Posts Tagged ‘temptation’

self-knowledge

the stupidest part
of being me is when I
realise just how
stupid I am — self-knowledge
— it’s the best thing in the world

This strange little poem came (somehow) out of a dream in which (yet again) I was struggling with the temptation to view online pornography. The main thing in my mind as I wrote it was the relief at discovering myself not tempted in the slightest upon waking. I wanted to write something about how the mind alternates between self-deception and self-revelation, endlessly by turns. I certainly feel deceived by my own mind, and a little confused, in the sudden transition from a threatening dream situation to a much more comfortingly secure waking consciousness. A couple of times in the past I have woken from similar dreams still feeling tempted in reality. What controls these things? Certainly not ‘me’. Hence I am left in the end just feeling stupid. For what it’s worth, I have learned to embrace that feeling.

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nothing

there are so many
different kinds of power —
even self-knowledge
is power — I swell with pride
at the sweet fuck all I know

I want so strongly to believe I possess self-knowledge. The self-knowledge I crave consists in grasping how much of myself remains unknown, inaccessible, mysterious — and yet powerfully active at every waking (and sleeping) moment. Knowledge of the unknown self — what an amazing paradox that is. It’s why I’m still enthralled to depth psychology even after forty years of questioning the validity of it. In my dreams last night I was sitting at a computer keyboard trying to deal with a screen that invited me to change my password. Simultaneously I was grappling with the familiar temptation to view pornography, which spilled over into waking life for a period of about twenty minutes upon waking. It’s very curious that I continue to suffer in this way. I can’t think of circumstances in which surfing the internet would not be an exercise of power — even where it’s a compulsion and therefore an expression of powerlessness — power is still the issue. It’s usually helpful for me to remember this at moments when it might seem as though physical pleasure was the primary temptation in pornography.

trick

ego — brief bubble,
infinitely fragile gift — 
I grasp — and it bursts

This poem arises from the feeling of disorientation caused when I found myself waking up from a dream in which I had experienced a strong deliberate intention to view online pornography. There was total confusion between whether I was awake or asleep and whether the intention was limited to the dream or whether it extended into waking consciousness. I woke in a state of simply not wanting to resist the temptation, but gradually as I regained the waking state, my conscious resolve reasserted itself. This experience worries me greatly. I don’t like the idea of being so split between conscious and unconscious, between an evil temptation and a good ego who resists it. In my world view, the ego is always going to lose, and needs a deeper understanding of itself in order not to be threatened in this way. There seems to be a continuity between yesterday’s poem title and today’s. I was aware, in calling yesterday’s poem joker, that it was simply an alternative I preferred to the more usual Jungian term trickster. The term trickster has always eluded me rather, as to its meaning. The Wikipedia page on this, is helpful. Particularly, for me, in mentioning Hermes — a mythological figure I’m very familiar with, unlike the vast mass of obscure ethnic legends listed in the article. I was also very taken with the definition of trickster as “boundary-crosser”.