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About Yueya

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    月牙 yuèyá (Crescent Moon)

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  1. Road Trip 2

    @Nungali You'll be travelling very close to my place on your way back. PM me if you'd like to call in and I'll give you my address.
  2. Politics as Alchemical Transformation

    I agree polar forces are being distilled out, but it’s such a complex, worldwide situation I have no clarity on it at all. I can only stand back and witness as an older person, no longer active in partisan politics, in the privileged position of living in a remote location in a country far removed from the epicentre of these events. One distillation that has directly affected me though, is how the heat of the Trump discussions within the alchemical cauldron of this forum has led to a separation out of distinct opposing forces and the creation of a new website mirroring this one being created by disaffected members. Thus one has become two. Who would have thought that when Trump was elected that he would be a catalyst for such a change here? Not only is the political situation ungrounded and hence unstable, so too is the world economy. It’s on a totally unsustainable trajectory. Once the illusion of our current prosperity collapses, then real heat will be applied to the already volatile political situation. Has it ever been any other way. To give just one instance, the profound turmoil of the Warring States centuries in China led to the distilling out of Daoist, Confucian and other principles from the competing chaos of the Hundred Schools of Thought. It has proved to be a seminal period for Chinese culture; a time when “all psyche’s fertile and creative impulses” were in full bloom. Time for a musical interlude I think.
  3. No more right-wing bullshit.

    Yes, I've just added a new topic with this same thought as one of my observations.
  4. I’ve previously mentioned how I would like to see some political discussion here outside of partisan politics. Following on from this comment, here are some tentative thoughts shaped around a couple of paragraphs of alchemical commentary written by Marie-Louise von Franz: “In Mysterium Coniunctionis Carl Jung gives detailed commentary on the figure of the old king, who represents the arcane substance and is usually portrayed by the alchemists at the beginning of the process as defective, unredeemed, rigidified, sick, or even evil. The defective quality corresponds to an intensified egotism and hardening of the heart that must be broken down in the alchemical bath. Power hunger and concupiscence often also ingloriously characterise the old king. This attitude of power is characterised by a total lack of feminine softness, of warmth and connection. “The spirit, which in itself is no adversary of the soul, degenerates in such personifications to the level of the intellect, and in this contracted and rigidified form stands in the way of all psyche’s fertile and creative impulses. It is the enemy of emotionality and instinct, but for precisely this reason it secretly lets itself be negatively influenced by primitive impulses.” In contemporary politics it’s easy to see the established parties on both sides as the old kings that have become “defective, unredeemed, rigidified, sick, or even evil”. Both sides are power hungry and prone to concupiscence. More generally, the old king could be seen as the whole moral fabric of society, with our culture pervaded by a “contracted and rigidified” intellectual form of spirit; the intellectual left as bankrupt as the corrupt, patriarchal right. And note how new leaders like Trump and Boris Johnson are unstable, mercurial figures; poison-dripping dragons and tricksters, yet also reconnecting politics with emotionality and instinct, albeit at a primitive level. The intellectual left has no idea how to counteract this, being cut off from acknowledging their own chaotic emotions and instincts. Note how their logical rebuttals, the citing of facts etc, gains no traction in the current political climate. From all this turmoil, with the help of what they called the spirit Mercurius, the alchemists saw the birth of something new; so hopefully our bubbling cauldron of contemporary politics with its mercurial figure-heads can eventually do the same once enough heat is applied. The old alchemists give us some guidance: “The defective quality corresponds to an intensified egotism and hardening of the heart that must be broken down,” as does the “power hunger and concupiscence”; all of which are not only characteristics of our politics but also pervasive throughout our culture. And along with these changes there naturally comes a rebirth of feminine softness, of warmth and connection. Unfortunately, I don’t see any significant trend in this direction. Instead I see the steady rise of a new king; individualism and egotism along with a slow but ongoing reversion to a more historically normal distribution of wealth with a huge divide between a small ultra-rich minority and the rest of us. Multinational corporations are the vehicle for this, their power continues its rise. Countering this there are positive new kings as well, such as the rise of emotional awareness, albeit from a low level. Speaking of our culture generally, our intellect is overdeveloped in comparison to our emotional and spiritual growth.
  5. No more right-wing bullshit.

