June 4, 2006

1. Panofsky on Dürer

I abandoned Panofsky’s book on Dürer, and started Radin’s Conscious Universe. Our book group is discussing Radin’s book in mid-June, then Forster’s Passage To India in early August. Radin’s book is excellent: fun to read, easy to read, a concise and comprehensive look at all aspects of the occult, brimming with powerful evidence from reputable sources, not afraid to explore bold, cutting-edge views. His approach to the occult is the opposite of mine: he takes a scientific, experimental, statistical approach, whereas I take a literary, historical, philosophical approach. Radin was born about 1950, and his full name is Dean Radin; he’s not related (as far as I know) to Paul Radin, an expert on Native Americans and primitive man, who was born in 1883.

The best section of Panofsky’s book was the last section I read, which dealt with Dürer’s famous engraving, Melencolia I. In the last issue of Phlit, I said that the melancholy humor was considered the worst of the four humors. I now realize that this may have been true during the Middle Ages, but during the Renaissance, melancholy was respected as a sign of genius.

The Aristotelian tenet [writes Panofsky] that all great men were melancholics was twisted into the assertion that all melancholics were great men.... Small wonder that persons with social ambitions were as anxious to “learn how to be melancholy,” as Ben Jonson’s Stephen puts it, as they are today to learn tennis or bridge. A climax of refinement is reached in Shakespeare’s Jaques who uses the mask of a melancholic by fashion and snobbery to hide the fact that he is a genuine one.1

Panofsky groups Dürer’s Melencolia with two other engravings: Knight, Death and Devil and St. Jerome in His Study. According to Panofsky, these three engravings represent the

scholastic classification of the virtues as moral, theological and intellectual. The Knight, Death and Devil typifies the life of the Christian in the practical world of decision and action; the St. Jerome the life of the Saint in the spiritual world of sacred contemplation; and the Melencolia I the life of the secular genius in the rational and imaginative worlds of science and art.2

Dürer’s knight symbolizes “a Christian faith so virile, clear, serene and strong that the dangers and temptations of the world simply cease to be real....3 The measured gait of the powerful charger conveys the idea of unconquerable progress.”4 As a caption for Knight, Death and Devil, Panofsky proposes “the Biblical motto which Erasmus suggests to the miles Christianus [Christian soldier]: Non est fas respicere [Look not behind thee].”

Panofsky describes St. Jerome as “blissfully alone with his thoughts, with his animals, and with his God.”5 Dürer’s saint contrasts sharply with the melancholic in Melencolia I: “it opposes a life in the service of God to what may be called a life in competition with God — the peaceful bliss of divine wisdom to the tragic unrest of human creation.”6

2. Frazer’s Golden Bough

Someday I’d like to go back and finish Panofsky’s book on Dürer. Now, however, I’m trying to finish Radin’s Conscious Universe before our book group meets. (A book group can provide you with a good excuse to abandon difficult books.) When I finish Radin, I’m hoping to read Frazer’s Golden Bough, a classic from the late 19th century. Frazer’s 13-volume work was admired by Freud, by Jung, and by an entire generation of intellectuals. (Freud also admired the work of Frazer’s friend William Robertson Smith, who wrote about the early Hebrews; Frazer dedicated The Golden Bough to Smith.) One of the many works that was inspired by Frazer’s researches was T. S. Eliot’s Waste Land.

The Golden Bough deals with primitive religion and the primitive worldview; it was a pioneering work in the field of anthropology, which was a new field in the latter half of the 19th century. Anthropology aroused the sort of enthusiasm that perhaps only a new field can arouse; intellectuals like Nietzsche eagerly devoured books that dealt with this new field. Frazer’s position at Cambridge was in the Classics Department, not in the Anthropology Department, which didn’t exist yet. Frazer studied and translated classical writers who discussed ancient customs, such as the Greek writer Pausanias, and the Roman writer Ovid.

Frazer saw human history as a progression from magic to religion to science. Now, however, we’re beginning to think that magic and the occult may be closer to the truth than science. Now we’re gaining greater respect for primitive man, for his grasp of psychic phenomena, for his understanding of the power of the mind. Hence we may read Frazer’s Golden Bough with new eyes, and we may feel that it has more to offer than Frazer himself realized. Frazer thought he was collecting the silly errors of primitive cultures; perhaps he was collecting the profound insights of primitive cultures.

