"The philosopher is usually interested in a central idea that evolves over a long period of time, which may never be successfully completed and formulated into words , one that may appear to be mysterious and beyond scientific validation." Piaget
Theodore Reik, who was a lifelong friend of Freud, wrote that what Freud discovered as 'psychiatry' was what milkmaids had known for centuries.. Mr. Reik's books have been of primary importance to me in my life long experience with learning what the 'central idea that evolves over a long period of time' is in my life. It was an idea that I did not originally know anything about, that there is a 'secret' about the insane, just out of sight around the corner'. The way this idea was first brought to my attention and then 'explained' to me as I went about my every day life began at a certain very specific point in Time. What happened after 1984 would never have been possible nor could I have ever understood what happened in 1984, without my having been brought into contact with his books. At this time I believe his books are unique and very important, especially in regard to understanding the unique role the Jewish people have been allotted in history. They did not select themselves to be the 'chosen people', and there's one fact that needs to be understood about how the the 'psychological sense' is being unrecognized: in that 'sense', every natural world 'fact' stands for and/or represents symbolically something else.
In other words although the idea began with the literal "Jewish people" the idea itself means something else, in the psychological 'sense', and this 'sense' is the very foundation of psychiatry itself. Nothing is what it is literally, really, everything requires some kind of re-interpretation.
Emanuel Swedenborg whose writings are an example of what I mean in this instance, (i.e. in which every word he writes about the stories in the Bible, stands for or means something else. He was born at a time when words mean something quite different than we understand them today.) This link God, man, communication is to a small booklet that contained an important idea that I did not recognize the first time I read it in the booklet, the idea as 'double thought'. Many experiences with my own inner content caused me to recognize that 'double thought' is produced in certain 'coincidences', and from them a 'second underlying context' emerges.
Thus, one factor I've learned about the psychological sense itself, which is one sense that unites all senses in the body with a pattern that C. G. Jung identified as 'inherent in man' is that every word means something else, after that 'sense' is initiated. After that sense is initiated, and not prior to it's initiation, words and events in the natural world are 'decoded' within the parameters of the individual life experience. Theodore Reik's real life was not one he understood until he was an old man; a factor he recognized when he realized that he had woven his own love story in the framework of his book, Fragment Of A Great Confession. The book is about Goethe's apparent love for a young girl.
His book The Creation of Woman was very difficult to acquire in the days before the Internet. It was in that book that I read about an experience he had when he was 9 years old that helped me to understand and explain to myself a peculiar kind of opposition within my own mind that I had noticed. When I found out he'd that book, it seemed to me there was a deliberate attempt to prevent me from reading it. Everywhere it was supposed to be available through library loan, reported the book lost or misplaced. Finally I managed to get a copy and by the time I read it, the timing of when I found it seems to me in retrospect, to have been perfect. I had read other books by other authors and had many 'strange' experiences that made it possible to understand more of what he wrotethan I would have if I'd read the book at the 'wrong' time. It's an exploration of the two versions of the creation of woman in Genesis I and II. . I had not noticed there were two versions of the creation of Eve until I read it in his book. As soon as I read that there were two versions of the creation of Eve, I read them in the Bible. It occurred to me there were also two versions of the creation of Adam also.
Theodore Reik's writing is fairly simple, but it's direct and honest to the degree that he understood himself when he wrote them. I had owned a copy of his Fragment Of A Great Confession for several years when I felt an impulse or compulsion, to read it. The timing of the impulse to read that book was also utterly remarkable because in it I read (in the chapter titled In Small Packages, where he ruminates about last night's bridge game) an example of what he described as 'magical thinking'. There were points where his 'thought' seemed to linger over certain words used naturally in talking about bridge At those points as he described it, a 'double bottom, or a 'secret meaning' emerged. What I noticed immediately was the one factor about such events is that although he did recognize how the 'secret meaning' emerged, he did not 'get the message' that was being given to him: the detail was actually a fact about his life, really.
