Saturday, 12 June 2010

Is It Safe?

Is It Safe?

There are many forms of Love....and English is so poor a language in describing it. Agape, Filial, Eros, Storge, name but a few of the different forms of love that are available to us, or the different manifestations of love. I speak now though, directly of a kind of love, Eros, that is the basis of Romantic Love, for it is this, that i have in mind when i speak in relation to unrequited love. I should also define my terms. I do not wish to enter into great dialogue about what i mean by the use of the word Evil in this article, suffice it to say that i will use the good vs evil distinction merely in a pleasure vs pain context in relation to personal and interpersonal Intention. Thus an evil act would be one that intentionally elicits pain, and a good act would be one that intentionally elicits pleasure. Fairly basic definitions, but good enough for the purposes of this article.

I had recently become quite interested in the notion of Unrequited love, and having written over 50 poems last year on the subject matter from the subjective perspective, i had become intrigued by the notion of what Romantic Love , or Eros was all about. Now i differentiate Eros, from mere Lust or sex appeal, this is quite a different phenomena, and so too is the kind of Love that couples often drift into later in a relationship, the peaceful comfortable love of life long companionship. What i wanted to directly attend to was the Romantic love, that couples often crave, the passion that evolves to compassion in later days. The feeling of being head over heals in love, passionate unremitting love, the giddy joy, the desperate plight, this is the love i will speak of here. It might be useful to watch the clips and read the articles i have threaded through this piece in order to get the full flavor of what i speak of.

So to Start, i will leave the introduction to Dr Helen Fisher, and her wonderful lecture and insights into the Brain in Love, before i ask you to think about the question, 'Is Romantic Love Evil'?...(tongue firmly ensconced within cheek!).

Dopaminergic excitation of the The Ventral Tegmentum, seems to indicate that, when love is unrequited, it becomes a form of torture. An extremely effective, and possibly malefic artifice. Much like the searing pain experienced by sufferers who are unfortunate enough to suffer hyper-excitation of the Trigeminal nerve, a connection that synapses directly into the Pons area of the brain stem, with no intermediary synapse to meliorate the pain. So too the Dopaminergic effects upon the deepest part of the Ventral Tegmentum are not mollified by the unrequited nature of love, but rather augmented instead, as further connections, and neurochemisty, begins to hyper-exacerbate the feelings of love within the Tegmental areas, frontal lobe associative areas, and other deep centers of the brain including and especially the Hippo-campus and Ventro-lateral Hypothalamus. A form of psychosis can in fact be induced, so strong is the effect, and so augmentatively painful is the experience. It appears that Unrequited love is the evil twin, albeit an even more powerful and darker twin, to its more favored 'romantic love' counterpart. So the question is quite real....Can Romantic Love or 'Eros' be inherently Evil?

We don't for a second consider the dastardly actions of Lawrence Olivier anything but Evil, in the thriller 'Marathon Man', when he has Dustin Hoffman tied to the dentist chair, and asks the now infamous question...."'is it safe'?"....whilst creating a hole in his upper bi-cusped premolar, and poking a steel instrument into his Maxillary Brachiation of the Trigeminal nerve. This torture is acute and real, and makes even the hardy and empathically numb amongst us, cringe at its malefic odiousness. Why then do we simply not recognize that an actor who uses the Instrument of love, with its augmented, indefensible, neurochemical devastation on the deepest centers of the brain, eliciting an unmitigated visceral form of pain, to be any less evil than the Nazi torturer depicted in the aforementioned scenario? Evil it seems in this circumstance is directly attributable to interpersonal intention.The reason we do not make the connection between the aforementioned examples, is not because of the intention however but more likely because it is simply unseen, and a mere convention of ignorance. A convention that with modern neuroscience has laid bare just how malefic an action it might be, for an actor to use the device of unrequited love for malefic purposes.

