Friday, 24 October 2014

My house ― part one

Goya, "The sleep of reason produces monsters"

"My patient, being a scientist of today, was more than once seized by panic when he realized how much he was gripped by such thoughts. He was afraid of becoming insane, whereas the man of two thousand years ago would have welcomed such dreams and rejoiced in the hope of a magical rebirth and renewal of life."

C. G. Jung, Dogma and Natural Symbols

Goya's title of this print is frequently misunderstood. He had written of it: “Imagination abandoned by reason produces impossible monsters; united with her, she is the mother of the arts and source of their wonders.” What a fertile quote that is. I can see it foreshadowing my own obsession with that, perhaps, unattainable balance between Mythos and Logos that could bring peace to the world. Thank you again, Emilio Valli, for the inspiration. It speaks too, to Jungian individuation and the fruitful relationship the "old man" had with Wolfgang Pauli, "the conscience of physics".

I was reading Dogma and Natural Symbols the day before yesterday and thinking that it might make the basis for a post about dreams. I was unsure, though, of what direction that should take: should I treat it like any other post; should I present it as a Gnostic text but with a little explanation? Perhaps I should find a balance in this, too. I still don't know. By the end of this series, though, we will find out.

The title says "My house", but it is a house that has entered my dreams, and which is based on a real house. I don't have a house. I live in a small suite with a coyote hybrid (coydog) and sometimes wonder where the next week's meals will come from. This is in keeping with the life of the private scholar as outlined by Robert Burton (1577-1640) in The Anatomy of Melancholy. I have been wealthy and I have been poor. Poor is best. It gives one time to think.

It was late in 1972 to early 1973 that I was staying at the Dolese Mansion in Oklahoma City. If you follow the link you can see the picture and read about it. Had you been walking by the house one weekend day at the time, you might have caught a glimpse of me reading Orwell's 1984 on the window seat behind the top floor window on the left. That was my bedroom at the time. During the week I worked at Pamela's antique/gift shop. Ironically, I have a terrible sense of personal chronology, but I remember that General Ne Win had phoned the house and told Ardith Dolese that Madam Ne Win had passed away some time earlier, so I was able to look up that date. I don't really live in a single, linear, sort of time. Carrie wanted me to write an autobiography, but I told her that my life lacked theatrical continuity. I have had too many "hats". Mrs. Dolese had bullied the general once, in London, to see a doctor when he was ill, and he credited that action as saving his life. Pamela Dolese, Ardith's daughter, became his god-daughter. If you read the linked article about the house you will learn about the local legend of the tunnel. That legend also became part of my dreams and is very important. The dreams, by the way, had nothing at all to do with the family or my time there. They had contacted a very deep part of my unconscious. There was only one dream, in fact, that contained an image of the interior of the real house.  But you will have to wait until Monday for the dream-cycles. Believe me, it will be worth the wait. It is a shame that the family does not still own the house, but I suppose that after the kids moved out it was just too big for two, and any staff. Estimates vary, but Pamela told me there were 52 rooms at the time.

I had met Pamela in Calgary at my 23rd birthday party. Jim, who was a friend of my friend Rob had brought her there after visiting the office I worked at where I happened to be doing something that day (it was a Saturday). He was looking for Rob, and had just flown in from Seattle. I invited him to the party because Rob was going to be there. She eventually married Jim. I think she made a good choice. More on Monday.

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