired to write his autobiography or at least his memoirs. He seems a man made of adventure.

Michael wrote:
As for the recent Brown controversy, I'm a bit suspicious about the recent case, which brought significant attention to The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail and resulted in a spike in sales the authors would otherwise not have seen.

Besides, that's a nonfiction work. What's the problem?
Skepticism seems wise any time a well-known and highly successful work is litigated. For me, the border between fiction and nonfiction is very porous (as the current resident of 1600 Penn. Ave. is wont to describe the boundary between Afghanistan and the Pakistani tribal lands).

A few years back, I was fortunate to be present at an absolutely mesmerizing conversation between four brilliant authors at a writers' conference when the distinction between fiction and nonfiction was discussed. One of the authors admitted to fabricating a character when one was needed in nonfiction (not in hard news stories, though that has been common enough in past years) and also admitted to using actual events, unchanged, in fictional works. Then there are the moments in memoirs when an author claims to have had the discerning eye and insights of a forty-year old at the ripe old age of eight or nine which occurs quite commonly, too and usually is not questioned. Interesting how we tend to read what we read under the influence of what we're told about how it should be read, i.e., "This is a true story," "This is a fictional account."

dave wrote:
I am an aspiring writer, of sorts. It happened accidentally and totally not on purpose... it is the last path I ever imagined I'd find myself walking. And now that I'm on it, these convictions of the past serve as some sort of reminder that I'm indeed on the proper path.
This is a tantalizing preview, dave! I'd certainly be interested in reading what you encountered. From the time I was a small girl, my only ambition was to be a painter though I read so much my mother described me as "having her nose in a book all the time." When I began working, it seemed someone was always asking me to write something and try though I might, far fewer people were interested in what I painted.

dave then wrote:
My writing hero is the filmwriter/director Quentin Tarantino. He is my absolute favorite movie-maker, and has been for well over ten years. Recently, as I've learned more about him, I have realized how much I appreciate the blatant stealing he does from other films/stories. He is not the first (I'm imagine) to say "good artists borrow, great artists steal."

In my writing endeavors (by that I mean the story / personal mythology I'm creating), on a very subtle note, I find myself naturally implementing very small references to myriads of pop-culture artifacts from my life. Call them shout-outs, homages, or references, all are done in (what I hope and am pretty sure) is non-copyright infringement fashion (that is, it isn't the *ideas* I'm stealing, but plays on names, lyrics, quotes, etc). These are for the most part very very subtle and (in a sense) a tremendous afterthought. That is, to do this is not the reason I'm writing what I'm writing.
<IMG SRC="/forum/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif"> I like the idea of shout-outs to other artists. Tarantino certainly is very forthright about what he "steals" and in most cases, his homages honor those who are his creative influences and point new audiences to these works. In many art forms, there are recognized (and recognizable) "schools" or "traditions" of work which I think certainly applies to those who legitimately build directly on previous works.

I also think you make a tremendous point in stating you recognize your influences much after the fact. I think this happens a great deal in artists' works --- that the influences come to light after the inspiration, after the creation. Likely, many artists are surprised when others notice similarities between the artist's work and a predecessor.

dave then wrote, most beautifully:
Surely, my story came first. And it really isn't even "my" story -- I feel it is a pre- and omni-existant story that has "come to me" and is my job to bring into the world. And on a very small part of the side, I happen to be filling it with these small cross-cultural references.
Great insight, dave, and truly wonderful description of the frontier where the universal becomes individual and the ephemeral takes form as art!

Thanks, gentlemen, for inaugurating the thread with grand contributions!

Dixie
User avatar
Clemsy
Working Associate
Posts: 10645
Joined: Thu Apr 04, 2002 6:00 am
Location: The forest... somewhere north of Albany
Contact:

Post by Clemsy » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Absolutely. In addition to the greats you've named, I would also mention Lem, Dick, and my sentimental favorites:Bradbury; Heinlein; and Marion Zimmer Bradley.
Vissi you delineated my 'etc.' nicely! Lem is particularly of note, and I regret his recent passing. Speaking of influence, Lem was positively Swiftian in his Ijon Tichy stories, though I would add, "on acid."

As for The Adventures of Clemsy Diggs... someday, someday.

....Actually, we had some fictional fun a few years back right here in this forum, where Clemsy played a central part. Forgot about it. LINK

Enjoy.

_________________

Clemsy lives!

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Michael on 2006-04-28 10:36 ]</font>
Raphael
Associate
Posts: 724
Joined: Thu Sep 29, 2005 12:44 pm
Location: SPACETIME

Post by Raphael » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am


Michael said:
Ideas are the currency of intellectual property.
Totally agree Michael and that is exactly why I do not believe in the concept of intellectual property rights.

Of course when you have a culture that is toxic, and the US is truly a fallen toxic nation, clinging to the absurd belief that they are #1 on the world stage. This is fueled by incredible delusions of grandeur, a nation whose boundaries have swollen, expanded by digesting pride and ego. Pride and Ego that requires a constant ‘energy fix’.
Hence 5% consumes 25% of the energy pie.

Can you imagine needing to feed such a family member every day?

And this is exactly the type of thinking we need to adopt in the ever-shrinking global village.
Honestly how does America behave at the buffet table of elements?
Does she show some restraint?
Is the fact she is the most obese nation a metaphor for a collective mindset?
Has America as a result of aggressive foreign policy this past century now positioned itself to believe they are entitled to the world’s resources enriching the lives of many Americans while at the same time leaving little for a good percentage of the remaining 95% of those showing up for the resource pie.

North Americans are Energy Hogs.

The US having separated Church and State (lol) are now, alongside with Corporate America leading the charge and in their shadow the Church quietly, silently, in approval supports the US military complex. The US long ago started getting rid of the manufacturing base which has been displaced by an ‘information’ economy. They are building the superhighway, which will link the four corners of the globe.
And who will appoint themselves Troll living under the bridge?
This will help maintain an edge of global supremacy…but only if they can enforce such an economic move with ‘intellectual’ property rights.
And those damn Chinese and other Asian countries won’t play our game….

So in essence the US as the patriarch of the global household, receiving its divine inspiration from a patriarchal religion says to the other family members…this is the way it’s going to be.
If you want dad to change a light bulb or fix the broken cupboard door, dad wants to know what’s in it for him. Mom wants help carrying the groceries into the house and the kids say what’s in it for me?

Is it any wonder that in myth the son (Islam) often slays the father (Judaism) because the father harms the mother? (Matriarchal Mary that is the Earth)?
Look no further than the Mid-east providing us with an apt metaphor for the dysfunctional family of the 21st century. This family are all descendants of Abraham and they are the ‘Trinity of Conflict’, Judaism, Christianity and Islam are all siblings adhering to what Joseph Campbell called a “war mythology”.

As I share my very original thoughts and meditations here at JCF do I lay claim to my thoughts? Laying claim to one’s thoughts is an indication we are truly suffering as compassionate human beings. If my thoughts help you through your ‘pain and suffering’ or I help to enrich your life, (Buddha and Jesus) that is enough compensation for me.
Why were both these men portrayed as poor humble souls?

