Is honest self-portraiture possible?

In his psychological study of Casanova, Stefan Zweig wrote:



Autobiography is the hardest of all forms of literary art. Why, then, do new aspirants, generation after generation, try to solve this almost insoluble problem?

[For a] honest autobiography […] he must have a combination of qualities which will hardly be found once in a million instances. To expect perfect sincerity on self-portraiture would be as absurd as to expect absolute justice, freedom, and perfection here on earth. No doubt the pseudo-confession, as Goethe called it, confession under the rose, in the diaphanous veil of novel or poem, is much easier, and is often far more convincing from the artistic point of view, than an account with no assumption of reserve. Autobiography, precisely because it requires, not truth alone, but naked truth, demands from the artist an act of peculiar heroism; for the autobiographer must play the traitor to himself.

Only a ripe artist, one thoroughly acquainted with the workings of the mind, can be successful here. This is why psychological self-portraiture has appeared so late among the arts, belonging exclusively to our own days and those yet to come. Man had to discover continents, to fathom his seas, to learn his language, before he could turn his gaze inward to explore the universe of his soul. Classical antiquity had as yet no inkling of these mysterious paths. Caesar and Plutarch, the ancients who describe themselves, are content to deal with facts, with circumstantial happenings, and never dream of showing more than the surface of their hearts.

Many centuries were to pass before Rousseau (that remarkable man who was a pioneer in so many fields) was to draw a self-portrait for its own sake, and was to be amazed and startled at the novelty of his enterprise. Stendhal, Hebbel, Kierkegaard, Tolstoy, Amiel, the intrepid Hans Jaeger, have disclosed unsuspected realms of self-knowledge by self-portraiture. Their successors, provided with more delicate implements of research, will be able to penetrate stratum by stratum, room by room, farther and yet farther into our new universe, into the depths of the human mind.


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Note:

For reasons of simplicity, even as they were germane to Zweig’s point I omitted the sentences where Zweig mentioned St Augustine.

And yes: his study Casanova: A Study in Self-Portraiture is a must read for anyone who wants to write a “total autobiography”.

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The first time ever?

Throughout the long history of mankind no one has written a thorough and comprehensive analysis of his or her parents.

But how is this possible? In my fourth book of Whispering Leaves (WL) we saw that, over the existence of humanity, parents have killed thousands of millions of their children, literally. Recall the chapter “The infanticidal psychoclass: references,” which served me greatly for adding a hundred or so references to Wikipedia and Citizendium articles on infanticide.

Why no one of the surviving children of these parents who killed one of his brothers or sisters analyzed his parents? I don’t mean savage tribes, but the more developed societies with knowledge of writing. Was it such an infinitely devastating experience for the surviving sibling? Was it because it would be a crushing inner experience to process in one’s mind what the parents did?

Once talking about infanticide with Luz, a former high school friend who read my Letter to mom Medusa (the first book of WL), she made the astute observation:

“Infanticide is no longer done that way. Now parents are murdering their children’s souls.”

Never mind these are not the exact words of friend Luz. I had no booklet on the street and didn’t write what she said. But that’s exactly what she meant.

Unlike the ancient world—cf. again my fourth book of WL—modern society prohibits parents to kill their children. But the fact is that neither in the ancient civilized world, say, Greece and Rome, nor in the modern world has a dissident mind of parental behavior left a comprehensive biographical record about the dynamics of his or her family. Why then, if parents have committed literally thousands of Holocausts with their children, killing either their bodies or, as Luz said, murdering their souls? Why no one of the surviving children of these modern parents who have schizophrenized one of his brothers or sisters analyzed the schizophrenogenic parent? True: in their books John Modrow and Alice Miller advanced the basics of how their parents murdered their souls. But a thorough autobiographical analysis, not just a basic autobiographical sketch such as Modrow’s or Miller’s has not been written.

It is not clear that I can do it in this blog. As I’ve confessed elsewhere, my position in life is pretty precarious. But if nothing interrupts me while I write up entry after entry the time will arrive when, along with my WL, this blog [I meant the one in Spanish] might become the first complete record of a family who behaved horribly with some of their members, to the extent of partially destroying their minds and lives.

I feel very strange at this writing, that I have to be the first in history. But to my knowledge, there is no man or woman on earth who has carried the legacy of Alice Miller to its ultimate consequences.

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Slightly edited from the original in Spanish

Mankind howls at the moon

I have added some “fallen leaves” to my blog in Spanish, especially sections that won’t appear in the fifth and final book of Whispering Leaves (WL).

Although it is the shortest of all, the last book of my series was the one that, in a sense, gave me the worst headaches in terms of making my mind for a final version. It was not until recently that I decided to keep only the essentials and not add postscripts and details about my extermination fantasies: which existed in the original versions from 2007 until this year.

