his home page
Most 'home pages' have pictures of their creators and biographical details, often intimate. My page does not even bear my name, only the assumed name of my e-mail address. I do of course have a name! It is Charles, but could so easily have been another name, subject to the whim of my mother at the time of christening (father was away in a German prisoner-of-war camp and thus unable to influence the decision). A name is just the label on the object and of no intrinsic importance. 'A rose is a rose by any other name' - and so is a mountain-bike or a tiger or a Charles, or anything.
I rather like the idea of some African tribe I once read about where a person had different names at different times of his or her life. I have tried to put this into practise on a modest scale in my own life by ringing the changes on my own name at different times and in different places, so that to some people I am 'Charlie'; to some 'Charles; to some 'Char'; to some 'Chas'; and to some, entirely different and not altogether flattering appellations!
And just as my name is only a label so my other personal attributes (age, height, hair or eye colour, race, gender) are not me but only attributes of that somewhat strange and enigmatical entity we call 'myself'.
What interests me, and may possibly interest you (and if not you might as well continue no further!) is the nature of the reality behind the assumed given names and assumed given attributes.
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A note on the name 'Emenos', just to put the record straight. This is yet another in a long list of re-namings of the primordial matter that constitutes 'me'. When I first opened my e-mail account I wanted to call myself 'temenos' which word denotes a sacred enclosure or precinct surrounding or adjacent to an ancient Greek temple. The idea of course being that the sacred unknown or self has a protective barrier.
Alas! my ISP would allow only six letters for the name so I was truncated to 'Emenos'! Since then I have become rather attached to this appellation. And it shows how chance plays a part in all we do. QED.
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P.S. Since writing the above I have receeived several requests to relent and append a copy of a recent portrait of myself to these remarks. Vanity and importunity conspire to make me change my mind so here is a likeness taken at Poole Harbour. Picture me arriving perhaps at the Island of my novel, the text of which you will find below.
Those of us outside the religions do not need to live according to the dictates of any system. The great thing about the present day world is that we have intellectual freedom of a kind that people could only dream of in the middle ages and under the totalitarian regimes. Freedom of course brings its own problems, but they are all stimulating ones.
But of course even in the totalitarian regimes (and I suppose we must include the religions under this heading) one was still free to think whatever one wished so long as one kept quiet about the heretical side of one's nature. One could always lie and think what one liked! But one needed to be constantly vigilant with the thought-police about and this probably took the shine off one's more free-thinking aspirations. One would have been made to feel guilty about thinking what one dared not speak. Nowadays we have no such problem, at least not in this country.
The only system we have at present is, I suppose, science, but one does not have to accept the scientific method if one chooses not to. One can embrace irrationalism should one so desire - it is one's own private concern so long as one keeps within the law and the laws of decency.
Science, which is I suppose a sort of modern day system and has its philosophical aspirations, is at least non-invasive. There is no law against disagreeing with or totally ignoring scientific concepts. The theory of the Big Bang is not, as the Virgin Birth once was to most christians, required thinking.
Much of the most interesting science is a matter of theories and not finally established and immutable facts and it fits in nicely with a freethinker's aspirations. And then of course one can play with theories and ideologies to one's heart's content. The great thing about this freedom I am extolling is that one can shift key all the time and ring the theoretical changes, and it is most stimulating. No one set of ideas, in any case, could ever satisfy a thinking person in all circumstances and absence of doubt too often shows absence of deeper thought. I prefer to play the whole range of intellectual keys in order to create my own adaptable and varying symphony.
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A NOTE ON THE ARCHETYPES AND EIDOLON
Jung says: "Insofar as the archetypes act upon me, they are real and actual to me, even though I do not know what their real nature is." I feel myself to be in exactly the same situation with regard to the most dominant archetypal influence on my life, the one I call eidolon who approximates I suppose to Jung's animus. How do the archetypes act upon us? What is the means of communication? In my case I see him mostly in dreams and whenever I do come across him (which is on a fairly regular basis) I feel what I suppose a Christian would feel if he saw Jesus. Indeed, I feel that Jesus is in fact the christian form of the same phenomenon. Always a sense of his reality, like meeting a real person in the street. The other figures in the dream are weaving their usual spells, half illusion and half recollection, when suddenly this person appears and instantly makes the others seem like phantoms, so great is his concreteness. Usually love floods from him, but not invariably. I have also seen his other side, like a ravening and malignant wolf but with a thousand times the power.
