August  2008
The COMPLETE HATCHERY is an extraordinary collection of diverse esoteric, paranormal, Native American proverbs, postmodernist philosophic terms, even the nuances of gourmet wine-tasting, all designed as a lexicon for instant cyberdivination in the production of wholly new and original “blended meta-constructs,” called FROGS, or “Fluid Resonance Oracle Gnosis” set in motion with a Random Number Generator. (Samples from tarotpsych members are included on FSA under CyberExperiments).
The instructions below can be found in the Files Section of Tarotpsych, and available to Tarotpsych Members. (The Complete Hatchery is currently 36 pages, with over four hundred interesting entries; instant access to a Random Number Generator, and easy instructions to make this deep pool of knowledge very accessible, and wildly worth “hatching,” as we say).
Interested in Transpersonal, Jungian, and Tarot Psychology? Join TAROTPSYCH…A lightly moderated Yahoo discussion group on “psychologically-based” tarot work, for seekers, therapists, counselors, Jungians, spiritual teachers, healers, and serious dabblers. Go to: http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/tarotpsych/
Click to enlarge:
August  2008
As in the caves where black was bright
and golden rays could not be thought
of souls in daze of endless night;
We marched our spirit staid and white,
beyond the halls of null and naught
as in the caves where black was bright.
And down poured waves of vengeant blight
bemoaning raves invective wrought
of souls in daze of endless night.
Then welling dry I spied a sprite
whose sight I held but never caught
as in the caves where black was bright.
The blinding shrill of naught clung tight,
taunting the will forever sought
of souls in daze of endless night.
The whole of hell, and all her might–
we befell her charm and hard had fought,
as in the caves where black was bright
our souls in daze of endless night.
Note: I wrote this villanelle at 21, as an English major at Beloit College. People have asked the cause of the poem’s apparent angst, and I’m sorry to report it was written after a minor argument with my father over the car keys. It remains, to date, the only poem I’ve been able to put to memory. FSA
August  2008
[This essay of Art Rosengarten was first published in The MetaArts Magazine, 2003]
The Great Mystery
In discussing the conditions for enduring psychological transformation (individually, societally, and globally), I noted that Buddhists believe the core difficulty stems from the fact that we don’t really know who we are. The argument goes something like this: We know ‘what’ we are, in terms of roles, preferences, and beliefs; we know ‘what’ we’re supposed to be, in terms of familial, religious, and cultural expectations and assumptions; we may even know ‘what’ we’d really like to be, in view of all these things plus a little imagination as well. Yet despite our prodigious capacity to self-assess along these lines, we don’t know who we are. We confuse the ‘what’ for the ‘who’ and at the end of the day we don’t have a clue.
The “what we are” refers to our content, the“who” to the carrier, agent, or driver of that content. Simply stated, the ‘who’ is the guy that’s minding the store (not the stuff on the shelves), in some cases, it exists before the store has even been built (but we will take up the illusion of Time in another article). The who says: “Let’s open early today…don’t forget to call the tax guy after ten…Wow, who is she? Nice ass…” You might think: “All that silent conversation and mind chatter.. who’s doing it?” The answer is we don’t really know. We’re more focused on collecting and expanding our stuff, the whats, than on solving the whos. People would rather know “what’s” for lunch than who’s eating it?
Those In The Know
Not long ago, I put this very question to some 46 senators in the American Congress—that is, while day-dreaming on a slow Saturday afternoon. “Senator, could you tell me, in your own words, who you really are?” Below I’ve listed a sampling of their responses:
A person of conviction and compassion
The son of a twice-decorated war hero from Alabama
A man who cares for the children of America
A woman who understands the less fortunate
A guy who believes in fiscal responsibility and common sense
A proud son of the grand state of Louisiana
The man standing before you, who else?
Just a citizen with a vision for the American people
(And so forth…)
Obviously, American senators have no idea who they really are by this survey. Fortunately for them, they are no different than 99.99% of the world’s population. Unfortunately for us, they wield considerable influence over the future course on this planet and beyond. This got me to wondering: Except for a few intriguing possibilities from the emergent sciences, the out-of-the-park home run that is the Internet, and perhaps Sushi Bars, the world seems as ignorant today as it’s ever been, and arguably worse. Not to say that we are bad or just plain dumb people, because we’re not bad or dumb people; by and large, human beings are a fairly bright and decent lot, we don’t go around spitting on each other, lopping off heads, or throwing bombs in open marketplaces (well..let’s say, MOST human beings are a decent lot and leave it at that); people pretty much do the best they can with what they’ve got to work with. It’s simply unfortunate that they don’t know who they are.