Of course, I don’t plan to read all 13 volumes of The Golden Bough, I just want to look into the first volume. In 1922, Frazer published a one-volume abridgement of The Golden Bough; this is probably the version that’s available online.

3. The Weather

According to an old witticism, “everybody talks about the weather, but no one does anything about it.”

Radin’s Conscious Universe discusses the power of the individual mind — its power to anticipate the future (precognition), its power to communicate with other minds through extra-sensory means (telepathy), its power to affect physical objects, such as dice, etc. Radin also discusses the power of the group mind, the power of “field consciousness.” He discusses the “Maharishi Effect” — reducing crime through group meditation. Just as some people believe that a city’s crime rate can be reduced by a group of people whose minds are calm and peaceful, so too some people argue that stressful, violent thoughts spill over into society’s consciousness, and raise the crime rate; one might call this the “un-Maharishi Effect.”

In an earlier issue, we discussed TM (Transcendental Meditation). Don Lovejoy wrote,

One person in a home doing TM creates a harmonious effect in the whole house. In like manner, when a group is meditating together, a spillover effect is created. This field begins to neutralize stress in the surrounding society. In the 1970s, scientists called this the ‘one percent effect’ — they noticed that in cities where 1% of the population was doing TM, the crime rate started to drop. The higher the percentage of meditators, the bigger the drop in crime.

Although Radin discusses the “Maharishi Effect,” he doesn’t think the evidence for it is convincing. Or perhaps I should say, he doesn’t think the evidence is strong enough to silence a skeptic. Or perhaps I should say, he thinks that other examples of “field consciousness” have stronger evidence. At any rate, the Maharishi Effect is an intriguing idea, offering the possibility of a better world.

Radin says that the strength of a consciousness field seems to be related to the number of people in the field, and the strength of their focus. If people are focused on the same thing, a field can be created, even if the people are far apart. Furthermore, a consciousness field affects not only man, but matter as well: “Physical systems of all kinds respond to a consciousness field by becoming more ordered.... As the mind moves, so moves matter.”7

Radin thinks that these physical effects can be measured by careful experiments; he likes to use an RNG (Random Number Generator) to measure the effect of field consciousness. He argues that an RNG becomes more orderly, and less random, as a result of field consciousness. He made RNG tests during stress-reduction workshops, and also during TV broadcasts — such as the opening ceremonies of the Olympics — when much of the world was focused on the same thing. Strange as it may seem, his RNGs became “un-random” at such times — instead of producing equal numbers of ones and zeroes, as chance would dictate, they produced patterns that were contrary to chance.

One of Radin’s colleagues, a Princeton professor, took field consciousness a step further. He noticed that the weather always seemed to be good during Princeton graduation ceremonies, and “he wondered whether ‘wishing for good weather’ might actually make the rain stay away.”8 According to a newspaper in Princeton, “those few times in recent years when precipitation is not only forecast but seems imminent, the rain has miraculously held off.”9 A study of weather statistics for the area “revealed that on average, over thirty years, there was indeed less rain around graduation days than a few days before and after graduation, with odds of nearly twenty to one against chance.”10 Radin concludes that mind and matter are part of an “interconnected and interdependent world,” just as mystics and Hermetists have always said, just as primitive man believed.

Perhaps the mind can cause wet weather as well as dry weather. Richard Wilhelm, an expert on China and a friend of Jung, met a Rainmaker in China who brought rain to a dry village by meditating, by bringing harmony into a “disturbed and inharmonious” village. “When he managed to recover his own harmony, was in Tao, then, as he said, ‘Naturally, it rained.’”11

Everybody talks about the weather, and some people are doing something about it.

These modern stories are consistent with primitive practices; primitive man tried to influence the weather by rain-dances, by magic, etc. The consciousness field in primitive society was shaped by the king, hence primitive man held the king responsible for many things, including the weather. If there was a drought, and the kingdom became a “waste land,” then it was time to depose the king, and choose a new king.

