Tuesday, March 28, 2006


A human being is that animal that has the self-knowledge of his/her mortality.

I`ve always been in awe of those earliest writers, many years before Christ, who had the intuition to present the myth of “Genesis” as the opening book of the Old Testament. How could such “primitive” people identify what remains the central question of human existence.

The Creator creates a Garden of Eden for the first humans. There is no knowledge of suffering, life is blissful. Yet, the Creator has “Created man in his image” and so offers him/her the fruit of the Tree Of Knowledge. He warns them of the dire consequences of tasting this fruit. If they have the courage to digest what is in the fruit, they will no longer be just an animal but in defying Him/Her, will become something more than animal, and will no longer enjoy the mindless bounty given to them in Eden.

Through Eve`s intuition, Adam is persuaded of the possibility of being something more than “animal” and the two of them make the first existential choice. If we rejoice in our humanness, we may accept Adam and Eve`s banishment from Eden as the day that the Creator breathed a soul into them, making them more than animal. The price we pay for this is, of course, the knowledge of our mortality.

For most of us, this is a burden too powerful to bear. All of Man`s characterological defenses appear as ways to restrict this knowledge from consciousness. We go about our lives in general ignorance, sheltering ourselves from what Kierkegaard called “Fear and Trembling”.

And yet, for some, given a particular genetic makeup and/or life experience, there often arises a feeling of unease. Their dreams are not only wish fulfillments but, at times, something more primitive and frightening. Death anxiety impinges upon consciousness, albeit in various disguises. Characterological defenses are not always sufficient to cathect the energy from these thoughts and terror presents itself.

Otto Rank and Ernest Becker suggest the burdens of humanness for these souls can only be lifted by regressing into the use of more primitive defenses which signify “mental illness” or by the creative, heroic solution. By the use of sublimation, some of us try to rise above our mortality by becoming artists, in the widest sense of the word. We attempt to gain immortality by leaving something of our essence behind. I think this is why I became a psychologist and why I so admire all who struggle with their attempts at heroism.

Friday, March 24, 2006


It must be imagination
that permits my heart`s lament.
Like roses in a garden
my bed bespeaks your scent.

My mind, confused, bewildered,
it tries to circumvent
the path that leads to anguish
and memories truly spent.


Thursday, March 23, 2006


When my son was about 7 or 8, two fellow workers told me they were going canoeing in the Grand Canyon of Pa in Tioga Cty.Pa. They asked if my family would like to go along... a nice weekend camping trip. We had only canoed on ponds and lakes and I told them I would be a little worried about canoeing in any kind of rapids.

One of them, Bud, with whom we had camped before, stated that the water was low at this time of the year and there would be little in the way of rapids. My wife and I decided to go, and we rented canoes on the way to the Grand Canyon. We set up camp in the State Park overlooking the canyon, and the next morning, drove to Wellsboro, where we could enter the river.

The first hour was uneventful and I removed my lifejacket because of the heat. We arrived at a rapids bounded by rocks, which Bud said was the only rapids on the river at this time of year. Bud helped me carry my family`s canoe past this impediment and I asked him if I could go through the rapids with him [as front paddler]. It was exhilarating!!

Barb, Sean and I got back in our canoe and we paddled for another 15 minutes. Ahead of us, Bud hollered something back, which I could not make out. However, in a minute, I understood! We were approaching another rapids.......

As we neared the rapids, which was smaller than the first one, but still formidable for lake canoers, I became very anxious...Here I was in a canoe, an inexperienced paddler, with the lives of my wife and son foolishly in peril! We were at the entrance to the rocks and the water was tumbling, roiling...Barb was scared, Sean was mute..What the hell could I do? I sure couldn`t steer through this!

Finally, an idea struck me. I carefully put one foot out of the canoe to impede our forward progress,and pointed the canoe at the middle of the water [no longer a river].I stepped out of the canoe and let go!...

