Abandon Text!

W. H. Auden once said: "Poems are not finished; they are abandoned." I have been abandoning writing projects for many years, since only the pressure of deadline and high expectations ever got me to finish, or even start, anything of merit. This blog is an attempt to create a more consistent, self-directed writing habit. Hopefully a direction and voice will emerge.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

I am not . . . an animal!

I know I should have written more yesterday, but I couldn't psyche up for it. I was too upset and drained.

Yesterday we had our first parent-teacher conference for our five-year-old in preschool. And we find out that our son is The Problem Kid. If you don't think you're identified with your children, just be told that your child is on track to be socially ostracized and permanently labelled as "weird." As one Zen teacher said to his students every morning: "Are you suffering today? Ahhhh . . . you must be attached."

So what's the problem? In a nutshell: he acts like an animal. Aidan can talk a happy blue streak to strangers in the grocery check-out line, and rap non-stop about dinosaurs and primates, but when confronted with a social situation with his peers, he goes into animal-mode, and growls, and bares his claws, and in short regresses to some totemic Animal place.

Thankfully, the Waldorf teachers are sensitive, psychologically, and they have a pretty good sense of where he's at. He is hyperdeveloped in Head (intellect) and Hands (will), with a corresponding underdevelopment of Heart. So it seems the sins of the fathers (and mothers) have visited upon the sons. As Aug has said again and again: "You can never run away from your issues. No matter where you go or what you do, you will meet them again."

So, we're left to brainstorm ways to get Aidan to stop identifying with animals and get more in touch with is inner human. What I want for Aidan, ideally, is to see it terms of a Nietzschean "dionysion ideal" -- a true human is someone who is full of primal animal energy that has been sublimated and transformed by the mind and the will into something spiritual. He can have all the animal he wants inside of him; he just has to human enough to control it.

So now I'm on the lookout for the best myths I can find on making that transformation . . . I need to go back and read the story of Mowgli in The Jungle Book. It's the only story I can remember where child-raised-by-wolves crosses over into socialized Man. But there have to be others.


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