Imagine if I were to discover the cure for Cancer or even better I discover the mathematical formula for the Creation. I uncover the Theory of Everything.
Am I entitled to suppress this info unless I receive ‘compensation’?
The world nurtures and compensates businessmen like George Westinghouse and that other thief of thoughts Thomas Edison. These men were the Bill Gates of their time. These men understood creativity and as a condition of employment, your ideas become their property.
And who decides what information is worthy of compensation?
Who?
How can the US cross borders and even attempt to enforce such silliness?

There are some wonderfully educated and enlightened people here at JCF…many able to store and dispense information like a hard drive but some are without a program unable to access the information on the computer. Like many people, they sit idle waiting for their next command.

What kind of a family exists that prostitutes itself to other family members?
Look no further than the Mid-east providing us with an apt metaphor for the dysfunctional family of the 21st century. This family are all descendants of Abraham and they are the ‘Trinity of Conflict’, Judaism, Christianity and Islam are all siblings adhering to what Joseph Campbell called a “war mythology”.

Associates I suggest you stop being such egotistical prostitutes in need of acknowledgement or monetary compensation. But wait I also suffer from this…I do ‘desire’ acknowledgement, however you can keep the money.
But the acknowledgment I seek only serves to reconnect feelings, my thoughts and me with my fellow humanity.

But certainly do not stop writing fellow associates…writing is just one creative method to uncover a much deeper meaning to your own life and how it fits the grand pattern.
Who among us can lay claim to the entire puzzle when they are just one piece?
Which drop in the ocean propels all the waves simultaneously?

Which thief today has ironclad agreements attached to the use of their software?
Bill Gates who stole many of his ideas from Xerox and IBM.
(Watch the film The Pirates of Silicon Valley)

George Westinghouse, Thomas Edison and Bill Gates are essentially thieves but by definition they are just like Quentin Tarantino and are also artists.
But unlike many other struggling artists these men did not need to maintain a part time job because they owned people’s thoughts which was a condition of employment or was it exploitation?
Tesla sucked as a businessman…but the Edisons and Westinghouses of his time stole his ideas.

Yes we are moving toward a future where the Church and the Corporate World will nail our mind, body and soul to the cross of addictions and energy dependencies.

Allow me to profoundly illuminate the absurdity of a knowledge-based society, where information and cooperation are traded as commodities, always a price quoted.

Bill Gates at one time was worth 100 billion dollars.
The earth is about 5 billion years old.
This means that Bill Gates has essentially made $20 / year since the beginning of time here on Earth!
You realize some people make less that in a month, today?
But wait Bill Gates is so generous…he is worthy of emulation.
Lol …yes a man so wealthy and generous he supplied many schools with computers and then insisted they buy a separate OS for each computer. Gone are the days where information (programs) were freely shared, viewed by Bill Gates as theft.
Theft of what, breaching a monopoly he created which targets and if the truth be known is propelled by desire and sin…porn and gambling are two of the reasons people own computers.

So how many of you aspire to be the shadow of Jesus?
How many of you, the Judas within, are negotiating right now for those 30 pieces of silver believing material wealth will enrich their lives?
How can we possibly move toward to a global village concept if everyone is a Judas or a Troll?
I love websites that give full consent to anything written without any hint of compensation due. People totally anonymous to me yet they enrich my life.

Bill Gates and others defined by their wealth and by observation of their 'benevolent' actions are the anti-Jesus' or anti-Buddhas, are they not?

To give is better than to receive…heard that somewhere.

Namaste

Raphael

_________________
ENERGY = GOD ... Share Him is the Message...
God can be neither created nor destroyed; he can only be transformed into other forms of God. However there is a penalty for committing sin, for transforming God and it is called Entropy.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Raphael on 2006-04-29 10:22 ]</font>
User avatar
Vissi
Associate
Posts: 847
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2003 3:16 pm
Location: Symbol City, Deep In the Heart of the Sonoran Desert
Contact:

Post by Vissi » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Hi Raphael,

<IMG SRC="/forum/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif"> You've created an interesting test of your thoughts on intellectual property rights since the quote you agree with, and attribute to Michael, was actually written by me. But I wrote it in response to Michael's point about the need to be careful of how ideas are used. Consequently, I would not have written it had Michael not written his post, so in a spiritual sense, Michael did participate in writing the sentence you quoted. And, while I do feel all I write is influenced by all I've encountered in life, the view I have is based on the days and nights I live and experience, which are unique. Not better, not perfect, not above reproach, but unique. If I write out of my experience, I offer what is unique to my view or perspective which means I am assembling ideas as I understand them. What I think, feel, and experience may have no value for you but it is the music of my consciousness, the poetry of my blood and breath, borrowed from the human whole and my gift to give to others, or not, as the boon of my time here on earth. Why do I not have a right to trade those songs of my spirit for a "bag of groceries," which the recent Poet Laureate of the U.S., Ted Kooser, states he sometimes earns for his work? Of all the writers I've met or known, none has ever said, "I write for the money," or "Yeah, yeah, what I wrote is pretty good just give me a million bucks and I can stop writing." People who write, love to write, which is what keeps those people writing.

Raphael wrote:
As I share my very original thoughts and meditations here at JCF do I lay claim to my thoughts? Laying claim to one’s thoughts is an indication we are truly suffering as compassionate human beings. If my thoughts help you through your ‘pain and suffering’ or I help to enrich your life, (Buddha and Jesus) that is enough compensation for me. Why were both these men portrayed as poor humble souls?
Your conclusion:"If my thoughts help you through your ‘pain and suffering’ or I help to enrich your life, (Buddha and Jesus) that is enough compensation for me" is a very beautiful expression, Raphael, but why denigrate those who choose to do otherwise? Such disapproval of another's free choice to do what constitutes bliss for them seems to be more akin to the patriarchal controls you decry than to the compassionate and loving stance you have taken above. Though you may dislike the choice another makes, to determine it is not the right, ethical, or compassionate choice for their life is a control you do not have nor should you as you are not living the life that informs the choice, nor will you die that person's death, nor know their joy or suffering unless... the person chooses to express some of it to you and then you will look within, relate to your own experience and say,"I understand." But it is your own experience reflected in the experience of another that brings illumination.

Raphael wrote:
Associates I suggest you stop being such egotistical prostitutes in need of acknowledgement or monetary compensation. But wait I also suffer from this…I do ‘desire’ acknowledgement, however you can keep the money.But the acknowledgment I seek only serves to reconnect feelings, my thoughts and me with my fellow humanity.
<IMG SRC="/forum/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif">You make me smile, Raphael. There are an awful lot of first-person pronouns ("I," "my," and "me,") in the above quoted paragraph. If you have no need of money, please feel free to send all yours to me as there are people in my family waiting for medical treatment due to lack of funds and we're not sure where we may be living next month. I envy your life that is free of the need to trade silver to buy food, or clothing, or medicine. It sounds an idyllic existence.