Inmates Running The Asylum
Here’s what I see today in America, circa today: As Earth reaches critical depletions in ecosystems and the global population continues to soar, America pretends to know who it really is (but is otherwise clueless). To a certain degree, America knows “what” it is, and “where” it’s going, or at least pretends to know. America’s political agenda is driven foremost by the myth of superiority–energy, information, weapons, and wealth, the four fabled components of power dominance. Its real and perceived threats of terrorism have provided a certain moral/primal justification to accelerate and extend this power agenda. Simultaneously, its economic and social institutions are clogged from decades of attrition having been stylized by a meritocracy that gets its blood-draw entirely from the imagination-deficient “reality thing” (see “Reality” essays in IDEAS).
America’s poor no longer have political representation in the Bush Administration and are viewed as annoyances, like mosquitoes. Its entrepreneurial movers and shakers hustle like “valley boys” for new slice-and-dice designer technologies, and its idea-starved “identity culture,” (see The New Gurus, IDEAS), is agog in the narcissism of consumer culture, or else thumps its chest out in the hubris of going backwards in time. The Arts stumble over tired replays of unreal reality, and The Sciences have made a new religion out of the deification of reification (Thingism), meaning we see god in our ability to recreate god. But given this troubling assessment of the state of the union, is it not odd that almost nobody in America is concerned about who they really are? And perhaps more concerning, who’s minding the store of America?
The emergent sciences (by which I mean forward-looking empirical theories and technologies) such as microelectronics, biotechnology, neuropsychiatry, and artificial intelligence would seem to offer the best hope in solving this puzzle. They point to impressive gains in the information marathon, like the fact that human knowledge is doubling every ten years, and that in the past decade, more scientific knowledge has been created than previously in all of human history. That the number of DNA sequences we can analyze is doubling every two years. That computer power is doubling every eighteen months, and that the Internet is doubling every year. Curiously, despite such rapid doublings in scientific knowledge and application, even the vast majority of scientists themselves have no verifiable idea of “who” they really are. What time do they have to work on it? Even the field of Psychology–which with Freud and Jung and their many wise disciples–once prided itself as the science of self-knowledge (“who-ness”) NOW has joined the march of hard science towards what-ness. One must wonder, therefore, what will the emergent sciences do with all this rapid-fire new information?
Once again it’s the same rather hairy situation of the inmates running the asylum. The plain truth is that neither the valley boys, the scientists, the politicos, the fundamentalists, the identity projects, the poor, the normaloids, the Good Ol’ Boys, or the children have the foggiest idea who they really are. Nothing new under the sun here. Hmm. Like certified mental disorders all differentially diagnosed, each strain of personhood actually functions quite coherently within its own quirky parameters. From the Tabugian perspective (see The New Gurus, IDEAS), this is more than a tad bit disturbing! It’s sheer runaway humanity setting up shop like a chicken with its head cut off! If the Buddha was correct in his assertion– that the fundamental cause of human suffering is the fact that Man doesn’t really know “who” he is [and let’s assume for the moment that this transformed Indian prince knew experientially, in ultimate terms, exactly what he was talking about] THEN we definitely DO have a problem here. It’s what I call the “Who’s Who In America” problem.
Jung pointed (partially) to the problem in his writings:
Anyone who has any ego-consciousness at all takes it for granted that he knows himself. But the ego knows only its own contents, not the unconscious and its contents. People measure their self-knowledge by what the average person in their social environment knows of himself, but not by the real psychic facts which are for the most part hidden from them.
Who’s Who In America from the Jungian perspective is really a story about What’s What in America– perhaps with the subtitle: A Compendium Of What’s Taking Up Space On The Shelves Of My Store. As a mass collection of narcissistically-injured egos [we are a little self-absorbed in the wrong places, don’t you think?] in our lost perceptions of who we really are we tend to overcompensate either through being inappropriately proud (or else, gravely insecure) about “what” we are, and by extension, what America is; yet in the same breath, we are virtually disinterested in the more vexing problem of “who” we are. Is this really the 21st century?