Of course its unlikely that anyone would be so callous and careless as to use this tool of torture, cogently as an intentional act. As this would indeed be an act of malice, and one that can no longer be hidden behind the screen of social convention or mere ignorance. However it is interesting to note that certain cultures, glorify the use of such torture as an everyday convention, actively teaching young girls to use it as a form of feminine power, wielded like some instrument of Divine Justice. This cultural peculiarity, does lead one to question whether certain cultural conventions that facilitate and encourage such acts of unrequited love, as a form of power-play, aren't themselves party to a form of culpable social Evil, an evil that champions deep emotional torture.

The great Gamble is of course enjoined by all, but when the roulette wheel is fixed by the house we begin to wonder whether it isn't a systemic corruption from its dastardly inception. Maybe Huxley was right, in 'Brave New World' when he painted a picture of a futuristic culture devoid of the social torments, and mollified with pills (soma) that by eliciting a personal ecstasy, sustain a form of numbed interpersonal equilibrium. Is it more compassionate to save people from the possibility of this pain, or is that simply not humane?

So I come back to the original question, 'is romantic love evil'?, :P...(tongue, once again firmly ensconced in cheek!)....when one can not only suffer horribly by way of visceral torture at the hands of Romantic love, but in fact we are hard wired to do so. When one factors in that a person can be in three different neuro-biological states of love at the same time, but with different people, one begins to wonder whether the roulette wheel has been fixed from the start by the house! 'Romantic love', or Eros, is merely one of these states, the others being more life partner oriented , and lust or sex oriented. If however, you are unfortunate enough to be in a monogamous long term relationship 'without' mutually working on the romantic qualities, and then fall in love romantically with another, or are romantically connected to someone who is unavailable, and your love is thus unrequited, the exacerbated state of torture begins to seem like some awful natural loading of the dice. It then makes one question whether the social structures in place that ensure such torture exists aren't themselves out of date, or at best complicit in the crime. Of course it could also be seen as a pretty good prompt for couples to mutually work on the romantic qualities of the relationship so as to ensure neither of them suffer the torment of the unrequited Eros. This could indeed be the answer for those couples who seek to reignite the flame, by stirring the hidden embers hidden in the hearth. But this does nothing to solve the plight of those who suffer the anguish of unrequited love, be it intentionally orchestrated or not.

Sometimes the line between what we call Evil and what we call Good, of course, gets blurred over time, and isn't as clear today as it may have been yesterday. Past memories and occurrences, joys and disappointments, intermingle with present realities and create shades of gray. The so called evil turns out simply to be the internal manifestation of shadows and memories, unresolved guilt, or disappointments and unrealized expectations. Fantastical templates we construct, upon which we try to fit the world. When this fails, the frustrations and pain it may cause, can themselves be seen as a form of self generated evil; If these personal convictions and social conventions do not marry with biological or natural phenomena, and instead set up false templates, upon which individuals in a state of Romantic Love are bound to fail, then is that not itself a form of constructed and intentional evil?. As we begin to understand more fully the workings of the mind, and how social convention often squeezes us into moulds we were never biologically meant to fit, the question begins to surface, which is wrong, the social convention, or the biological necessity?

Sometimes of course, others 'Intentions' are less than favorable, and malice certainly exists, but for the most part we simply call evil those things that cause us pain. For many, sadly, Love, or Romantic love mixes and mingles with unresolved issues of abandonment, disappointment, shame, guilt or many other internal states of being, often remnants of bye gone days, perceived fantasies seen through less mature eyes, leaving remnants like dark foreboding skies, deep within the psyche. Sometimes malice rears its head in the name of love, but rarely i think, unless it is socially rewarded, or stems from a disturbed and unbalanced mind. Usually it is simply a perceptual aberration. Learning to let go of those shadows, and illuminate those dark spaces, releasing expectation, can certainly change the way we see those blurred lines of love and hate. Then again sometimes it just hurts when you love someone, and it isn't reciprocated, but then that's life, Evil it seems in such innocent circumstances, is simply a judgment call we make, dependent upon both our experience of the love we feel today balanced against the preconceptions and experiences we have had in the past.

