Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Hounded to death: the last years of T. E. Shaw. 23. Why?

Herbert Cole illustration for A Child's Book of
Warriors, 1907
"This therefore is a faded dream of the time when I went down into the dust and noise of the Eastern market-places, and with my brain and muscles, with sweat and constant thinking, made others see my visions coming true. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that all was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, and make it possible. This I did. I meant to make a new nation, to restore to the world a lost influence, to give twenty millions of Semites the foundation on which to build an inspired dream-palace of their national thoughts. So high an aim called out the inherent nobility of their minds, and made them play a generous part in events: but when we won, it was charged against me that the British petrol royalties in Mesopotamia were become dubious, and French colonial policy ruined in the Levant.

"I am afraid that I hope so. We pay for these things too much in honour, and in innocent lives."

T. E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, 1922 Oxford text, Chapter 1: How and why I wrote, p.6f,
Castle Hill Press, J & N Wilson eds. 2014

"INFJs are distinguished by both their complexity of character and the unusual range and depth of their talents. Strongly humanitarian in outlook, INFJs tend to be idealists, and because of their J preference for closure and completion, they are generally "doers" as well as dreamers. This rare combination of vision and practicality often results in INFJs taking a disproportionate amount of responsibility in the various causes to which so many of them seem to be drawn."
Humanmetrics, INFJ 
There are two legends in this story: the first being the personal legend that T. E. Lawrence created for himself, consciously: the mythical hero-quest archetype of the collective unconscious. The second is the legend that he became in the collective consciousness which was a truncated expression of the contents of the collective unconscious: being truncated, it could not progress through the archetypal expressions that make up the fully-expressed life.

The sad lot of the mass of humanity can never see beyond the victorious return of the hero, and in their minds it remains as the ultimate goal of life. It is something they vainly wish for, as Lawrence writes, but in reality they are only able to vicariously experience this in the legends of the real heroes. There is a further stage that is sometimes expressed: there are legends of both King Arthur and Charlemagne who sleep in a hidden cavern (obviously the unconscious mind) awaiting the time that they are needed again to return to save their nations from ruin. In the Christian religion, the original metempsychosis belief of each individual becoming born again that comes via the Dionysian Mysteries is transmitted to a belief that Christ will return to save mankind.

There is a further expression of this in the legends of T. E. Lawrence, and in T. E. Lawrence in Dorset, Rodney Legg explains (p. 106f):
"The belief that Lawrence never died
"There is another postscript that transcends the memories and takes Lawrence of Arabia into everlasting legend. For great heroes never die. The return of Jesus is a Christian imperative. King Arthur it was widely believed, would one day come back to save Britain"
He goes on to give an example of Princess de Rohan claiming that she had met him after his reported death (although Legg does not give this detail, it was on a cruise ship!). Similar post mortem meetings, you might recall, had also been reported for Elvis. Legg also attributes (with good reasoning, I think) that the belief that Lawrence was drafted into British Intelligence after a faked death was another expression of this same legend type.

The artist formerly known as Prince (1958-2016)
Graffiti in Vitoria-Gasteiz (Spain)
But there is another expression of this legend that I have revealed in this series and to avoid falling into it have titled the series "... the last years of T. E. Shaw". By referring to Shaw as Lawrence, Legg and many others are unconsciously expressing the undying hero. It was something that Shaw, himself, despised so it cannot be argued that to maintain the name was to honour the person. I have often seen "T. E. Shaw" given as a pseudonym, but the reality is that "T. E. Lawrence" was the pseudonym given him by his parents. His father's name was Chapman and his mother's Junner, and they were unmarried.
While he assumed the name Shaw at first, he did make it a legal name-change. It was the only genuine name he ever had.

The artist formerly known as Prince died last month. In the IBTimes memorial piece to him by Maria Vultaggio, The Artist Formerly Known As Prince: Why Singer Changed Name From Prince Rogers Nelson To A Symbol is the following:

"When he signed the contract, he didn't feel like he was Prince Rogers Nelson anymore," Sotera Tschetter, art director for Prince from 1990 to 1993, told People magazine Thursday. "And so he adopted the symbol as his name — to say, 'Hey I'm not that person, that sellout. I'm unique' — in 1993." Tschetter, along with Mitch Monson and Liz Luce, helped created Prince's “love symbol,” which is a combination of the male and female sign “to equal love.” 

His thoughts about his name and his change of direction in life perfectly parallel those of Shaw. Vultaggio, significantly, also includes his interest in mythology. It is complicated, granted, to refer to T. E. Lawrence in speaking about events in the time when he used that name and "T. E. Shaw" for the later part of his life. I find it very interesting how the contributors to T. E. Lawrence by his friends refer to him when speaking of their associations with him in his later years. Many of them use the the simplest "T. E." which is as respectful of the person as is "Shaw", but is easier to communicate, but others maintain the Shaw name. We might draw from this, an estimation as to what degree the writer viewed Shaw as a person rather than a legend. Henry Williamson (see the previous episode) referred to Shaw as "Lawrence", and it is thus easy to comprehend the fantasy impression that Williamson had with Shaw, and why he imagined that Shaw would be even remotely interested in chatting with Adolf Hitler. It also helps us to understand the verity of the personality analyses included in the various reminiscences of people who met Shaw in his later years. I am quite surprised that this approach has not been taken before.

More tomorrow.

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  1. That'd be Adolf I guess. Another INFJ so they say:

    1. Thanks for spotting my anglicization, I suppose I should change that.
      All personality types have both good and evil representatives. The type indicates how people think and go about things, not what sort of things are thought and done.