This mechanism of mind creates 'self reference', but it's a mechanism that is very selective. I recognized this as an exact example of the kind of 'event' I'd noticed in my own thought, before I knew anything about psychiatric terms. He described in detail how he experienced in his thought, a certain kind of 'hidden meaning' that I had noticed in my own mind. By the time I read his book I had many experiences with this kind of 'thought' and had come to believe that what he described as a 'secret meaning' was being produced by a mechanism of mind that is very difficult to isolate and understand as to it's effects. It operates so rapidly it's barely noticeable. I would not have recognized it myself if there had not been a few experiences in which 'thought' in my mind matched up so precisely with what I was physically doing when the 're-play' occurred'. I would not have understood his description and would probably have even forgotten it.
It's in that book that he reveals his secret: he had an obsessive-compulsive relationship to Goethe such that by the time he was 18 years old he had read everything written by Goethe, or about Goethe. He could not understand why he did not reveal his compulsion, there was obviously nothing to be ashamed about in having such a powerful interest, but I believe the 'central idea' of Mr. Reik's life required that he wonder to himself eventually, about his 'secret'. Mr. Reik's remarkable relationship to many famous authors and composers of his time, as well as his relationship to Freud resulted in books that are distinctly different than what was written by Freud, Jung of other famous people, such as Ouspensky, Gurdjieff in particular. The 'world of the mind' was being opened up in my life in the early 1980's, and I had not suspected such a 'world' existed.
There was a very attentive Presence at work in this new to me activity. I could not possibly have recognized it's form and would not likely have ever done so without many ideas Mr. Reik's books presented to me, one of which caused me to believe he missed an opportunity to identify the mechanism of mind himself, that produces 'self observation'. The attentive Presence had really been at work in my life, certainly when my first memory was cemented into a separate 'storage' area, very similar to how the experience he described in The Creation Of Woman was stored away for future use. There were specific memories and experiences that happened early in his life that were related to the future in his life, and in mine.
The first book I read that was authored by Mr. Reik was with Listening With The Third Ear which I read in the mid 1980's as best I can date it. It introduced me to descriptions of processes of mind that I had never experienced myself, nor read about but his style seemed familiar to me immediately. At that point my mind's activities and some mental content had become not only visible to me, but puzzling to me because it was new content in a head that had been literally 'thought' less. When new 'thought' began in my mind, I could not understand whether I was actually 'thinking' this new content myself. Beneath this 'new thought' was a continually scrolling band of thought ,
It was a hidden vein of experience during the first 4 and a half decades of my life and it was uncovered quite slowly by a kind 'event' that I had not noticed in the past, although now in 2005 I can recognize they were always happening. At the age of about 45 I noticed certain habits I'd had most of my life, and I began to notice small details in my marital situation; I had a brief vivid dream one night after which I did not sleep normally for years.
When Freud recognized there is 'meaning' hidden behind slips of the tongue, in dreams, and in 'every day pathology' he was experiencing what some have named the 'zeitgeist', and I believe, from experiences of my own, that he learned what he wrote about, through his version of a pattern that generates the 'individuation' process. Freud, moving through the path in his own life that was being described even in that period of Time, by P. D. Ouspensky and George I. Gurdjieff as the Fourth Way, experienced 'meaningful coincidence' in learning that there is underlying, but 'decodeable' 'meaning' in activities that one would not recognize or believe are the result of unconscious contents. In his 'individuation', in his work along the path of the Fourth Way, I believe C. G. Jung recognized that every day life in the process of individuation is governed by patterns. His name for these patterns is 'archetypes'. He believed also that ordinary every day life seemed to be governed by ancient symbolic representations, such as the snake that is gripping its own tail...the urobous. But all of this is unconscious 'life', lived without awareness or knowledge.