It is a point of interest that, with the right dosage of Oxytocin delivered as a nasal spray to males, the same characteristics one expects to see in Woman who are in the early stages of pregnancy, can be elicited in males also. The heightened sense of empathy that is characteristic of many women, can easily be brought to light in men who otherwise were formally callous and unsympathetic.

So much is down to chemistry, and although we would like to believe that our behaviours, intuitions, moral code, and social contracts, are somehow separated from the mere hormonal neuro-chemistry that cocktailizes our brains, the simple fact that seems to be born out more strongly than anything else from recent Neurological studies using MRI's, is that these hard wired mechanisms, and neuro-chemical differences, dictate to a much greater extent how it is that we behave, act, and feel. Social institutions and moral codes that run contrary to nature run the risk in more enlightened times of simply being left behind in light of this truth, so digging ones heels in and simply saying, it is the way it is, when the moral and social codes were constructed in a state of ignorance, runs the risk of simply maintaining unjust and ignorant practices that fly in the face of truth.

So, 'Is Romantic Love Evil'?...i think, it can be, if it is used as an intentional device; or as a weapon of war between the sexes; or when social convention dictates an agony so profound it acts as an immoral torture, flying in a face of biological imperatives. I also think however, it can be one of the greatest gifts any person can experience in life, and when it is returned in kind, who can say it is not the birthing place of ecstatic joy. But it is not the only manifestation of Love, and it must be remembered that other forms of love should not be sacrificed upon the alter of an addictive search or a compulsive need for that ecstatic epiphany that so often accompanies mutual Eros.

There is a lot to be said for Agape Love. over and above the fickle and manipulative machinations of Eros. I wonder what the active brain states look like of someone in a state of Agape love?, it is an interesting question, because it's a completely different feeling, although kindred, like love x 10, but without the needs, obsession, addiction, or compulsion, just a sense of total connection and empathy, timeless, and all giving. A spiritual love, more akin to the compassionate Buddhist, or unconditional Love of Christ. The quality of which is remarkably different, as if you are a part of all things and they are a part of you, all giving, unfettered, and unremitting, quite a different manifestation of Love, and one with a far greater emphasis on the gift than the get.

Maybe though, all physicalist and reductionist theories fail to fully satisfy such questions. For they all miss the 'Qualia' of the event; the quality of what it is to be 'in' the event, and to be the someone or qualitative subject, that is experiencing the experience. We can know all the hows, what's, where's and when's we like, but in the end the cohesive state of consciousness, the collective wave function, simply escapes the reductionist explanation, and collapses under a Physicalist dissection...but then that's the Mystery of it, the Mystery of Love that i Love.

Is it Safe?....probably not, but then who'd be without it? :)

"No, this trick won't work...How on earth are you ever going to explain in terms of chemistry and physics so important a biological phenomenon as first love?"
-Albert Einstein

© Richard Michael Parker 2009

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Being and Being Human

Being and Being Human

I have been led recently to ponder and think upon the nature of being and being human.

The mantra... BE. HERE. NOW ... has always been a bit of a credo of mine, i have often pondered what exactly that means. Initially i thought that it was an existential state of being, and that by stripping away the baggage of ones personal history, and releasing oneself from the hopes and dreams of ones projected future self, one could arrive at a pure state of being, uncluttered by any retrospective, perspectival analysis that accompanies ruminations on a life lived, and simply be free from the mirage of some fantastic projected future self.

This pure state of being, the point at which Buddhists and existential phenomenologist's alike state is the point of liberation, at which one can jump off and experience the pure you, and be totally in the present authentically experiencing the liberation of the true self turns out to be nothing but pure experience. It cannot act in and of itself, it has no will of its own, no hopes or dreams that foster growth, no impetus pushing it ever onwards, no history anchoring it to anything. It ceaselessly remains in the temporal stream, allowing for only the ever changing moment to imprint upon it the reality of its own pointed perspective, and in that moment sheds all memory of the moment that has passed, it is but pure experience.

