Friday, 24 June 2016

Hounded to death: the last years of T. E. Shaw. 11. The paparazzi

Paparazzi restaurant and sculpture, Bratislava
photo: Ing.Mgr. Jozef Kotulič
In his letter to Ralph Isham, January 2nd, 1928 regarding taking on the job of a new translation of The Odyssey, in his third condition Shaw writes: "I could not sign it with any one of my hitherto names. It must go out blank, or with a virgin name on it." and he adds the note: "And they would have to promise to respect this privacy. I hope never again to be the victim of the press." In 1931, however, he relented, and in a letter to Bruce Rogers on the 25th January said:
"Regarding the text of the Odyssey I should merely say 'a straightforward and close translation into English prose, by T.E. Shaw.' There is no use in praising an unfinished work... and no use in explaining T. E Shaw. He is unhappily, a public character. And as the subject is you and your books there is no need for me to be drawn slant-wise across the scent."
The first English edition of only 530 copies published the following year omitted the translators name, completely, but the first American edition in that same year was credited to T. E. Shaw but the name was followed by "(Lawrence of Arabia)" . Writing to Miss L. P. Black, on the 7th December, Shaw said:
"My Odyssey has been published in the States in a cheap edition (acknowledged authorship) and is said to be selling fairly. It will be amusing if I can collect some dollars off them. Prose justice!"
In India, Shaw had thought that the problems of the press were behind him and on May 7th, 1928 wrote to George Bernard Shaw:
"Look how you are turned inside out daily in every paper, at the pleasure of any worm. God deliver me from the folly of ever returning to that game. You can only keep the press within the bounds by assuming always the offensive... by chucking to them, as it were, the less intimate details of your equipage. It's a tight-rope game, which only a very cool-headed person dare play. Not for me."
But in September of that same year, his prayers were dashed. Harold Orlans, in T. E. Lawrence; Biography of a Broken Hero, 2003, McFarland & Company, Jefferson, N.C.  eloquently explains what happened after a revolt broke out in Afghanistan:
"Lawrence expected to spend two years at Miranshah, but his stay was abruptly terminated by the inexpungeable inanities of tabloids and governments.
"... the London Evening News ran, under the headline LAWRENCE OF ARABIA'S SECRET MISSION, a preposterous story about Lawrence, "in disguise, spying on "Bolshevik agents in Amritsar. The Sunday Express reported that Lawrence, "concealed beneath a mocha stain and ... turban and robes" was on a secret mission in Afghanistan laying the ground for a treaty with Britain. ..."
Burton disguised as "Haji Abdullah" 1853
The Express article, I believe, was inspired by the history of Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton (another introvert) who in the mid-nineteenth century, with his face stained by walnut juice and in the disguise of an Afghan dervish, entered both Mecca and Medina.

Early in the following year, the Daily Herald published a similar article and Malcolm Brown and Julia Cave: A Touch of Genius: The Life of T. E. Lawrence, Paragon House, 1989, New York, refer to this and add:
"As Labour Members of Parliament seethed and anti-imperialists burned Lawrence in effigy on Tower hill, the Foreign secretary of the Government of India overruled the better judgement of the Air Force and insisted that the subject of all this speculation should be got out of the sub-continent at once."
Offered several options, Shaw, who never even went outside of the barbed wire confines of the fort at Miranshah on the Afghan border was content to return to England.

The paparazzi continued to arouse his ire after his return:
To Ernest Thurtle, April 1st, Cattewater, Plymouth: 
"Please don't get the public feeling that I'm different from the crowd. By experience in many camps I have assured myself (so certainly that all the print in the world won't shake my conviction) that I'm a very normal sort of Anglo-Irishman. ... I feel like a Zoo beast without bars to defend me. There are all these absurd stories, with, in my fancy, people watching to confirm them, or make new ones. I know that is absurd: but you can write it down as a nervous affliction. The wearing a false reputation is as itchy a job as a false beard. Mine drives me crazy." 
To H. Banbury April 18th, 1929: 
"I daren't spend my little reserve of cash. At any moment press chatter may extrude me from the R.A.F. and I've got to live while trying to find a rumourproof job". 
To H. A. Ford, April 18th. 1929: 
...and as for choking off the Press - he will be my friend for life who finds how to do that. I do nothing - and they talk. I do something - and they talk. Now I am trying to accustom myself to the truth that probably I'll be talked over for the rest of my life: and after my life, too. There will be a volume of 'letters' after I die and probably some witty fellow will write another life of me. In fact there is a Frenchman trying to write a 'critical study' of me, now. They make me retch - and that's neither comfortable nor wholesome. I have thought of everything, I think: to join a newspaper (they do not eat each other, the dogs) - but what a remedy for the disease: to emigrate - but those colonies are as raw as wood alcohol: to commit some disgraceful crime and be put away:- but I have some people whose respect I struggle to keep. I don't know."
Shaw's words, in this last letter are prophetic, and for my own part, I hope that my presentation of his character would not have made him retch as badly as those early reports. On Monday: Shaw's "personality adjustments" are revealed  after his return to England. Have a news-free weekend.

