Friday, 9 October 2015

The Palaeolithic artist: part 30

Michel Foucault (1926–1984)
This is the last post in the series.

Being both postmodern and transdisciplinary, Michel Foucault's The Order of Things: an archaeology of the human sciences has had a profound influence on my own research.

The primary purpose of this series, specifically, and to some degree the entire blog in general, is a mental exercise to be able to constantly come up with new ideas about complex subjects.

The secondary purpose for the blog in general is to provide a family history for my grandchildren and their grandchildren (as it is being archived in the "wayback machine" of the Internet archive).

The tertiary purpose of this blog is for my mental and physical health and for my personal mythology: Living the life I am supposed to be living. It keeps me happy and very lucky!

There is a new series planned for Monday, but I have to check with its subject for permission, first.

Have a mature weekend.

John's Coydog Community page

Thursday, 8 October 2015

The Palaeolithic artist: part 29

Terra di Siena Bruciata, pigmento naturale
 ottenuto dalla calcinazione della terra di Siena Naturale
Photo: Gixie

Natural Burnt Sienna pigment from Italy 
This description of the pigments used in the Altamira cave paintings is not written from the perspective of someone very familiar with artist's paint technology. Burnt Sienna is just one of the earth pigments which are iron oxides with "impurities" of other minerals. With Burnt Sienna, the burning of the pigment converts some of the material into hematite. To further complicate matters, each natural deposit will be of its own variation and not only will contain other minerals, but could be variously refined to remove the clay contained within it. Not all such results will make a suitable paint: Some colours might not mix well with other colours. In an experiment with some ochre found surrounding some 19th century iron mining equipment, I ground the pigment into linseed oil (a drying oil) with a muller on frosted glass. The resulting paint chip had an unpleasant violet sheen which would have had little to no practical use.

There is a red ochre deposit not too far away from the Alatamira cave at Ambrona, but we do not know if this is the same pigment used in the cave paintings. Colourists frequently travel great distances to get just the right variation for their needs.If we knew that the Altamira artists also did this, we would know much more about their minds than we do now.

There can be no doubt that the Altamira artist who painted the boar figure I have illustrated in this series was an intuitive empath (Introverted Intuitive, INFJ) unless we envision some sort of formal painting academy in operation at the time with a technology that we, in modern times, have yet to achieve. These artists used oblique anamorphosis at a level of sophistication unknown during the Renaissance when the practice was at its height. The painter of the boar employed synchronicity by changing the physical universe to produce a perception of depth just with the use of a line painted outside of that area. In more recent art, this was first done by Rembrandt. Synchronicity, which is familiar to some as a Jungian term was actually first envisioned by the quantum physicist Wolfgang Pauli, thus he gets top billing in the Pauli/Jung conjecture. 
 "The peculiar nature of introverted intuition, if it gains the ascendency, produces a peculiar type of man: the mystical dreamer and seer on the one hand, the artist and the crank on the other. The artist might be regarded as the normal representative of this type, which tends to confine itself to the perceptive character of intuition. As a rule, the intuitive stops at perception; perception is his main problem, and— in the case of a creative artist— the shaping of his perception. But the crank is content with a visionary idea by which he himself is shaped and determined. Naturally the intensification of intuition often results in an extraordinary aloofness of the individual from tangible reality; he may even become a complete enigma to his immediate circle. If he is an artist, he reveals strange, far-off things in his art, shimmering in all colours, at once portentous and banal, beautiful and grotesque, sublime and whimsical. If not an artist, he is frequently a misunderstood genius, a great man “gone wrong,” a sort of wise simpleton, a figure for “psychological” novels."

Jung, C. G. (2014-03-01). Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 6: Psychological Types (p. 401). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.

There can be little doubt that Jung had Nietzsche in mind when he describes "the crank" (quote from Psychology and Alchemy).

"The primitive feels this power as much within him as outside him; it is as much his own life force as it is the “medicine” in his amulet, or the mana emanating from his chief. Here we have the first demonstrable conception of an all-pervading spiritual force. Psychologically, the efficacy of the fetish, or the prestige of the medicine-man, is an unconscious subjective evaluation of those objects. Their power resides in the libido which is present in the subject’s unconscious, and it is perceived in the object because whenever unconscious contents are activated they appear in projection."

Jung, C. G. (2014-03-01). Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 6: Psychological Types Chapter 5, The type problem in poetry (p. 244). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.

John's Coydog Community page

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

The Palaeolithic artist: part 28

Venus of Brassempouy, Musée d’Archéologie Nationale

"Primitive man impresses us so strongly with his subjectivity that we should really have guessed long ago that myths refer to something psychic. His knowledge of nature is essentially the language and outer dress of an unconscious psychic process. But the very fact that this process is unconscious gives us the reason why man has thought of everything except the psyche in his attempts to explain myths. He simply didn’t know that the psyche contains all the images that have ever given rise to myths, and that our unconscious is an acting and suffering subject with an inner drama which primitive man rediscovers, by means of analogy, in the processes of nature both great and small."

C. G. Jung, Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious, Translated from “Über die Archetypen des kollektiven Unbewussten,” Von den Wurzeln des Bewusstseins (Zurich: Rascher, 1954).

Jung thought that the collective unconscious was inherited but today we know that such a thing is impossible: all that gets inherited are the epigenetic switches that turn a gene on or off when they receive the appropriate species-oriented stimulii. As the unconscious is just that, it also cannot contain any narrative visible to the consciousness. So where exactly, within the collective unconscious, are the myths stored?

