Trickster Makes This World? [Resources]

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Sciborg_S_Patel

#1
To kick things off ->

A friend of mine gifted me the book Ka: The Stories of Mind and the Gods of India by Roberto Calasso. On the inside cover he quoted Daksha, one of Hinduism's ancient rishis, regarding the man's opposition to the marriage between his daughter Sati (the incarnation of the Goddess) & Shiva (Destroyer, Lord of Animals, God of the liminal space between Chaos & Order):

'This man who has come, this stranger, this woman-stealer, this enemy of our rules and rites, this wanderer who loves the ashes of the dead, who speaks of things divine to the lowest of the low, this man who sometimes seems crazy, who has something obscene about him, who grows his hair long as a girl's, who bedecks himself with bones, who laughs and cries for no reason - Why should I give She-Who-Is to someone who, every time I see him, seems to me the opposite of everything I wanted to be myself, of everything I wanted life to be?

Why did I compose so many rites, so many words, why did I generate She-Who-Is, just to have everything stolen from me one day by the one who is its living negation?"
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#2
Seven short essays on the ideas that organize Lewis Hyde's Trickster Makes This World

Since the beginning of time these cosmic mischief-makers have been a great bother to have around, but that is not the end of it: tricksters turn out to be indispensable culture heroes as well. Hermes the Thief invented the art of sacrifice, the trick of making fire, and even language itself. Coyote taught the race how to dress, sing, and shoot arrows. Eshu taught men and women a way to know what the gods are thinking.

Lewis Hyde's Trickster Makes This World explores these intriguing tales, then holds them up against the life and work of more recent creators (Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, John Cage, Allen Ginsberg, Maxine Hong Kingston, and others). Hyde is out to describe and then defend disruptive creativity. He makes it clear why, no matter how settled our world may become, we must never suppress the imagination's mischief.
Tricksters always appear where cultures are tying to guard their eternal truths, their sacred cows. New cultures spring up whenever some trickster gets past the guard dogs and steals those cows.
In the Hindu stories, Krishna has come to earth to remind the human race that everything belongs to god. His mother does not know that yet, but her child's mundane lies point her toward the higher truth. All tricksters do this: they lie in a way that upsets our very sense of what is true and what is false, and therefore help us reimagine this world.
Thus the trickster myth begins with the belly and ends with the imagination. It begins with a being whose main concern is getting fed, and it ends with the same being grown mentally swift, adept at creating and unmasking deceit, proficient at hiding his tracks and at seeing through the devices used by others to hide theirs. The Greeks imagined that Hermes invented language, but that is late in his story; earlier we find him stealing cattle because he's hungry for meat. The myth, however, makes it clear that these two are two pages from the same book. In this world, the stories say, the blood that lights the mind first got its sugars from the gut. And it still does.
If a culture is to be flexible enough to change when change is needed, it must reserve a place for those who are willing to start those arguments. It must allow space for thinking dirty thoughts and imagining dirty deeds.
In the old stories, trickster is the character who is happy to work this way. In modern times, the same function often falls to those artists who have a touch of the trickster about them. In this line, Hyde argues that modern obscenity trials have become the ritual dirt-work of America. When such trials end by releasing the work of art--as happened with Mapplethorpe's photographs, or earlier with Allen Ginsberg’s Howl.--we witness the allowed return of what an earlier social order took to be "matter out of place."
But in the trickster myth, desire becomes prophetic precisely because it can reveal the fullness that lies beyond the walls of convention. Stolen love opens windows onto that larger world. Society needs its designs if it is to endure, but trickster's mischief regularly shows that no design can encompass creation's great abundance. Trickster is the prophet whose actions reveal the uncontainable plenitude of this world.
Tricksters sometimes attack the joints of creation, and sometimes simply oil the joints with humor, keeping them flexible. All those who do so are artists in the most ancient sense, and their creations, no matter how unsettling, are the works of art that make this world what it is.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#3
Trickster and tricked: All gurus try to undermine their followers' egos and expectations, so does it matter if the teacher is a real fraud?

Kumaré’s core teaching is pretty consistent. He tells his students that he is an illusion, nothing more than a mirror or a symbol, and that the guru they seek is inside of them. At one point, he gets a student, whose eyes are closed, to sit down before an altar. When the student opens his eyes, he sees framed photos of Barack Obama, Osama bin Laden and Kumaré. ‘All symbol, just symbol,’ lisps the guru.