Perhaps these modern stories are also consistent with the world that Shakespeare depicts. In Shakespeare’s world, the weather is often closely connected to human events. When Macbeth murders the king, for example, the weather is very stormy. In earlier issues, I cited this as an example of synchronicity, not as an example of mind influencing matter. In other words, I didn’t see a causal relationship between social disturbance and weather disturbance; rather, I regarded these disturbances as simultaneous, synchronous. I still regard my earlier view as correct, but some people could argue that Shakespeare’s weather is a case of mind influencing matter. Students of the occult often have trouble distinguishing one type of occult phenomenon from another type; this is a problem that Radin often wrestles with. Radin often asks, “Is this telepathy? Or remote viewing? Or synchronicity?”

4. Arthur Koestler

When you read about psychic phenomena, you often encounter the name Arthur Koestler. I went to Wikipedia to learn more about Koestler. He was born in Hungary in 1905, eleven years after Aldous Huxley was born. Like Huxley, Koestler was interested in psychic phenomena and Eastern philosophy. While Huxley and Koestler both experimented with drugs, Koestler took a negative view of them; Koestler wrote an essay that

challenged Aldous Huxley’s defense of drugs in his The Doors of Perception. ‘I profoundly admire Aldous Huxley, both for his philosophy and uncompromising sincerity. But I disagree with his advocacy of ‘the chemical opening of doors into the Other World’.... Chemically induced hallucinations, delusions and raptures may be frightening or wonderfully gratifying; in either case they are in the nature of confidence tricks played on one’s own nervous system.12

Koestler was born into a Jewish family. At birth, Koestler’s name was “Kösztler Artur” (like Chinese, Hungarians put the family name first). Koestler’s life was full of adventures; he lived in a kibbutz in Israel, traveled in the Soviet Union, and even participated in a zeppelin expedition to the North Pole. He described his early life in an autobiographical work, Arrow in the Blue.

He knew several languages well enough to write in them; he even wrote crossword puzzles in Hebrew. His knowledge of languages helped him to make a living as a journalist. In 1937, while covering the Spanish Civil War, he was imprisoned by a Fascist group. This experience provided him with material for one of his best-known books, a prison novel called Darkness at Noon. (The phrase “darkness at noon” became a byword for torture. When an American prisoner-of-war in Vietnam, James Stockdale, wanted to tell his wife that torture was occurring in the prison, he wrote her, “Vietnam is a hot country, but there’s darkness at noon.” His captors, not catching the allusion, let the letter pass, but his wife understood.)

As a college student in Vienna, Koestler had studied science. He later wrote a book about the history of science called The Sleepwalkers: A History of Man’s Changing Vision of the Universe. While this book is widely respected, some of Koestler’s other scientific writings are unconventional and controversial, such as his criticisms of Darwinism. Some Jungians have speculated that synchronicity may play a role in evolution, and these speculations may have influenced Koestler.13 Koestler wrote a book about synchronicity called The Roots of Coincidence.

Koestler supported the idea of a Jewish state in Palestine, but he wasn’t a nationalist or Zionist. He thought Israel should drop the Hebrew alphabet, and he believed that Jews outside Israel should assimilate completely into the societies in which they lived; “he opposed a diaspora Jewish culture.”14 One of his biographers said that Koestler “deliberately disowned his Jewish ancestry.”15

During the Nazi era, Koestler joined those who were publicizing the plight of European Jews; he called this group “the screamers”:

We, the screamers, have been at it now for about ten years. We started on the night when the epileptic van der Lubbe set fire to the German Parliament; we said that if you don’t quench those flames at once, they will spread all over the world; you thought we were maniacs. At present we have the mania of trying to tell you about the killing — by hot steam, mass-electrocution, and live burial — of the total Jewish population of Europe. So far three million have died. It is the greatest mass killing in recorded history; and it goes on daily, hourly, as regularly as the ticking of your watch. I have photographs before me on the desk while I am writing this, and that accounts for my emotion and bitterness.16

What passion and energy is in Koestler’s prose!

At the end of his life, Koestler lived in England. He compiled a 700-page anthology of his writings called Bricks to Babel; Wikipedia calls it, “an excellent introduction to Koestler’s writing and thought.” Koestler campaigned for the right to die (i.e., the right to commit suicide). In 1983, when he was gravely ill, he committed suicide with his wife (his third wife). In his will, he provided for the establishment of the Koestler Parapsychology Unit at the University of Edinburgh.

