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A READER'S JOURNAL

Love and the World
by
Robert Sardello

Creating a Future for the Earth
Published by HarperCollin/NY in 1995
A Book Review by Bobby Matherne ©2005


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Robert Sardello writes great Introductions. I'm thinking here of A Psychology of Body, Soul, & Spirit by Rudolf Steiner and Jung & Steiner by Gerhard Wehr. This book, Love and Soul, has no Introduction, however, only a chapter labeled "Getting Started" — apparently designed to capture readers who do not read Introductions. Only few will notice that the pages are designated by lowercase Roman numbers as Introductions are. Whatever you call it, his ten-page introduction to this book was by far the best part of the book and I will direct my comments mainly to it.

The difference between process and content is often obscured when we talk about both as if they were two different kinds of content. When we talk about a chemical process or a political process, for example, we conjure up a view of the process and that view, no matter how detailed or dynamic it may be, is only content. Process, rightly understood, is what is happening in the moment. In this moment, I am typing on a Compaq keyboard on my PC. I'm also considering what to say next. If I were to attempt to fully describe the process I am involved in, I would get myself into a tight loop. Try it yourself. Take a pen and write down what you are doing right now. As you write, come closer and closer to what you are actually doing and soon you will find yourself writing, "I am describing what I'm doing which describing what I'm doing which is ..." — all in a very tight loop. This tight loop shows clearly that a process cannot be described — it can only be lived through, experienced directly.

There is a specific type of process in which many people are constantly worried about the future. The process they use is to visualize the future how they expect (or have heard) it will be and feel bad about it in the moment. Their vision of the future is a bad content and that content makes them feel bad in process, in the moment, one moment after another without end. It is as if they are unwilling to wait for the bad things to arrive to feel bad — they want to feel bad now. If the bad content they fear does not show up when the future arrives, will they feel good? Not likely. They are too clever for that. By the time a good content arrives, they have replaced the bad content they formerly had with some new bad content and are too worried about that to recall that the future did not meet their dreaded expectations and actually feels good. Instead they are too busy feeling bad about the new content. They seem, in other words, only content with bad content and manage to generate bad content continuously till one day, they can say, I told you so. They are in their own way, like the hypochondriac had emblazoned on her tombstone, "See, I told you I was sick!"

[page xiii] If we listen only to the clairvoyants or to the scientists concerned with prediction, what is around the corner looks very dire indeed. But, knowledge of the future alone, regardless of the source, seems to me to be of very little importance because it is inevitably fatalistic. This fatalism stems from an emphasis on seeing what is ahead in terms of one content or another. . . . Regardless of what is seen, when the focus is on content then the creative powers of the human soul are neglected as being a primary factor in the making of the world.

The human soul is where we are when we experience process. In our earthbound brain is where we are when we experience content. The difference between the two is easy to discover because when the soul is fed content, it becomes sleepy and bored — when it experiences process, it becomes enlivened and vitalized. Certainly you've been in boring lectures where content after content kept pouring out of the speaker's mouth and you were fighting to stay awake, when suddenly some excitement breaks out in the back of the room and you're suddenly awake and on your toes. The former was all content and the latter was a process which was unfolding in front of your eyes as you turned your head. The excitement might have come from a person who asked a pointed question which required the speaker to reach for a real answer outside of the content that had spewing out before the questioner spoke up. Now the speaker has to get real and the audience wakes up in anticipation of participating in the process!

Jung in his depth psychology considered dreams to be the process of the soul at work and encouraged his followers to attend to the process at work in their dreams because the same process will be at work during their waking lives albeit unconsciously. But by attending to the process at work in one's dreams, one can begin to bring the soul processes into consciousness. Unfortunately many spend their time working with the content of their dreams rather than the process. They confound themselves by adding content to content while the lively processes slide by unnoticed.

[page xiv] Nonetheless, soul life can be described quite accurately as long as one adheres to metaphor, likeness, resemblance, analogy, and style, rather than to language suitable to reified things.

Reified things is a fancy name for content. Sardello breaks out of content when he says that the processes of the soul are the processes of love.

[page xv] All the manifold and different phenomena of the soul are modifications and various transformations of love. Every stirring of a soulful kind, however it may come into appearance, is in some way modified love. Thus, it is not possible to know what stirs in the soul except through love, and depth psychology is an epistemology of the heart. When Jung says that soul refers to the imaginative possibilities in our own nature, we can hear this in a more dynamic sense as referring to the creating activity characteristic of love.

