I’ve concluded a first reading Jane Roberts’ Seth book, entitled The Individual and the Nature of Mass Events. Providing a comprehensive overview of the work is something of a challenge because I find it a little uneven overall.
I received my copy of The Individual and the Nature of Mass Events yesterday, dropped everything else, and dived right in. I didn’t get very far before something Seth writes there brought to mind an earlier commentary on Blake (via Frye) and the significance of “the foreign installation”, as Castaneda’s don Juan described it — the alien mind (or alienated mind).
It is probably a bit premature to offer new comments on the meaning of “the foreign installation”, but in my reading of Gabriel Marcel’s Man Against Mass Society, I came across a passage that brought it immediately once again to mind, and which might be helpful in conceiving of the foreign installation in more concrete terms.
A challenge has arisen in my reading of Frye’s interpretation of William Blake that requires a serious and ambitious effort to correlate the visionary poetry of William Blake with the visionary philosophy of Jean Gebser. The veracity of their respective views of consciousness, society and history depends upon their visions being demonstrated to be mutually consistent.
I came across an interesting, unfamiliar quote from Blake in Frye’s Fearful Symmetry. It is apparently a marginal note he made while reading Swedenborg, and its resonance with both the Seth material and Castaneda’s experience came to mind immediately.
There are some parts of Northrop Frye’s Fearful Symmetry that are exceptionally good. I particularly like his description of what he calls “the commonplace mind”, which he contrasts with “Genius” or the visionary “imagination” as William Blake understood these terms. “The commonplace mind” brought back to memory an old essay by Jacques Ellul that I once read as an undergraduate. It was an excerpt from a book by the same title called A Critique of the New Commonplaces.
I’m not exactly progressing at the pace of a clipper ship through Frye’s Fearful Symmetry, his study of William Blake. It’s more like tacking. I’m occasionally drawn up short by some unusual reference or remark that seems to run parallel to something found in the Seth books or in Castaneda, or which reminds of passages or remarks found in other books I’ve recently been reading. Then I scribble down a few notes and spend the rest of the day pondering over them. Here’s a few unsystematic jigsaw puzzle-piece observations that I hope to shape into a more comprehensive picture in future (say, by the time I finish Frye’s book?). Read More…