Raphael wrote:
But certainly do not stop writing fellow associates…writing is just one creative method to uncover a much deeper meaning to your own life and how it fits the grand pattern. Who among us can lay claim to the entire puzzle when they are just one piece?
Which drop in the ocean propels all the waves simultaneously?
Who among us, indeed? Again, a beautiful sentiment, Raphael, one that does seem to acknowledge that their are many jewels having many facets in Indra's net, all reflecting on one another.

Raphael wrote:
I love websites that give full consent to anything written without any hint of compensation due. People totally anonymous to me yet they enrich my life.
The generosity of people is magnificent whether on the internet or on the street or simply in the intentions or prayers sent out for the benefit of others.

Raphael wrote:
Bill Gates and others defined by their wealth and by observation of their 'benevolent' actions are the anti-Jesus' or anti-Buddhas, are they not?
Nope, not in the view of the Buddhist teachings I've received. All sentient beings have Buddha nature, no exceptions, and will all realize/remember/manifest this.

Raphael wrote:
To give is better than to receive…heard that somewhere.
I've heard that to receive with an open and joyful heart, accepting the gift with loving gratitude, is a gift to the giver making it difficult to declare who is the giver and who the receiver.

Dixie

_________________
We walk through ourselves,meeting robbers,ghosts,giants, old men,young men,wives,widows,brothers-in-love.But always meeting ourselves. J. Joyce

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Vissi on 2006-04-29 15:44 ]</font>
User avatar
Vissi
Associate
Posts: 847
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2003 3:16 pm
Location: Symbol City, Deep In the Heart of the Sonoran Desert
Contact:

Post by Vissi » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Michael wrote:

As for The Adventures of Clemsy Diggs... someday, someday.

....Actually, we had some fictional fun a few years back right here in this forum, where Clemsy played a central part. Forgot about it.
Thank you for the link, Michael! What fun. I always suspected Clemsy was deliberately playing down his innate skills and powers but never knew why. <IMG SRC="/forum/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif">
User avatar
bodhibliss
Working Associate
Posts: 1659
Joined: Tue Oct 07, 2003 5:00 am

Post by bodhibliss » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

On 2006-04-28 01:35, Vissi wrote:

I just discovered this evening that bodhi has a thread on journaling in the Personal Mythology forum so perhaps I'm duplicating here, I don't know. There are so many talented writers in our midst at JCF. Because we're scattered across the planet and can't easily meet at the Algonquin or at a lively bistro on the Rue Ste. Honore, I thought perhaps a thread dedicated to the experience, craft, and love of writing might allow for a wide-ranging discussion. Campbell himself tried his hand at short fiction, if I remember correctly, so surely mythology and writing are akin.
No worries about duplication, Vissi. The thread on journaling in the Personal Mythology forum is proving a fascinating conversation. Though there is some overlap, our focus is different. There's been discussion of different understandings of what journaling is, with a variety of personal approaches and individual purposes - and intriguing speculations about the nature of the blogging on the Internet.

We've also been having also been speculating as to whether those who journal are destined to be writers - and, conversely, do only writers journal? I The question is more complex than how i present here, and has generated a number of in-depth responses. We are noticing that in this area there are no yes or no, black or white, "either-or" answers - in part because journaling is an individual, subjective act ... what's right for me might not be for you, and vice versa.
I don't mean to trivialize the hero quest in any way but in my estimation, there certainly are guitar heroes, those who stretch the form and birth new possibilities. And to my way of thinking the same holds true for writers, painters, sculptors, actors --- any group among whom creativity reigns, expression is valued, and the boundaries of art are ever mutable.
I suspect Campbell would agree with you - and this would explain why his work resonates with artists. Joe equated the artist's role to that of the shamanic intitiation quest - definitely a hero's journey.
For me, the border between fiction and nonfiction is very porous ...

A few years back, I was fortunate to be present at an absolutely mesmerizing conversation between four brilliant authors at a writers' conference when the distinction between fiction and nonfiction was discussed. One of the authors admitted to fabricating a character when one was needed in nonfiction (not in hard news stories, though that has been common enough in past years) and also admitted to using actual events, unchanged, in fictional works. Then there are the moments in memoirs when an author claims to have had the discerning eye and insights of a forty-year old at the ripe old age of eight or nine which occurs quite commonly, too and usually is not questioned. Interesting how we tend to read what we read under the influence of what we're told about how it should be read, i.e., "This is a true story," "This is a fictional account."
This distinction between fiction and "non"-fiction is worth exploring - i understand and recognize these broad categories, but wonder how there can be a fixed boundary between the two.

What, after all, isn't fiction?

The moment an event occurs, we immediately - and unconsciously - begin mythologizing it in our minds. It becomes story.

Memories are not what exactly happened - "just the facts, ma'am," as Sgt. Friday used to say on Dragnet - but are colored by personal perspectives, unconscious biases, and the brain's demonstrated ability to fill in the gaps in vision, so to speak. We create heroes and villains, drama, suspense, resolution - which we project back in time, in these "experienced images" finding hooks in on which our projections snag and catch

... but, despite much overlap, every memory is unique.

Of course we tend to take those mythogized memories as literal fact, and lock ourselves into a black-and-white world.

Artists - including, of course, writers - break out of that illusion, leading the way via felt metaphor into a multi-colored, multi-faceted universe.

Yet there is a natural tendency to categorize, to delineate the difference between true and untrue, fact and fiction - hence we all recognize the broad distinction between fiction and nonfiction. The line between, however, is indeed arbitrary.

Not even Dragnet stuck to "the facts, ma'am, just the facts," for we were told at the end of every show "the names have been changed to protect the innocent" - something i've often done myself, changing a name, a description, or other identifiers that might hold a real person in, say, a nonfiction Practical Campbell column, up to ridicule.

Is this fictionalizing? Yes - but is my work now no longer nonfiction?

What about telescoping individuals together, creating a composite character for the sake of streamlining the account (and disguising identities)? Again, the basic details are factual, but intentionally fuzzy in some nonessential points

... and who should determine what is nonessential?

I tend to lean toward the creator - but then, also, seems we must take into account motivation: is the author trying to con people, pulling a swindle (Clifford Irving's phony autobiography of Howard Hughes comes to mind)

... and should those pure of heart - or those who think themselves pure of heart - be allowed to manipulate the facts (whether journalistic or literary) to achieve an intended effect on the audience?

Certainly there are those who would say Leigh and Baigent's Holy Blood, Holy Grail is in fact more fiction than fact - but it purports to be critical historical research. Hence the standards by which we judge it are those of history's literary tradition - whereas The Da Vinci Code lays no claim to the mantle of nonfiction, but admits to be a weaving of fact and fantasy.

My formative years paralleled the birth of "the new journalism," pioneered by the dapper, white-suited Tom Wolfe and the inimitable, often drug-addled Hunter S. Thompson (who coined the term gonzo journalism to describe this style) - and, more recently, P.J. O'Rourke from the conservative end of the spectrum - among others.

