Don Juan – death is over your shoulder in war & spirituality, be in the present moment.
Loss of ego and awareness of death. “Psycho-spiritual”. Kali- Hindu Dark Goddess who eats things (Sam’s tattoo).
Buddhism – demons guard the gates of heaven.
“Troparian” – a kind of Orthodox song
Zenia of Petersburg was a Holy Fool: she dressed in her dead husband’s clothes, a religious jester.
In modern war, you hardly ever see the enemy. 19-year olds are the best warriors because they lack self-awareness. Asking 19-year-olds to kill is asking them to play God. Ecstasy in war and in killing. Young soldiers struggle to integrate back because of what they have been through, like asking St John of the Cross to work at McDonald’s.
“Solipsistic” – writing gets us out of our isolated lives. We see through other peoples’ eyes. We can identify with characters that are unconscious within ourselves.
from Jung: “That which is unconscious is doomed to act in reality.”
Writing as spiritual discipline. Literature is how we move through this. Through writing we turn ghosts into ancestors. America’s media sex & violence comes from our repressed puritanical cultures.
There is a natural aggression given by God, and words will not save us from our attacker. Literature heals this.
We turn ghosts into ancestors through taking the ghost out of our hidden inner worlds and looking objectively at the fear. We externalize into the light. This is “the great work”. Be in this, the work of the spirit. This is the truest writing.
Commercial fiction is not about turning ghosts into ancestors. It is about entertainment. And that’s ok! But it is a totally different game than literature.
Good writing is one of the hardest things any human could undertake.
Karl’s Capuchin friend put on a mass for all Karl’s dead people he knew. It was literally a dark & stormy night. Karl saw the ghosts come into the church, even his grandparents. This is how he became Catholic.
Books: Matterhorn. What it is Like to Go to War.