I used once to accept Jung's idea that archetypes are inherited, like our genes, but now I think that they - and eidolon in particular - are the sum total of all the experiences of our individual lives. In a way they are our creations. But it also seems to me inescapable (although my rationality rebels against the idea) that there is in fact something that approximates to the Other Side, some other realm or state of being twined in with this one. I can produce no irrefutable evidence to support this theory so that scientifically it is worthless. It is more a matter of emotion than thought.
I once consulted the I Ching to ask it what eidolon was. This by itself shows how scientific my approach is, but fortunately over the 30-odd years that I have been using this instrument I find it too apt and suggestive in its oracles to be completely dismissed as a source of understanding. In reply to my question I Ching said that eidolon was "he at the centre". Kinghood was mentioned, wang. He was an effective ruler but only by authority of the emperor from whom others derived their power. I Ching mentioned imagination, chia, to create in the mind, fantasise, suppose, imitate, fiction. The temple was also mentioned, miao, a building used to honour gods and ancestors. Other things mentioned were the correctness of having some self-imposed goal, ability to lead or direct action, which I took as a reference to eidolon not one's own abilities, in the sense that he would do the leading. ("Not my will but thy will be done O Lord.")
These all seem splendidly apt references and my only doubt arises from the fact that they tell me what was already in my mind, rather like a scientist setting out to prove the validity of his pet theory and finding at the end that all is just exactly as he thought!
The pallium is laid across my shoulders.
There is to be a crowning, but not mine.
I am the servant of the one who serves
the glorious Emperor of East and West.
My master is as brilliant as the sun.
His master is the birthplace of the stars.
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(Note - or Health Warning, if you like. The following extract is a bit wild and shows me taking my views to an extreme limit, but this method can sometimes be useful, not all wisdom comes from moderation!)
By being myself, I am fulfilling my destiny. No more is required. This is to accept that one has a destiny and that it is part of an overall picture of the world (whose picture?) and that one fits into the general pattern like a piece of jigsaw. I am not necessarily alluding to any divine plan for mankind but to the natural order of things, reality. One came into being through the natural order (procreating parents) and had one's parents not done what they did at a particular place and time, one would not be here. Everyone, in being his or her self, is completing his/her part of the plan. Good people (so called) as well as bad people (so called). All types and all conditions.
In this philosophy one finds a place of rest (which might or might not lead one to view it with some suspicion!) No need to struggle to complete any self-imposed task, to become what one is not for the sake of some external religious emphasis. To really be oneself, to the full extent (obviously I am not talking self-indulgence here) is to achieve an almost mystical oneness with creation; and surely leads to the only possible enlightenment. Struggle, of whatever kind, is usually possessed of some degree of falseness.
Where, in this perfection, does disgruntlement proceed from, if not from some as yet unresolved bit of resistance to the natural state of things? One looks at oneself and decides that one does not like this or that and attempts to correct the imagined fault. This is perverse ideology (worshipping vain gods) and has to be jettisoned. Once the alien thing has been cast into the sea, then one can be whole again. The wholeness is not ethical. There is no right or wrong in this scheme. One might be a thief, worse, a murderer. There is no escaping the self which is yours. You have not chosen (and if you think you have, you are deluded) and you can only work with the material to hand. (This will outrage those with minds set upon the good and useful.)
The world, and the people in it, are fortuitous - that is a thought which many cannot stomach. It is why so many dislike science, because it reveals this truth. But for me this thought is a liberating one since it emasculates all ethical systems which I regard as being based upon usually completely false assumptions. It is easy to observe, being something we are surrounded by, that one man's goodness is another's evil, and vice versa. One man's shining ideal can easily be a source of disgust to someone else.