The Big Bang Theory of the origin of the universe is a brain-bound theory which is pure content. It starts nowhere and goes nowhere: from nothing to huge splashes of energy to dissipating energy back to nothing again. Dull, boring content. The kind of content which made me dis-content with physics. The soul is recursive in a way physics is not: it operates upon itself in every moment creating a new soul existence in every moment. Those who hold bad content are also working on themselves, but in a way which does not enhance their lives, but detracts from it.

When the soul is operating recursively upon itself, we call that an archetype, or stated differently, an archetype is attractive to our soul because it mirrors an unconscious recursive process going on inside of us at the time.

[page xv] If we ask why soul finds rootedness in archetypes and culture in imaginal realities, it is not just because archetypes are very old and culture is very fecund. Soul is in these instances holding fast to primary reflections of itself as creative both of the universe and of the human world, the latter which has a special significance in relation to the whole, the significance of being responsible for the fate of the whole. Thus, archetypes are first modifications of a creating force that is far too intimate to be encompassed by the mechanistic assumptions of physics and the big bang theory. And imaginal realities are first modifications of this same creating force that is far too personalized to be explained by impersonal evolutionary processes. Soul finds its homeland in archetypal pictures and its proper landscape in culture because these are both productions of the creative force of love.

The creative force of soul activity is prospective, Sardello tells us, "it creates the unknown but utterly substantial reality of the future."

[page xv] As long as there is the sense of soul, there is the sense of a future. And when there seems to be no future, or a future that is no more than a projection of the past modified by wild fantasy instead of the truly new and unknown drawing us toward it, then soul has been diminished.

Here we can see EAT-O-TWIST at work: Everything Allways Turns Out The Way It's Supposed To, where supposing is the soul process that goes on inside of us drawing the unknown future to us. Whatever we suppose will happen for a long enough time will happen because the process of supposing activates our soul processes to create what we suppose around us. Note: it is crucial not to confuse the process of supposing with the content of what one supposes. It is the process which will show up in the future, not the content. The content was merely some "wild imaginal" fancy of the moment, a map of how we thought we wanted our world to be — and that content was not worthy of soul processes(1).

Love is a worthy process and wants to be conscious. Sardello says that to the extent some soul activity is unconscious, it is because of "our inability to face the full reality of love." When we come to face that realization fully, "the outer world expresses itself . . . as the appearance of soul in the world."

In the childhood of humanity the form of love everyone knew was family ties: love of one's blood relatives. To be kind to other people meant to treat them as if they were kin — kin is the etymological root of the word kind. With the onset of romantic love, one learned to treat a stranger as one would one's kin, a blood relative. With the maturing of humankind, familial love is no longer the highest and best form of love — we are exhorted to "love our neighbor as ourselves" and by neighbor is meant every person we come into contact with in the world. Love is to be henceforth a process of soul-unfolding with each person we meet — not some selected few relatives.

As love has changed, so also has art changed over the years. Every few decades some new form of art arises, and when something new arises in art, it is at first unsettling. People rejected outright the disturbance caused to the world of established art by Pablo Picasso and George Braque. Luckily the two men persisted or the world would have been poorer by the loss of the world view revealed in the flat cubist paintings of those innovators of cubism. The later artists who have replicated the cubist style in their paintings would have also been lost. This is the case of true art: it is the process of destruction of sameness — it asks more questions than it answers and inspires others to go further in exploration of the form. True art lives in the realm of soul logic, rightly understood.

[page xx, xxi] In the realm of soul logic, what is healthy is usually at first unsettling. It becomes necessary not to immediately reject disturbance, but to go on to see whether a whole world is being revealed in a steady row of manifestations that makes a complete picture even it if does not make the picture completely. A sign of health is that more questions are raised than are answered, and that the nature of such questions does not carry the character of doubt but rather the inspiration to go yet further.

One operational definition of coercion would be to "impose something on others or on the world" regardless of whether it is "imagined to be beneficial or helpful." Whether one operates out of one's own maps or borrows another's maps, when those maps or strictures of whatever form are imposed upon another or on a society as a whole, the result is the "greatest possible harm to the soul."

[page xxi] The character of soul logic can be described in yet another way, from the viewpoint of its purpose. Practical application is the least useful form of soul logic and the greatest stumbling block on the way to a new way of knowing. What must be seen is that application, at least as it is currently understood, carries with it the propensity to impose something on others or on the world that is imagined to be beneficial or helpful. Application in this sense brings the greatest possible harm to the soul because such application is bound to be highly influenced by the attempt to address a problem in the most efficient manner possible and to bring about results in the least amount of time possible. Soul does not function in this manner; it is not in the least concerned with efficiency, but can be easily obscured when approached in this manner.