The kind of 'personally generated' language that is spoken by the Zeitgeist was 'discovered' by Sigmund Freud, believe it or not. It is how he 'discovered' psychiatry. And what is psychiatry? It is a 're-interpretation' of everything. The term 'second sight' is a good one, literalness and symbolic 'representation' are merged in a way that Emanuel Swedenborg almost certainly experienced himself, and which he described as 'double thought'. The addition of a mental mechanism that results in 'self reference' can create over a long period of time, an entirely new body of information as well as a new understanding of every word, event and circumstance one encounters in daily life.
There is an example of how this 'mixture' of literalness and symbolic re-representation' that I can cite: it's in Fragment of a Great Confession by Theodore Reik in a chapter titled "In Small Packages". He describes a bridge game he had witnessed the previous evening. During his ruminations about each hand, in the manner of bridge players, he noticed that at certain points his mind seemed to linger over certain terms particular to a bridge game. The result was that he noticed these bridge terms altered, developing a 'double bottom' or a 'hidden meaning'. The terms of the bridge game that held his attention captive, were in reality actual 'bits of relevant information' about his life with his wife. In fact they described to him, certain details which it does not seem to me, he became aware of himself, until he was much olde! When he was older and re-read what he'd written in Fragment of A Great Confession, he realized that he had written more about his own life with his wife than he had understood.
That is typical in my opinion, that authors really are telling their own story, or some part of it.
It is my opinion from experiences of my own that until the 'life of the individual' is initiated none of this knowledge ought to be applied. The process itself is one that opens up the doorway, or the 'window' into what I named the Larger Domain. But it was the 'zeitgeist' its' self that began to speak through the ordinary every day words, events, objects and circumstances of those who were close to me in the years just prior to 1984. The two years prior to 1984 were a kind of 'pattern stage', where certain experiences happened that were critically important in making the origin and the real source of the 1984 event quite distinct, and un-mistakeably coming THROUGH whatever was visible and audible to me, not FROM it.
It is possible I believe to live without prior knowledge of these ideas, since I knew nothing about them myself in 1984 and then when 'initiation' occurs the individual may 'discover' what it is, the thing itself, that these men wrote. It is probably important to experience it without reference to the past, and this is an essential.. Then it is not only possible but perhaps necessary to 're-view', as though the thing has never been seen or described by anyone else, what has already been discovered. Rare events are born on this planet as an individual.
The 'myth' and the form of the 'parable' are well known but in 1984 I knew nothing about them. It's only been within the past 6 years that I've become aware of Ernst Cassirer's books which I believe extend C. G. Jung's ideas as well as P. D. Ouspensky's ideas into the kind of language spoken by the artificially generated voice of the 'zeitgeist'. It was there when Hesiod wrote Work, Days and Theogony. (Labor, Time, Religion)
My life's idea would never have been discovered, nor the process by which it developed recognized, if Theodore Reik had not lived the life he lived and written just as he did. If his books had not come to me in such a precisely arranged order, beginning with 'Listening With The Third Ear' it would not have been possible to realize the source of the 'evolving idea' or that it was moving through Time when he was alive. The 'idea' had moved through his life in a unique way so that it could connect to the unique content in my life, and I am not being grandiose or 'inflating' myself to believe there is a connection between that life and mine.. The impeccable timing cannot be explained easily. A few examples can give an idea of how it happened but not how I felt when individual events happened to unsuspecting, but strangely prepared, me. The word 'dizzy' describes how I felt, but some might choose to use the word 'surreal'.
The simple way Theodore Reik wrote does not require learning to decode scholarly profundities. His obsession with Wolfgang Goethe caused him to write, eventually, one of the books that influenced me more than any other of his books: Fragment of A Great Confession. A copy of that book laid around my house for nearly 5 years before I had an impulse to read it. That impulse 'knows' somehow when the time is right and when I can recognize then understand something that I couldn't have understood until the time is right.