Earlier (op.cit.) Jung says:

"Primitive man is not much interested in objective explanations of the obvious, but he has an imperative need— or rather, his unconscious psyche has an irresistible urge— to assimilate all outer sense experiences to inner, psychic events. It is not enough for the primitive to see the sun rise and set ; this external observation must at the same time be a psychic happening: the sun in its course must represent the fate of a god or hero who, in the last analysis, dwells nowhere except in the soul of man . All the mythologized processes of nature, such as summer and winter, the phases of the moon, the rainy seasons, and so forth, are in no sense allegories of these objective occurrences; rather they are symbolic expressions of the inner, unconscious drama of the psyche which becomes accessible to man’s consciousness by way of projection— that is, mirrored in the events of nature. The projection is so fundamental that it has taken several thousand years of civilization to detach it in some measure from its outer object."

This passage is an expression of Jung's Christian Gnosticism which Wolfgang Pauli refuted. It would be impossible for me to give Pauli's views as expressed in his letters to Jung as they are so complex and their understanding is dependent on far too many antecedent references. I can, however, provide a more recent quote in which Pauli would have been in agreement:

"Gnosticism is the teaching based on Gnosis, the knowledge of transcendence arrived at by way of interior, intuitive means. Although Gnosticism thus rests on personal religious experience, it is a mistake to assume all such experience results in Gnostic recognitions. It is nearer the truth to say that Gnosticism expresses a specific religious experience, an experience that does not lend itself to the language of theology or philosophy, but which is instead closely affinitized to, and expresses itself through, the medium of myth. Indeed, one finds that most Gnostic scriptures take the forms of myths. The term “myth” should not here be taken to mean “stories that are not true”, but rather, that the truths embodied in these myths are of a different order from the dogmas of theology or the statements of philosophy." The Gnostic World View: A Brief Summary of Gnosticism. (

Essentially, Jung saw God as "deity" while Pauli saw God as "psyche".

Tomorrow, the pigments at the Altamira cave, and how they could be studied so as to reveal the visual language of the artists and their world-view.

John's Coydog Community page

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

The Palaeolithic artist: part 27

Altamira auroch / Picasso bull morph
John Hooker, 2015, Public Domain
Forgive me for the simple morph on the right. I was not sure if such a thing would even display properly in the blog, so I only spent a few minutes constructing it with only enough control points to get some movement in a just a few areas leaving the rest as a cross-dissolve. I can do much better!

I am sure that Spanish bullfighting was not the only thing to influence Picasso with his many depictions of bulls. This bull at Altamira might well have been one of them. He had said, "After Altamira, all is decadence". The movement you see here was the sort of movement that a Palaeolithic spectator would have seen when walking by a rock where a natural swelling in the rock,  would give movement or a different perspective to the painting where part of it would be carefully aligned to the rock feature. They would also utilize cracks in the rock for similar effects.
"Non-objective art draws its contents essentially from “inside.” This “inside” cannot correspond to consciousness, since consciousness contains images of objects as they are generally seen, and whose appearance must therefore necessarily conform to general expectations. Picasso’s object, however, appears different from what is generally expected— so different that it no longer seems to refer to any object of outer experience at all. Taken chronologically, his works show a growing tendency to withdraw from the empirical objects, and an increase in those elements which do not correspond to any outer experience but come from an “inside” situated behind consciousness— or at least behind that consciousness which, like a universal organ of perception set over and above the five senses, is orientated towards the outer world. Behind consciousness there lies not the absolute void but the unconscious psyche, which affects consciousness from behind and from inside, just as much as the outer world affects it from in front and from outside. Hence those pictorial elements which do not correspond to any “outside” must originate from “inside.”"

Jung, C. G. Picasso in: Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 15: Spirit in Man, Art, And Literature: Vol. 15 (p. 136). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition. [First published in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, CLIII : 2 (Nov. 13, 1932); reprinted in Wirklichkeit der Seele (Zurich, 1934). Previously translated by Alda F. Oertly for the Papers of the Analytical Psychology Club of New York City (1940); another translation, by Ivo Jarosy, appeared in Nimbus (London), II : 2 (autumn, 1953). Both versions have been consulted in the present translation. [The Kunsthaus, Zurich, held an exhibition of 460 works by Picasso from Sept. 11 to Oct. 30, 1932.— EDITORS.]

In a very long letter of  27th February, 1953, quantum physicist Wolfgang Pauli, writes to his psychiatrist, friend and collaborator C. G. Jung:  (I include only a small portion of his two column chart equating "Quantum Physics" and "Psychology of the Individuation process and the unconscious in general". I have also rearranged the opposing columns to follow one after the other in this single excerpt)

"Quantum Physics
One of the means used to back up the theory is an abstract mathematical sign (ψ/ ?), and also complex figures (functions) as a function of space (or of even more variability) and of time.

Psychology of the Individuation process and the unconscious in general
The aid and means of backing up the theory is the concept of the unconscious. It must not be forgotten that the "unconscious" is our symbolic sign for the potential occurrences in the conscious, not unlike that (ψ/ )" [Not my italics]

On the 7th March, 1953, Jung replies and includes: "Your compilation of physical and psychological statements is most interesting and illuminating. I should just like to add:

Quantum Physics
The smallest mass particle consists of corpuscle and wave.

Psychology of the Individuation process and the unconscious in general
The archetype (as structure element of the unconscious) consists of static form on one hand and dynamics on the other."

This will be continued tomorrow.