These authors stepped outside the traditional, "objective" standards of journalism (and many today question whether or not journalism can truly be objective), reaching towards more of a novelization of nonfiction

... or the mythologization of fact.

Wolfe's Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test and Thompson's Hell's Angels are classic works emerging out of the milieu of sixties subcultures. Both books describe many of the same formative events in the sixties - Ken Kesey's LSD parties at La Honda, the curious relationship between the Merry Pranksters and the Hell's Angels (based on a mutual "outlaw" status?), the formation of the Grateful Dead, Haight-Ashbury's explosion into the national consciousness

- and each unashamedly mythologizes these events.

In Hunter Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, as well as my personal favorite, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail in 1972 (a legendary, off-beat collection of reports covering the presidential campaign for Rolling Stone), it can be difficult telling fact from fiction - but truth comes through outrageous metaphors. It was not in fact an open secret on the campaign trail that Senator Ed Muskie regularly consumed the psychedelic ibogaine - but the image presented merged in public consciousness with behavior, thus hinting at the inner flaws that would eventually derail his campaign

... and Thompson's writing ultimately presented a visceral experience of just how outrageous and out of touch with the real concerns of the public that presidential campaigns can be ...

This is different from partisan reporting - shaping public opinion toward a specific end. Thompson, Wolfe and their colleagues seemed more interesting in expanding - or exploding - the public consciousness.

I'm not surprised the gonzo perspective has influenced other areas of nonfiction. However, the gonzo journalists were always open and aboveboard - they made no pains to appear objective, and did not try to hide what they were doing.

When deception enters into the mix - averring a false statement as fact, then having to retract, as has happend lately with recent memoirs and "true" stories of individuals who turn out to have never existed nor to be based on anyone who ever did, but are just a means of turning a buck - this strikes me as a different story ...

I'm curious to see where the trend takes us ...

metaphorically yours,
bodhibliss

_________________

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Bodhi_Bliss on 2006-04-30 14:40 ]</font>
Raphael
Associate
Posts: 724
Joined: Thu Sep 29, 2005 12:44 pm
Location: SPACETIME

Post by Raphael » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

On 2006-04-30 14:35, Bodhi_Bliss wrote:

When deception enters into the mix - averring a false statement as fact, then having to retract, as has happend lately with recent memoirs and "true" stories of individuals who turn out to have never existed nor to be based on anyone who ever did, but are just a means of turning a buck - this strikes me as a different story ...

I'm curious to see where the trend takes us ...
Sounds like the Church and the creation of Jesus does it not?
Is there deception or as the esoteric Golden Dawn refer to intentional lying as 'blinding'.

Does the Vatican retract or change their stance, have the 'divinely inspired words' been altered through time?

And of course the Vatican has no interest in building an empire? The Church is all about turning a buck...
How?
By exploiting the damnation, Mother Earth and her resources.
Building a church over the sacred sites of those you deposed is a 'land claim'.

metaphorically yours,

Raphael




ENERGY = GOD ... Share Him is the Message...<br>God can be neither created nor destroyed; he can only be transformed into other forms of God. However there is a penalty for committing sin, for transforming God and it is called Entropy.
User avatar
bodhibliss
Working Associate
Posts: 1659
Joined: Tue Oct 07, 2003 5:00 am

Post by bodhibliss » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

You make an interesting point, Raphael

(though i'll admit i'm a little in the dark as to how that relates to the topic of writing ... i'll think on that a bit.)

blessed be
bodhibliss

Raphael
Associate
Posts: 724
Joined: Thu Sep 29, 2005 12:44 pm
Location: SPACETIME

Post by Raphael » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

On 2006-04-30 19:38, Bodhi_Bliss wrote:
You make an interesting point, Raphael

(though i'll admit i'm a little in the dark as to how that relates to the topic of writing ... i'll think on that a bit.)

blessed be
bodhibliss
Allow me to try to clarify Bodhi, I was about to post the following in response to Dixie when I saw you had responded also.
On 2006-04-29 15:32, Vissi wrote:
Hi Raphael,

<IMG SRC="/forum/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif"> You've created an interesting test of your thoughts on intellectual property rights since the quote you agree with, and attribute to Michael, was actually written by me.
Hello Dixie…I am glad someone is willing to engage these thoughts. And does it matter to me who actually wrote the statement I quoted?
Nah.
And, while I do feel all I write is influenced by all I've encountered in life, the view I have is based on the days and nights I live and experience, which are unique. Not better, not perfect, not above reproach, but unique. If I write out of my experience, I offer what is unique to my view or perspective which means I am assembling ideas as I understand them. What I think, feel, and experience may have no value for you but it is the music of my consciousness, the poetry of my blood and breath, borrowed from the human whole and my gift to give to others, or not, as the boon of my time here on earth. Why do I not have a right to trade those songs of my spirit for a "bag of groceries,"…which the recent Poet Laureate of the U.S., Ted Kooser, states he sometimes earns for his work? Of all the writers I've met or known, none has ever said, "I write for the money," or "Yeah, yeah, what I wrote is pretty good just give me a million bucks and I can stop writing." People who write, love to write, which is what keeps those people writing.
First let me address the first part of this statement…it is a somewhat generic summation that anyone who writes could express. In other words, everybody is unique.
I.e. You must understand Dixie that I also see and write about my world as seen through my eyes and my life experience. And inside everyone is at least one book they say. It is a story of pride and ego eager to be heard, an inner desire yearning for the spotlight, wanting to be center stage, a shining light, a messenger of light, the Sun of God, a star.
Secondly you asked…why do I not have a right to trade those songs of my spirit for a "bag of groceries,"
But you do…Judas or is it Judy?
Dixie if you see yourself as truly a messenger with a worthy message to share, show me one example in myth and or scripture that supports your contention that the historical messengers prospered. So using logic if the divine message is FREE, what value shall we place on your thoughts?
I do not begrudge you your bag of groceries or topping up your begging bowl, but do you or Bill Gates have a right to monopolize a manifestation of thought that is actually Universal property.
Isn’t that right God?

Now Dixie I will need to quote you from another thread to continue with my contention.
In the Gospel of Judas thread Dixie, you posted the following…
” What more apt piece of earthly real estate is there than the potter's field, a field so barren it is of no use except as a source from which potters may dig clay to produce their wares…”
Now this is in reference to what Judas purchased with his ill-gotten 30 pieces of silver.
What is real estate Dixie?
Is it not our elemental Mother Earth?