The soul, as Sardello rightly points out, is not concerned with efficiency in the way an engineer or industrial designer might. To paraphrase slightly the famous line of Pascal's, "The soul has reasons of which reason knows nothing." Engineers and designers deal with reason and logic, but the logic of the soul is not concerned with the practical applications of engineers and designers.

Rightly understood, soul is not a content, but a process — as Sardello puts it below, "not an entity, but an activity." To deal with content is to deal with the abstract, to deal with the abstract to move away from the reality of the world which is always present around us in the moment in process. Those who live in fear may find comfort in content because, by its abstract nature, it keeps away from them the reality of the process of the world in action around them. People who love the world love the processes in which they live, move, and have their being.

[page xxi, xxii] If application is set aside, does soul logic have the purpose of knowledge for its own sake? This purpose is also unsuitable to the soul realm, primarily because knowing in this way does not do anything. While it might be argued that psychology is a modern version of the ancient practice of knowing oneself and that such knowledge in itself makes a difference, this form of knowing is next to application the least useful form of approaching soul logic. Soul is not an entity but an activity, and thus if one knows what it is but does not know it in its functioning, in its very operation while it is functioning, such knowledge may be profound but is nevertheless abstract. Such knowledge does not take one into the world but away from it, sanctified perhaps by believing that one has entered the domain of th esoteric and the hidden, which most likely reveals a fear of the world rather than a love for it. In our time, if soul-knowing is not also world-knowing, self-knowledge rapidly declines into self-aggrandizement.

When we perform a mathematical operation, such as adding two plus two, we discover only what is already present in the strictures of the mathematical operation of addition and in the number system upon which we operate. At some level every operation we perform on abstract concepts may reveal something we don't know, but they cannot reveal anything which is not already within the scope of the abstract concepts. In other words, logical operations on abstract concepts or content, cannot be creative. But soul logic actually participates in the creation of what one beholds. Soul logic, contrary to mathematical logic, is creative.

[page xxii] Soul logic begins to stand on its own when seen as a mode of beholding. Soul, first and foremost, needs to be witnessed. To stand simultaneously before the reality of soul and within this same reality is a way of knowing proper to this domain. The simultaneity of participating and observing is the mode of imagination, but here it is necessary to distinguish between beholding as a necessary beginning and its fulfillment. Beholding alone is not sufficient to count as soul logic; it is only what initiates it. Imagination must unfold into productive imagination, the positive act of participating in the creation of what one beholds. Soul logic also creates what is being observed by attending not only to what presents itself but also to the coming about of what is presented. This way of knowing is the most productive because it encompasses the appearances of soul, the coming into being of those appearances, and the result of those appearances. This comprehensive soul logic satisfies in one act what is otherwise segmented into knowledge and application, while excluding altogether the coming into being.

The full application of the creative act is realized in the process of intuition as Sardello explains in this next passage:

[page xxii, xxiii] To break through this false division between the conscious and the unconscious, all that is needed is practice in active focusing, combined with receptive assimilation that does not go to sleep but is taken up productively by understanding that reception is also a creating act. In this manner, the beholding of soul, which is essentially receptive, becomes combined with steadfastly remaining alert and awake to how what is being perceived is also being created. This mode of knowing is intuition, now made conscious and fully available as a way of knowing what otherwise can only be the subject of hypothesis and speculation.

The future is something that is already in the process of happening. In the process I call remember the future one can learn to notice when a memory of the future reaches one. This is a signal that the future is already happening. Whether you believe in "love at first sight" can be understood as a function of whether you have trained yourself to recognize when a signal of a future event has reached you or not.

[page xiii] The possibility of creating a spiritual culture based in the reality of soul that occupies the rest of this book is based on the one hand in the contributions of depth psychology and on the other hand in the schooling of consciousness described above. We must, I think, begin with the world in which we live, and relinquish trying to return to models of spiritual culture from the past. Equally so, spiritual culture cannot be formed out of an idea of what one thinks that it ideally ought to be. The past is taken up from the point of view of the future-directedness contained in the past, its imaginative possibilities that belong to its actuality, and the future is taken up not as something that can happen but as something that is already happening and that forms a significant quality of the life of the soul of every human being, capable of being described in quite specific ways.

In the technology of Andrew Galambos (2) which is available for creating a fertile seed bed for the threefolding of society, one learns that one cannot fight the forces of oppression or coercion without creating more coercion to replace them — rather one must individually begin building freedom where one is. Rightly understood, building freedom is a process of soul-making.