Had one senator in my imaginary survey said simply “an observing center of awareness,” or “something that eludes me when I’m highly present in the moment,” or perhaps, “an unfolding, non-local, experiential field of biological, mental, karmic and environmental factors,” or even “Hell, son, I have no idea who I really am but I pretend I’ve got this thing figured out because it’s a lot easier to stay employed that way”—all Tabugians would rest easier.
Buddhist psychology takes Jung a giant step further on this matter. Beyond Jung’s static focus on “contents of the mind,” whether conscious or unconscious, Buddhist psychology recognizes “processes of mind” (modes of perception) under which resides a vast, content-less awareness called ‘sunyata.’ The word translates into English as ‘emptiness’ and it may be thought of as pure process blended with pure awareness. In contrast to the perceptual forms that characterize the conscious mind—thought, feeling, sense perception—or even those characterizing the unconscious mind—images, memories, complexes, archetypes, dreams, Buddhists believe the larger nature of consciousness has no shape, no form, no substance and no style at all. It is therefore described as emptiness. One wonders how such utter negation could give rise to a “who?”
In the classic ‘Heart Sutra’ the Buddha teaches that wisdom essence is the worldview based on direct knowledge of emptiness. Enlightenment is no other than the direct and stable perception of emptiness. This perception, from the Buddhist perspective, is perhaps the goal or ‘finality’ that our construct “who we really are” ultimately strives to connect us to, but eventually “it” too will be surrendered in the process.
Writes American Buddhist psychologist John Welwood:
If the contents of mind are like pails and buckets floating in a stream, and the mindstream is like the dynamic flowing of the water, pure awareness is like the water itself in its essential wetness. Sometimes the water is still, sometimes it is turbulent; yet it always remains as it is, wet, fluid, watery. In the same way, pure awareness is never confined or disrupted by any mind-state. Therefore, it is the source of liberation and true equanimity.
Who we are is basically “essential awareness,” that is, the process of awareness itself. We are not the contents of awareness, which more accurately point to the “whats.” Directing this insight to the attainment of deep wisdom is the job description of the bodhisattva. “Warrior saints, and Enlightened Beings seeking the perfection of wisdom,” spoke ‘the Conqueror’ (the Buddha) in The Heart Sutra, admonishing that one’s essential awareness must be directed to:
“The perception of emptiness by a person whose mind is filled with the Wish for enlightenment.”
Such is the Buddhist formulation for ultimate realization. At this level, bodies are no longer bodies and Tabugians are no longer Tabugians, they have decomposed into only ‘such’. As we can see, the Buddhist formula requires not only essential awareness but also ‘right intention’(choice) and ‘the Wish.’ We must take aim with our awareness, divining it in highest motivation.
To be continued…
(Note: This article has been translated into French, as well as Tagalog, under the titles, respectively: “Who’s Who In France,” and “Who’s Who In The Philippines.” Comments are appreciated.
August  2008
Distilling The Essential From The Special
[By Art Rosengarten. First published in The MetaArts Magazine, 2003]
To be a Tarot-based Buddhist Jungian–a ‘Tabugian’ [‘ta-BOO-ghee-en’]–is to be an interactive and spontaneous blend of essential teachings. By comparison, one-way belief systems like fundamentalist religion, stern father-figures, and hard science (anointed by the dictum of ‘either/or’) no longer hold sway in a pluralistic metaverse where personal and collective identity evolves with increasing velocity towards differentiation, cross-fertilization, specialization (particularization), and eclecticism.
The advent of the guru import industry of the 1960s, 70s, and 80s in North America and Europe saw thousands of bright and earnest spiritual seekers (bored baby-boomers looking for meaning) experimenting with substitute orthodoxies while hoping to find The One “one-way” school that carried a formula that actually worked, had a certain sexiness or “brand-ability,” and required some thinking before joining. Powerful and exotic teachings appeared during this mini-Rennaissance, which, in retrospect, served an important “bridging-function” to the meta-ethic of today. Though things today have morphed into results not entirely predicted by yesterday’s trends.
Often these first offerings were purged of their essential psycho-cultural native soil and made to exude a certain “export quality mysticism” befitting the American fascination for neat tricks, handsome faces, and suburban rebellion. Notes Jungian author James Hillman:
In the East the spirit is rooted in the thick yellow loam of richly pathologized imagery—demons, monsters, grotesque goddesses, tortures and obscenities…But once uprooted and imported to the West it arrives debrided of its imaginal ground, dirt-free and smelling of sandalwood!” (Re-visioning Psychology, p. 67)
Debriding the hidden forces has served Western capitalism’s great genius for manufacturing. Essence, it concluded correctly, would be hell for mass production because, by its very nature, it is intangible, unknown, and unseen. Form, on the other hand, required only ingenuity, engineering, and due dilligence. Form works wonderfully well in studios, laboratories, factories, ad campaigns, and academic institutions, especially when there is sufficient incentive. If it looks the part, it can play the part, capitalism reasons, though toxic Janey-dolls and tainted cans of Chinese dog giblets have recently thrown this assumption back on itself.