Novelist, autobiographer, science-writer, explorer of the spiritual and the occult — surely Koestler is one of the most remarkable men of the twentieth century. “Great men,” said Emerson, “are more distinguished by range and extent, than by originality.”17

5. Shakespeare and The Dream of the Red Chamber

One of the classics of Chinese literature is The Dream of the Red Chamber (also known as The Story of the Stone). It’s a huge, multi-volume work — not as long as Remembrance of Things Past, but far longer than Don Quixote. The chief author, Cao Xueqin, died after writing about 80 chapters; the remaining 40 chapters were written by someone else, using Cao Xueqin’s hints, notes, or drafts.

A modern critic (Zhou Ruchang) has argued that the novel is autobiographical, that Cao Xueqin based the novel on the experiences of his own family. The novel is politically sensitive because the author’s family was connected to the imperial family. Hence, the author concealed the historical basis of his work.

The author’s family sunk into poverty and obscurity after supporting a member of the imperial family who tried, but failed, to become emperor.

The modern critic who stressed the historical basis of the novel wasn’t part of the literary establishment; rather, he was an outsider. The establishment likes to study the text itself, rather than connect it to actual people.

I’m reminded of the Oxford theory, which stresses the connections between Shakespeare’s life and Shakespeare’s works. Like Cao Xueqin, Shakespeare sometimes conceals the connections between fiction and reality because his work was politically sensitive, because his work alluded to the royal family. Like Cao Xueqin’s family, Shakespeare supported an unsuccessful aspirant to the throne (Southampton). In both cases, political defeat may have inspired literary creativity; literary creativity may be compensation for, and consolation for, political defeat. The Oxford theory, like Zhou Ruchang’s theory, was developed by an outsider, not by a member of the literary establishment.

6. Shakespeare’s Greatest Hits: Sonnet 33

Like other sonnets that we’ve discussed, this sonnet connects king and sun, referring to the sun as a “sovereign eye”, referring to the king as “my sun”, and referring to kings in general as “suns of the world.”

Full many a glorious morning have I seen
Flatter the mountain tops with sovereign eye,
Kissing with golden face the meadows green,
Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy,
Anon permit the basest clouds to ride
With ugly rack on his celestial face,
And from the forlorn world his visage hide,
Stealing unseen to west with this disgrace.
Even so my sun one early morn did shine
With all-triumphant splendor on my brow,
But out! alack! he was but one hour mine;
The region cloud hath masked him from me now.
   Yet him for this my love no whit disdaineth;
   Suns of the world may stain when heaven’s sun staineth.

The sonnets are permeated by solar imagery and royal imagery. As G. Wilson Knight put it, “The Sonnets regularly express love through metaphors from royalty and its derivatives.... We have various clusters of king, gold, and sun.” The sonnets are preoccupied with royalty because the Fair Youth (to whom most of the sonnets are addressed) is a king. “The loved one is royal,” Knight writes. Another Stratfordian scholar, Leslie Hotson, makes the same argument: “The description of the Friend communicated is always one: monarch, sovereign prince, king.”18

As I argued in an earlier issue, the Fair Youth is Southampton, son of the queen and the poet, hence a prince, a royal personage, a candidate for the throne. Line 8 (“Stealing unseen to west with this disgrace”) alludes to the queen’s journey to the west (Bristol and Bath) when Southampton was an infant. Southampton is a “disgrace” insofar as the queen didn’t acknowledge him as her son; Southampton was treated as a bastard. (The last two sonnets, 153 and 154, also refer to Elizabeth’s visit to Bath in 1574.) In Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare speaks of “a little western flower,”19 which some scholars regard as a reference to Southampton.

