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Jack Kerouac, Sam Keen, disorientation, and the apology for wonder

excerpted from THE WAY OF WONDER: a return to the mystery of ourselves, by Jack Haas

 

       

          

“O gnashing teeth of earth, where would it all lead but some sweet golden eternity, to prove that we’ve all been wrong, to prove that proving was nil… I realized, ‘there is no answer’. I didn’t know anything any more, I didn’t care, and it didn’t matter, and suddenly I felt really free.”

Jack Kerouac

 

 

As the phoenix rises from its own ashes, and the snake sheds its worn out old skin, so must we molt mentally if we are to live, and die, and live again.

Excerpts from Sam Keen’s Apology for Wonder eloquently document this process of death and resurrection: “When something explodes into awareness and shatters our ordinary categories of understanding, it quite naturally creates mental and emotional dis-ease and puzzlement. What is this novel star that has suddenly appeared on my horizon? Who is this stranger who speaks so unexpectedly out of the mouth of my wife? Why is it that the rose I observed yesterday and the day before today confronts me with a miracle of redness? …When we are wonderstruck our certainties dissolve, and we are precipitated suddenly into contingency. We are alike a man waking in the middle of the night in a strange hotel room and not being able, for the moment, to remember where he is. …Wonder…insofar as it disrupts our proven ways of coping with the world…is menacing; insofar as it offers the promise of renewing novelty, it is desirable and fascinating. If we attend to the strict meanings of the words, we may describe the heart of the experience of wonder as an awful-promising surprise. …The imagery of apocalypse and resurrection is integral to the experience of wonder. Every wonder-event involves a cognitive crucifixion; it disrupts the system of meanings that secures the identity of the ego. To wonder is to die to the self, to cease imposing categories, and to surrender the self… Refreshment or resurrection leaves us reborn but unable to articulate an adequate testimony. There is nothing new to say about the world…only a new ability to celebrate it…”

This ‘disorientation and reorientation’ is the psychological equivalent of the alchemical formula solve et coagula (dis-solve and re-combine); everything is taken apart and re-made. This, as has been said, can be destabilizing, to say the least. And yet it is essential, and unavoidable, and requires only our acceptance of the process in order to see it through to completion. In a state of wonder, no piece of the paradigm can endure.

           Once we have made it through the ‘dark night of the soul’, then we are healed from the tortures of the mind’s misconceptions. This is when we are “¼opened to the ecstasy of Creation”, as Ida Mingle described it.

            It is here that we find some respite, for we no longer care what society cares for, and no longer understand what others understand. Here we are finished with the confines of the limited mind. Here is where, if we a strong enough to be nothing, ...here is where we are free.

 

excerpted from:

 

way of wonder, sacred geometry, sri yantra

 

 

THE WAY OF WONDER: a return to the mystery of ourselves

by Jack Haas

author Jack Haas, Canadian, American writer, artist, photographer

 

 

 

      

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