Yet, without hopes and dreams, without the baggage of ones life, and the historical construct of our existence we are left like flotsam on the surface of a ceaseless river. No will to move on, no climb or descent, no concept of right or wrong, no joy, no pain, nothing in fact that would separate us from nothingness itself except for that pure state of experiential perspective. Like peeling away the layers of an onion to find that at its core nothing remains, except an action-less, pointless, meaningless pointed perspective of pure experience.

Some have said that this is the moment of true liberation. An epiphany of knowing, that all else outside of this pure state is simply an appendage, an accidental happenstance that is not the real you. Yet the accumulation of moments piled one upon another are, at least in part, what define us as unique perspectival instances within the stream of this experiential consciousness. Future projections, images, dreams, desires, drives and constructs, depend upon the accumulation of these moments. The continuity of self is formulated so as to add even further to the appendages, if one can call them that, of the qualities we define as intrinsic manifestations of the self.

So although to experience such a moment may be enlightening, may free one from the design and detritus of reality created and occasioned, is it not in the accumulation of such moments that we become truly human. All our fears, dreams, joys, tears, wishes, hopes, fragility, regrets, triumphs, lived authentically, completely without fetter and brought into that ever changing and ever present moment are what make us human, what gives us our unique flavor, and creates the "us' that we are. For without them, no matter how desperate or despicable they may seem, no matter how dashed and destroyed, disabled and forlorn are those projections or memories, without them we are nothing but experiential flotsam in the stream of some great Temporal river flowing endlessly to some great uncharted sea.

Is that why we are here? strip away those things? To shed all those appendages, and reach and stay in some experiential nirvana, where in a moment the ego, superego, all personal history, and the histories of those we have loved and associated with, is annihilated in favour of a state of nothingness from which no action can come?....are we not human? we not mean anything?

I think not. For although it may be enlightening to experience the transcendent moment, to stay in such a place is a denial of life itself, a denial of all that makes us human, a denial of all those who we have loved and lived with, all justice and injustice, all hope and every dream, it is an a-morality of being. A dissociation, a disconnection with our humanity.

So let us experience that moment if we must, and i would suggest everyone does, as it will deepen that sense of self and well being, by connecting one to something greater than oneself, and remove the illusion of isolation, but never let us forget who 'we' are....who 'you' truly are....fragile, driven, bio-energetic beings who have the power to project, and forge new destinies in the true light of a truly accepted authentic past...for without that baggage, without that history, without our dreams, or hopes, or fears for the future, we are barely human. So many manifestations of love are not possible without that acceptance. Light merely falls, but is rarely projected without that authentic acceptance. For to stay in that state, seeking to deny the multidimensionality of our projected state, seeking to deny our humanity, we are like eternal black holes into which a constant flow of light and love disappears and is crushed under the weight of its own meaningless nothingness.

Yet with that realization and epiphany brought back into an authentic present moment, in which the entirety of who we are as human beings is merged with the reality of that infinite Epiphany, we can enjoy not only a more truly authentic state of being, in which mutual enlightenment in the moment and the multidimensionality of a fully integrated perspective can project authentically and clearly into the present and future states of being, but also we allow the light and love found in that place, to project through us.

In such a state, the deepest qualities of who we are as human beings can be extended more fully, free from the attachments we may, and possibly would, have impinged upon it had the enlightenment not occurred; but also free to shine forth in its true humanity, a melding of the divine with the true gift of being Human.

So... BE. HERE. NOW... but let us do so in the enlightened knowledge of all that we are, all that we have been, and all that we can become. Not stuck in or attached to those memories, dreams, or desires, but integrated with them, as authentic beings, in the knowledge of the unity of your own humanity, in light of the experience of the epiphany of that transcendental moment. For in such an authentic state, we become truly human.

Be Here Now!

© Richard Michael Parker 2009

Wednesday, 9 June 2010




"All things change always, in all ways, nothing remains the same."