[page xxiii] Spiritual culture is not to be thought of as something spread out before us that offers a better world than we now have. It cannot result from collective change but is something that comes about completely individually. Paradoxically, in discovering that true individuality of soul is not something one has, but something one must create, and in taking up this task, spiritual culture forms from moment to moment. Such a culture will never persist on its own for us to participate in comfortably anesthetized and taken care of. We are what we make, and the moment we stop soulmaking we are less than what we could be.

In Chapter 1, "Taking the Side of the Soul," this passage caught my eye as it speaks to the processes I went through in the developing of the nascent science of doyletics. My research began with locating the limitations in our present knowledge of emotions and then extending the insights of Doyle Henderson's pioneering work (removing unwanted emotions) into new areas unavailable previously to workers in the field of emotions.

[page 3] Research often begins with detecting the limitations of previous work in a given area. Such detection does not usually have th aim of discrediting what has been done, but of extending insight into new areas, which often ends up requiring re-visioning what has already been developed. As long as limitations go unnoticed, not only are new areas not opened up, but a part of the whole also continues to be viewed as if it were the whole.

One example of doyletics providing an extension to present knowledge can be discerned by the limitation expressed in the next paragraph.

[page 5, 6] But, it might be argued, depth psychology is of value precisely because it helps us to discover the most significant sources of pain, which lie in repressed traumas of early childhood, and through therapy we must, at least for a while, reexperience a great deal of pain that may have been expressed for years as unhealthy symptoms.

Freud's use of the term "childhood amnesia" for the period before age five tended to obscure more than it revealed because the term amnesia refers to the "loss of a memory." The doylic memories — unique set of body states — of traumas that are never forgotten, rather they are stored in the limbic region of one's brain and re-arise upon appropriate triggering. Freud thought what was missing was a cognitive representation (memory) of the trauma and, absent that memory, one could easily say, as Freud did, that the memory was lost (amnesia) or repressed. There is the limitation of Freud's understanding laid bare: he mistook the absence of a memory (that was never stored in the first place) for a memory that was lost. Plus he attributed the loss to a repression of the memory. In doyletics terms, so-called repressed traumas are understood as doylic memories which have yet to be converted into cognitive memories or what we call simply memories. By use of a simple memory technique called the speed trace, one is able to convert the doylic memories of traumas into cognitive memories without having to reexperience the pain. Via a 60-second speed trace, a lifelong pain in response to some life situation can be prevented from ever arising again. The doylic memory will still be stored in one's limbic region, but all the stimuli which triggered the doylic memory (e. g. pain) will thenceforth trigger only the cognitive memory of the event. One will in other words be able to see what happened to one at two years old when one cried and was not immediately fed instead of feeling hunger pains.

Take a hunger pang, for example. This is a true story of how this worked in one man's life. One man experienced a pain when he got hungry. He did a speed trace on hunger pang (a doyle) and erased it. He found out after the trace was over that the hunger pang was due to a doylic memory stored at two about four months after his first sibling was born. He mom was apparently too busy feeding the new baby one day, and the man, as a two-year-old child, cried and cried until his stomach was tied in knots of pain. That was the doyle that later as an adult he called "hunger pangs". Before the trace he would eat until they went away. Afterward he could easily control the amount of his food intake to match his nutritional requirements. If you have hunger pangs like he did, they will impel you to eat until your stomach is as full percentage-wise as it was when you were two, which was one hundred percent. Since the stomach obviously stretches, this eating till 100% full over the years continually stretches the stomach. Unless and until you remove the hunger pangs, you will feel miserable with an un-full stomach, as miserable as you did when it first happened to you at age two.

Do the speed trace when you are hungry and the hunger pangs will go away. You will be able to eat less and not feel those hunger pangs. Note that you didn't have to reexperience the original trauma of yourself as a child crying and crying and getting your stomach all cramped up. The remnants of the original trauma as it came up whenever you were hungry in the form of hunger pangs was enough to locate the doylic memory and convert it into a cognitive memory. What is a cognitive memory? What we call simply a memory, up until now. In doyletics we distinguish doylic memories from cognitive memories and say that a speed trace converts doylic memories into cognitive memories. How does that show up when one completes a successful speed trace? One is presented with the cognitive memory. One remembers something of the original event. For example, I did the hunger pang trace described above, and my hunger pang doyle went away as I went from two to one. Afterward I saw an image of my mom feeding my baby brother. That explained to me what caused my hunger pangs to be stored at age two: my brother was born when I was four months short of two years old.

