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  Friday, July 25th, 2014

Establishing the Legitimacy of the Subjective

If observation is restricted to behavior, without any concern for the domestic interior of the individual’s consciousness, one may get an even stronger impression of the irrational and accidental character of certain unconscious manifestations in the individual’s behavior than of the reasonableness of his conscious purposes and motivations. I, therefore, base my judgment upon what the individual feels to be his conscious psychology. But I am prepared to grant that we may equally well entertain a precisely opposite conception of such a psychology, and present it accordingly. I am also convinced that, had I myself chanced to possess a different individual psychology, I should have described the rational types in the reversed way, from the standpoint of the unconscious—as irrational, therefore. This circumstance aggravates the difficulty of a lucid presentation of psychological matters to a degree not to be underestimated, and immeasurably increases the possibility of misunderstandings. The discussions which develop from these misunderstandings are, as a rule, quite hopeless, since the real issue is never joined, each side speaking, as it were, in a different tongue. Such experience is merely one reason the more for basing my presentation upon the subjective conscious psychology of the individual, since there, at least, one has a definite objective footing, which completely drops away the moment we try to ground psychological principles upon the unconscious. For the observed, in this case, could undertake no kind of co-operation, because there is nothing of which he is not more informed (sic) than his own unconscious. The judgment would entirely devolve upon the observer—a certain guarantee that its basis would be his own individual psychology, which would infallibly be imposed upon the observed. To my mind, this is the case in the psychologies both of Freud and Adler. The individual is completely at the mercy of the arbitrary discretion of his observing critic—which can never be the case when the conscious psychology of the observed is accepted as the basis. After all, he is the only competent judge, since he alone knows his motives.

—Carl Jung, Psychological Types

  Friday, July 18th, 2014

William James and the Right to Believe

Every time we try to establish a new belief, it would be useful if we had all the available evidence and the time to make a considered decision. But in much of life we do not have that luxury; either there is not enough time to examine the known facts, or there is not enough evidence, and we are forced to a decision. We have to rely on our beliefs to guide our actions, and James says that we have “the right to believe” in these cases.

James explains this by taking the example of a man lost and starving in a forest. When he sees a path, it is important for him to believe that the path will lead him out of the forest and to habitation, because if he does not believe it, he will not take the path, and will remain lost and starving. But if he does, he will save himself. By acting on his idea that the path will lead him to safety, it becomes true. In this way our actions and decisions make our belief in an idea become true. This is why James asserts “act as if what you do makes a difference”—to which he adds the typically concise and good-humored rider, “it does.”


  Friday, July 18th, 2014

To be Married, to be Single

Sometimes I wish everyone were single like me—a simpler life in many ways! But celibacy is not for everyone any more than marriage is. God gives the gift of the single life to some, the gift of the married life to others.

I do, though, tell the unmarried and widows that singleness might well be the best thing for them, as it has been for me. But if they can’t manage their desires and emotions, they should by all means go ahead and get married. The difficulties of marriage are preferable by far to a sexually tortured life as a single.

I want you to live as free of complications as possible. When you’re unmarried, you’re free to concentrate on simply pleasing the Master. Marriage involves you in all the nuts and bolts of domestic life and in wanting to please your spouse, leading to so many more demands on your attention. The time and energy that married people spend on caring for and nurturing each other, the unmarried can spend in becoming whole and holy instruments of God.

—1 Corinthians 7

  Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

We adore chaos because we love to produce order.

—M.C. Escher

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  Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

Copper azomethine green (PY129)

Copper azomethine green (PY129), commonly the ingredient in “green gold” paints, is a lightfast, semitransparent, staining, mid-valued, moderately-dull yellow pigment, available from only 3 registered pigment manufacturers worldwide. Unrated by the ASTM, manufacturer tests rate it as having “very good” to “excellent” (I) lightfastness, and my lightfastness tests agree. In watercolors this “green gold” pigment undergoes a moderately large drying shift, holding lightness but losing saturation by up to 30%; in tints the color shifts from yellow green into a beautiful light yellow. This pigment is related to other copper (PG10) or nickel (PY150) azomethines, other forms of metal complex pigment. The average CIECAM J,a,b values for green gold (PY129) are: 53, 4, 49, with chroma of 49 (estimated hue purity of 46) and a hue angle of 86.


  Saturday, July 5th, 2014

Week 4: Recovering a Sense of Integrity

People frequently believe the creative life is grounded in fantasy. The more difficult truth is that creativity is grounded in reality, in the particular, the focused, the well observed or specifically imagined.

As we lose our vagueness about our self, our values, our life situation, we become available to the moment. It is there, in the particular, that we contact the creative self. Until we experience the freedom of solitude, we cannot connect authentically. We may be enmeshed, but we are not encountered.

Art lies in the moment of encounter: we meet our truth and we meet ourselves; we meet ourselves and we meet our self-expression. We become original because we become something specific: an origin from which work flows.

As we gain—or regain—our creative identity, we lose the false self we were sustaining. The loss of this false self can feel traumatic: “I don’t know who I am anymore. I don’t recognize me.”

Remember that the more you feel yourself to be terra incognita, the more certain you can be that the recovery process is working. You are your own promised land, your own new frontier.

—Julia Cameron

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  Friday, July 4th, 2014

Ultramarine Blue

Long ago artists had very limited options for blue paint, and one of those was to take the semi-precious stone Lapis Lazuli and basically grind it up into paint. There’s a lot more to the process than that, but the important part is that while this paint was a very good blue it was also worth more than its weight in gold. The stones were imported to Europe from mines in Afghanistan and the paint was therefore called Ultra (beyond) Marine (the sea).

In the 1820s everything changed when chemists developed synthetic ultramarine. It was as good if not better than the real thing due to lack of impurities, chemically identical (from what I’ve read), and very cheap. The market for lapis lazuli quickly collapsed and today it’s the synthetic ultramarine that is simply called by the name ultramarine blue.


  Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

Synchronicity

“I don’t understand you,” said Alice. “It’s dreadfully confusing!”

“That’s the effect of living backwards,” the Queen said kindly: “it always makes one a little giddy at first—”

“Living backwards!” Alice repeated in great astonishment. “I never heard of such a thing!”

“—but there’s one great advantage in it, that one’s memory works both ways.”

“I’m sure MINE only works one way,” Alice said. “I can’t remember things before they happen.”

“It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards,” the Queen remarked.


thingsgrowincracks

  Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

Things Grow

Where they are planted


  Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

This is what you shall do:

love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labour to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence towards the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown, or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons, and with the young, and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school, or church, or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul; and your very flesh shall be a great poem, and have the richest fluency, not only in its words, but in the silent lines of its lips and face, and between the lashes of your eyes, and in every motion and joint of your body.

—Walt Whitman

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  Monday, June 30th, 2014

The Red Book

Those that look outside dream, those that look inside Awaken.

–Carl Jung


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  Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Eledonella pygmaea

Male, female and hectocotylus of younger male.


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  • cabin
  • door
  • porch
  • tigerlilly
  • trees

  Monday, June 23rd, 2014

Farm Family 2014


  Monday, June 23rd, 2014

There are two classes of men: the prolific and the devouring. Religion is an endeavor to reconcile the two.

—William Blake (in Jung, Psychological Types, p.336)

  Sunday, June 15th, 2014

Each has his past shut in him like the leaves of a book known to him by his heart, and his friends can only read the title.

—Virginia Woolf