Our understanding of Balance in the west is quite static. We are taught that if a person balances on a beam and doesn't fall off, that they are in balance, or that if they walk a tightrope and they don't slip that they have achieved balance, or when our psyche's balance on the head of a pin so long as they do not totter we have achieved equilibrium.

This idea of Balance often presupposes solid ground, or a solid stationary element within the equation, upon which one can measure ones success. But this understanding of balance is often ill conceived. The first reality we can bring to bare in this question of balance is that 'all things are in constant motion' , and that motion is 'relative' to all other things. So although it is true, that when attempting to balance on a beam that rests upon the earth, the illusion of a stationary object is created, namely the illusion of a static beam. In fact, the beam, along with the person who is attempting to balance upon it, is actually travelling at the same speed as the earth is rotating, and circumventing the simply appears that there is a static element to this connection because of the relative velocities of the elements within the equation. If for instance the beam, the person and the planet were suddenly to start travelling at different speeds, the probability of a balanced proposition would be somewhat extended...or for instance an extraneous element was suddenly thrown into the equation so as to change the relative motions of each of the elements...say an earthquake. So Relative motion is a key element in any understanding of the concept of Balance.

This Notion of relative motion in a universe that is in constant flux, is not so new in the west, being an accepted norm in the physical sciences now for almost 100 years, but in the East of course it is ancient, and entire philosophies were constructed upon this dynamic understanding. Not just as a reality outside the observer, but also as an inner reality in the subjectivity of consciousness. There was no differentiation between the two, as dynamic equilibrium was thought to be a founding principle upon which the entire physical universe, and we, as elements within it, functioned. Taoism, Ayurveda Yoga, Confucianism, Neo-Taoism, Neo-Confucianism, Buddhism...all understood this dynamism, and the illusions created by perspectives in relativity. Tai Chi and Wu Shu are premised upon this DYNAMIC balance, where all things are in a state of disequilibrium and are only understood to be in any form of balance when the idea of motion is brought to bare, and motion that is relative to the perceiver.

Systemic flux and flow, is an important element in our own feelings of maintaining a balanced system. In the Natural Biological Sciences this would be understood as the concept of Homoeostases, whereby the body, functioning as a cohesive bio-energetic energy system, seeks to maintain core operational equilibrium in order to function in a maximally efficient manner with the minimum of energetic effort.

It is now fully understood however, that this Equilibrium is a platonic ideal that never actually exists in the real world, because in the real world the body functions within a greater system than itself, and these external influences constantly impinge upon the state of equilibrium the internal system attempts to maintain. Even in an alpha state of pure meditative bliss, the body is constantly at work maintaining this potential equilibrium from within. Nothing exists in isolation, all parts of the system are beholden upon all other parts of the system and the wider systemic whole. Potassium and Sodium balances; Axonal and Dendritic conductive balance of neurotransmitter re-uptake and dispersion; Metabolic gas exchange; to name but a few of these extra systemic balancing acts that are maintained while the consciousness slips into its stillness, decentralizes, shedding itself of its egoistic prison, and re-emerges into Nirvanic bliss; even the sino-auricular node that is so important to deep meditative techniques owes no small part to constant redress of dynamic balance in the brain and along the Vagus nerve. So that what appears as total stillness and calm to the mind, owes no small part to a constant and dynamic sub-systemic redress of equilibrium on behalf of various elements of the system entire.

The illusion of the illusion is itself illusory.