To be dissatisfied with one's lot is, in this system, the sin against the Holy Ghost. One must embrace one's destiny: it is not a choice but a necessity. What sense can there be in denying the basis of one's existence? One must make of necessity and of causality and of chance three divine and shining images, for from them we were fashioned. Let us rest in ourselves inside the here and now. But at the same time let us be cognisant of the fact that we are also subject to the stirrings of duty, and the duty is an outcome of our acceptance of the three gods. It may be a result of a too active imagination but I (and many others I expect) feel that I am here for some purpose. Necessity, causality and chance can construct some very strange combinations!
(NOTE: now for the really weird bit!)
One thinks (naturally!) that the task could be along the lines of - "One is granted revelation and feels that one must give this message to one's fellow men a la Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed and a thousand modern illuminati." This is not the path I intend to follow. I believe the message is always a personal one - it is for me and cannot be translated into a code for general consumption. You can become enlightened, you can receive messages from the Beyond, you can be in daily converse with angels and archangels, but you cannot enlighten another person. Each must look to himself. People are too diverse to come under a common heading. (What did we say about fulfilling one's own destiny?) And comparative religious studies show us that these personal events are not translatable into a rule for others. I am inclined to believe that those on the Other Side speak to each of us in a personal way and that we all have a different eidolon (these images are metaphorical, not exact) - this is the way the matter used to be viewed in the East. The way of the West is, or was, forcible conversion, all bending to one inflexible rule. I think rather that the Rule must change for each one of us. So that any revelation will be directed at me alone. I am a foot soldier and not a commander (a good way of seeing things and avoiding the dreaded inflation of personality that leads to hubris and disaster). My commander and intermediary is eidolon. (Trust in Christ is the christian equivalent.)
But although we must all follow our own star (absolutely must) this does not mean that no coordination of effort takes place. The Master is the figure who fulfils this function and he often appears in my dreams as the man in charge of the office where I work. All the people in the office (and I see the office as embracing both this world and the Other Place) are part of the plan, and each has his task to perform and his personal enlightenment or highest good (not necessarily an ethical good) to reach. But all these individual aims and works can be summed up in a larger effort. So what do I imagine the plan to be? Well, I imagine it to be what it usually is in the works of science fiction as well as in religious myths - and it is well to remember that science fiction provides us with some very good and abiding myths which are after all nothing else but re-phrasings of the old stories. And the plan is (wait for it!) the colonisation of earth, which has somehow become split off from the rest of the universe out there, by Them, the Others, the Aliens, the Gods. (You recall the old story of the fall of man?) If this takes place there will be a complete re-invigoration of both sides and we somehow feel that the alienation of the earth must have been foreseen from the beginning and have formed part of the plan. In the old days we were all one people, us and them, and they founded a new colony here on earth. For some reason (it need not have been fortuitous) we were cut off from communication with our fellow beings and developed in ways quite different from the old ways. Now the experiment has reached a stage where contact needs to be re-established for the good of all.
Didn't I say it was weird? But that, put in fictional terms, is how I view the task. This is my myth.
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The following links are to chapters of my on-going novel EIDOLON, sub-titled 'a creation myth'
poetry by emenos
So here we go...
At the jeu de paume
(a laserlight that slices six-inch steel);
silence so massive it freezes and fills a continent
all this in just one room: the Jeu de Paume,
stuffed with Jewish treasure, framed row upon row
of Impressionists, Expressionists, Cubists and Fauves,
in this gallery congealed by our photographer
like a prehistoric fly in amber.
Light sparkles the gilded fretwork of the frames
or lies in simple slender pencils of silver
along the edges of the furniture;
or, like a camera shutter closing down,
opaques the sheets of glass that face the window.
Each picture frames a temenos wherein
the over-valued object struts its stuff.
Art the frozen apogee of vision
appropriating all the moving world
into its own still, central, silent tomb.
Resuscitation from the sepulchres
achieved in the act of loving witness:
all you do is look and look and see!
The immortal idols woven into time,
made immanent by mystical involvement.
Goering and Hitler have assembled here
looted booty, elegant spoils of war,
the pictures themselves artistic ransom-notes
sent out at times of crisis (the artists wars)
to calculating patrons. These second patrons,
warlord and henchman aiming to rule the world,
aim also to break the stillness, silence, light.