In the emerging Meta Age of today, former “One Way” stalwarts like General Motors, Major League Baseball, and Jesse Jackson, have lost “fan base” of new generations due mostly to the blue and mangled extremities they’ve suffered from years of shooting themselves in the foot. Today’s “market-tested spirituality,” much like yogurt sections in the supermarket and American teenage “theme-camps,” favors high variety, mix-and-match “menu-selectivity,” and bright-colored wrappings; towards these ends, it has added a vibrant array of spiritual nuance to 21st century yearnings. By contrast, when Mark Twain joked slightly more than a century ago “Give me heaven for the climate, hell for the company”— today one rightly asks, “Why stop at two?”
Today it appears like there actually is “something new under the sun.” With hardly a giggle, postmodernists are free to express, espouse, even “invent” (construct) unique identities from purely blended, “integrationist” platforms. Old barriers between system, style, and semantic have melted away when redefining precisely who we are in the service of this new breed of postmodern pantheism. Philosophically, for instance, one may now fashion oneself as ‘Qabromanterian’ (Qabalistically-inspired Romantic Presbyterian), ‘Gaysuflåtonist’ (Homosexual Sufi Platonist), or even, ‘Blastro-Fartographer’ (Blind Astro-Cartographer with gas) that is, if one wishes to. That is the key.
No longer must we adhere to native birth identity for defining Who we are, How we recreate, and What we believe, as the new ethic now tugs at our sleeve, insisting—“For heaven’s sake dude, why NOT go ‘Pastafarian’ (Italian Rastafarian),or even blinking ‘Squeajewnaut’ (Squeamish Jewish Astronaut)?” After all, this is the age of blending forms. Such are the new 21st century gurus. Should one still have zero interest in upgrading “soul brand” or blending belief, he or she may simply remain, hopelessly, as they say, ‘Sub-Reptile’ (Subdued Republican Gentile), and be satisfied in doing so.
Strict lines that formerly demarcated the “nomenclature of belief” now blur like vegetarian catfish soup. “Blending gurus,” once unheard of in the monotheistic fatherland, has become a liberating exercise in the making of selfhood that now paves the way to the Holy Grail of the Meta Age—“designer consciousness.” It’s new motto, of course: “If you can slice it, you can dice it!”
Yet the phenomena is not without precedence. Decades ago the zany American political arena began to slice-and-dice the “demographics of subcategory” ala Pro-Choice Rockefeller Republicans, Southern White Reagan Democrats, and, of course, Libertarian-leaning World Wrestling Federation Independents. Certainly, the once pithy 60s slogan “Do your own thing” never quite imagined we would evolve to the spiritual equivalent of “fifty-seven channels and nothing’s on.”
Sociologically, for example, the singles dating landscape has made a high art form of what may be termed: ‘entitled particularity’—e.g. “Extremely short and freckled white pagan harpsichordist looking for same in a mate.” Cable television has given our once “unprogrammed” imaginations the market-researched fodder of agnostic entertainment executives on a short leash. We look for guidance from image-makers finger-painting from the temples of Hollywood over shooters and age demographics. Imagination, oddly, has become the single most coveted port of entry in the postmodern free market.
Science and technology do their parts as well. New generation biopharm researchers now labor feverishly for ever more target-intensive/symptom-differentiated concoctions—ala “relieves upper-left shoulder morning pain in pollen allergic forklift operators.” Specificity is the new gold standard, “made to order” and “right for ME” it’s soft mantras. If unable to extract the grail of “designer consciousness,” the new science of neurochemistry proudly extols the next best thing: “designer drugs.” Indeed, as the general boundaries of worldly existence have been cast, the emerging frontier now sizzles in search of the specific and the special “high” (“a relative emotional response with respect to baseline perception of subject” it notes in the fine print disclaimer).
