Ask Dr. Druid .. day 22 .. Rhapsodology, the study of meaning

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Ask Dr. Druid . Day 22

Rhapsodology, the study of meaning

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    “The study of ‘meaning’ is more pertinent and poignant than the study of ‘reality.’ The Eskimos, for instance, discriminate twenty-six words worth of snow variations or escapades of crystalline water. The Eskimo dialogue with snow is more complex in hues and shapes of ‘meaning’ than ours, though the presenting ‘reality’ through which you and I also scrunch is doubtless the same.”

    Bunga Low was the favorite daughter of the famous fin-de-siècle low-cost housing architects Pavi Lion and Ken Nel. In the new century Bunga was being interviewed for the cover story of Galactic Gazette, a fiercely progressive rag. Bunga was transfixed by the architecture of consciousness — How do you get people to fling open their doors and windows to the zephyrs of awe?

    The interview continued, “My night’s dream might sway me to sweat or to ecstatic flight — it might have intense meaning, but the ‘reality’ students would fret and feud over whether dreams are ‘real.’ The feud vanishes, and we can just get down to what’s interesting when we hark to meaning.

    “Once we free ourselves from the blinders imposed by the stubborn and exclusive study of reality, of metaphysics, we step into the simply magic world of meaning, of rhapsodics.

    “The world is awash, saturated, exudes, blooms, is radiant with meaning. The world is ebullient, rowdy, raunchy, arrayed, fraught with meaning. The question becomes not What is real, but How it’s real. How do we employ all the flavors and qualities of the spectrum of realities, of meanings, that we vividly inhabit?

    “Rhapsodology, the study of meaning, the love of meaning, reveals to us that we dwell in a sphere, an atmosphere of swirling, cascading, parading meaning. It’s above, within, below, behind. It’s right at the end of the proverbial nose; the nose itself. Our senses collaborate to describe, to translate, to unpackage the present of our luscious experience. This gallimaufry, this wonderland.

    “Rhapsodics, the study of meaning, of course includes intimate and unflinching knowledge of horror and power and their temptations and stupidities. Rhapsodics does not, however, dwell upon the lost and ghastly. Every rhapsodist has been to <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />Atro City, tasted ashes and eaten the rancid meat they serve there. We have each had maggots in the soul.

    “The cure for atrocity and its fetid ilk is celebration, is gratitude, is deft rapture.

    “Atrocity wins when we do not train and keen and sheen ourselves to the tender splendor of details, to the facets, the fascinations of our hallowed home, our dazzling planet.

    “Another sinister danger is the stealthy drip, drip, the leaking away of vitality from the pernicious self-indulgences of guilt and boredom.

    “Distracted by our own pathos, we litter the psychic journey with the debris, the trash of unreconciled, unrecycled self-pity, that plutonium of personal toxins.

    “At various crossroads, Rhapsodics may also be a cold wintry wind cleansing the soul, but we replenish our stores of verve and nerve when we turn our study outward. (There is, of course, no actual outward; it’s all a matter of perspective, a trick of the light, legerdelight.)

    “I’ve watched people being bored, and I’d rather watch them being beaten. If they knew that time was emeralds, that it fell through the hourglass like an avalanche, gone so sudden and quick, they would be loath to waste jeweled time on boredom and guilt.

    “You might say that sustainable rapture is the missing enzyme. In constant minute doses, it frolics the soul, as green grass gambols the lamb. I’ve wondered if rapture ought not be given to us like hemoglobin, but have concluded that it can not be, that it is a by-product of art, that it must be wrought. Wrought by the art of deft attention.”

    Bunga concluded, “By limiting ‘degree’ of importance to either the readily real or the elusive ineffable, we miss half the carnival. Some times I want to shake people vigorously by the lapels proclaiming, ‘It’s all bloody fascinating. It’s all potent, poignant.

    “All bushes burn. All tigers, kingfishers, dragonflies, palm fronds burn. We live in an incandescent world. Let it capture you, the rapture.”

     As we gambol down the vivid paths, the paths of lucid waking and lucid dreaming, we’ll need to wean ourselves from a narrow knowing of meaning. It’s one thing , though quintessential, to become more intellectually eclectic – for instance, when you begin to coax the mind of the body in remreal to be more daring, more physically eclectic and empathetic. To embroider, to embellish your comprehension of what’s real and what’s possible. Eventually we add the mind of the heart, the mind of the foot, the mind of the feather. A gallimaufry of vivid, lucid minds. Oh frabjous joy.

   As you become more seized by glee, we'd like to coax you to try some fabling in your journal or log. Fables dwell in a magic-struck reality between worlds, the corpus callosum of story. Honored Aesop used animals to have a little moral adventure. We’re beguiled by animals – and disarmed. It’s an end-run around our ever ready to porcupinally bristle ego. We take in the 'notion' being illustrated without the imperious intellect pontificating or retaliating.

    For my part, I have to know the name of a character before I can write her/its/his fable because my writing is so closely, not to say obsessively, woven with sound, with euphony & cacophony, assonance & consonance, the mime of melody. The names just appear, like faeries or chickadees, presents from my dear The Blue, wily tender mordant Le Bleu, my pal. Sometimes the names-&-characters arrive with fables, little gem stories, attached, sometimes they just wait to be in the cast of another fable yet to come.

    Dan Gero is a philosopher journalist from South Mars. His name fell out of DanGerous.