30 pieces of silver = money = real estate = land = Earth = resources = Energy

The very same earth Mother that the very spiritual, very native and very naïve Indians believed could not be bought and sold by mortal men.
But they were not aware that spiritually corrupted men across the ocean had given man domination over Mother Earth in scripture.
I believe Dixie that the metaphorical Satan can only challenge God or control his Creation through controlling the Elemental Mother. Yes the four elements, earth, fire, water and air which we manipulate using the four forces of nuclear strong, nuclear weak, electro-magnetism and gravity.
So you claim potter’s field which is barren has no use except to produce the potters’ wares?
But then you seem to contradict yourself Dixie.
In biblical mythos, man is made from earth (and in the image of God) and at death returns --- ashes to ashes, dust to dust -- having been the clay shaped by god to live a mortal life as the vessel of God's teachings in the traditional sense of the faith or as a full participant, every one a Christ, in a more gnostic interpretation.
So which is it Dixie, a barren (barren mother earth?) potter’s field that you claim is of ‘no use’, or a potter’s field where the pride and ego of the intellectual patriarchal Judaic temple priests represented by Jesus’ shadow the infamous Judas, decided to play god and began molding and sculpting a culture. Does the shadowy Judas represent shadowy Judaism which was born of darkness? The Judaic day starts at sunset NOT sunrise and of course living in the darkness they would need to develop the Hebrew alphabet, which is known as the ‘flame’ alphabet! So they took the gift of fire from Prometheus (the burning bush) and soon were able to control the ‘heat and light’ emanating from the flame thereby slowly displacing the matriarchal Solar cultures who still relied on the cycles of the cosmos for their energy needs.
I would also conclude Yahweh was tired of gardening and wanted to try his hand at building…building an empire of graven images, Towers of Babel.

Now anyone who believes the earth is an inert ball of elemental matter that has no consciousness will not follow my logic.
Those 30 pieces of silver represented the Mother Earth.
It is an exchange that took place PRIOR to the crucifixion of Jesus, the actual cause leading to an effect. Without an exchange taking place for silver, Judas would not have sold out. Would he? Money was exchanged for real estate, money that was received for exploiting Jesus.
But wait Dixie in my comparative studies, Jesus represents in the macrocosm, the elemental Mother Earth and in the microcosm Jesus is you and I, he is within us, each of us…we are all comprised of the same elements, man is in fact created equal.

Now this is consistent with Islamic studies that believe Jesus was not the messiah but a prophet. And I would have to agree because the return of the ‘messiah’ is linked to the Apocalypse, to the final Judgement.
I believe Jesus is not a man who will return to Earth in human form, an avatar, no his return will be marked by Earthly cataclysms, our Mother Earth will give birth once again and the molten waters below (red and hot) will mix with the waters above (blue and cold) formerly separated by the firmament which is the mantel. These energetic godly forces will create a new earth, a new creation, a new paradise, a new golden age for the pride and ego of man to pollute and destroy once again. And when you mix molten red with true blue you get royal purple. The birth of a new kingdom. A fresh start…let’s do it again as a collective until we get it right….cha cha cha!!
In Judaism I can show you how royal purple, the color of Kings and Queens was born of darkness. Just ask.
What I have a problem with is when an ‘idea’ is put under lock and key via patent rights and public domain rules are altered to benefit who?

Ever heard of Masaru Emoto? The Japanese scientist who causes water to crystallize into beautiful patterns using his ‘thoughts generated by his feelings’.
Go here: http://www.hado.net/index2.html

And science is on the threshold of finding the elusive graviton. When they do they will have found the particle I believe that carries our thoughts and feelings.
Dixie my logic may not make sense until some future date. How will we restructure our fallen society when we realize all our thoughts and feelings are universal and no one man or woman can lay claim to Divine access using an ‘archaic intellectual property rights doctrine’? I am sure you have heard of the Akashic records?

But before that happens I can see a future where a belligerent America or a coerced coalition of ‘Money’theistic G_d worshippers decide that China because she does not recognize and acknowledge ‘American’ patent law will be like Iraq, a threat to American hegemony.
You see Dixie, one of the reasons the US is in Iraq, other than energy to support a bloated energy addicted western lifestyle, is because Saddam no longer traded oil in the $US but had switched to Euros, thereby gravely threatening your beloved and much embraced American lifestyle.

Essentially Dixie once you realize that our energy pie is shrinking and the laws of Thermodynamics says we cannot bake pies fast enough to feed an expanding population which have fallen victim to feeding lifestyles and feeding desires, you will finally realize that in fact if each of us were as affluent as Bill Gates we would have 6.5 billion people worth 100 billion dollars each. Where does the wealth come from? It is this kind of a lien on our Mother that threatens to collapse the American Dream. The reality is that this kind of growth attributed to global capitalism flies contrary to ancient Greek wisdom of bequeathing to our children the earth as unchanged as possible. Yes we do in fact “borrow the future from our children”.
And the future can only come from where everything comes to us from … the cosmic rays of the Father Sun/Son via the elemental Mother earth.

Thermodynamic Law, specifically the 1st and 2nd laws (there are 3 and I have added a 4th, just ask) and the concept of macrocosm and microcosm are encapsulated beautifully in the 5th Commandment.

“Honor thy father and mother so that thy days may be long upon the earth.”
-author unknown

However I suggest to you that yes this may actually represent our relationship with our biological moms and dads. But what if you are an orphan, or your parents abused you?
Has scripture marginalized you?
But did not Jesus and Buddha suggest the answers lie within?
Was not the Universe revealed when Krishna opened his mouth?
So we can always turn inward and have the truth revealed.

And when we go inward toward the small, the big is revealed.
Here I present for your enlightenment the macrocosmic version of the 5th Commandment.

“Honor thy Cosmic Father the Sun and thy Elemental Mother Earth so that days may long upon the earth”. -author Raphael (I hereby copyright this saying! The I in me added 5 words 'causing and effecting' demonstrating new purpose so therefore I want to be indemnified!
and 5 is the number of man, the pentagram, a star he is, the I in me wants to be recognized. I too want my
Star on the Universal (studios?) path/ journey/ walk of fame. I too want to be forever immortilized...
(psst, voice from within, time is temporal, time for a reality check, even stars collapse!)

Now what the 5th Commandment is suggesting is that we must live in a balance with Sun and Earth, respecting the cycles and patterns laid out for us.
And when you take the 5th Amendment granted to you by your constitution, you are actually retreating from microcosmic laws that we have created with our thoughts, structured into laws and thus you are granted refuge by the macrocosmic laws imposed by the creator himself, you are granted that reprieve.