What is marvellous about this ‘teaching’ is its perfect duplicity, which paradoxically allows both Gandhi and Kumaré to speak true. For seekers, Kumaré is offering a version of the familiar Vedantic message that the Atman (or soul) within is the Brahman (or guru) without; meanwhile, Gandhi foregrounds the prank for his viewers. Whereas many yogis and other spiritual teachers are arguably more ‘authentic’ in their presence and practice than in their often clichéd rhetoric, Kumaré is most truthful when proclaiming his own status as an illusion. Earnest spiritual teachers, even flawed ones, also want to wake up their students, whereas the awakening of Kumaré’s students to the truth of his illusion becomes, for Gandhi, something of a problem. Unlike Sasha Baron Cohen, whose pranks often depend on an almost contemptuous detachment from the tentative, affective bonds of trust that grow between strangers, Gandhi grows to feel a genuine connection to his students within the rigged theatre he has created. He likes them and wants them to discover this truth within themselves before he rams it down their throats with his Great Unveiling — a final act of truth-telling that will, Gandhi knows and fears, probably make them feel ‘like idiots’.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#4
Intro to George Hansen’s The Trickster and the Paranormal

In short, the paranormal and supernatural are ambiguous and marginal in virtually all ways: socially, intellectually, academically, religiously, scientifically, and conceptually. They don’t fit in the rational world.

Some may see no pattern to the above examples; they do appear chaotic. But there is a pattern, and it has enormous implications. The theories of anti-structure and rationalization, which will be described later, provide remarkable insight.

One of the implications of the pattern is that there are subtle but pervasive pressures that conspire to keep the paranormal marginalized and scientific investigation at a minimum. This does not require a consciously organized human conspiracy. It is a direct property of the phenomena. Psi interacts with our physical world, with our thoughts, and with our social institutions. Even contemplating certain ideas has consequences. The phenomena are not to be tamed by mere logic and rationality, and attempts to do so are doomed to failure. These notions are undoubtedly anathema to my scientific colleagues in parapsychology. To their chagrin, I will demonstrate that deception and the irrational are keys to understanding psi.
 
#5
Hi Sciborg_S_Patel,

Just wanted to say I finished "Trickster Makes this World" by Lewis Hyde a while ago - thanks, it was a great book! It had the effect of bringing some sort of closure to a, errrm, "gap" that was opened up in my mentation by the terrific "Trickster and the Paranormal" by George P Hansen which I read a few years or so ago. Not really sure how to expand on that in any meanginful way without typing out encyclopedias, but I appreciated your mentioning of the book - cheers! :)

I also just finished reading "Authors of the Impossible" by Jeffrey Kripal (Mutants and Mystics is kind of like the second part of what was originally intended to be a single book...I have that here but will be readining later....though I have to mention it is an excellently produced hardback book, pages & cover feel great in the hand, and lots of colour picture pages!). Another great book!

Have you read that yet? Judging by what you post here, I think you would really enjoy that book....

Lastly, I notice you have a thread called "The Western Spiritual Tradition" or some such, and that you mention Peter Kingsley's "Reality" book in it....have you read that yet? If so, I was wondering what you thought of it? I've had that in my to read pile for a year or two, not got to it yet (is a big book!). Recommended?

Cheers.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#6
Glad you liked Hyde. I think I need to read Hansen's book as well. Feel free to type out some encyclopedias if you're up for it - I think you're way more familiar with the Trickster archetype than me and I'd appreciated the knowledge!

Sadly have not read Kripal yet, I do have his books on my list.

Also, haven't read Reality, just those excerpts put together by Morhroff on Anti-Matters.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#7
Fasnacht, Carl Jung, the Trickster Archetype and Altered States of Consciousness

...As many of you know, my philosophical ideas have been largely influenced by the thought of Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung, who developed the theory of the Collective Unconscious and the Archetypes. According to Jung, our thoughts, emotions and behaviors are subliminally influenced—even determined—by shared psychic templates he called Archetypes. There is an Archetype that is particularly repressed and dismissed in contemporary culture: that of the Trickster, an anti-intellect figure, entertaining and mischievous at the same time, who reminds us of our connection to a psychic reality more primordial and fundamental than our linear, logical thinking. As I wrote in my little book Meaning in Absurdity, the absence of the Trickster in contemporary culture is at the root of much of our inability to relate harmoniously to the world and ourselves.