John's Coydog Community page

Monday, 5 October 2015

The Palaeolithic artist: part 26

Wassily Kandinsky
"Every work of art is the child of its age and, in many cases, the mother of our emotions. It follows that each period of culture produces an art of its own which can never be repeated. Efforts to revive the art-principles of the past will at best produce an art that is still-born. It is impossible for us to live and feel, as did the ancient Greeks. In the same way those who strive to follow the Greek methods in sculpture achieve only a similarity of form, the work remaining soulless for all time. Such imitation is mere aping. ... There is, however, in art another kind of external similarity which is founded on a fundamental truth. ... An example of this today is our sympathy, our spiritual relationship, with the Primitives. Like ourselves, these artists sought to express in their work only internal truths, renouncing in consequence all consideration of external form. This all-important spark of inner life today is at present only a spark. Our minds, which are even now only just awakening after years of materialism, are infected with the despair of unbelief, of lack of purpose and ideal. The nightmare of materialism, which has turned the life of the universe into an evil, useless game, is not yet past; it holds the awakening soul in its grip." Wassily Kandinsky, Concerning the spiritual in art, 1912.

Kandinsky's last sentence, here, is prophetic. In part 16 of this series Jung says:
“… what did Dionysus mean to Nietzsche? What he says about it must be taken seriously; what it did to him still more so. There can be no doubt that he knew in the preliminary stages of his fatal illness, that the dismal fate of Zagreus was reserved for him. Dionysus is the abyss of impassioned dissolution, where all human distinctions are merged in the animal divinity of the primordial psyche – a blissful and terrible experience. Humanity, huddling behind the walls of its culture, believes it has escaped this experience, until it succeeds in letting loose another orgy of bloodshed. All well-meaning people are amazed when this happens and blame high finance, the armaments industry, the Jews, or the Freemasons.” [Jung notes (44): "I wrote this passage in spring, 1935"] C.G. Jung, Psychology and Alchemy, p.89f. First Princeton / Bollingen Paperback printing, 1980.
Running as a thread through all of the above, is an awareness that we have lost, and might never regain the self-awareness of the Palaeolithic hunter. For many years, I have noticed that whenever I reach far enough into the unconscious mind synchronicities occur: This Brain Pickings article was published on my birthday. There is nothing particularly strange about any association between Nietzsche and Picasso, but it being published on my birthday, and on the same day  receiving a Google alert about Synchronicity as a Divine Experience where its author speaks about his first encounter with synchronicity being the date of his birth (and also including many other people I have featured in this series), then it becomes worthy of noting.

So who, and under what circumstances, would be best qualified to enter the mind of the Palaeolithic artist who created the painting of the boar?

It would be a female Spanish painter of modern art who lives not too far from the Altamira cave. She would have to enter the cave alone, and without any "protective gear". She would also have to carry the seashell lamp I describe in Friday's post as her only source of light. This is a tall order, perhaps an impossible one, but the closest one can get to it, the more efficiently would the task be accomplished. My reasons are as follows:
  1.  The choice of the boar painting as the focus for this study is because, as a Celtic symbol, its correlate is the collective unconscious. The boar is fascinated by what lies beneath: its dark colour represents the night; its tusks, the crescent moon (Campbell, Primitive Mythology).As a symbol on Celtic coinage, it represents the hero's death in warfare and his subsequent rebirth at an elevated status. This is also true for the Gundestrup cauldron iconography  This syncretism took place in northern Italy either early, in the Golasecca culture, or later during the time of Dionysios I of Syracuse when Celtic bases were set up to provide troops to him and others. Dionysios, as his name implies made great use of the Goddess Arethusa, as the Sicel equivalent of Persephone who spent her winter months with Hades, representing thus the first born Dionysos who was the God of the primeval psyche. In reading some of the above links be aware that, once or twice, consulting Robert Graves (unabridged) The Greek Myths will give a more focused view.
  2. A female artist will be more likely to have a stronger intuitive sense than a male artist. In the language of the yijing, female is yin and represented by a broken line. In binary language this is is yes/open as opposed to the male Yang which is no/closed. The yijing is Chinese holistic science, although most people think of it as a fortune telling method. As the latter, it would be no more effective than tossing a coin, or using "the magic eight ball". It does, however, yield  far better results when consulted to ask what the subject should be thinking about any given situation. Critics assign "magical thinking" to it because a hexagram can look like the object named, for example, "The Well" (Hexagram 48) does look like a well-head and its changing lines refers to things like "the rope is not long enough to reach the water", or "the rope is broken", etc. The knowledge of these being only convenient metaphors was known to the classical Chinese and the creative use of metaphor is basic to Chinese language, poetry and even science.
  3. A local artist will bring a certain degree of cultural pride to the task which is expressed in a numinous manner, somewhat akin to that of the original observers of  the cave art. Remember, the idea that even a modern tribal society has "gods" is due to a modern misunderstanding. Things, people and events can be imbued with a sense of the sacred, meaningfulness, or magic. Like the Polynesian Mana. Gods are part of a religious system, usually unvaried and "official": far more "citified".
  4. That she not be encumbered with protective clothing is for two reasons: it would lessen the actual physical contact with the environment, and it would be more experiential and a better duplication of the original scenario.
  5. Bringing a duplicate of the original lamp is not just for verisimilitude, its main function is to be able to perceive how certain parts of the paintings were given optical effects by being placed over details of the rock, itself. This would aid in interpretation and might even yield an accurate translation of the visual language of the artists.
The degree to which these steps are followed is the degree to which an understanding of the Palaeolithic artists can be obtained. Stringing up modern lights and entering the caves as groups of people carrying equipment etc.  would result in no understanding, whatsoever.

