Night School: Moods

Why do we assume that the entire spectrum of the soul’s moods have been tapped and mapped? I do not think that there will be an “end of history” for artists. In the future we will have to learn to handle moods that we never conceived of but which mankind’s present ego-structure can’t handle.

I seem to spend a great deal of time in “night school” grappling with strange, seemingly overpowering, moods. There aren’t any words to describe these moods. They are disorienting. The only analogy I can think of to describe it is the oft-noted one that the Eskimo has some 25 words for “snow” for our one in English. Consequently, we don’t notice, unlike the Inuit, that there are “species” of snow in great variety. Likewise, our ego-consciousness seems to have censored out vast expanses of other moods of the soul as inimical and even destructive to itself.

When I think on it, it calls to mind the very talented David Bowie’s dark song “The Supermen” from his “Ziggy Stardust” period.

When all the world was very young
And mountain magic heavy hung
The supermen would walk in file
Guardians of a loveless isle
And gloomy browed with superfear their tragic endless lives

Could heave nor sigh
In solemn, perverse serenity, wondrous beings chained to life

Strange games they would play then
No death for the perfect men
Life rolls into one for them
So softly a supergod cries

Where all were minds in uni-thought
Power weird by mystics taught
No pain, no joy, no power too great
Colossal strength to grasp a fate
Where sad-eyed mermen tossed in slumbers

Nightmare dreams no mortal mind could hold
A man would tear his brother’s flesh, a chance to die
To turn to mold.

Far out in the red-sky
Far out from the sad eyes
Strange, mad celebration
So softly a supergod cries

(You can listen to the song performed here).

Where Bowie may have gotten the theme for the song I don’t know, but it taps into those moods that potentially crush the ego-consciousness — “nightmare dreams no mortal mind could hold” — and are probably best left alone.

Why, then, not just avoid them? Why learn to handle them? I don’t know the answer to that, but it seems a necessary part of the “mutation” of the consciousness structure; a necessary stage in the movement from ego-consciousness to the “Daimon”. A period of great disorientation that Nietzsche probably knew as well and simply called it “Dionysian madness” but as being a necessary part of learning new powers. And there are, in fact, passages in Rumi too warning about encountering and managing dark, forbidden (in the sense of unfamiliar) moods.

“The ancient force” now beginning to assert itself, is how Seth described it, and warned also that if we did not learn to handle it we would perish from it as a species, let alone be crushed as individuals.

What are moods? Psychic atmospheres or climates is probably the best description, which has some bearing on the activity and organisation of psychic energy. It would therefore make sense that any potential intensification or reorganisation of that energy would translate into mood-change, and perhaps into moods that were never experienced before, and for which we have no names.




One response to “Night School: Moods”

  1. Scott Preston says :

    After I posted this, it occurred to me to mention the Christian mystic’s “dark night of the soul” as possible parallel (or identical with) this grappling with unfamiliar, even dangerous, moods. I did a google search and came up with this chapter from Evelyn Underhill’s book Mysticism that may well serve to clarify the meaning of “mood”

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