“My sun” plays on “my son.” “He was but one hour mine” refers to the poet’s separation from his son (Southampton). Line 12 (“The region cloud hath masked him from me now”) indicates that the queen has separated the poet from his son; region=regina=queen. The Stratfordian scholar Stephen Booth says of line 12, “Here there might be a play on ‘regent’ meaning ‘kinglike,’ ‘sovereign’.... In Shakespeare’s time ‘to be under a cloud’ already meant ‘to be in disgrace.’”20 Midsummer Night’s Dream mentions a quarrel between king and queen over custody of a “lovely boy”:

The king doth keep his revels here tonight;
Take heed the Queen come not within his sight.
For Oberon is passing fell and wrath,
Because that she, as her attendant, hath
A lovely boy, stolen from an Indian king;
She never had so sweet a changeling:
And jealous Oberon would have the child....

Southampton was indeed a “changeling”; he was placed in the household of the 2nd Earl of Southampton, replacing the 2nd Earl’s real son. In his will, however, the 2nd Earl seems to have remembered his real son: his will “provides for the education until the age of twenty-one, of ‘William, my Beggar boye.’ He could do no more for his own son without revealing the royal secret.”21 When the queen placed her infant son in the 2nd Earl’s household, she also placed her cousin, Thomas Dymocke, in that household, to look after the little prince.22

Here’s the mystery: there’s a record of the birth of the 2nd Earl’s real son, but no record of Southampton’s birth. Likewise, there’s a record of Southampton’s death, but no record of the real son’s death. This mystery has baffled scholars. The theory that I’m proposing here, the Prince Tudor theory, resolves these mysteries and many more.

The provision for the “Beggar boye” reminds one of the will of Oxford’s second wife, who survived Oxford by eight years. She “provided in her will for quarterly payments in an unspecified amount to be paid to ‘my dombe man,’ which would certainly seem an apt designation of the cooperatively mute Stratfordian.”23 And who can forget the famous will of the Stratford man, the detailed will that assigns many specific items to specific persons (such as his second best bed to his wife), but makes no mention of books, manuscripts, or plays?

I digress. To return to Sonnet 33: line 13 (“Yet him for this my love no whit disdaineth”) declares the poet’s love for his son despite everything — despite separation, imprisonment, etc.

Following an old Oxfordian tradition, I’ve tried to use Stratfordian observations to construct an anti-Stratfordian argument; three of the authorities that I’ve quoted — Knight, Hotson, and Booth — are Stratfordians. Thus, our critics can’t accuse us of skewing our observations to fit our argument.

© L. James Hammond 2006
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1. ch. 5, p. 166 back
2. ch. 5, p. 151 back
3. ch. 5, p. 152 back
4. ch. 5, p. 154 back
5. ch. 5, p. 155 back
6. ch. 5, p. 156 back
7. ch. 10, p. 161 back
8. ch. 10, p. 171 back
9. ibid back
10. ibid, p. 172 back
11. See “On the Physics and Psychology of the Transference as an Interactive Field” (mentioned in Radin’s bibliography), by Victor Mansfield and J. Marvin Spiegelman, published in the Journal of Analytical Psychology, 1996 back
12. See Wikipedia article on Koestler back
13. As I said in an earlier issue, “Some Jungians have argued that evolution doesn’t occur through random mutations, but rather through synchronicity; ‘a species of animals, under great pressure or in great need, could produce “meaningful” (but acausal) changes in its outer material structure.’”(Man and His Symbols, Conclusion, p. 306) If such changes were passed on to the next generation, then perhaps they’re consistent with Lamarck’s theory (Lamarck’s theory of the “inheritance of acquired traits”).

Koestler called his book The Sleepwalkers because he believed that scientific breakthroughs often happen spontaneously, like sleepwalking. According to Wikipedia, “Koestler challenges the habitual idea of a progressive science working towards a definite goal.... Often the genius doesn’t really know what he has discovered.... ‘The conclusion he puts forward at the end of the book is that modern science is trying too hard to be rational. Scientists have been at their best when they allowed themselves to behave as “sleepwalkers,” instead of trying too earnestly to ratiocinate.’” back

14. ibid back
15. ibid back
16. ibid back
17. “Shakespeare; Or, The Poet” back
18. See the earlier discussion of this subject. back
19. Act II, scene i back
20. See Hank Whittemore’s Monument, p. 238 back
21. See Shakespeare and the Tudor Rose, by Elisabeth Sears, ch. 2, p. 16. back
22. ibid, ch. 1, p. 11 back
23. The Man Who Was Shakespeare, by Charlton Ogburn, p. 79 back