Tomorrow, how proof can be obtained that cannot be refuted, only denied, and without cause.

John's Coydog Community page

Friday, 2 October 2015

The Palaeolithic artist: part 25

Plano de la cueva de Altamira. los números son los que asigno Henri Breuil.
map: Nachosan
The artist would enter the cave alone carrying a very small lamp made from half of a bivalve seashell, the fuel being bison fat (tallow). While bison is leaner than modern beef, palaeolithic bison would still contain ample fat, unlike deer. Horse could also have been used but bison would still be better. Wicks could have been made from many available materials. Over the lamp, a framework of wicker would hold (beneath its top) a cone made from dried bison rawhide which would trap the soot (anyone with much experience with candles will understand how no measurable amount of soot would escape from the sides). The ideal height of such a lamp would be about 15-20 cm. Much more than this and the natural swellings in the rock face would be far less visible and these rock swelling were frequently utilized in the designs painted upon them. The artist would also carry his or her painting equipment and pigments ground (and made into an oil-pastel) in a drying oil (bison fat would be useless for such a task as it does not dry). The ideal oil would be poppy seed oil and the obvious advantage of having this on hand would be the opiate, hallucinogenic use of the exudation from the poppy pods. I would go so far as to say that the mind-altering use of poppy pods would certainly have been utilized by these people. Hollow bones would have been used to create an airbrush for use over a "hand stencil" and likely, too, to create transitions of colours on the paintings of animals (the Altamira paintings are famous for having such transitions).

It is fairly obvious that entire animals would not have been dragged into the cave to serve as models. This leaves us with two alternatives: preliminary drawings on rawhide or the inner layers of bark, or that the artist possessed a photographic memory (for reasons that will be revealed later, I think the latter is very possible).

The main reason for the artist to be alone has nothing to do with conservation. It is because the cave must be experienced at an unconscious level in order to not only access the aesthetic sense (which is "deeper" in the unconscious than the dream-state), but to stimulate the "numinous" qualities at that level (which most likely are already enhanced through the use of opiates and possibly other hallucinogens). Besides the experiential value, it would also serve to duplicate the same numinous feeling of the observers of the art who might not be exposed to mind-altering drugs (it would be a more effective plan to have the observers experience everything without such drugs and the effect would seem magical to them, thus).

So that is how it was done. Monday, what can be learned about the artists' minds by people with a specific psychology who would be the only sort of people capable of that task.

Have a numinous weekend.

John's Coydog Community page

Thursday, 1 October 2015

The Palaeolithic artist: part 24

"After Altamira, all is decadence" Pablo Picasso.

As we approach the end of this series, it is time to present a digest of all that I have embedded in these posts. We will start with the most important: an authentic discovery will always generate more questions, and this process is "nested". By this, I mean that the second and subsequent questions will follow suit. This has nothing at all to do with the truth of any statement; An untrue statement will also generate questions, and these questions will at once, or eventually, reveal that the statement is untrue. A corollary to this is that anything inauthentic will never generate more questions. I can give an example of the corollary: Someone asks a question on Facebook or any other website where there is a "like" button. If the only response is a "like" then no further discussion can ensue. The topic is now dead. If anyone has any further problems with the concept then simply read what my fellow Albertan, Marshall McLuhan had to say about "The medium is the message.". This link will provide you with a free PDF copy of Marshall McLuhan's Understanding Media: The extensions of man, which is the source of the phrase "The medium is the message". If you have not read this and yet think that you know what it means, you are wrong. Can I be any more emphatic?

Picasso's statement refers to the fact that modern art had never been able to achieve what had been accomplished by Paleolithic artists, at the very least, 40,000 years ago (determined by a dating method with an absolute "most recent" date). What Picasso could not have known, at the time, and is reflected by his refusal to discuss the matter later is that, by about 1960, both art and human intelligence had started to decline at a rapid rate, the speed of which was unprecedented in human history.

Tomorrow, I will reveal for the first time what those Palaeolithic artists were actually doing, and not what their audience was experiencing. But, as yesterday was my 66th birthday, so today is my coyote hybrid's "official" 3rd birthday and I am taking him to a large pet shop where he can sniff out what he wants for his presents. The thought of being a living Blackfoot myth: "Old Man and Coyote" amuses me. In the meantime, this gives you the opportunity to read McLuhan's important first chapter. You will need to understand this.

John's Coydog Community page

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

The Palaeolithic artist: part 23

A very generous comparison of H. naledi with fairly recent hominids (with H. floresiensis thrown in just to confuse things). I say generous because if you look at the reconstruction of the face of H. naledi, we really should be thinking more like about 3 million years ago than 1.3. Just picture him a little more furry.

image   authors: Chris Stringer, Natural History Museum, United Kingdom - Stringer, Chris (10 September 2015). "The many mysteries of Homo naledi". eLife 4: e10627. DOI:10.7554/eLife.10627. PMC: 4559885. ISSN 2050-084X.