    A general comment on the left / right divide.... From my perspective in Australia, the centre in American politics is well to the right. From what I’ve seen, all of the so called left-wing policies mentioned in the American context are undisputed policies on both sides of mainstream politics here. I suspect this is also the case in most all, if not all, other Western democracies.
  6. Jung shadow work?

    An excellent summation of the importance of accepting one's own darkness:
  7. I’m an old recluse who lives in Australia and I don’t want to get involved in American partisan politics. However, I’ll always find, racism, bigotry, misogyny, and homophobia toxic anywhere, and especially on a spiritually focused forum like this one. And it’s a sad fact that these attitudes abound within the pro-Trump camp. Hence, I’d be very happy for staff to always make it known that such attitudes are not welcome here. Personally, I’d like to see more humility and compassion on display. But that’s something that can only come from within. Otherwise it becomes inauthentic, like what’s often found within organised religion, be it Christianity, Buddhism etc. And this site does have a vitality that only a certain level of conflict can produce.
  8. What We Think We Know

    Thank you. I can't take credit for it though. It's the motto of Christian Knorr von Rosenroth. Jung quotes it at the beginning of his essay, The Psychology of the Transference.
  9. What We Think We Know

    Old Dog, I appreciate the thoughtfulness of your contributions on this forum. Thank you. But when I say I don't want to pursue a topic I mean it. My reasons for not wanting to do so should be clear from my previous post.
  10. I’d like to keep a focus on Daoism too, though I’m happy to see “Daoist Textual Studies” changed to a more general “Textual Studies”. But the biggest change I’d like to see is to never again allow staff to become so one-sided politically. That’s something that’s proved toxic for this forum and resulted in a number of members, including myself, no longer feeling comfortable participating here. And it seems a number of good people have left permanently.
  11. What We Think We Know

    I fully agree with your first paragraph. But not: His was very much an exploration of both the individual and collective psyche. And he fully embraced the spiritual dimension, a vital aspect of reality that academia in general has trouble coming to terms with. Hence his work is totally relevant to our contemporary situation because, for me, our contemporary problems are not intellectual - that's our cultural strength - they're spiritual. However, we all find meaning in different perspectives. For me, the perspective of the article you reference in you OP is shallow compared to Jung's. It's too intellectual. But really I'm very content to leave it at that. It's not something I want to pursue. One of my personal difficulties that I seek to overcome is that I get overly caught up in the world of ideas. Intellectual understanding is good as far as it goes, but it's feeling connections that give meaning for me. My feelings allow me to enter the spiritual realm. The Dao Bums discussion format means we tend to pursue difference, as I'm partly doing here, but that's such a problematic way to connect. However, I know we all do our best with what's available to us. And I'm thankful that this forum, which I'd almost given up on, has been restored to a place I once again feel some affinity with since Sean's intervention.
  12. What We Think We Know

    A vast topic, Old Dog. I've found Carl Jung's explorations particularly helpful in this regard. But it seems he's little read by other Bums and there's no way I can distill the essence of his wisdom into any sort of cogent reply. What's most encouraging for me about your OP is the actual fact that you're wanting to explore the workings of our human psyche, both personally and collectively. “The psyche is the greatest of all cosmic wonders and the “sin qua non” [indispensable ingredient] of the world as an object. It is in the highest degree odd that Western man, with but very few - and ever fewer - exceptions, apparently pays so little regard to this fact. Swamped by the knowledge of external objects, the subject of all knowledge [the psyche] has been temporarily eclipsed to the point of seeming nonexistence.” - Carl Jung [Jung understands psyche as the totality of all psychic processes, conscious as well as unconscious. He uses the term ‘psyche’ rather than ‘mind’, since mind is used in common parlance to refer to the aspects of mental functioning which are conscious. Jung maintained that the psyche is a self-regulating system (like the body). For Jung, the psyche strives to maintain a balance between opposing qualities while at the same time actively seeking its own development or as he called it, individuation.]
  13. Turning Difficulties into Practice

