Pinocchio

The original Pinocchio tale by Carlo Collodi is must reading.

An 1880 magazine series (Disney’s 1940 film is a betrayal of the original Italian tale), Collodi projected his feelings for his abusive parents onto the characters of the very manipulative Blue Fairy and Geppetto. In chapter XV Pinocchio is hanged in front of the Blue Fairy mansion and the motherly Fairy didn’t help him at all. The wooden puppet exclaimed Jesus-like words on the cross:

“Oh Father!, dear Father! If you were only here!” These were his last words. He closed his eyes, opened his mouth, stretched out his legs, and hung there, as if he were dead”.

The editor asked Collodi to rescue Pinocchio in the following issue of the magazine.

As a child Collodi had been tormented in a Jesuit school. Since he never settled accounts with the perpetrators Collodi later identified himself with the aggressors, hated the children, illustrated boring school textbooks for them and always lived with his manipulative “Blue Fairy” mother.

The original Le Avventure di Pinocchio is poisonous pedagogy at its worst. The parents and the school system are idealized at the expense of the child’s true self. A major bestseller, it was used to manipulate and socialize children in the early 20th century, an example of what Lloyd deMause would call “socializing mode of parenting.”

(Although Alice Miller is the obliged reference to understand “poisonous pedagogy” and ultimately Pinocchio, for the record I explain deMause’s modes of childrearing in my book.)

Petronius’ Satyricon

Since I finished my Whispering Leaves I had not written an in-depth article on psycho-historical issues. Now I’ve done it with “Gitone’s magic” and here I’d like to introduce the reader to the Satyricon by Petronius, mentioned in the article. Below, my translation of the prologue by Jacinto Leon Ignacio to one of the Spanish translations of Petronius’ novel (ellipsis omitted between unquoted passages):




Rome, centuries ago

In the vast and important Greek and Roman literature from which we still live, there are just a few novelists. Maybe for an overwhelming majority of illiterates it would had been much more affordable the theater, which is enough to listen, that the written narrative which must be read. The same was true of poetry and the rhapsodies recited in public.

The fact is that in Greece there are only a few examples of novels, apart of Longus, and from the Romans only Apuleius and Petronius, whose work we offer here.

It appears that, at the time, the Satyricon enjoyed considerable popular success, for both Tacitus and Quintilian commented it in their manuscripts, although it is apparent that neither knew it directly, only from hearsay. It is likely that they did not grant it much literary value because its style and form collided with all the concepts in vogue.

However, the Satyricon was not lost and copies were kept in the Middle Ages, while jealously concealed because of its subject matter [pederasty] and for being the work of a pagan. The work continued to be ignored by the public to the point that only scholars knew its title, but believed it was lost.

Therefore, a scandal broke when, in 1664, appeared the first edition of Pierre Petit.

Soon after, the Satyricon was translated into several languages, including ours, with such success that has made it one of the great bestsellers in history. There were those who sought to take advantage that the work is incomplete, rewriting it to their liking. It was easy nevertheless to expose them.

Presumably, however, the author would not work at top speed like if we should go to a literary prize. He seems to have devoted years to this task. Do not forget that what is now known are only fragments of the original, estimated in twenty books. The author might have started writing when Caligula reigned and Nero followed, to see the publication during the reign of the next emperor. It can be no coincidence that the book mentions contemporary events known to all, or that the author considered worth mentioning many names.

This is a job too conscientious not to be the work of a professional. Moreover, the action does not take place in Rome, but in the provinces and almost none of the men are Latins. It seems as if the author had had an interest in showing the reality of the empire, a reality ignored in the capital.

The novel consists merely of the travel story of [Encolpius] and his servant Gitone through different locations. The incidents, sometimes unrelated, their adventures and the people they encounter are the text of the Satyricon, which lacks a plot as was the style of the epoch. We could actually say that it consists of countless short stories of the two protagonists. This technique influenced many centuries later the books of chivalry, the picaresque and even Don Quixote. Throughout many incidents the author reveals us an extraordinary real view of the life in the Roman provinces, although tinged with irony.

Petronius simply tells us what he saw. In a way, his novel was an approach to realism, leaving aside the epic tone of the tragedies to focus on current issues, as Aristophanes did in Greece. And that was the pattern followed by Petronius. There is a huge difference between his style and that of other contemporary writers.

Poets, despite their undoubted genius, are pompous and in the tragedies the dialogues are extremely emphatic. Petronius by contrast, remains accessible to everyone. He expressed himself in a conversational tone, which justifies the use of a first person that conveys the feeling that someone is telling us a live tale. That’s why today we can read his Satyricon with the same interest of his times and nothing of its freshness is lost.

Writing is, in a sense, a childbirth with the same joys and suffering. Both things must have accompanied Petronius in this trip with [Encolpius] and Gitone through the decline of Rome.

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.

________________

Slightly edited from the original in Spanish

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.

____________

Originally written in 2007.

On Oscar Wilde

Who never ate his bread in sorrow
Who never spent the midnight hours
Weeping and waiting for the morrow.
He knows you not, ye heavenly powers!



I am so surprised. Fifteen years ago I read Oscar Wilde’s most profound, confessional book. But like the rest of mankind I was blind and did not see the obvious.