Here is the uncensored introduction (a “fallen leaf”) that will not appear in my fifth book. My explanatory notes in brackets were written a month ago:

* * *

The first section discusses the consequences of the wound inflicted upon me when I was seventeen, the wound of the fear of eternal damnation closed in false: a subject that will give us the key to understand why hundreds of millions of humans continue to worship so horrible deities. Only in the second section I’ll talk about my vision of an ideal future for mankind that gave this book the exterminationist title [originally I was going to call it The Extermination of Neanderthals]: ideas I had developed long before reading Alice Miller and Lloyd deMause; ideas rooted in that despairing cry of a child writhing on the hearth of an imaginary Moloch [this is a reference to the final part of my fourth book].

Although the vast majority of traumatized individuals remain in dark ignorance over their miserable existence, I find it unbelievable the amount of time, three decades in fact, that took me to understand what my parents and their society had done to me. And yes: I developed embarrassing security operations in my desperate attempts to get out of a mental Gehenna. Such mechanisms delivered me to such a long night of a soul that it makes no sense to use this spiritual odyssey for multiple volumes. [Note of 2012: since nobody would read me]

Suffice it to say that although I am a complete skeptic of the mantic arts, it comes to my mind the symbol of a pair of cards of the Marseilles Tarot. On The Moon we can imagine how the psyches of the bicameral Mesoamericans and their Lacrimae lunae, so trapped as howling dogs in a perpetual night, turn from the earth to the moon: toward their insatiable and demanding celestial body [another veiled reference to what I say in my fourth book]. In the card of The Sun, instead, multicolored droplets are directed backwards: from the celestial body to two children. These are found facing each other, frolicking under the solar glory and touching themselves with their hands: a gesture of non-erotic but compassionate love between themselves. The century-old Marseille illustration shows these children naked in a place protected by a fence. The sun protects and blesses them as a parent provides (not demands) their energy and care. Instead of sacrificing them on the altar of poisonous pedagogy, the child’s life is an experience to be enjoyed. A Jungian writer saw the characters of this card as a boy and a girl and claims that these twins, separated now from the Eden that housed them, “will create a new world together.”

The Splendor solis or great crescendo in psychogenesis of our species will be revealed at the end of this book. At the moment I’m just saying that, unlike my lunatic stage [I meant my falling into cults and pseudo-sciences, of which I speak in the fifth book, so well symbolized by the card of The Moon], now I feel surrounded by noon and see everything so clearly and transparent that I must say it was not Paulina [cf. book #3] my knowledgeable witness, as some readers might believe from reading my third book, but the feeling of having been soul-mirrored in a mind that knows the nucleus of the human psyche, as I did while reading Breaking Down the Wall of Silence. Alice Miller is the person I’m more indebted and the fact of having discovered her so late is something that bothers me exceedingly.

It was not my fault. Although Banished Knowledge had been published since 1990 in Spanish I did not discover it until twelve years later, and Breaking Down the Wall of Silence (Abbruch der Schweigemauer), that I read in English, to the moment of writing this line has not been translated into Spanish. The latter book shows Miller’s maturity of thought. The howling mankind had not announced me her findings and I lost the best summers of my life. I remember a book-review in which the author asked why this woman did not monopolize the front pages of newspapers. The sad truth is that she does not capture the attention even in the well-guarded towers of academia visible in the card of The Moon. Remember the scandal that, to date, no university has any chair about the emotional toll caused by parental abuse on children.

Despite that my long night came from the fact that all humanity howls at the moon, I find hard to avoid an irrational shame for not having me released from these Lacrimae lunae by myself. To see me so advanced in years, so far from the ephebe I was, I get the feeling that I should have started this work, which has now culminated with the publication of WL, in my adolescence. Had I done it, long time ago I’d have shelved this autobiographical mourning and become a consecrated Kubrick. But it was impossible without a true knowledgeable witnesses, and in the mid-1970s Miller’s books had not even been written. I had to wait twenty-seven years for the total encounter, as in the card The Sun, that would divide my life in twain. Only now I see that God the Father that I feared was a projection of the blackest part of my father’s mind, of his demons transfused into my soul, my dementors. My friend Paulina would not have led me to this knowledge because she never settled accounts with her family, and never abandoned her pious Catholicism.

So, I say one last time: thank you, Alice, for invoking the Expecto Patronum! that finally expelled my dementors.

Fallen leaf

Spanish-English translation for a disclaimer that I omitted in my last book of the Whispering Leaves (WL) series:

* * *

Not a single novel by a writer of my mother tongue I’ve ever read or will read. I am a social architect, not a writer. The only work I would’ve energy to do would be a cabinet post in a world state with an enlightened despot in charge like a Karellen as in Childhood’s End, a novel that I will discuss in the book.

As this is not possible, I would take that novel or another of my favorites Arthur Clarke novels to the big screen.

Since even this is impossible, I write.