Ask me how the Fire cults born of Judaism, those who mastered the ‘gift’ of fire have oppressed and displaced through history the Solar, Water and Fertility cults . Ask me.
Raphael wrote:
As I share my very original thoughts and meditations here at JCF do I lay claim to my thoughts? Laying claim to one’s thoughts is an indication we are truly suffering as compassionate human beings. If my thoughts help you through your ‘pain and suffering’ or I help to enrich your life, (Buddha and Jesus) that is enough compensation for me. Why were both these men portrayed as poor humble souls?
Your conclusion:"If my thoughts help you through your ‘pain and suffering’ or I help to enrich your life, (Buddha and Jesus) that is enough compensation for me" is a very beautiful expression, Raphael, but why denigrate those who choose to do otherwise? Such disapproval of another's free choice to do what constitutes bliss for them seems to be more akin to the patriarchal controls you decry than to the compassionate and loving stance you have taken above.
I am glad you picked up on my obvious ‘polarity’ of feelings and thoughts. The Yin / Yang of my existence. Yes I too deep within have a Satan or a Loki, and even a Judas ready to betray me. I must admit I do use aggressive language sometimes as bait, I have found it is an effective way to ‘shock the monkey’ within another individual. I am activating the ‘fight or flight’ response. But I am not trying to exercise any kind of patriarchal control here at all, in fact if you truly read between my lines, I want to slay that part of me that has suppressed the ‘feminine sacred’, a discipline of controlling my desires, my message is green. My children taught me very quickly, I do not own them, I do not control them, we are only spirits guiding each other. The child guides the parent also. I have a saying, children are as essential to our growth as we are too their birth.
Though you may dislike the choice another makes, to determine it is not the right, ethical, or compassionate choice for their life is a control you do not have nor should you as you are not living the life that informs the choice, nor will you die that person's death, nor know their joy or suffering unless... the person chooses to express some of it to you and then you will look within, relate to your own experience and say,"I understand." But it is your own experience reflected in the experience of another that brings illumination.
Dixie, you, Ravenheart, Bodhi and others have a beautiful way with words, you all have added to my insight. Namaste
Raphael wrote:
Associates I suggest you stop being such egotistical prostitutes in need of acknowledgement or monetary compensation. But wait I also suffer from this…I do ‘desire’ acknowledgement, however you can keep the money.But the acknowledgment I seek only serves to reconnect feelings, my thoughts and me with my fellow humanity.
<IMG SRC="/forum/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif">You make me smile, Raphael. There are an awful lot of first-person pronouns ("I," "my," and "me,") in the above quoted paragraph. If you have no need of money, please feel free to send all yours to me as there are people in my family waiting for medical treatment due to lack of funds and we're not sure where we may be living next month. I envy your life that is free of the need to trade silver to buy food, or clothing, or medicine. It sounds an idyllic existence.
It is. Why don’t you message me with the details, maybe I can help.
And ask me about the web search I did after reading about Dr. Masaru Emotos’ experiments with water and the vibrations produced by words. Ask me.
The I (what my third eye see?) in me will probably start a thread soon anyway.
Raphael wrote:
Bill Gates and others defined by their wealth and by observation of their 'benevolent' actions are the anti-Jesus' or anti-Buddhas, are they not?
Nope, not in the view of the Buddhist teachings I've received. All sentient beings have Buddha nature, no exceptions, and will all realize/remember/manifest this.
True, but that part that is NOT Buddha is of course therefore the ‘anti’, which can mean either ‘opposed’ or ‘in place of’. The Yin in opposition to the Yang.
Si?
Raphael wrote:
To give is better than to receive…heard that somewhere.
I've heard that to receive with an open and joyful heart, accepting the gift with loving gratitude, is a gift to the giver making it difficult to declare who is the giver and who the receiver.

Dixie
As I suggested Dixie message me, but if all I offer is good free advice and not money, is my message of any less value?
You make an interesting point, Raphael

(though i'll admit i'm a little in the dark as to how that relates to the topic of writing ... i'll think on that a bit.)

blessed be
bodhibliss
Did I make the connection for you Bodhi?
Less than 2 years ago a psychic friend of mine suggested I write, the rest is HIStory as they say.

Namaste

Raphael
_________________
ENERGY = GOD ... Share Him is the Message...
God can be neither created nor destroyed; he can only be transformed into other forms of God. However there is a penalty for committing sin, for transforming God and it is called Entropy.


<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Raphael on 2006-05-01 11:17 ]</font>
User avatar
Vissi
Associate
Posts: 847
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2003 3:16 pm
Location: Symbol City, Deep In the Heart of the Sonoran Desert
Contact:

Post by Vissi » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Hello bodhibliss,

bodhibliss wrote:
No worries about duplication, Vissi. The thread on journaling in the Personal Mythology forum is proving a fascinating conversation. Though there is some overlap, our focus is different. There's been discussion of different understandings of what journaling is, with a variety of personal approaches and individual purposes - and intriguing speculations about the nature of the blogging on the Internet.
After discovering the thread, I've been following the discussion and enjoying the contributions very much. The examination of why and how others write is nearly as fascinating to me as the work itself. My thanks to all those who've so generously shared their process through the discussion!

bodhibliss also wrote
This distinction between fiction and "non"-fiction is worth exploring - i understand and recognize these broad categories, but wonder how there can be a fixed boundary between the two.

What, after all, isn't fiction?

The moment an event occurs, we immediately - and unconsciously - begin mythologizing it in our minds. It becomes story.
Great realizations, bodhi, and so eloquently expressed. I agree. When considering all we perceive and react to is filtered through our own history, experience, consciousness, view of reality, and the weighty tonnage of personal projections and imagination, can we truly say something as constant and consensual as an objective standard of fact exists? Though I don't dismiss science or the scientific standard and do know a brick wall exists.

bodhibliss also wrote:
Not even Dragnet stuck to "the facts, ma'am, just the facts," for we were told at the end of every show "the names have been changed to protect the innocent" - something i've often done myself, changing a name, a description, or other identifiers that might hold a real person in, say, a nonfiction Practical Campbell column, up to ridicule.

Is this fictionalizing? Yes - but is my work now no longer nonfiction?

What about telescoping individuals together, creating a composite character for the sake of streamlining the account (and disguising identities)? Again, the basic details are factual, but intentionally fuzzy in some nonessential points

... and who should determine what is nonessential?
The points you make are very similar to those made in the discussion I mentioned earlier in which the boundary of fiction and nonfiction was examined. Publishers' contracts have their warrants and licenses clauses to assure the integrity of the work and the work's originator but the fine details of who said or did, or didn't say or do, what or when in a work are nearly always the province of the writer and the writer's integrity. Poetic or creative license is a time-honored writer's device. As you point out, when writing about the experiences of others from our perspective of them and their actions, one must be sensitive to the end result which is that the writing will be viewed, understood, and reacted to from perspectives the writer does not conceive nor anticipate. Once the work meets the lives and eyes of an audience, the creator has collaborators who add and subtract meaning, extrapolate symbols and metaphors in their own way and from their own view, and the work changes, evolves, maybe even shape-shifts <IMG SRC="/forum/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif">.