Theodore Reik came very close to identifying how a process of mind that creates 'self observation' and how the 'central idea of an individual life' occurs. Fragment of a Great Confession has a chapter titled: In Small Packages. He replays in his mind a bridge game he and his wife played the previous evening. He describes how his mind became 'stuck' at certain terms particular to bridge then he recognizes how a kind of 'hidden meaning' was attached to them and the 'double bottom' was relevant to actual details in his life with his wife. The 'hidden meaning' or 'second tier of meaning' was actually relevant to, and referential to his life. Actual details about his life were made significant to him when his mind seemed to linger, to hover over these terms. It is my opinion from experiences of my own that Jean LaPlanche coined the term 'enigmatic signifier' to describe this kind of experience.
Theodore Reik did not 'get the message' in the form it was transmitted to him, because to a psychiatrist, a non-Jungian psychiatrist, this form of thought is 'magical thinking'! Or worse. This event which I will describe now, was the first one in which I noticed a certain new thing happen in my mind. It happened to me in about 1983. More than 15 years passed between this event and reading the description of his 'event' in "Fragment Of A Great Confession".
There's a challenge level square dance movement named: "Cast a Shadow". I'd been dancing several years, when I noticed in my mind that the words 'cast a shadow' repeated , quietly as thought words occur, after the caller chanted them. I heard the words the caller had said, 'cast a shadow' as 'thought words' and they were obviously not generated by myself. After I noticed it one time, I noticed it every time a particular caller chanted them. Eventually I wondered to myself why 'cast a shadow' re-occurred the way they did. Only one caller that I ever knew had whatever energy or chemistry is required to do this 'regeneration', but those words soon caused me to wonder about them eventually with a great deal of curiosity. Then I remembered a comic book I'd loved when I was a young girl: The Shadow. " Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows. The Shadow has the power to blind men's minds so they cannot see him. " Later I listened to a radio show that began with the 'creepy' voice and laughter of the comic book character.
I had not at that time read anything written by C. G. Jung or Jungian authors so I knew nothing about his idea of the 'shadow'. The only connection in my life was through the comic book hero and then the radio show. The words Lamont Cranston spoke came into my mind quite automatically,
It was the function of mind that caused the 'regeneration' in my mind of the selected words, used by only a specific square-dance caller that caused me to begin to 'read' and relate to the highlighted content which was experienced first as a body discomfort, a mental sense of confusion, and eventually it became discernable, as a 'second underlying context'. I'll have to describe a few incidents in which this 'reflection' slowly became apparent, since after 1984 everything was changed, and prior to 1984 only a sprinkling of such 'events' occurred.
'Second underlying/under 'lying' contexts' was the term I coined when the 'echo' became distinct and that required nearly 3 years of experience with it, between 1984 and 1987.
In "Listening With The Third Ear" Theodore Reik wrote in such detail about his own mental processes, describing how sudden 'leaps of insight' into his patient's problems emerged after a long apparently rambling series of memories from h is past emerged into his mind. "He writes like I talk." emerged into my mind after I'd read it. He is the only author I've come across that writes simply about mental processes, without profundity or the concealment of scholarly forms. He did not realize until he was an old man that he had shaped his ideas about Goethe's romance with a young girl around his own experiences with the woman he married. Insight into his own life came late in his life!
Discovering Theodore Reik's unique book's beginning with Listening With The Third Ear has been one of the most important continuing 'coincidences' as my idea was laid out for me to discern, bit of information by bit of information. through a visible mental process. Sometimes an entire book was a 'bit of information'. His other books were not easy to find in the days before the Internet.
It was particularly difficult to get a copy of The Creation of Woman. After I became interested in his books I wanted to read them all, but that book was always somehow lost, missing or misfiled where ever I expected to get it. However when Time was perfect, I found a copy quite unexpectedly.. In that book he builds a credible case for the second story about how Eve was created being a case of 'gender reversal': it's really about Adam's initiation into the world of men, out of the world of women. He'd had an experience when he was about 9 years old that culminated in his writing the book, and this early life experience is likely to be similar to 'critical events' that happened to me when I was a young girl. He was listening to his elders 'argue' in the Jewish form about the two contradictory stories of the birth of Eve in Genesis. (I had not realized there were two versions of Eve's birth so I paused to read them.) As they argued, he 'heard himself' blurt out words that he had not thought about or intended to say. He remembered them afterwards, wondering about why they came forth so readily.