The perspective of the photograph encompasses
(some careful curator took an instant snap)
the perspectives of the painting and the room,
waiting for the fat one and his lord.
More than fifty years ago
warlord and henchman died each at his own hand,
by phial and by gun.
And Europes totally changed.
But the pictures statements are just the same,
the evidence of the photograph intact.
The silence and the stillness are eternal.
Absence from the native land
moon reflected in the river
heartache like the moving water
longing for the place of love.
Nakamaro exiled in vast China
thinking of Mikaos Hill in Kasuga.
The long hot summer burns itself away.
Periods when the mind will rest nowhere,
the reflective bias off. Limits hurt;
libertys just another poor idea.
Thought and action equally are tedious,
all their colour gone. But soon the ripe pod bursts,
seed spilled on the pavement and the earth.
No, theres no progression, only the lurch
from one illuminated moment to
the next; or else into the onward darkness.
for whom the waters still themselves
at morning, while the white mist lifts,
unveils, reveals a once familiar face.
Pools of silence, turned to ominous whirlpools,
suck you down. Who shall you be, when robbed
of what you are?
The Dark Man in the Strand complained of heat
amidst the whispering exhausts of cars.
Grey suit, white shirt, green tie; impressive physique;
hieratic sandstone countenance: Karnak, Thebes.
The sound of Schumann echoed up the street,
Kreisleriana. Dream paralysis,
balsa-log body half-submerged, wave
after wave flows over. The meaningless, the trite,
take on a new significance, and shine.
There is a helper waiting here at hand.
Listen, and you will hear them whisper. "Back,
back, back. Through years and empires back."
Into this silence anything might slip,
grinning djinn or incubus. "Relax.
Allow the suction of the past, the futures
vacuum, to gently draw you to itself.
Become what you have witnessed, and there rest."
They will say: "I promise you. Believe
and know." But when the vision passes, at dawn,
you will be clutching clods of crumbling earth,
their brilliant emeralds faded.
The cold edge of the year draws near.
The solstice is a monolith -
stone finger from the height that blocks my path
in whose shadow I must creep and shiver.
Fear is my entrance ticket. I have paid
the ferryman who lurks behind the stone,
waiting to escort me to the shore.
His face has a look that's known to me,
an echo from the past, that long dark hall
from which we all emerge into the sun.
The day is now at ebb and night is full,
waging unequal war.
The horrors of the Christmas-tide are here,
pitiful twinkling lights upon the street
that cannot kill the darkness:
we take it with us as we travel on
toward the nadir of the empty year.
And yet recall, and emphasise:
the sun is what so eagerly we seek
(even though deadened by cold and half asleep)
to warm the earth, to nourish waiting seed,
and then again to leave us in the dark.
Movement of the slapping, lapping pool.
Momentum in a circle tamed, contained.
And from the chlorined water their extends
one white, muscled monument to grace.
This marble melts, and moves. The elegant arms
are lifted, hoisting up a memorable physique.
The legs are lifted. It stands upon two feet,
natures answer to the natural law,
the curve and flow of context, contents bulge
trumpeted beside the subsidies of space,
outlined against the glittering rippled surface,
Byzantine Christ set in uneven tesserae.
Black piled clouds, these Himalayan peaks,
pretended mountains in the western sky.
This room my eyrie, I lack the saffron robes
but have the lama-mind. The glowing lamp
casts yellow light on my computer keyboard
which for now must serve as rosary.
One of those whose names no longer matter
since they embraced the silence. Thought revolves,
but in the silence ends, the unnamed in
the unnameable extinguished, blended.
Stone the roof, the walls, the floor. Stone over earth
and under sky, dome and tower and terrace.
Autumn sun breaks through the clouds and floods,
like water bursting a dam. Illumination!
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The music is Liszt's piano transcription of the Liebestod from Tristan and Isolde.The midi file is by Robert S. Finley and is taken from the excellent Classical Midi Archive of Pierre R. Schwob at http://www.prs.net - visit this site if you haven't already done so!
The painting is Watteau's l'Embarquement de Cythere. This is copied from the excellent Mark Harden Artchive which can be found at http://www.artchive.com - well worth a visit, especially the page devoted to Watteau.