As it is my birthday today, I will let you do the work for this post as I have various things to do and events to enjoy. All you need are the two images on this post and the Popular Archaeology article with its images. Take a look at the geological map and try to figure out the relationship between the pile of material inside the large chamber and the right angle in the rock at the other end of that chamber. Remember, dolomite is sedimentary rock formed in water, and water and pressure can (respectively)wear it away and fracture it. Look at the strata. Then think about the soft sediment where the bones were found and what might cause a bird to fly through a narrow passage in complete darkness and why mice would go where there could be no food. Then try to imagine the circumstances that would allow such caves to remain in pristine condition for a thousand years, let alone more than a million. If you come up with anything, leave it as a comment. I see no great need to comment myself. (click images to enlarge)

(credits as in part 22)

John's Coydog Community page

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

The Palaeolithic artist: part 22

Geological map and cross-section
of the Rising Star cave system
author: Paul H. G. M. Dirks et al

A geological survey will not just include its target, but will also include the surrounding area. An archaeological survey will only include its target.

Read this account of the Rising Star Cave finds in South Africa. You can tell right away that the excavators wanted, so badly, the remains to be a newly discovered species of hominid (which they named Homo naledi) that they completely subjectivized the classification process. Hopefully, this will be rectified. I think it is significant that they mentioned that its brain was "...not much larger than a chimpanzee. But this was no chimpanzee. This was something else. Something more human."

If you are a perceptive person, you will detect a mens rea:

"The only reliable means by which an investigator can show that a defendant was acting under the required mens rea is to gather facts the jury can use to infer or conclude that the defendant knew what he or she was doing. From the beginning of a case, investigators must look for physical and testimonial evidence that shows what the defendant's state of mind was at the time the act occurred." (Michael F. Brown, Criminal Investigation: Law and Practice, 2nd edition, Woburn, MA, 2001, p.5.)
The book is rather coy about how much more powerful mens rae is when compared to its use after a suspect has been arrested and informed of his or her rights. Not reacting to a question (or anything else rather pointed) is one of the most obvious examples of mens rea and its applicability extends much further than just criminal investigation. If you have not thought much about this subject, you are about to explore a world you might never have dreamed even existed. If you are disturbed whenever some reality is swept away from beneath your feet you had better stop reading my words at this point.

In Ian Hodder's Reading the past: Current approaches to interpretation in archaeology, Cambridge University Press, 1986, p.163, (which printing, unstated) the author says:
"Most individuals in the general public find it extremely difficult to develop their ideas about an alternative past in relation to the data from the past. They are excited by Von Daniken and films such as One Million Years B.C. and Raiders of the Lost Ark, and they develop their personal views about what the past must have been like, but they are kept at a distance from archaeological artifacts by glass cases, systems analyses and the jargon of social theory. When they do manage to gain some access to an immediately experienced past, they are often directly confronted by the archaeological establishment, or else their views are studiously ignored."
As laudable (and brave) is Hodder's statement here, it also exposes a certain bias, and this bias sweeps through the entire chapter: The public is only interested in "fringe" archaeology; those who are interested in archaeology as perceived by academia who:
"...have a broader and and more accurate knowledge of what archaeologists write. They watch more archaeological documentaries on television, go to more museums and visit sites and churches, and read about the past." ibid. p.162.
You will note that each statement in the above quote places the public in a passive light. The archaeologist mostly exists here as a hidden authority, save for when explicitly mentioned ("archaeologists write" being an aggressive action.). We see, here, Marshall McLuhan's "The medium is the message". Sometimes, life is just too delicious for words: Googling the second of those two links I find:
"This article relies too much on references to primary sources. Please improve this article by adding secondary or tertiary sources. (July 2013)"
This is an academic call for non-scientific deductive reasoning as opposed to scientific inductive reasoning. It can also be found in the structure of a Ph.D thesis which demands a review of secondary sources (making the candidate the tertiary source.

But it gets far, far worse. It is also an enantiodromia. which is a neurosis, which, if unchecked, can lead to a full-blown psychosis. Nietzsche is one of Jung's favorite examples, and mine for that matter (Not surprising because both Jung and myself share the same personality type: INFJ or "Intuitive empath"). The last link is, by far, the best definition I have seen. Neitzsche was also an introvert (the "I" in INFJ) and demonstrates one of the most extreme historical examples of what can happen if an introvert becomes psychotic. This is why he is so fascinating to sane introverts.

We can go even further with these topics: Whenever you see an academic archaeological interpretation, it is virtually "counter holistic". Take the Gundestrup cauldron, for example. All such interpretations give disjointed meanings for each of the motifs and this disassociative method is typical of extraverted (philosophically materialist) people, some of whom are attracted to archaeology because it deals in solid objects that cannot be subjected to scientific proofs (which are inductive).

This series is not one of my hypotheses (which I label as such), it is the only theory I have posted here. It is a theory because I can provide proofs.Not only that, but these proofs are irrefutable and can only be denied in a superstitious manner. This is a very unusual situation. I actually have two ebooks in the planning stages right now. The major one has as its current working title: Mythos and Logos: Our bi-polar planet. It is virtually an opposite of  Walter A Shelburne's Mythos and Logos in the Though of Carl Jung: The theory of the collective unconscious in scientific perspective. My study will be an artistic/poetic study of the collective consciousness. but don't expect anything fluffy here. Although it will be clearly written in human language, its basis lies in quantum physics. It will deal with the collective consciousness from about where Jung left off. He mostly complained about it even though knowing what global tragedies came from it. In his day, he had few other options. I warned you about this post, the book will make this seem like nothing in comparison. While it is theoretically possible to bring about the end of wars in just a single lifetime (if you are young enough, that is). I think that two or three lifetime would be a more realistic goal. It will sell for about $5, but if you live in a country where $5 is a lot of money, I will give you a copy for nothing that you can hopefully get printed.