I regard that incident as a 'remain' which Emanuel Swedenborg described as 'instilled' in states of innocence for use of the good spirits that are with 'man'. It seems very, similar to incidents that happened to me when I was about 9 years old which I experienced throughout my life as 're-occurring memories'. More about that later. He blurted out words he had not thought about or intended to say, hearing himself in a way that I have experienced also, as though hearing an 'other' speak from one's own mouth. The idea that the second birth of Eve is really about Adam being 'born again' out of the world of women into the world of men had a 'ring of truth' to me because other situations involving a distinct 'internalized parent' in my life fit with the idea. Theodore Reik's book Ritual, Psychoanalytic Studies contains further information about the idea.
Emanuel Swedenborg wrote that 'putting off the natural, which comes from the mother' is how Jesus brought the Divine into ordinary 'man' on Earth. I hope this idea is not repugnant, or unacceptable because in my experience, it is one that needs to be understood in regard to the workings of the 'transcendent function' which Jung identified and related to individuation. It may also emerge in 'normal' development in the young but I would not attribute this 'birth out of the mother' to every child. New ideas are born in a body and it seems very likely to me that a kind of 'isolation booth' preserves a state of 'innocence/ignorance' in some individuals. What caused me to be extremely disinterested in stories about real people avoiding non-fiction until I was nearly fifty years old and then my interest reversed into the opposite so that I could not read fictions? A lack of interest that reversed!
When I read Listening With The Third Ear, a drastic alteration in my hearing, perception and understanding had already begun to 'evolve' and this happened into a mind whose 'depth material' had become visible. Discovering that 'thought' emerges from separate memories and in different levels of understanding was only possible by noticing subtle nuance that may seem absurd to try to describe, as well as noticing a continual reference to certain re-occurring memories that had plagued me for no apparent reason throughout my life. The change was simple: My 'thought-less' mind was rather suddenly full of visible activity! Thus 'the gradually initiated third ear' and it's eye was already at work...I just didn't have enough information or experience to understand that the title of the book, literally described a detail in my newly initiated real life.
Reik's secret obsession for Wolfgang Goethe's works caused him to write Fragment of A Great Confession fairly late in his life. He described in that book an incident in which Goethe had a prevision of the future one day: "I saw not with the eyes of the body but the eye of the soul." In that book Mr.Reik also describes the only incident I've come across anywhere in which the organ of 'self observation' might have been discerned, if he had not labeled the incident as 'magical thinking'! Read on please.
Theodore Reik was a student and life long friend of Sigmund Freud. He was the third man, standing between Sigmund Freud and Carl G. Jung whom Mr. Reik rarely mentions. He adored Sigmund Freud and apparently had little regard for Freud's counterpart. His books have had a special influence on me, mostly because they are not written in the scholarly style, but are written in simple and easy to understand words, and he described mental processes in very great detail. The precise timing of when I 'chanced' to come upon one of his books is nearly impossible to describe but that is the most important attribute of such 'coincidences', they are precisely timed, perfectly aligned to 'fit' into the emerging idea. I think of him as the 'third man' between Jung and Freud in the same sense that I think of Maurice Nicoll as being the 'third man' between P. D. Ouspensky and G. I. Gurdjieff. The 'third man' seems to me to have written down aspects that the two 'main men' did not write about in any kind of detail.
There was no 'third man' between Emanuel Swedenborg/William Blake, who seem to me to be a single mind once their ideas are related to in a broad context. The 'split' that happened when William Blake broke from Swedenborg's influence was carried into Ouspensky's split from Gurdjieff's ideas and Jung's split from Freud's influence.
The split is important, but what caused the split is the 'thing itself', and I believe it is part of every individuals ordinary daily life experience to become aware of It.