As you mention regarding your own work, there are times when the specifics of an individual's identity are best left unshared. I've been reading Palden Gyatso's The Autobiography of a Tibetan Monk in which the author makes a disclaimer to inform the reader that the names of those who aided his protest efforts while he was imprisoned or helped arrange for his escape, have been changed or omitted.

bodhibliss then wrote:
I tend to lean toward the creator - but then, also, seems we must take into account motivation: is the author trying to con people, pulling a swindle (Clifford Irving's phony autobiography of Howard Hughes comes to mind)

... and should those pure of heart - or those who think themselves pure of heart - be allowed to manipulate the facts (whether journalistic or literary) to achieve an intended effect on the audience?
You raise fascinating points, worthy of an entire conversation. For now, I'll recommend a work that has provided a meaningful frame for me in considering such questions: John Gardner's On Moral Fiction. Here Gardner uses the term "moral" in this sense:"As I've admitted already, morality has become, in many people's minds, an unattractive word; almost as unattractive as criticism. One could perhaps find a leaner, less obstreperous word; but the only thing wrong with morality, it seems to me, is that it's frequently been used as a means of repression, a cover, in some quarters. for political tyranny, self-righteous brutality, hypocrisy, and failed imagination. One might as well turn against turnips because Sherman sometimes ate them on his march across the South. Let me say for the moment that morality means nothing more than doing what is unselfish, helpful, kind, and noble-hearted, and doing it with at least a reasonable expectation that in the long run, as well as the short we won't be sorry for what we've done, whether or not it was against some petty human law. Moral action is action which affirms life. In this wide sense there is no inherent contradiction between looking with sympathetic curiosity at the unique and looking for general rules that promote human happiness."

bodhibliss also wrote:
My formative years paralleled the birth of "the new journalism," pioneered by the dapper, white-suited Tom Wolfe and the inimitable, often drug-addled Hunter S. Thompson (who coined the term gonzo journalism to describe this style) - and, more recently, P.J. O'Rourke from the conservative end of the spectrum - among others.

These authors stepped outside the traditional, "objective" standards of journalism (and many today question whether or not journalism can truly be objective), reaching towards more of a novelization of nonfiction

... or the mythologization of fact.

Wolfe's Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test and Thompson's Hell's Angels are classic works emerging out of the milieu of sixties subcultures. Both books describe many of the same formative events in the sixties - Ken Kesey's LSD parties at La Honda, the curious relationship between the Merry Pranksters and the Hell's Angels (based on a mutual "outlaw" status?), the formation of the Grateful Dead, Haight-Ashbury's explosion into the national consciousness

- and each unashamedly mythologizes these events.
Your preceding detailing of Wolfe and Thompson serve as terrific examples of a quality I very much admire in your writing, your consideration of the reader. In characterizing the works mentioned, you share your frame of reference with those familiar with the works and for those who've never read them, the characterization serves as a tantalizing preview. Gonzo writing and its stylistic descendants accomplish much the same purpose as the theatrical style of writing that breaks the fourth wall and offers a level of audience/reader participation that is much more personal, direct, and without the distancing layers of artifice common to more traditional forms of creative communication; the audience is on notice that this is no free ride and each individual he or she is required to be present and participate on this journey of words and wits.

bodhibliss also wrote:
This is different from partisan reporting - shaping public opinion toward a specific end. Thompson, Wolfe and their colleagues seemed more interesting in expanding - or exploding - the public consciousness.

I'm not surprised the gonzo perspective has influenced other areas of nonfiction. However, the gonzo journalists were always open and aboveboard - they made no pains to appear objective, and did not try to hide what they were doing.

When deception enters into the mix - averring a false statement as fact, then having to retract, as has happend lately with recent memoirs and "true" stories of individuals who turn out to have never existed nor to be based on anyone who ever did, but are just a means of turning a buck - this strikes me as a different story ...
I agree that the writer's intention makes a great deal of difference, particularly in news stories or accounts that purport to be factual. To deceive in these forms is to risk abridging faith or trust in all such accounts as well as shattering the ideal of objectivity that makes the accounts valuable in the first place. There are important events abroad in the world and most of us cannot be in all the places where the events occur; we have need of a press corps we believe will provide reporting of something resembling the "facts." But as anyone who has worked on a news story can attest, even "facts" can mislead (or be made to mislead) through subtleties of tone and context. When journalists produce stories based on a single source, verification is not possible and the usual safeguards of the editorial process are jettisoned in favor of being first with an exclusive. If a story is based on only one source, the source can always retract or claim the writer misconstrued or misunderstood. These are some of the perils when the media voluntarily surrenders objectivity in favor of attaining greater market share.

Fiction by its nature has different but related concerns.. The writer's aim (in many fictional instances) is to induce the reader to enter into a bargain of faith in which the writer leads the reader through a world, introduces a cast of characters, or shapes a particular view that is, in essence, another layer of maya, a dream within a dream. If the unbroken dream of the narrative is to stand, the writer must be cautious to earn the reader's trust through not interjecting or intruding on the reader's experience; the litmus test for questionable passages is... has the writer, through demonstrated reliability, earned that detail, that editorial comment, etc. Then there are stories that demand a breach of the writer-reader trust relationship when the writer metaphorically shakes the shoulders of the reader through devices such as an unreliable narrator whose voice and views cannot be trusted. But such devices require consummate skill.

On one level, there is not much to writing. Pick up a pen or pencil, tap a keyboard, and writing is produced. When words become the lure to a personal adventure, the complexities of the craft and its demands become more pervasive. One of my favorite books on writing is John Steinbeck's Journal of a Novel: The East of Eden Letters. Steinbeck's letters to his friend and editor, Pascal Covici, contain exquisite observations on the writing life. In setting out his intention for his novel, Steinbeck offers what I consider a charge and purpose to anyone attracted to writing:
And so I will tell [my sons] one of the greatest, perhaps the greatest story of all --- the story of good and evil, of strength and weakness, of love and hate, of beauty and ugliness. I shall try to demonstrate to them how these doubles are inseparable --- how neither can exist without the other and how out of their groupings creativeness is born. I shall tell them this story against the background of the country I grew up in and along the river I know and do not love very much. For I have discovered that there are other rivers. And this my boys will not know for a very long time nor can they be told. A great many never come to know that there are other rivers. Perhaps that knowledge is saved for maturity and very few people ever mature. It is enough if they flower and reseed. That is all that nature requires of them. But sometimes in a man or a woman awareness takes place --- not very often and always inexplainable. There are no words for it because there is no one ever to tell. This is a secret not kept secret, but locked in wordlessness. The craft or art of writing is the clumsy attempt to find symbols for the wordlessness, In utter loneliness a writer tries to explain the inexplicable. And sometimes if he is very fortunate and if the time is right, a very little of what he is trying to do trickles through --- not ever much. And if he is a writer wise enough to know it can't be done, then he is not a writer at all. A good writer always works at the impossible. There is another kind who pulls in his horizons, drops his mind as one lowers rifle sights. And giving up the impossible he gives up writing. Whether fortunate or unfortunate, this has not happened to me. The same blind effort, the straining and puffing go on in me. And always I hope that a little trickles through. This urge dies hard.
Thank you for your generous response and observations, bodhi. I think more than a little trickled through. <IMG SRC="/forum/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif">

Dixie

_________________
We walk through ourselves,meeting robbers,ghosts,giants, old men,young men,wives,widows,brothers-in-love.But always meeting ourselves. J. Joyce

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Vissi on 2006-05-07 13:58 ]</font>
User avatar
Vissi
Associate
Posts: 847
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2003 3:16 pm
Location: Symbol City, Deep In the Heart of the Sonoran Desert
Contact:

Post by Vissi » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Hello Raphael,

Raphael wrote
You must understand Dixie that I also see and write about my world as seen through my eyes and my life experience. And inside everyone is at least one book they say. It is a story of pride and ego eager to be heard, an inner desire yearning for the spotlight, wanting to be center stage, a shining light, a messenger of light, the Sun of God, a star.
Unlikely as it may seem, I do understand that you often write from your perceptions. Your metaphor of the journey of consciousness as a book to be written by the life of each person is interesting but I don't agree there is only one story and its subject is ego. For many, self-cherishment is not the chief challenge, the central story of their existence. There are many stories, each of equal value and beauty.