Two things happened then that hadn`t occurred to me.[All of this happened in seconds!] First, as soon as I let go of the canoe, the rapids pulled me under and into the churning water; Second, I had never put my life jacket back on! I was pulled through the rocks, underwater, unable to breathe, my body striking the rocks.

As I tumbled, not breathing, my thoughts turned to "relax let the water take you up". As I still wasn`t breathing,I thought better of this[Thank God !!] and started clawing and scratching at the passing rocks...I found a purchase and, after catching my breath, pulled myself up on a large rock.

Good and bad!! My wife and son were safely in the canoe, which had not capsized......I couldn`t move my left leg [there was no feeling below my hip]. I laid back, thankful my family and I were alive, and feeling started coming back to my leg. Just a pinched nerve!

Bud used a rope to pull me to the other bank and I told him we were finished with canoeing; if he was unable to tow my canoe the rest of the way,I`d just let the thing go by itself. He towed the canoe and Barb, Sean and I walked about three miles to a place where some trucks were parked. Both of them were great! No anger, no recriminations.

When we arrived, the other couple we were with had their car at the base, but said they couldn`t get up the hill with all of us. I [in very strong terms] told the guy that he would try to take my son and wife up with them! Which he did, successfully. I stayed at the base that night unable to climb out.

The next day I found out that the other couple grilled steaks that night, offering my wife and son nothing! [something I later expressed my feelings to him about! Bud and his wife were at the base and the next morning we were able to drive out, with a lot of help. Boy, we really enjoyed that trip to the Grand Canyon of Pa. !!!!!!!!

Sunday, March 19, 2006


Autumn`s moon awaning,
sinks slowly to the sea.
Tiring, weary, mournful,
bowing to God`s decree.

A life of joy and sorrow,
lived to nth degree.
Bowing to life`s seasons,
buried `neath the tree.

Yet underneath the loaming,
arose a doleful plea.
A soul in constant sorrow,
"Oh God, deliver me."


Thursday, March 16, 2006

"Éireann go Brách" (Ireland forever).

MULVANY, JOHN G. [1766-1838] "A Country Scene In Ireland"

"Éireann go Brách" (Ireland forever).

The Birthplace of my Mom`s parents, George Walsh and Maria Kane.


Monday, March 13, 2006

Poem Written by S. circa 1977 used with permission

"SACRAMENTO RIVER VALLEY" Albert Bierstadt [1830-1902]

When I was young
there was a quiet
hill overlooking a

I used to sit
for hours,
wondering who
shall I love.

I decided to love
the wind.

"Good choice" said
the poet.

"The wind was
like you". I

Sunday, March 12, 2006


NIETZSCHE [1844-1900]: This was also written the year after Grad School, circa 1978, by V.

Nietzsche looks at man through murky waters. He defends his renunciation of God by pointing out to us the evil in organized Western religions, in effect condemning God because of man`s shortcomings. He scoffs at all philosophers who came before him because all made the same fatal mistake, accepting the supposition that what is moral and ethical is known to man.

Nietzsche condemns all "a prioris"; nothing is given. It is just that man before him has not had the courage to go this far. Man has sacrificed his courage and freedom to such "a prioris". The question of the chicken and the egg, resolved by many, beginning with Aristotle, in favor of the chicken, is a universal not to be solved but to be scoffed at.

Man`s destiny is resolved by man, not by final cause. At best causality is unanswerable and man should no longer waste his time on unanswerable questions. At worst, the question is stagnation and directly attributable to man`s fear of being responsible for his existence.

For Nietzsche, the basis for human existence is will to power and the means for self-fulfillment is personal courage. The over-man, the future man who will accept his destiny [and Nietzsche believed he was a precursor,"A Stranger In A Strange Land "], will show concern for his fellow man but from a position of power and self confidence. It is Nietzsche`s belief that the "love for fellow man" so universally accepted as a basic pattern necessity of life is merely a projection of man`s fear of being hurt. He postulates a distinct difference between such morbid self-protection and that concern shown by the "over-man".