The second ebook will be about $1.95 and will be on fringe archaeology. After my computer meltdown on the weekend, I need to buy a more recent computer. When I plug my tablet into it, it does not know what a tablet is and appears to identify it as one of those"new-fangled and expensive digital cameras". My, how technology moves so fast. Unfortunately, I might have to take an extended break from this blog to do all of that work.

Tomorrow, the species in the cave.

John's Coydog Community page

Monday, 28 September 2015

The Palaeolithic artist: part 21

in the Hall of Human Origins in the Smithsonian
Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.
graphic: Tim Evanson
News of a new discovery of a hominid is always exciting news but it is always best not to leap to conclusions before a proper examination can be done. British Columbia, Canada, Simon Fraser University archaeology graduate student Marina Elliott will be doing just that when she returns to the Rising Star Cave in South Africa. An added bonus is her years of spelunking  and being able to squeeze through small passages because of her slimness. Fellow archaeologist Mana Denbo will have the unenviable task of classification.

Her biggest problem will be with the subjective nature of all classification: one classification might be given for one feature while another might be given for a different feature. Unfortunately, academic archaeology is sometimes not very strong on interdisciplinarity and will hold conferences where people have the choice of attending lectures in different disciplines. Only the building would really experience interdisciplinarity but it's not talking. Try to explain transdisciplinarity to the vast majority of archaeologists and you might just as well be speaking in Etruscan.

Take a look at the width of the mandible in the reconstructed head of Homo erectus, and then compare it to the chimpanzee's mandible in the lower left illustration. While you are there, compare the shape of the brainpan of Homo erectus with that of the chimpanzee. Of course, Homo erectus was a pretty tall fellow, and the creatures in Rising Star Cave were pretty small creatures. Confused yet? It would really depend on which features were given primacy as to whether were were classifying a hominid or a primate.

Sorry for the shortness of today's post, but on the weekend I had a computer meltdown and have gone from Windows 7 Professional, 64 bit, to an antique Windows XP 32 bit. I'm actually enjoying doing it "old school"

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Friday, 25 September 2015

The Palaeolithic artist: part 20

Pigment from Altamira
Ochre, hematite, iron oxide, and zinc were the pigments used in the Altamira Cave. Ochre can cover a lot of modern colours depending on the presence of other minerals. The example of ochre illustrated here might be burnt, or it could contain iron oxide. I gathered some ochre, myself form an ancient site. Don't freak out, I picked my sample from around some twentieth century scrap iron, undoubtedly left from a mining operation. It had been thoroughly contaminated by the iron oxide and looked a lot like the ochre on the right. The original deposits at the site were all yellow ochre. Taking it home, I used a muller on frosted glass and ground it in linseed oil to make an oil paint. I had no plans to do any painting with it apart from a small test panel to see the results. It was so so. The colour was not that bad, but it did have an unpleasant violet sheen at the surface when dry. There would hardly be much demand for such a colour. The Altamira artists  were using rather modern pigments, pretty well all of the "earth colours" are possible from these. Granted, they also used charcoal, which is far from a pigment. You read about them using bones to blow pigment, leaving the hand impressions. Right, air-brush work over a stencil. Unlike other caves where our ancestors painted on the walls, There are no traces of soot deep in these caves where no light penetrated. The reports say that no one knows how this was done. If I were to attempt such a thing, I would bring a small tallow lamp made from a bivalve seashell and cover it with a stick frame over which I would place a hide "umbrella". But where would these ancient hunters get tallow, a seashell, sticks and hides? The other cave people  apparently did not care if the smoke rose from their lamps to stain the cave wall. Smoke rises, by the way. What is actually remarkable is that the artists cared enough not get the walls sooty. An added bonus is that a lamp with such a shade could be used to make relief in the rocks more visible, and they utilized these swellings to emphasize the shapes,like a heavy chested bison, for example. Not only that, but they also utilized natural fissures in the rock as outlines. They seem to have far surpassed trompe-l'œil. Just how modern were these artists? By another happy accident, my friend Susanne just returned from Denmark and emailed me the following pictures. The first was just the right size for the blog.

click to enlarge
She had a number of photos of this Trompe-l'œil exhibit of street art in Jutland, various subjects. We were talking on the phone while she was emailing some to me. I told her I was most impressed with the ape's head, which really "popped out". Later she emailed me a really huge (over 4,000 pixel across) photo of the same piece of art. Yet another happy accident, because the area I cropped was also just the right size for this blog, but I will start with one shown very small first. It's not too bad at that size
but look what happens with the larger version below. Not as advanced as at Altamira where the cracks were used as part of the composition. Susanne, by the way, has her own interior design company. She says that she "just feels" what is right, and her clients trust that. They show her the space and let her decide what to do with it. Before she started her company, she was one of the top interior designers at Ikea, travelling to many parts of the U.S. to design new Ikea stores' displays. She says that most graduates she encounters are just too "book learned" and have no such knack at all. She says you pretty well have to be born with the ability to be able to "feel" what is right, and I agree. If you have an interior design project in mind, you can email her at:

"Pedersen Interiors" <susanne.v.p (at)> (you know the anti-spam drill!)

and get one one of the best designers out there. She likes to travel, so she would probably go anywhere that interior design is relevant. Once she asked me to tag along, but I could not leave my dog, Besides, Susanne like hotels and beaches, and I'm more of a hammock in the woods sort of person. Well this took up more space than I thought and the one on the Rising Star Cave is going to be very long indeed. So check out the image below, and a have a weekend filled with happy coincidences.