And this is where Fasnacht comes in. The festival brings out some of our deepest, most repressed psychological realities, including the Trickster Archetype. Indeed, the Fasnacht figure of the Waggis is a textbook incarnation of the Trickster. See the video below. As such, the festival is of great psychological and philosophical significance. I've come to Fasnacht this year to experience the expression of these subliminal but powerful psychological realities myself. No festival does it better, perhaps because the Swiss are, for 362 days of the year, the epitome of intellectual order and correctness. Therefore, during the three days of Fasnacht, following a natural compensatory instinct, they let out their repressed Archetypes with a purity and intensity unseen anywhere else. Jung himself has lived and studied in Basel, having experienced Fasnacht firsthand. The festival has more than likely influenced his thinking and inspired his later elaboration of the theory of Archetypes...
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#8

"...the myths, they think each other..."


Lewis Hyde: The Trickster Trap of Appetite

Lewis Hyde tells the wild Tsimshian trickster story "Raven Becomes Voracious," as a way to explore the contradiction of having a mortal body while trying to lead an ascetic life, and offers wisdom on the unavoidable trap of desire.

Says Hyde, "This is a story of descent. In heaven there are beings who do not eat; in this lower world of stomachs and fish there are mortals who eat constantly. The trickster Raven is a mixture, the shining boy plus appetite, a being of considerable power who is unable to satiate his hunger. Trickster makes the world, gives it sunlight, fish, and berries, but he makes it "as it is," a world of constant need, work, limitation, and death."
Lewis Hyde: Trickster Makes This World (1 of 2)

Author Lewis Hyde expands his fiercely inquisitive analysis of two Trickster stories (Raven and Hermes, as told in Part 1 of this series:Lewis Hyde: The Trickster Trap of Appetite ). Hyde brings in commentary on popular culture, the persistent mythic archetypes still buried in the psyche, and the life of Frederick Douglass.

Lewis Hyde: Trickster Makes This World (2 of 2)

Brilliant author Lewis Hyde weaves together a Raven trickster story and the Homeric hymn to Hermes, launching into a profound and mercurial commentary on creativity, deception, and the art of living in contradiction.
 
#9
Hi Sciborg_S_Patel,

Just wanted to say I finished "Trickster Makes this World" by Lewis Hyde a while ago - thanks, it was a great book! It had the effect of bringing some sort of closure to a, errrm, "gap" that was opened up in my mentation by the terrific "Trickster and the Paranormal" by George P Hansen which I read a few years or so ago. Not really sure how to expand on that in any meanginful way without typing out encyclopedias, but I appreciated your mentioning of the book - cheers! :)

I also just finished reading "Authors of the Impossible" by Jeffrey Kripal (Mutants and Mystics is kind of like the second part of what was originally intended to be a single book...I have that here but will be readining later....though I have to mention it is an excellently produced hardback book, pages & cover feel great in the hand, and lots of colour picture pages!). Another great book!

Have you read that yet? Judging by what you post here, I think you would really enjoy that book....

Lastly, I notice you have a thread called "The Western Spiritual Tradition" or some such, and that you mention Peter Kingsley's "Reality" book in it....have you read that yet? If so, I was wondering what you thought of it? I've had that in my to read pile for a year or two, not got to it yet (is a big book!). Recommended?