Although he goes to great lengths to contradict this feeling, it seems to the writer that, except for the honest respect given to others who live life according to his principles, Nietzsche translates his concern to all others as pity. [Since Nietzsche believes that pity is an emotion not worthy of the lowest animal, we may get an inkling of his view towards those of the human species who do not share his view of life.]

Such a position, of course, is also strikingly similar to the "we are right" communality expressed by members of Western organized religions, one of the cores which he so mercilessly attacked.


Saturday, March 11, 2006


Sitting out on the sand, it`s late, lubricated courage smokes me to aloneness. Glances back, continually, ah the lights are still there, I got to make sure this is only a temporary suspension, like from school when you got caught smoking during lunch, not with everybody, they`re still eating, but by yourself in back of the gym. Course you don`t have any lunch, that`s why you`re alone [but you never demanded to have lunch or money]. But it`s easier to stay with the idea that you don`t have any lunch [that`s good for sustenance].

Anyway, there I am glancing around, calming down [at least a little] and sneaking a glance at the ocean, and eternity. Christ, I have the same questions now as I did when I was 10, looking at the clouds in wonder, and running away by looking at the forms clouds take [Wow, that`s a bear!]. Really, to bear or not to bear, that is the question. Even now, the bear is form, this time book learning. {I`ve read a lot of books, I got arsenals of word-shot, tons of thought-shit.] Even now I gotta shudder when the ocean and stars jump inside me, instead of staying outside where the books say they should be.

It`s really fascinating. How active our minds are. Usually, I guess, we just accept its workings. How the "now" is constantly impinged upon. Obsessive behavior is just selectively ordering our thoughts, as is depression [and the rest]. The basic mechanism is part of being a human being. Freud`s 'free association' technique is based on man`s Kantian ability [need?] to have the past and some interpretation of the future impinge on us constantly. All our defenses are there, to in some way structure this plethora of information constantly causing waves on the surface of consciousness [the Now!].

People are like bodies of water. Although the undercurrent is accepted, we try not to think about it. It`s only when it`s reflected in waves, on the surface, that we must pay attention to it.

This post was written by me one year after finishing Grad school. Its original inspiration was probably reading Kerouac`s "Big Sur". The posting of it is due to 2 writers, Aynetal and Jod[i]. Both of them have recently posted "stream of consciousness" writing that have deeply effected me. Thank you, Ayn and Jodi, for your courage.


Friday, March 10, 2006

WWWC `Ku To #2

The soul`s purity

forever on the alert

sin is ravenous.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


The first time I was ever on top of a mountain was on Mt. Killington, Vermont. It was early October, the foliage season, and S. and I were camping at a small lake behind Lake Bomoseen. I had never seen any mountains larger than the Poconos in PA, and I was stunned to see the golden towers stretching almost to heaven. I could hardly wait until the next morning to ride the gondola to the top of Killington.

After breakfast the following day we drove directly to the base of Killington and ascended to the top of the mountain by Gondola. The further we ascended, the more we were surrounded by swirling mists. It was a cool morning and the top of the mountain was enshrouded by clouds. Standing on the observation deck, a glass of wine to warm us, I could see the disappointment in S.`s eyes. As she snuggled closer, moisture curling her hair, I told her the view was amazing and I was so happy to be there to share it with her. She looked up at me and smiled, with that look of determination I`d grown so fond of and said, “My dear, you really haven`t seen anything yet. We`ll come back tomorrow if it`s a bit warmer.”

The following morning the sun rose brightly and by 8.00 AM the temperature was in the 60`s. S was very excited about our return trip to Killington and I scarcely had time to grab a camera and cassette player before we were in the car, on our way.

Our second trip in the Gondola revealed the treasures that were shrouded by haze the previous day. As we ascended, the golden maple leaves took on a majesty that can only be seen in New England for a few brief weeks each fall. Rather than stopping at the observation station, S took my hand and led me to a small trail that led to the peak of the mountain. The trail wound through shrubbery and small bedraggled trees, obscuring our destination. I smiled as we climbed, thinking how happy S would be to show me the apex.