    Turning difficulty into practice is fundamental for me. But I shy away from declarations of absoluteness like those contained in the above quotations. Mine you, I also like their confidence. For me that confidence is partly inspirational and partly illusional. I'm an embodied human with the gift and burden of an individual consciousness, and that will always mean I'm fundamentally conflicted. Carl Jung wrote: “There is no place where those striving for consciousness could find absolute safety. Doubt and insecurity are indispensable components of a complete life. Only those who can lose this life can really gain it. A ‘complete’ life does not consist of a theoretical completeness, but the fact that one accepts without reservation the particular fatal tissue in which one finds oneself embedded, and that one tries to make sense of it or to create a cosmos from the chaotic mess into which one is born. If one lives properly and completely, time and time again one will be confronted with situations of which one will say, ‘This is too much, I cannot bear it anymore.’ Then the question must be answered: ‘Can one really not bear it?’”
  14. No more right-wing bullshit.

    Trump is certainly the antithesis of the sage of the Daodejing. I found it powerfully strange that some members, notably Dawei, like both the Daodejing and Trump. However, Daoism isn’t the Dao. Although I personally find Trump obnoxious, my main interest at this late stage of my life is in understanding why the Dao throws up a Trump-like force. Could it be that our contemporary world is way out of harmony with Dao and the Trump ‘illness’ is a very visible aspect of Nature’s way of highlighting this profound imbalance? He’s a catalyst for change. And how that change plays out across the whole world is not something Trump or anyone else can control. If he’s powerful enough, he’ll cause deep chaos. And out of that chaos new life will eventually be born. The Dao is composed of polar forces (yin-yang) in continual motion and works by reversal. I wrote a little about further aspects of the process of change on my “The Spirit of the Dao Bums” topic here and here. For me, Trump is a low-level manifestation of archetypal force that the Western alchemists of old called the spirit Mercurius. The trickster. He’s a quintessential “poison dripping dragon”. His strength is actually fragile because he’s merely a vehicle for spiritual forces of which he has no awareness. A high-level manifestation of the spirit Mercurius is someone with total awareness of the forces they are manifesting. And that’s definitely not Trump.
  15. What animal are you?

    I read this account by Marie-Louise von Franz this morning of how Carl Jung’s Psychological Club functioned and it made me smile because of its similarities to the Dao Bums forum: When Jung founded the Psychology Club in Zurich, he had in mind to try to find out how a group, or a society, would work in which the inferior function would not be covered up, but where people would contact each other by it. The result was absolutely amazing. People who came into this society from outside were shocked out of their wits by the rude, bad behavior and the absolutely unending quarrels this group displayed. I visited the Club many years ago and till then had never made a move toward becoming a member because I felt too shy. One day Jung said to me, "Do you not want to join the Psychology Club, or do you not dare to join it?" I said, "I did not dare to join it, but would love to." So he said, "All right, I will be your godfather"—we need godfathers to get into the Club —"but I'll wait first to see if you have a dream, if the right moment has come." And what did I dream? I dreamed that a natural scientist, an old man who looked very much like Jung, had made up an experimental group to find out how animals of different species got along with each other! I came into the place, and there were aquariums with fish in them, enclosures with tortoises, newts, and such creatures, and cages with birds and dogs and cats, and the old man was sitting in the middle, taking notes on how the animals behaved socially with one another. I discovered then that I myself was a flying fish in an aquarium and could jump out. I told my dream to Jung and he said, with a grin, "I think now you are mature enough to join the Psychology Club; you have got the central idea, its purpose." In this rather humorous way the unconscious took up the idea, namely that it is really a great problem, for as conscious beings we can contact each other, but in this inferior function, one person is a cat, another is a tortoise, and a third a hare—there are all those animals! Such social adaptations present a great difficulty. There are all the problems of having one's own territory, one's own ground, for every animal species has a tendency to have a few meters of homeland. Every bird and every animal defends its territory against intruders; one may not step on the other's ground, and all these complicated rituals build up again as soon as human beings join together and discard the persona and try really to contact each other. Then one really feels as if one is moving in the jungle or the bush: one must not step on this snake or frighten that bird by making a quick movement, and things become very complicated.