I originally planned that this fifth book of my series was a long letter to my father. I also wanted, in a sixth volume, to gather facts of my loneliness and celibacy arising from how I was emotionally crippled after I was abused at home, and also had in mind a seventh book critical of my brothers who dissociate the family tragedy, and even an eighth unmasking the charlatans of the soul—from the founders of great religions to the builders of philosophical systems. In this ambitious scheme this would have been the ninth, and climaxing manifesto of what I think about my species. I even toyed with the idea that this book, which proved to be the fifth, includes all that; that it was much longer than my previous four.

I decided to burn stages. No more volumes for this work. In this final book I’ll just talk about the core of my worldview: the legitimacy of the human race. After all, if I myself cannot take it further the expansion of this quintet, the less will my readers want it.

My father once told me that he was satisfied until the eighth Beethoven symphony; that his ninth one rambled. I was a teenager then and I was stunned. As Wagner wrote in his autobiography, I thought that the ninth of Ludwig van had “the secret of secrets.” But Wagner squandered his enormous gifts for pure music composing with overflowing tetralogies, and now I think dad was right. Although I still maintain that the scherzo of Beethoven’s last symphony is great if listened alone, together with the other movements the composer “grandiloquent” intention (the word my father used) raved a masterpiece. So I won’t have my nine books under one cover. Too much pretention to believe that it would be read when, in advance, its author is a declared non-writer but a social architect frustrated that could not even be a director of films (a vignette: as a background for my computer screen I write this book with the beautiful images that Eyvind Earle drew for Sleeping Beauty).

I am so disgusted by the world of letters that I suffer a lot when entering the vast majority of libraries. I think a lot of human knowledge that has nothing to do with the hard sciences is crap: and the proof is the level of suffering in the world today. With the exception of the eccentric fans of literature, Who reads from cover to cover the thick volumes of autobiographies of Casanova or Proust? In his later years Gore Vidal wanted to get away from writing to approach the cinema. If there is something I like in the seventh art are the cuts made so that viewers don’t move in the theater’s chairs: proof that the film has exceeded the captivation limits. The analogy with the literature and philosophy, or the mockery of both, would be admirable booklets as Voltaire’s Candide: short, compact and crushing. Stefan Zweig wrote in his memoirs that he had suggested the editors to publish a complete set of Homer to Balzac and Dostoevsky abbreviating everything superfluous in each, and he enjoyed nothing more than putting his scissors onto his own manuscripts, even if only two hundred pages—the essential—survived out of a thousand, leaving the rest for the trash can.

Five years ago this day a small Mexican editor accepted my first two books for publication. I declined and sent those early manuscripts to major publishers, making disregard of the saying, “Bird in hand is worth two in the bush…” When they rejected me I was left, for years, without a publisher. But the setback gave me the chance to mature my worldview.

For example, the original version of the second book of WL was a heavy treatise of psychiatry. Quantitatively I had written five anti-psychiatric books in one because I knew nothing of the revolutionary potential of the discoveries of Alice Miller. Realizing this fault, and recalling Zweig’s merciless scissors, I eliminated four-fifths of the book. Then I relegated the “fallen leaves” to a blog converted into an e-book, leaving only the essentials for the printing press.

What’s more, when I was accepted in that small publisher in late 2002 I knew nothing of the psychohistorical model, central to my current worldview, and even less about the Islamization of Europe. In an excursus of the fourth book of WL I criticized Lloyd deMause, among other things for slipping away from sight the psychiatric abuse of children and adolescents. Originally I had planned to include, at the end of this book, a critique of Alice Miller; in part due to the way she treated a couple of his fans. It is important to do the criticism to make it clear I’m not taking Miller as guru. The acid test to discern if one is taking a thinker as a tutelary spirit or a guru is the ability or inability to criticize him or her. However, for the reasons given above I have decided to compact this last book to the bare essentials, relegating criticism of Miller to the internet.

Since 1984 I had entertained the idea of writing a long autobiography. An agony of two decades took me to understand that it’s almost impossible to work without a quorum. Compared to a published writer, until the time of writing this line I’ve not been a writer, only an aspiring writer. Few artists progress in solitude, and those who do it suffer so much that sometimes kill themselves, as van Gogh. Arthur Clarke, who died while reviewing this book, said that nothing is more inspiring than the meeting of minds with similar interests. But there is nobody like me in the continent’s largest city. With twenty million humans I’m like Diogenes and his lamp at full sunlight of noon. In terms of elemental affinity—to devise and implement the most urgent social engineering measures—my fellow citizens are “nonentities” as Clarke wrote in another of his novels I wanted to film, The City and the Stars.

Many years ago I thought that in order to communicate my labyrinthine mind my work would be similar to the autobiographies that flourished in the Romantic period. Now I know that the purpose of my books is rather to provide a theoretical model of Evil, as well as emotionally detonate a bomb in the minds of a few of my readers: something that in my most cherished dream is to trigger a chain reaction that eventually will affect the rest of humanity. So I’ve been breaking the linear narrative, however unwise it is from a novel or literary perspective. In fact, this book will have more “filmic” cuts than my previous books.

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Originally written in 2007.