     Bunga Low, the favorite daughter of fin-de-siècle low-cost housing architects Pavi Lion and Ken Nel just tickled me flamingo. I only knew that she was going to talk about the architecture of consciousness as I set pencil to white white paper. Because they aren’t saddled with a laden label like Mabel, these characters are usually magical or intraworlds travelers. They bring the greatest intraworlds’ coin, currency, treasure: knowledge and observation with them in unexpected packages. Because they’re not named Bill and Jane, they shake your brain out of its ruts. What the heck, science studies quarks; psyence studies quirks.

   So consider inviting some character to just show up in your log or journal. Write down an interview with them. Be of good glee, they always come bearing fables. You just have to transcribe them.

   You’ll learn along the way to do less steering, to do more listening.


Ask Dr. Druid, 66 Days from Lead to Gold, Secrets of  Alchemy You Can Use, a druid shaman’s playbook .. Intro; Prologue; Day 1; Days 2 & 3; Day 4; Day 5; Day 6; Day 7; Day 8; Day 9; Day 10; Day 11; Day 12; Day 13; Day 14; day 15 Review 2; Day 16; Day 17; Day 18; Day 19; Day 20; Day 21; Day 22; Day 23; Day 24; Day 25; Day 26; Day 27; Day 28; Day 29;




.. rhapsody — the root of the word rhapsody is woven song, includes strands from all the worlds;

.. gallimaufry = a stew, a ragout, an hash, a medley;

.. fin de siecle = end of the century;

.. re architecture of consciousness, the joak is Bungalow, Pavilion, & Kennel;

.. tickled flamingo — a flamingo is very pink;

.. Atro City, atrocity;

.. quint-essential = the fifth essence;

.. gambol = the fearless exuberant frolicking dance of galloping leaping lambs where you're so glad you can't even keep your hooves on the ground; 

.. zephyrs = sweet breezes;

.. fetid = stinking, & slimy like forgotten vegetables left to rot to black gluck in a plastic bag in the refrigerator, yuck;

.. Le Bleu = The Blue in French, pron Luh Bluh;

.. hemoglobin = the  stuff that makes our blood red and holds oxygen for delivery to our cells, a quintessential ingredient of la vie, our life; 

.. ilk = is a disdainful way to say 'of that kind.' There is a sense of stench when one says it, that one's sensibilities are insulted by said group. I use it without fail when I say 'Cheney et Ilk.' The little joak is that typically one would say 'Cheney et al' meaning Cheney and others, Cheney and his posse, his cabal, his odious lickspittles — all that is implied in 'et Ilk.'

.. corpus callosum or quickpearl is the nerve-ends-rich tough gristly stuff that joins and communicates between the two hemispheres of the brain; quickpearl in alchemy & druidry;


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4 thoughts on “Ask Dr. Druid .. day 22 .. Rhapsodology, the study of meaning

  1. If we ever were to meet in regular life, I'd have to present you with a Golden Shoehorn or a Golden Crowbar. You have managed to pry open so many closed minds, including mine. Frankly I just never imagined this dazzling array of realities of meaning. I was never taught about anything so nifty. It makes me feel like an explorer of Old when people had whole new continents to find.

  2. Mr. PB,
    I agree with Shaman, very mind opening entry. I just have a question about the distinction you draw between “reality” and “meaning”….Part of what you were talking about once you got to “naming characters” seems to be about “identity” as well. As in “identity” is more than the business of having a name, it's about your names also being tied to meaning….

  3. ofdroll, cl — Grateful for your visits. So many layers of the reality onion are dismissed because they don't have the K1 or persistence of the kinesthetic, repeatable feature that science requires to be allowed in the 'reality' club. “Oh, it's just a dream. It's not real.” Well, balderdash. Let's talk about what meaning a unique experience may have and not get hung up on whether it's 'science-real.'
    As we go along in Ask Dr. Druid, we'll come to some things that many folk would dub not possible or not real. Piffle. I was there and my reality included even these visceraboggling events.
    Compare a useful ditty by Markham “He drew a circle that shut me out,/Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout;/But love and I had the wit to win–/We drew a circle that took him in. Similarly with reality — I draw a circle that takes in both science and psyence.
    Usually in a fable, the identity of a character ravels in the whole little story. It's a quality of allegory that Faerie Queen Spenser felt or Chaucer in his Tales. The characters have adventure and are instructive at the same time. This medieval sensibility has fallen out of fashion, but in a sci-fi-ish, intraworlds way, it's the waters I'm happy ottering in.
    I got so annoyed when I was in college that my beloved philosophy had gotten hijacked by the ponderous and pontificating. 'If it was fun, it couldn't be important.' Piffle. I wanted to deal with the great Philosophical & Psychological & Existential Matters in the juicy way that The Ovids and Spensers and Chaucers had. So The Blue sent a menagerie of characters to speak their pieces.
    *I* am happy with a wider definition of reality, but because I don't want to get hung up on metaphysical pretzeling and casuistries from those, like fearful Freud, fending off “the black tide of the occult,” I say while we're waiting to expand the qualities of experience we're willing to call 'real' — (unlike presently, dreams and fantasies and varieties of imaginations) — I'd just as soon leapfrog that 'Is it real therefore important' argument.

  4. You are expanding my vision with your magic energy, pogblog. I know from other entries that you are attuned to the horrible stupidities that mankind can perpetrate so your rambunctious visions are practical and are not Pollyanna. You get the injustice and choose to fight it with wit and verve. I've never read anyone who can bring such luminous and hilarious vision to the ordinary pursuits.

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