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Thursday, 24 September 2015

The Palaeolithic artist: part 19

Natural light near the entrance of Moose Mountain Cave
The jagged appearance and fracture lines can be
compared to the same motifs in Picasso's painting.
As limestone is sedimentary, and an ancient
seabed it can fracture along its strata as well as
due to other forces. One such force is

conveniently shown in the screen shot
here where, on the left, a slab has fallen.
Pablo Picasso's Le Bordel d’Avignon reflecting
the Altamira Cave. The comparison with the blues in
the Moose Mountain ice cave are just a happy

The only unexplainable part of yesterday's post is that of Nietzsche's and Van Gogh's final descent into insanity in the same year, but coincidences do happen.. The references to syphilis is that, in that time, any psychic process was explained as being due to syphilis by those people too far along the Logos (extraverted, materialist) scale to be able to comprehend such things. People closer to the middle of the scale, and on either side, can communicate with each other fairly well, and if the extravert is only minorly expressed, and the introvert is not too far down that side of the scale, then really remarkable collaborations can occur and these can often result in the greatest of discoveries. It is also fascinating that too strong an extravert can then go on to assign another extraverted cause in the treatment of the original extraverted explanation of the psychic phenomenon. It becomes like a mirror reflecting another mirror.

I should mention, at this point, and especially for anyone who has come across this page through a Google search, that "psychic" here means "of the psyche" and is not the sort of thing that can be seen performed on the stage. It is a Jungian term.

My friend Robert is a geologist, the other day he told me that he would never have gone where I did in the Moose Mountain cave because such places are unstable. Look at the geological map below. The right-angled space is not original to the cave, nor is the pile of material to its left, or even the narrow passageway to the right. At some time, the cave was much bigger and more open. It is always changing and it is very difficult to chronologize such changes.

After reading yesterday's post last night, it occurred to me that some people might have become rather disturbed by the three (mine included) interpretations of the painting. mostly in life, we are presented with only two interpretations and we find comfort in thinking that one is right and the other wrong. When we have three interpretations and they all include some elements of each other, we can suddenly feel that reality is being pulled away from beneath our feet; that there is no objective reality at all just different, and subjective, perceptions of realities.

While I am doing this "housecleaning", I should mention a couple of other things that I have been doing which is probably not too obvious: part 16 demonstrates the difference between wholistic and holistic. The former is analytical: 123, ABC; everything in order. Holistic, as part 16 is, can be seen as one of those plastic toys that delivers a 3D image when you shine a light on it. If you break one of those into small parts, the complete image is still visible on each part, it is just of lower resolution. The first part consists of  quotes from a number of Jung's papers and books. I tried to arrange them so that each one is closest to another which shares a greater number of similarities. You can read them in any order and the meaning will slowly come into greater focus. The links are also designed to add further depth. The second part, while being on material matters, is also designed similarly, but not as strongly expressed as the first part. Part 15 should reveal that I believe that the divergence of species through "natural selection" is pure bunk, and instead I see very gradual evolutionary changes  through the agency of epigenetics, but that will take an entire post to do it any justice, and also will come later, as will the one about how postmodernism only rarely works inside of an academic environment, and then only with very independently-minded professors. students have little hope at all. All of the posts have various embedded structures, too. You might like to try and figure out each of them. Tomorrow: A tale of two caves, Rising Star Cave in South Africa and, of course, Altamira.

This installment is dedicated to Constantinos Ragazas (Along with Jung and Picasso...)

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Wednesday, 23 September 2015

The Palaeolithic artist: part 18

Single brushstrokes painted alla prima
adds volume to otherwise flat surfaces; the
prostitute stands out from the jagged,
fractured lines of the Altamira limestone
cave. Perhaps even the double perspective
of her face is Picasso's homage to the cave
artist's use of swellings in the rock to create

"[210]...As the day is woman to him, so is the night; psychologically speaking, they are the light and the dark soul (anima). The dark one sits waiting, expecting him in the blue twilight, and stirring up morbid presentiments. With the change of colour, we enter the underworld. The world of objects is death-struck, as the horrifying masterpiece of the syphilitic, tubercular, adolescent prostitute makes plain. The motif of the prostitute begins with the entry into the beyond, where he, as a departed soul, encounters a number of others of his kind. When I say “he,” I mean that personality in Picasso which suffers the underworld fate— the man in him who does not turn towards the day-world, but is fatefully drawn into the dark; who follows not the accepted ideals of goodness and beauty, but the demoniacal attraction of ugliness and evil. It is these antichristian and Luciferian forces that well up in modern man and engender an all-pervading sense of doom, veiling the bright world of day with the mists of Hades, infecting it with deadly decay, and finally, like an earthquake, dissolving it into fragments, fractures, discarded remnants, debris, shreds, and disorganized units. Picasso and his exhibition are a sign of the times, just as much as the twenty-eight thousand people who came to look at his pictures."