Listening With the Third Ear was the first of his books that I read and I found it someplace just by chance. The title may have caught my attention because I had become aware in some level of mind that a change of my hearing had become noticeable. It was a change quite different than loss of hearing but rather as though somehow an extra meaning was added to ordinary words I heard but this happened only a few times, in specific situations that puzzled me very much.
It was a circumstance that was new to me, I could not understand what caused me to feel an uncomfortable body response, almost like being shocked, feeling a jolt of 'unexplainable weirdness', when one man I knew seemed to be able to read my unspoken thought at times. I felt a tremendous 'need' to get to know this man, who was not in the least attractive to me in the usual form of male/female 'attraction'. This very strange attraction initiated a flow of circumstances that have led me along a pathway that I can only describe as a trip through 'history' itself, which has no female content in it. My intense 'need' to get to know this man was puzzling to me for several years, then one day quite by chance I met a person who supplied a missing piece of information: we were living virtually identical lives at that point in time, there was an astonishing similarity in our lives at that point in Time.
The strange 'attraction' began when I heard what he would normally have said to a room full of student square-dancers but I heard certain things he said, offhand remarks, usually in a different way in a different context. The words seemed to address or respond to something I'd thought about. But this man could not possibly known about what I'd been thinking because I'd not said anything to anyone about the particular topic that had begun to concern me so deeply. I experienced it as literally unspeakable and inexpressible without knowing why. A train of thought had been moving through my mind and I had begun to watch it, to listen to it...without knowing my attention had been shifted from what was 'outside' of my body, to what was going on in my body and in my mind.
I felt bottled up and for the first time understood what the term meant. I felt contained, restrained and inhibited, literally, directed by, controlled by a powerful motor, watching what my body began to do, without being able to choose to be so 'spontaneous'.
The only example I've found anywhere of the kind of 'meaningful coincidence' that I have become most focused on, the kind that 'describe back' or 're-iterates' a detail about the life of the individual is the one in Fragment of A Great Confession. It's in the chapter titled In Small Packages and it contains a thorough description of how his mind, or some function of consciousness caused him to experience the same 'kind' of hearing change that I now experience with an awareness of what is operating in my life. He re-plays in his mind a bridge game he's watched the previous evening and as he recalls each part of the game, as bridge players are known to do, certain terms that are commonly used in talking about bridge games developed what he described as a 'secret meaning', a 'double bottom' so to speak. He did not 'get the message' behind the terms that lingered in his mind, because he was a psychiatrist himself and he had learned that this 'kind' of thinking is 'magical thinking'. It seemed to me he could easily have grasped that there was an actual reference to a real detail about him and his life with his wife, but he didn't see the real association.
Theodore Reik's books are full of details about mental processes that most psychiatric texts do not include to such a degree. The first book of Reik's that I read, Listening With The Third Ear is about how the psychiatrist's mind works, how associations are formed from the analysts past and the processes of thought that lead towards sudden insight into his patients problems.
His books are different from those of other psychiatric authors in that he recognized to some degree how his mind produced 'hints' and clues by retrieving memories from his past that are in some way similar to problems his unconscious mind has apparently detected in his patient. Long trains of thought are committed to simple words, he does not write in the same complex academic style that Freud and Jungian authors use. It occurred to me as I read that: "He writes somewhat similar to how I express myself."
His style was similar to how I talked although he didn't get lost in his 'hall of mirrors the way I often had done. It was because I recognized an attribute of myself in his style that I felt a sense of familiarity when I read Listening With The Third Ear. I had begun to hear differently and I had noticed a subtle change in my perception and there was a different 'effect' that I could discern in my mind when I read books, especially. The new effect was quite visible but difficult to pinpoint and describe. . Something was added yet I could not see anything different, until I realized the change was inside, and it was what I saw, overlaying what I saw outside of my eyes.
I hope to add to this page, many quotations that were extremely significant to me, most of which concern the effects of one persons unconscious on others. The fact that a person really can say and do many, many things every day that the person does not 'see' or 'remember' emerged in my actual real world life, early in the 1980's, prior to 1984.