We know that all things vibrate, in physics this is called Brownian motion, where bye every atom is constantly in a dance, and shakes rattles and rolls with its neighbours dependent upon the wider environmental conditions. from the great to the small, this is a truth. The only thing that seems to remain static, is nothingness itself, and as we are mostly made up of this nothingness, we can assume that there is at least a little stillness available to us :)....BUT, like it or not, in existing in the world of things, as we do as human beings; be we illusory soul stuff, dream waifs of Gods thoughts, or manifested energetic beings constructed from simple base molecules that form a blueprint to encode our biochemical parameters....(perhaps all three); We are thrust into a state of disequilibrium, with only the notion of balance to maintain us. We never actually maintain this balance purely and simply because time, space, and all things do not actually stop....they move in perpetuity. The trick if you are trying to live a life in balance, is to recognize this truth and GO WITH THE FLOW! i know this sentiment is often thought of as wishy washy, but in truth it is what every system in our body does naturally, it does what every system in nature does naturally, and it is this truth that Eastern sages recognized many thousands of years before Western Scientists dreamt up the hypotheses to account for the natural world. An Ancient knowledge held in trust by eastern sages for a while, during the dark ages of Western thought.

So what happens to a person who say, seeks to live a life in balance, but encounters a situation whereby that balance, or dynamic equilibrium is so knocked off kilter that they are thrust into the uncomfortable regions of personal or psychological disequilibrium. Lets say, falling in Love, since it is one of my personal favourite topics. :)...Let us first recall that Balance is a spiralling dynamic construct, that is never actually achieved and is always relative in motion to the elements within the system. This new dynamism, that is created by the often wildly fluctuating imbalance of a romantic love relationship can be an extremely uncomfortable feeling for control freak, and Taoist sage alike! What is important to recall however is that by entering into a new systemic system, that every relationship forms, this state of wild disequilibrium is actually an extremely natural occurrence, and is mirrored in all new systems, and all parts of those systems. It occurs so that a new harmonically consistent dynamic balance can be constructed by all the elements of this new system. There is nothing peculiar about it, it is formatively natural. Discomfort comes, often from the inability to let go of the old harmonic balance, in favour of the new one. As humans, when we enter into romantic relations with a new partner, we find the courage to let go of our old selves in the hope of finding that new harmonic balance, through trust. Trust in the other person, that they, who are also in a state of disequilibrium, will join with us in nurturing this new systemic balance, and finding its potential harmonic structure and center. This of course is done by way of communication; physical, emotional, psychological, sexual, and spiritual to name some of the area's where in this instance, namely the Love relationship, couples, need to communicate in order to find that harmonic re-balance. At which point the system, and the elements within it, namely the lovers in this instance, begin to settle down into a hopefully blissful new dynamism.

If however the communication breaks down for whatever reason, say, anxieties, fears, distrust, or one or the other elements of the relationship has reservations, or cannot let go of the old balance, then trust dissipates and the new harmonic is never achieved. Every relationship, or systemic reconfiguration is susceptible to a host of dangers in early infancy, and all elements or partners, or lovers need to fully enjoin in order to make that new harmonic a workable reality. Communication is then paramount in the success of that new harmony, because without it, the system simply disintegrates into its isomorphic elements and fails to cohere. It does this because Balance, or at least the concept of balance is so intrinsically a part of the universal, or creative order of things that the elements in that new relationship simply spiral down to the next lowest order of cohesive equilibrium. In this case single people. Yet as is true of sub atomic particles, particles, elements, chemicals, and all bio-energetic structures, the greater the complexity the greater the dynamism and potential within the new cohesive structure to achieve greater things. Maybe that is why married couples who have happily found a dynamic balance that allows each of the partners personal freedom but also creates the possibility for greater freedom and exploration and embellishment within the relational balance, seem to out score almost all single people on happiness criteria, and live healthier and happier lives, more fulfilled and with greater capacity for personal and interpersonal development.

That is not to say that individuals, cannot achieve a measure of happiness, for they most certainly can, and of course frequently do, and that happiness can fulfil and enrich a life as fully as it knows and understands itself to be, it can reach the potential personal and systemic limits of happiness and growth available to the individual person. They are however unlikely to achieve the same potentials available to the greater system or available to a couple, simply because they exist within a less complex system. This is scant concern for many however, as those who live in this isolated state, are blissfully unaware of the potentials available in a greater systemic whole, or deeply loving relationship. (the same here could be said of those unable to join a greater collective psychological concert...but that's another story, for another time! ;)...) However,as human beings we are biologically constructed to commune with one another and form close bonds of love and other relationships, some of these bonds of love are romantically connective. Indeed it is these romantic embellishments that can enrich our lives and help us to achieve qualities and new harmonies that alone we would never be able to countenance. Whether we can find the courage, and ability to communicate what is personally important to us in the construction of that new harmonic balance, and then mutually nurture it, in trust, with our new partners, will always remain the keynote in the harmony or disharmony of that new relationship, or system.