BROAD STROKE INTEGRATIONISTS
Technically-speaking, Tabugians are neither specialists nor “particularists” despite their blended zeitgeist (or just maybe, because of it!). Rather, they are “broad stroke” integrationists, and look primarily to the essentials, not the specifics, for direction. All three Tabugian legs–Tarot, Buddhism, and Jungian Psychology– dig down beneath the superficia of difference to expose the wellspring of sameness. Perennial philosophers call it ‘Universal Consciousness’ but the C word is loaded with allusion and hard to pin down. It’s not that Tabugians don’t care about Katie Holmes or CSI Miami etc. in a sour disapproving modes particularly—to the contrary, we simply observe “It” with a passing glance as part-and-parcel of “reality” and then we try to get refocused on other ways of dealing (see IDEAS articles, “Reality; & Reality 2.0). Nonetheless, “we” (and I use this term editorially, as to date, there is actually only one official Tabugian on the planet, as far as we know, and I’m damn proud of it too!) regard the current trend towards differentiation and specialization as dubious, delusional, and flawed.
THE GERUNDS OF EXPERIENCE
But why? Doesn’t greater differentiation generate more possibilities to play with?
The answer is simple: yes & no. The new ethic dabbles in proliferating the “subnouns of reality,” not in transforming the “gerunds of experience.” Specialization, upon closer inspection, is about differentiating the content of reality, not advancing the process; specialization inspires a widget world of pre-form thingness, but it misses the essential penetration, activation and transformation of human awareness and experience. Particularizing is simply an apparatus to slice-and-dice the known, changing apples to applesauce, mangos to chutney. Essentials, critically, are not really touched in the process.
Without question, particularizing has tremendous short-lived appeal; hybrid possibilities of ‘garbage in’ can now generate new and improved combinations of ‘garbage out’. After all, high technology (to its credit) makes garbage-collecting extremely efficient, attractive,and profitable, vacuum-packing STUFF into snappy, polymerized containers at a quarter of the cost. Yet, in the final analysis, it IS “nothing new under the sun” thinking (like deja vu)“all over again!” Don’t believe me? Try punching the words “new and improved” or “totally original” into your search engine and jot down everything you get…
The problem is the world is awash in recycled garbage and it doesn’t look, feel, stack, or smell very pretty. Re-wrapped and aerosoled solutions are not sufficient to transform what we call the “intractables” that plague the human condition and its brave new world—violence, poverty, narcissism, gridlock on the 405 etc. The Buddhists reduce such intractables to their root causes: hatred, greed, and delusion. And likewise Tabugians cry out for real change: “We don’t need no stinkin’ chutney!” they shout, believing boldly that YES indeed there can be something new under the sun, “process-wise” on planet E.
For a truly new creation to grow wings, for an apple to become an orange, for a person to become an individual, an individual to become enlightened, a society to generate well-being, and a globe to be transformed, a magician’s touch of true creativity is required. The basic meta-ingredients of essential wisdom must be skillfully aged to perfection, blended, and properly cooked, not merely sliced, diced, and repackaged. Under such conditions, something truly fresh, nutritious, and original will likely emerge. This is real transformation. This is qualitative change. This is what Tabugians ultimately seek.
TO BE CONTINUED…
Please comment below if you would like to become THE SECOND TABUGIAN in the world [or if you believe this insane heresy should be banned from the internet immediately].
August  2008
Always we stay
such good friends
sharing a cave.
I see us now
by those few chairs
of our den,
sitting on the the cold clay
while we talk
our sinful wisdom
and gloat in the humor
of our splendid shyness.
I think of the saints
and the martyrs
who sleep on hard floors
and scent their spiteful caves
with dingy hermit’s wax,
and I know
that we simpletons of the frontier
can sing our hymns anywhere.
Our songs have burnt through brown
and amber autumns,
warmed our paws over frozen craters,
blanched our summer beards;
for we are old friends
who have eaten much fox,
sturdy mountain goats
who have trudged virgin rivers
on swings of spiked wood brush.
echoing many silent sermons–
why time gets so crisp,
why we’ve been here so long
and each year mountains seem less high
and we smell so much sweeter.
August  2008
After the war
who will know
love’s defeated soldiers
or hear their songs
once laden with devotion
in the rubble and revision?
Where are the guides
that directed their hearts
and whispered the way?
And who will answer
the prayers behind their shields
or see the timeless hands
behind their lover’s rose?
Who will know
the real blood
that dries beneath the story?
Who will hear the real scream
that led both the hero’s charge
and the child within
to lose the war