C.G. Jung,  Picasso, First published in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, CLIII : 2 (Nov. 13, 1932); reprinted in Wirklichkeit der Seele (Zurich, 1934). Previously translated by Alda F. Oertly for the Papers of the Analytical Psychology Club of New York City (1940); another translation, by Ivo Jarosy, appeared in Nimbus (London), II : 2 (autumn, 1953). Both versions have been consulted in the present translation.Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 15: Spirit in Man, Art, And Literature: 015 (pp. 138-139). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.
A shell of a man

Friedrich Nietzsche about ten years after his mental

collapse and about a year before his death. While some
could understand the psychic causes of his demise,
others could not accept anything but the physical and
suggested syphilis; manic-depressive illness with
periodic psychosis followed by vascular dementia;
the slow growth of a right-sided retro-orbital
meningioma; frontotemporal dementia; a hereditary
stroke disorder called CADASIL.; Poisoning by
mercury, a treatment for syphilis at the time of
Nietzsche's death?

"It depicts five naked women with figures composed of flat, splintered planes and faces inspired by Iberian sculpture and African masks. The compressed space the figures inhabit appears to project forward in jagged shards; a fiercely pointed slice of melon in the still life of fruit at the bottom of the composition teeters on an impossibly upturned tabletop. These strategies would be significant in Picasso’s subsequent development of Cubism, charted in this gallery with a selection of the increasingly fragmented compositions he created in this period." Anonymous, Museum of Modern Art

The iconic portrait of Vincent Van Gogh with
his ear bandaged after he cut off the lobe and 
presented it to a prostitute, shortly before he
shot himself.

Van Gogh and Nietzsche had a complete mental
breakdown in 1889, but Picasso was only seven
at the time.

The cause of Vincent Van Gogh's death. Complications following an attempted suicide brought about by psychic problems? or Syphilis; epilepsy; bipolar disorder; borderline personality disorder; sunstroke; Ménière's disease; lead poisoning; acute intermittent porphyria; digoxin toxicity from foxglove plants used to treat his epilepsy?

Three different views of the same painting. and multiple opinions of what led to two mental breakdowns in the very same year. What was happening here? Syphilis was the meme of that time. Nietzsche's Existential Nihilism  had become societal fragmentation by the time Jung died. That was the time of the "Angry young men" and the beatniks, which I saw, but never understood. The sixties, for me, were very different. And what of the references to prostitutes? More memes. Picasso never had need of such in that time. He always attracted the young women in those days.

The cause of Picasso' s death is never even mentioned by anyone. It happened when he was ninety,
while he and his wife, Jacqueline, were entertaining friends at dinner. He had met her when he was 72 and she was 26.

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Tuesday, 22 September 2015

The Palaeolithic artist: part 17

The Brothel of Avignon (Le Bordel d’Avignon)
Retitled, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (Las chicas de Avignon)
Apart from Joseph Campbell, all of my early mentors of depth psychology and mythology were dead at the time.

In my personal mythology, this was why I had such a pressing need to be taught to read at the age of three. To this day, I can still remember watching my father apparently making sense of those "squiggles" on the pages of his morning newspaper as we sat at the breakfast table: it would take until I was in my mid twenties before I was ready to make real sense of the subject. Perhaps this is why the Jung Institut will admit no student until the age of twenty five, and even then, only if they already had  a degree in the sciences. When, Bill, my first living mentor arrived, he brought some dead friends with him: Hermann Hesse, Carl Jung and Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton KCMG FRGS.
The late Dr. William G. Blackburn (Yale)
Scholar of 16th century magic and alchemy,
swordsman (épée), one time bodyguard to the
children of a Maharajah, he had modelled his
life on Burton's as, obviously, if you read the
linked article on Burton, so have I. He died
(under mysterious circumstances) in
Thailand about fifteen years ago. Another
of his friends, Tashi Phuntsok, whose last
boss had been His Holiness, the 14th Dalai
Lama, compassionately helped us all to
understand what was happening with Bill
not long before his death. Bill never really
belonged in this century. Bill's major
contribution to scholarship was his theory
that Kenneth Grahame's chapter "The Piper
at the Gates of Dawn" in The Wind in the
The Wind in the Willows was a "stand alone"
work before he included it. I'm sure you can
figure out why. I will always miss Bill, I owe
him so much. I gave Tashi's own story to
a stunned audience at the European
Archaeologist's meeting in Bournemouth
in 1999. Tashi is the bravest man I have ever
known.                                          (fair use)
Friday's post had started with a quote from Jung from his paper on Picasso which ended:

"In Picasso’s latest paintings, the motif of the union of opposites is seen very clearly in their direct juxtaposition. One painting (although traversed by numerous lines of fracture) even contains the conjunction of the light and dark anima. The strident, uncompromising, even brutal colours of the latest period reflect the tendency of the unconscious to master the conflict by violence (colour = feeling)."
Jung did not understand, but that is because he was not really an artist, and he was also of his own time.

Bill also brought a living exemplar with him, too: the outsider, Colin Wilson, But I had discovered Picasso much earlier. I have only recently really understood Picasso, but something had stuck with me from the mid seventies: Someone had said that he had encountered Salvador Dali painting a church wall in Spain. Dali was muttering something repeatedly, like a mantra. AS the man got closer to
him, he heard what Dali was saying. It was "I wish I was Picasso".  The cave appears in Le Bordel d’Avignon, and it is the Altamira cave. Picasso was there. How else could he have said "After Altamira, all is decadence"

If you read, very carefully, the Wikipedia article on Picasso. you might just see, that when everyone has held a glass to that painting, The glass turned out to be only a mirror reflecting the minds of the observers, and the "jagged shards" are those of limestone, not of Iberian sculpture and African Masks. I will explain all of this tomorrow, when we also have to deal with the deaths of Nietzsche, Vincent Van Gogh, and of course, of Picasso himself. 

syphilis will be a very important element in that discussion, but you will never guess why.

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