Raphael wrote:
Secondly you asked…why do I not have a right to trade those songs of my spirit for a "bag of groceries," But you do…Judas or is it Judy?
My question tends in a different direction, one that bears directly on the topic of this conversation--- the experience of life lived through, and as, art. If one chooses creative expression as a vocation who should object? That's my question.

Raphael wrote:
Dixie if you see yourself as truly a messenger with a worthy message to share, show me one example in myth and or scripture that supports your contention that the historical messengers prospered. So using logic if the divine message is FREE, what value shall we place on your thoughts?
I do not begrudge you your bag of groceries or topping up your begging bowl, but do you or Bill Gates have a right to monopolize a manifestation of thought that is actually Universal property.
Isn’t that right God?
<IMG SRC="/forum/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif"> That's a mighty big projector you're using on your side of the conversation to assume what I feel and believe about myself and my life. I don't see myself as a messenger, I'm a human being. I make no contentions; I am not interested in contending. Instead, I am interested in conversing and through conversing, I don't intend to convert, rather, I intend to communicate. It is my belief that one cannot know or share another's perspective, concerns, or understandings without communication. You very generously share the spiritual perspective that informs your views. This is, to my way of thinking, wonderful for you but does not necessarily apply to nor inspire my life or spiritual perspective. Personally, I don't find there is only one spiritual message and I don't, as a matter of faith, believe in a divinity. The difference in our perspectives is unacknowledged and disregarded, which for me is a disconnect rather than communication. As Strother Martin's character said in Cool Hand Luke, "What we've got here is a failure to communicate."

In the above quoted statement regarding ownership, it is posited that all are equal, all can think, all thoughts are universally owned because all thoughts originate in divinity. Cool train of thought if the point pertains to a view of absolute reality in which all beings are one but then, in absolute reality, anyone owning anything is irrelevant and there is no divinity involved.

Raphael also wrote:
Now Dixie I will need to quote you from another thread to continue with my contention. Now this is in reference to what Judas purchased with his ill-gotten 30 pieces of silver.
What is real estate Dixie?
Is it not our elemental Mother Earth?

30 pieces of silver = money = real estate = land = Earth = resources = Energy

The very same earth Mother that the very spiritual, very native and very naïve Indians believed could not be bought and sold by mortal men.
But they were not aware that spiritually corrupted men across the ocean had given man domination over Mother Earth in scripture.
I believe Dixie that the metaphorical Satan can only challenge God or control his Creation through controlling the Elemental Mother. Yes the four elements, earth, fire, water and air which we manipulate using the four forces of nuclear strong, nuclear weak, electro-magnetism and gravity.
So you claim potter’s field which is barren has no use except to produce the potters’ wares?
But then you seem to contradict yourself Dixie.
As these statements are tangentially related to writing, albeit writing in the Gospel of Judas thread I'll comment on the assertions to clear up the misapprehension and disregard for the context from which what I wrote was taken. My discussion of "the potter's field" was based on the definition of the term (potter's field) and why, in ancient times, certain properties were designated as potters' fields --- spaces in which crops were not grown and potters were free to dig beneath the surface to obtain clay to build vessels. In the sense that these areas were not cultivated, were purposefully allowed to lie fallow, they were barren of food crops. My words were metaphorical of characterizations and events as pertained to the mythic symbols in various biblical texts, not statements of personal belief and/or identification. As Joseph Campbell often remarked about misapprehensions arising from how myths are read, mistaken readings often occur when poetry is read as prose. Having mentioned Campbell, may I ask which of his works is your favorite or which of his teachings holds particular meaning for you?

Raphael wrote:
I must admit I do use aggressive language sometimes as bait, I have found it is an effective way to ‘shock the monkey’ within another individual. I am activating the ‘fight or flight’ response. But I am not trying to exercise any kind of patriarchal control here at all, in fact if you truly read between my lines, I want to slay that part of me that has suppressed the ‘feminine sacred’...
Sorry, but the idea that it is necessary or permissible to be aggressive in tone or language, to bait others, "shock the monkey within another individual," or pressure a reader to fight or flee, is the epitome of an intent to control because such actions serve to set the writer up as the sole authority on what another needs without regard or respect for the intelligence and experience of the other or the other's opinions, feelings, or desires.

To read between the lines of another's work and presuppose the writer's intent is an open invitation for projection and likely for misinterpretation. If your intent is to balance the masculine and feminine within, then stating that, as you have done, is one sure way to make your intentions clearly understood.

Raphael wrote and quoted:
Bill Gates and others defined by their wealth and by observation of their 'benevolent' actions are the anti-Jesus' or anti-Buddhas, are they not?

Vissi: Nope, not in the view of the Buddhist teachings I've received. All sentient beings have Buddha nature, no exceptions, and will all realize/remember/manifest this.

Raphael: True, but that part that is NOT Buddha is of course therefore the ‘anti’, which can mean either ‘opposed’ or ‘in place of’. The Yin in opposition to the Yang.
Si?
<IMG SRC="/forum/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif"> I'm not completely stupid. Yes, I understand your point but nope, still not applicable. Buddhism is not an Eastern equivalent of a deistic system. The amazing, wondrous thing about Buddha nature is that it is not a function or state of limited time and space or of opposites; Buddha nature is infinite and without duality.

Though the yin yang symbol is generally more Taoist than Buddhist, there are nuances of the symbology that could conceivably be interpreted in terms of Buddhist concepts such as the two halves eternally joined at the center and at the center there is no duality, only one center. Additionally, there is in yin a spot of the color of yang and in yang there is a spot of the color of yin, which could be interpreted as symbolizing a state or function of consciousness beyond pairs of opposites. If one wants to carry the Buddhist analogy further, it could be said that the lack of a separate, inherent identity as indicated by the presence of yin in yang and vice versa, could be viewed as illustrative of anatman/anatta but that would be carrying the analogy perhaps a bit far --- yin is yang and not yang; yin is yin and not yin; yang is yin and not yin; yang is yang and not yang; yin is yin and no other than yin; yang is yang and no other than yang. yin yang is yin yang and not yin tang; yin yang is no other than yin yang. I'm not sure this is the truest reading of the symbol. The interpretations the symbol is usually associated with seem more apt.

Raphael wrote:
As I suggested Dixie message me, but if all I offer is good free advice and not money, is my message of any less value?
Thank you for your kind offer. Friendly advice is always appreciated and is priceless.

May all beings be free from suffering and cease the causes of suffering,
Dixie
Locked