As we left the concealment of the shrubbery we climbed over some large rocks and were finally on a large outcropping. As I was catching my breath I looked over at S, then…..past her! I was standing atop an ocean of color, stretching as far as the eye could see. Its immensity was overwhelming and I found myself shaking. My body sank to the ground before I realized it. I found myself involuntarily on my knees, bowing to the wonder before me. I felt an awe and reverance in that moment and my thoughts turned to the Creator and His/her munificence. S took my hand and I was shortly able to stand and even move around a bit, encircling the rock, checking all the angles. For the next few hours we sat and talked as others came, saw and went. As the afternoon waned, we lit a joint and smoked it; no matter, did nothing. We were as high as could be just being there, the wonder of that place precluded artificial enhancement.

As it got to be near 4.00 PM we had been alone on the peak for about 45 minutes. As we sat admiring the sun`s voyage across the mountains, we were approached by the Park Ranger who was working at a fire look-out station further back on the peak. He told us he had seen us sitting there for most of the afternoon and hoped that we had enjoyed his mountain. We smiled and thanked him and he told us that the last gondola of the day would be leaving in 15 minutes. I think he sensed our sadness as he said, “Have you ever seen a sunset from the top of a mountain? The colors are blazing, on fire!”

I looked at S and we were nodding our heads in unison. I said to the ranger “Is it OK for us to stay here and see it?” He smiled, “Sure. The only thing is, you`ll have to walk down the mountain as its dark. I could lend you a flashlight, but it`s a long walk down Killington at night.” S and I held hands, smiling, nodding, and the ranger gave us his flashlight before leaving us.

The sunset was overwhelming, as you might expect. At its nadir, the mountains ablaze, I remembered the cassette player and the music I had remembered to put in my pocket. I loaded the player and pushed play.

S cried as we listened to one of our favorite songs from Yes; “Nous Sommes Du Soliel”. We are the sun.

Hold me my love, hold me today, call me round

Travel we say, wander we choose, love tune

Lay upon me, hold me around lasting hours
We love when we play

We hear a sound and alter our returning
We drift the shadows and course our way on home

Flying home Going home.

Look me my love sentences move dancing away

We join we receive
As our song memories long hope in a way

Nous sommes du soleil
Hold me around lasting hours
We love when we play

Nous sommes du soleil

Nous sommes du soleil.

Nous sommes du soleil




Listen as the wind blows from across the great divide
voices trapped in yearning, memories trapped in time
the night is my companion, and solitude my guide
would I spend forever here and not be satisfied?
and I would be the one
to hold you down
kiss you so hard
I'll take your breath away
and after, I'd wipe away the tears
just close your eyes dear
Through this world I've stumbled
so many times betrayed
trying to find an honest word to find
the truth enslaved
oh you speak to me in riddles
and you speak to me in rhymes
my body aches to breathe your breath
your words keep me alive
And I would be the one
to hold you down
kiss you so hard
I'll take your breath away
and after, I'd wipe away the tears
just close your eyes dear
Into this night I wander
it's morning that I dread
another day of knowing of
the path I fear to tread
oh into the sea of waking dreams
I follow without pride
nothing stands between us here
and I won't be denied
and I would be the one
to hold you down
kiss you so hard
I'll take your breath away
and after, I'd wipe away the tears
just close your eyes...

Saturday, March 04, 2006


Adelaide Claxton [1835-c1905] "Dreams of the Past" 1868

In dreams and reverie
Life is refreshed by want.
All are born to the purple
Beautiful, serene.

The bashful become flirtatious
the needy, sated.
Death seems surmountable
As blackness is blanched by light.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Write Words Writing Club Haiku-Pic #5

In dreams of heaven
the love of my Creator
enriches my soul.

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