Note my memory of the event was only recovered after the hunger pangs had disappeared. This reveals that what many have thought to be the case: that one needed to recover the memory of a problem before a problem will go away is but a limitation of previous work which doyletics exposes.

One form of doylic memory trigger is an image from the past. It will trigger a doyle or bodily state whether it arises in the world around you or whether it arises in your memory. Some people feel as terrified from a real mouse as from an image in their head of a mouse and try to avoid contact with mice, real or imagined. Some people will take pleasure from certain memories — they enjoy the doyles which arise from the cognitive memories and want to keep those doyles flowing. They become, in effect, addicted. A doyle trace will remove any type of doylic memory that is triggering addictions quickly and simply.

[page 15] An analytical psychologist, for example, may relate ulcers and the processes of soul. A typical interpretation states that a gastric ulcer is an expression of an unconscious desire to be fed, a longing to be pampered and cared for in an unconscious regression to the oral phase of development. The stomach reacts to the unconscious wish to be fed by acting as if the stomach itself is food to digest and thus begins to digest itself, which leads to an ulcer.

As a researcher into doyletics, I can tell you that the "unconscious desire to be fed" is likely to be a doylic memory, which, like all doylic memories, is unconscious until a speed trace is done. Thus, if something is unconscious, one knows that something, if it manifests itself in a bodily state, will be a doyle and thus amenable to being traced and erased by its conversion into a cognitive and therefore conscious memory.

I didn't think of myself as being a researcher into the work of the soul until I read this book, but this next passage leaves me no doubt I am and that anyone who learns the speed trace and a few principles of doyletics can also become a researcher into the work of their soul.

[page 13, 14] To become involved in the work of the soul, I am suggesting, is to become a researcher, something that is asked of and available to anyone. This form of research is not to be left to the professionals alone, who too easily become engaged in defending territories. Since, however, this research initiative does not involve a special laboratory, equipment, funding, and publishable results, it belongs to everyone. All that is needed is a sense of soul, presence to the immediacy of the world, and care.

Sardello gives this passage as a quote from an unpublished lecture by Rudolf Steiner in Bremen, Germany on December 12, 1911:

[page 17] "We must eradicate from our souls all fear and terror of what comes toward us out of the future. . . . We must look forward with absolute equanimity to all that may come and we must think only that whatever comes is given to us by a world direction that is full of wisdom."

Those feelings of fear and terror, while they may be triggered by memories reaching us from the future, are comprised of doylic memories or bodily states which we stored up in our limbic system before the age of five and for which we have no conscious recall, up until now. If we would achieve the "absolute equanimity" that Steiner exhorts upon us, we would do best to begin systematically tracing and erasing every feeling of fear and terror when it arises. Think of how many horror movies you have seen where someone loses their life because they become literally petrified and unable to move, or conversely where they become so terrified that they run wildly away screaming shrilly. Either extreme of action puts their lives in jeopardy. Only equanimity in the face of disaster provides one the best chance to avert the disaster by timely action. A simple memory trace, used personally and in private by researchers of the soul, will provide that equanimity and permit each of us to face the coming ages of the world with confidence, in freedom and light.

[page 38] The question now arises of how to sustain development of individuality, particularly in a civilization oriented toward making us forget there even is such a reality. Very often, individuality lived is something that one has to apologize for the next day. That is, we are for the most part not free enough from old conceptions that structure the world around us to sustain our side of creating a new world. Acting individually produces fear in those who live in sleepy comfort.

If the thought of living in absolute equanimity scares you or makes you afraid of doing things or acting in ways you are afraid you will have to apologize for the next day, then consider this: We re-build constantly our image of our old self when we apologize for our new self. Eschew such apologies. Trace away the doyles which arise from any thought that scares you. Especially the thoughts about how people will react to the new you. Remember you are part of their doylic ecology: they depend on you to be a source of doylic memories that they are addicted to. If some friends are unwilling to trace their doyles of addiction that bind them to you, you must break the bonds yourself if you would ever have a chance of your new self arising on that halcyon day when there will be no doyles of fear or addiction in your life from now on.

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~~~~~~~~~~~~ footnotes ~~~~~~~~~~~~

Footnote 1. The difference between process and content can be seen in these two examples. One man who thinks for along time about having good steady transportation for getting from one place to another — he is supposing in process and can feel what it would be like. Another man imagines himself driving a brand new Jaguar automobile — he is supposing about a content. Of the two examples, the first man’s supposing, being a process, is more likely to come about.

Return to text directly before Footnote 1.

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Footnote 2. See my review of Towards Social Renewal, a book by Rudolf Steiner.

Return to text directly before Footnote 2.

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