No young couple, or human being, or indeed any system can maintain the wilds of 'Romantic Love', or the disequilibrium of new constructive harmonics for long, and survive. Almost all relationships will settle into a new harmonic order sooner or later, it is the nature of nature that this occurs, but how one approaches the formative construction of that new dynamic equilibrium will often dictate as to whether the relationship as a whole, no matter who or what it is between, survives, or how much mutual bliss it affords. Taking care in those formative moments can, as it does with our young, ensure that happy, blissful, mutually beneficial, and loving bonds, are created that stand the test of time. Conversely, careless deconstructive actions and behaviour, can bias any new Dynamic system to disharmony and failure. Thankfully as human beings we have free will, and we can choose how we wish to care for that formative relationship.

So in closing let us just say, take care of your balances, go with the flow, know where that flow is, and if your not sure where the flow is, then maybe through trust and honest mutual communication, that flow can be discovered for the mutual benefit of all. Aim to stay in Balance, but remember that balance is illusory and dynamic, relative, and in a constant state of motion. Finding the harmonic center of that balance is never achievable alone, but only in concert with all other elements in that system, and if that is a loving system, then that means mutual communication, through mutual trust, to find a mutual harmony. Not a self-constructed harmony. Which, hopefully, both whole individuals have achieved already. So that as two whole and complete individuals, or parts of a new system, they can come together to create a brand new, Dynamic, whole, and complete harmonic Balance.

© Richard Michael Parker 2009 

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

What are Poets For?

"What are Poets for?"...

Writing poetry, starts in my soul, flows through my heart, up to my head, then its out of my hands.

Sometimes we create from a place that knows not where, when, or why, and the meaning is a revelation over time. Sometimes it is revealed through the observer, at other times the hidden meanings of a poem ferment inside the soul, and only become clear within a context that has yet to be defined.

I catch myself creating pieces and poems that have little bearing on my mind set at the time, and then find them transforming in the minds of those that read them, indeed my own mind when I re-read my own work, in a way that simply would not have happened had i sought to imprint my own limited conscious idea's upon them, without allowing the well spring of the subconscious to foment into the works, often imbuing them with a depth and layered meaning, absent in more cerebral and calculated work.

Of course that's not always the case. As artists it is important to be open to a reasoned work of art, as much as it is an intuitive one, both have their place. I certainly like to allow for the possibility of multiple avenues of inspiration, be they emotive, cerebral, energetic, social, or any other avenue, in any one work. Often there is a large cross over, so that at first glance a work might seem to be speaking on one level about a social event, love, or some particular circumstance, and at the same time, on quite another level, speak to the unity of soul, or the union of the heart, and then, at an altogether different level, it might echo sentiments of a more universal wisdom, that seeks to transcend the mundane understandings of the current mindset, and push the reader beyond those barriers. For it has ever been the case that the transcendent is the ultimate province of the 'Poet' and 'Artist' alike.

For as much as the artist uses their implements to create this moment of transcendence, an artist can be used as an implement also, a medium of sorts, and it is the greater sensitivity of the artist, that allows for the transcendent moment to occur, so long as the artist allows the intuitive to flow freely from the well spring of the unconscious.

Transcendent art then, cannot just come from the confines of an already understood knowledge base. For by its very nature, it extends beyond that which we know, at least cognitively. Great artists then, and great artworks, have the capacity, to not just redefine that which is around them, but push beyond the envelop of that which is knowable. Feelings, and empathetic genius, allow for that moment to occur, free from the strictures of a reasonable creation. This empathetic and creative genius is available to all who would allow for its flow, and defies the reasonable and orderly, in favour of the unconscious and intuitive.