Today I reread my notes of a 1943 Spanish translation of De Profundis and couldn’t believe how much I have changed since 1995.

I discovered Alice Miller, the inspiration of this blog, in 2002. Her books changed my life. These days that I reread a newer, albeit identical copy of De Profundis that was at my family’s library, a whole new Wildean universe emerged. How could I have read Wilde in the dark before the transforming experience that represented Miller?

The real title that Wilde chose for this letter-book was Epistola in Carcere et Vinculis. It is a shame that, although Wilde constantly mentions in this epistle addressed to his former boyfriend Alfred Douglas, “Bosie”, that he would soon make it reach Bosie’s very hands, Wilde never dared to deliver it to him.

Wilde’s De Profundis is actually two books inside one cover: an accusative and self-accusative epistle and a soul-searching incursion unrelated to Bosie, where Wilde writes page after page about “Christ”. All of this idealization of Jesus only reflects Wilde’s literary and artistic mind, who always strove to look for beauty. But there’s something real in his spiritual quest. Unlike the Greek gods the new religion includes pain, the key to open the door to know oneself. It’s pain what made Wilde’s soul to flourish at prison.

Wilde met deep pain doing hard labour: it was there where he had to go through the agonies of losing the right to see his children forever. Wilde also lost his personal library; and felt like a zoo animal when exposed, with his prison uniform, at a train station before a laughing crowd. When I hit Wilde’s phrase “And to mock at a soul in pain is a dreadful thing” I couldn’t help but remember how, when I was still a minor and lost everything—my family, my career and even my mind—, a high school pseudo-friend mocked me.

What struck me the most in this second, mature reading of De Profundis is that through his turbulent conflict with Bosie Wilde behaved like Bosie’s doggie. While Wilde fully acknowledges his infinite stupidity, he fails to confess that the reason for his extreme dumbness was Eros, or rather, a sort of pathological Eros. Sex is the giant piece missing in the puzzle of De Profundis.

More serious is that Wilde never developed a good amount of hatred. He lived under the sky of regarding as highly sinful the legitimate feelings of hatred. Hence he could never really break away from Bosie, not even after he was released from prison.

Thanks to Miller I realized that hate, not acting-out hatred but legit hate, is the way out of unhealthy relationships and entanglements. Susan Forward has also written books about the legit hatred we must feel toward our abusive parents before being capable of breaking away from a hellish relationship with our partner.

Of course, Wilde lived before Miller was born. Miller readers will readily understand why Wilde’s very repetitive phrase in De Profundis “your noble father” only reflects that Wilde was immersed in poisonous pedagogy. Following Miller I surmise that Wilde must have endured an abusive childhood. It’s the only way to explain why he allowed to be treated so grotesquely by a destructive pseudo-ephebe (Bosie was no longer an adolescent when he met Wilde).

But Bosie himself never had what Miller calls an “enlightened witness”, somene who in our later life really understands parental-filial relations; although he seems to have looked very hard for it in the fatherly figure of Wilde. I cannot blame Wilde because very few souls, if any, had an enlightened witness in 19th century England. Had Wilde been Bosie’s witness, he would have recommended him to write a long, vindictive letter to his abusive father, just what Kafka would do in 1919 (what Sue Forward recommends to her clients in group therapy). But throughout De Profundis it is clear that both Wilde and Bosie were absolutely clueless about the nature of the problem. Wilde even reproaches Bosie for trying to expose publicly the abusive behavior of Bosie’s father, the Marquess of Queensberry.

Wilde himself never had an enlightened witness. In fact, his death was virtually a suicide. Once released from prison he drank a lot, including absinthe, and died prematurely at forty-six. Likewise, Bosie never found an enlightened witness. After Wilde died Bosie married and abused his only child, Raymond, so badly that he schizophrenized him.

How remarkable Wilde’s and Bosie’s stories are. It’s incredible to what extent has deep psychology advanced since Wilde’s De Profundis written in 1897 and Miller’s most comprehensive book, Breaking Down the Wall of Silence, published exactly a hundred years later.

I am no lover of literature. However, I loved those splendid passages in De Profundis that reminded me Solzhenitsyn’s chapter “The Soul and the Barbed Wire” in his immortal Gulag. Wilde’s De Profundis was probably the best in-depth, soul-surfing text that could be written by the end of the 19th century. However, at the end of the unabridged De Profundis (the available texts I’ve seen in the net are censored) Wilde blew up everything by writing to the very one who ruined his life in conciliatory terms, and even suggesting he would meet Bosie after leaving prison!


Postscript:
My first reading of De Profundis

Yesterday I read my 1995 handwritten notes within my old copy. I wrote those notes seven years before my inner transformation took place.

It does not cease to strike me my former blindness in psychologicis. During my first reading of De Profundis I didn’t see anything of what is crystal-clear to me now. According to my notes, fifteen years ago I almost blamed myself, following Wilde’s own advice, for my former hatred toward those who destroyed my life during my teens. Following Wilde, I also blamed myself for the many soliloquies I had had in my vain efforts to process the pain.

Now I know that due processing of the pain can only come with the advent of a true enlightened witness, or, alternatively, when we find that witness after doing emotional contact with our inner child. This happened to me after reading Miller: a witness that neither poor Wilde nor poor Bosie had.