Today, I want to talk about the past and the future.
Not just about the past and the future - instead two people I really admire and have been intellectually inspired by.
The first is Ira Progoff, the author of ‘At A Journal Workshop’, student of Jung, and inventor of a journal writing method that helps you tap into and understand the various unconscious/sub conscious dimensions of your life.
The second is Paul Erdos, the eccentric and brilliant mathematician.
Let me first introduce Progoff to you.As a student, Ira Progoff, a New Yorker, was very interested in Jung. And Jung was interested in him. So much so, that Progoff ended up in Europe studying under Jung. Always interested in writing, Progoff, over his lifetime, developed a journal-diary writing method that incorporated Jung’s idea of the unconscious, the shadow and the like. In a nutshell, the basic idea is that we are really hopeless at knowing ourselves (I’m simplifying) and it is the yucky, icky, gooey bits (the 'shadow') that makes us all do the crazy things we do. The ‘shadow work’ is revealing those blind spots to yourself.
This is Progoff’s mission.
Progoff started with a very basic assumption.
If all the knowledge of the world disappeared, all the libraries burnt to the ground, and a book couldn’t be found, what would we know? What could we know?
Would we go back to zero? Would we know nothing?
The answer was a big fat no. Why? Because there is a collective, universal conscious that we can tap into. We have access to knowledge by rights of living in the time and place we do. All we have to do is look.
Progoff, like all legends, liked metaphors. His techniques have some meditations, such as “going deep into the well” or “entering a cathedral” - I imagine a woody, forest cathedral - to help people observe and access this unconscious, universal knowledge and write about it.
I use this journal diary approach often. Rather than just describing how your day was e.g. had a fight with a nasty male looking female on YouTube. It really helps me go deeper, more analytical and gain insights. Oh, that nasty female is in denial, and she reminds of a primary school teacher who later became a man. I hate that dude. He reminds me of George Bush etc.
There are workshops to learn this. Happy to share, if anyone is interested.
Now to the future.
Many years ago, when I lived in Tokyo, I read a biography of Paul Erdos, the eccentric mathematician.
Erdos was well-known for his eccentricity. He was basically a scruffy itinerant, travelling around the world and door knocking on unsuspecting mathematicians, and inviting himself to stay for a few days (or a few weeks). With barely a suitcase to his name, his whole life revolved around solving mathematical proofs (or teaching others to) and couch surfing.
When a proof was discovered, Erdos would say something to the effect that, “we have opened another page of the book of God”. He would call this the ‘Book’.
He believed that all mathematical proofs already existed. It was just a matter of time and intellectual endeavour that would help us open the Book. An opening of the human mind, evolution and progress, and God would be so kind to show how to do a proof.
It is a lovely idea. That there are things to be discovered. That there is an unravelling of knowledge. That all is known. We just have to look.
I guess Progoff and Erdos come at the same idea of universal conscious from a different time perspective. The belief is the same. Past or future: knowledge is waiting for us.
We can tap into universal knowledge from the past, and we can also tap into new knowledge via creation. Wow.
That gives me great assurance and comfort.
Everything’s going to be alright.
If you have no idea about what I’m rattling on about, here’s it all expressed in another way by Talking Heads.
In the song, ‘Once in a Lifetime’, this acceptance of the universal unconscious is expressed as such (or I’m just reading too much into lyrics, thanks Ira):
“Letting the days go by, let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by, water flowing underground
Into the blue again after the money’s gone
Once in a lifetime, water flowing underground”.
Same as it ever was!
In Peace and Parallel.
Ps. I have received my fair share of cream buns and coffees lately. You know it is really special to receive this from you. I was really touched by someone who was unemployed because of the jab, who despite their situation bought me a coffee. What an amazing person you are. Thank you! (If you need help finding employment, please reach out to me. I know some amazing people in HR who can support you". Also, a big thanks to Leah and Nadia for the incredible coffee. Yum! Delicious! This has added some extra padding to help me get through the sunny months, and most definitely has warmed me up further. Not sure I also thanked you Juliet, too. My body tattoos are growing, and Juliet your name will be used in my just above the butt crack, butterfly tramp stamp. Lol.