Now it must be the case that in bringing this flow to the fore, within a technical and real sense, a measure of balance and order must be employed by the artist, but not at the expense of the flow. For when the intellect interferes with the intuitive, the imaginative is often sacrificed. In short, on occasion, it is not only good to say 'I did it because I felt like it', it is necessary. For transcendent art is outrageous. In order to transcend the mundane and formally known, Love what you do, fear not, and 'Be Outrageous'!

Poetry is always a relationship. More often than not a relationship forged between relative strangers, who for a brief time inhabit a common ground, created systemically through the interaction of both, by way of the work itself. As a poet I am aware of this, and therefore allow many of my creations to come authentically from a place that allows for the possibility of the transcendent nature of this relationship to blossom. If allowing is indeed the right word, for it is the case that this relationship occurs whether we allow it or not. However, these connections between seemingly disparate psyches, moments of consciousness in both time and place, often meaningfully associate in a synchronistic manner. Forging, a transcendent synergy, that could not have occurred through either of the participants alone. These are the connections that germinate the seeds of transcendence within the artistic relationship.

Once a work has been set down, it becomes the tangible medium of this exchange, and therefore a context of sorts in which both poet and reader dwell for a time, sharing the contents of their own psyches, as they exist for each, within the stream of consciousness.

I am always aware that as the initiator of this process and relationship, it behooves me to be both sincere to the personal vision i wish to convey, or the intuitive evocation that flows through me, but humble enough in the process, to leave latitude enough for the interpretive possibility within the reader, as we discover the deeper meaning of the poem together. Poet, often in an absent passive capacity, aside from the work itself, the reader, in a more active present, filtering the work through their own psyche as it exists at that moment.

As poet, I try to build into, and between the words, or at least allow for, multiple avenues and streams of meaning, both temporally and personally, so that not only each word has multiple possibility, and a point of reference for the reader, but also combinations of words, phrases and images have a fluidity that allows the perceiver to gain something from the poem no matter where there consciousness happens to be at the time.

Along side the actual text, being present in the spaces, the silences between the words, can be as important as being there for the words themselves, and it is often in the silences, and spaces that the intuitive flows most freely. Of course in more intuitive works, this happens completely naturally, and the multidimensional quality of the poems, is a discovery over time for both reader and poet alike, both within the text, and between it.

I read poetry in the same manner, knowing that I will likely never inhabit this moment a second time, even though I may retain a continuity of consciousness, a craft of sorts, that flows upon this endless sea, and retains, in this truth, a stream of awareness that I bring to the poem as reader. This creates a peculiarly unique experience, one that allows for the possibility of the transcendent to occur.

Synergistic art functions in exactly the same manner. When two or more artists allow their work to come together, they do in fact create a new art-form, that neither would have imagined possible had they remained isolated by their own intuitions and visions. This, 'Transcendence', through synergy, allows for the art itself to take on a multidimensional quality which transcends its own former borders.

It is always a kind of trust, a trust in the process of which we are all a part, and through which we mutually discover new horizons. To do this synergistically, is to allow for the possibility of interpersonal transcendence, far removed from the confines of any personally stultifying intellectualism. The artwork becomes greater than the sum of its parts, when in the mind of the perceiver, it is allowed to resonate within the silences and spaces, and connect with the readers, or viewers, own peculiar personal circumstance, history, or projected self. It becomes 'Transcendent', as it lifts the mind and soul into a place hitherto unknown.

I may not always succeed in the process, and combinatorial artistic endeavors may not always reach a preconceived mark, if indeed they must, but to answer the question "What are poets for?"...For me, if indeed they need be for anything, and i am not entirely sure they do, as art is its own reward, they are mediums of transcendent change, and the poem is a stream that carries the reader from multiple directions into the timeless sea of eternal possibility, from where all things become possible that were once improbable.

© Richard Michael Parker 2009