Cheers.
Just when I was about to take a break from here I came up on this post from a long long long time ago. I have read Kingsley's "Reality" (twice now) and all of his other books + some of his articles. In case you have read Reality by now, or haven't read it and are interested in a conversation about Kingsley's arguments/ideas/pov. Let me know, I'd be interested.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#10
Nice rundown of Trickster and the Paranormal:

The Trickster and the Paranormal

...Liminality is the status of being without status and being on the boundary or on the threshold between a binary opposition. In structured societies, liminality is often confined to established times and rituals. For example, when a child goes through puberty, he or she enters a liminal status where he or she is still a bit of child and not quite adult and there is confusion about what his or her role should be. Coming-of-age or rites of passagerituals serve to contain and narrow this liminal period within a short well-defined boundary so that prior to the ritual the child knows to act like a child and society knows to treat him or her like a child. After the ritual, the adult knows to act like an adult and society knows to treat him or her like an adult. Often in native cultures, this liminal coming-of-age ritual is accompanied by the supernatural, vision quests, leaving society for a period of solitary trial, and visitations by the trickster either in the form of the shaman or other spirits. In highly structured orderly society, liminality and change is reduced while stability and routine are greatly increased thereby limiting the Trickster’s influence. Periods of travel or other breaks in routine open the door for the Trickster to show up. The Trickster himself is often portrayed as a frequent traveler, a wanderer, gypsy, the travelling fool, and permanently homeless. Many have noted the connection between synchronicity, Psi, and travel. Weird coincidences that happen in meaningful ways seem to increase when we break out of our routines. Meaning and interpretation is once again the domain of the Trickster....
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#11

George Hanson is the author of an amazing piece of work entitled, The Trickster and the Paranormal. He was professionally employed in parapsychology laboratories for eight years — three at the Rhine Research Center in Durham, North Carolina, and five at Psychophysical Research Laboratories in Princeton, New Jersey. His experiments included remote viewing, card guessing, ganzfeld, electronic random number generators, séance phenomena, and ghosts. He has been active in a number of psychic, UFO, and New Age organizations, and he helped found a skeptics group.

His papers in scientific journals cover mathematical statistics, fraud and deception, the skeptics movement, conjurors in parapsychology, and exposés of hoaxes. He is a member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians.

In this interview we discuss;
The role of deception in the paranormal.
Ghost hunting.
The scientific process as it relates to the paranormal.
The subtlety of the trickster phenomenon.
Liminality.
The effect of consciousness on the paranormal.
Skeptics and Debunkers.
The UFO Phenomenon.

And much more. The subject is so diverse and subtle that we only scratch the surface of the true strangeness of it all. You can find more about George and the book at www.tricksterbook.com.
 
#12
Just when I was about to take a break from here I came up on this post from a long long long time ago. I have read Kingsley's "Reality" (twice now) and all of his other books + some of his articles. In case you have read Reality by now, or haven't read it and are interested in a conversation about Kingsley's arguments/ideas/pov. Let me know, I'd be interested.
Hi Michael - deary me, sorry for the 4 month delay in response!! Have been extremely busy and had no time to post, barely to even read posts a few times a week!

Yes, I did get round to reading this about a year or so ago. Was very interesting. If you're still about or when you get time, let me know what your thoughts were?

Off the top of my head, the things that struck me most (or at least the "essence" of the book has stayed with me until today) are:

1) How very "non-dual" or "advaita" like the general message of the book was. An area of "teachings" I am very familiar with, so never really thought I was learning anything new from the book in that general sense.

2) How, according to Kingsley, Plato & other well know early Greek teachers & "mystics" were, far from being one /some of the great mystical influences on the western world, were actually a driving force for rationalisation & logicality. Peter Kingsley's arguments in this regard were the most novel to me personally within the book.

Errrm, can't really recall much more than that! Was a nice & interesting read though.

Cheers!
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#13
That trickster is a boundary-crosser is the standard line, but in the course of writing this book I realized that it needs to be modified in one important way, for there are also cases in which trickster creates a boundary, or brings to the surface a distinction previously hidden from sight. In several mythologies, for example, the gods lived on earth until something trickster did caused them to rise into heaven. Trickster is thus the author of the great distance between heaven and earth; when he becomes the messenger of the gods it’s as if he has been enlisted to solve a problem he himself created. In a case like that, boundary creation and boundary crossing are related to one another, and the best way to describe trickster is to say simply that the boundary is where he will be found— sometimes drawing the line, sometimes crossing it, sometimes erasing or moving it, but always there, the god of the threshold in all its forms.

Hyde, Lewis. Trickster Makes This World: Mischief, Myth, and Art (Kindle Locations 232-239). Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Kindle Edition.
 
#15
With Gordon White & Hansen.... many topics covered, including the personal dangers of PSI / alien / paranormal research.....

 
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