John's Coydog Community page

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Hounded to death: the last years of T. E. Shaw. 10. Joseph Campbell on the public hero

Joseph Campbell
photo: Joan Halifax
This episode is an addendum to yesterday's post and is needed to set the scene for part of what life had in store for t. E. Shaw after he left India. There are two main threads in the psychology of his subsequent life: his efforts to pursue his personal hero-quest; and his efforts to overcome the public image of his abandoned heroic life in Arabia as Lawrence. He had created himself anew. His identity and legalized name change to T. E. Shaw was the only completely authentic name he had ever had. Of illegitimate birth, Lawrence was a name inherited from an assumed identity taken up by his parents, Sir Thomas Chapman and Sarah Junner. I am no stranger to the reasons that lie behind the creation of a new name and identity as that is something my late wife also took on with her name change to Carin Alizarin Perron, but that is a story for another day.

I have tried my best to refer to T. E. as Shaw when dealing with his later life and as Lawrence in his former life without adding too much confusion to the story. How anyone else chooses to name him is up to them and depends on if they prefer the legend or the man behind it.

So here are some excerpts that are pertinent to both the Lawrence of his younger years and the Shaw of his later years, and the how and why of  the persistence of the legend. What is not included, however, is that the perception of a legend being different from the person behind it is sometimes expressed as a negation of the legend itself. There are biographies that cast aspersions on Lawrence's character in Arabia and paint him as an egotistical fake. They fail, through a psychic necessity for their author, or through an attempt to destroy the hero legend for other reasons, to see the self doubt and feelings of previous betrayal that Shaw experienced and the importance of his later life in understanding the man, himself.

"Moses is a hero figure, for example. He ascends the mountain, he meets with Yahweh on the summit of the mountain, and he comes back with rules for the formation of a whole new society. That’s a typical hero act— departure, fulfillment, return."
Campbell, Joseph; Bill Moyers. The Power of Myth (p. 166). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 

"...there is a certain typical hero sequence of actions which can be detected in stories from all over the world and from many periods of history. Essentially, it might even be said there is but one archetypal mythic hero whose life has been replicated in many lands by many, many people. A legendary hero is usually the founder of something— the founder of a new age, the founder of a new religion, the founder of a new city, the founder of a new way of life. In order to found something new, one has to leave the old and go in quest of the seed idea, a germinal idea that will have the potentiality of bringing forth that new thing.
ibid, (pp. 166-167). 

"In these stories, the adventure that the hero is ready for is the one he gets. The adventure is symbolically a manifestation of his character. Even the landscape and the conditions of the environment match his readiness".
ibid, (pp. 158-159).

MOYERS: In the political sense, is there a danger that these myths of heroes teach us to look at the deeds of others as if we were in an amphitheater or coliseum or a movie, watching others perform great deeds while consoling ourselves to impotence?
CAMPBELL: I think this is something that has overtaken us only recently in this culture. The one who watches athletic games instead of participating in athletics is involved in a surrogate achievement. But when you think about what people are actually undergoing in our civilization, you realize it’s a very grim thing to be a modern human being. The drudgery of the lives of most of the people who have to support families— well, it’s a life-extinguishing affair.
ibid, (p. 160).

John's Coydog Community page

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Hounded to death: the last years of T. E. Shaw. 9. The return of the hero

Chart based on Joseph Campbell's concept of the hero's journey
"Having done something with my life, I am content to go back"

T. E. Shaw talking about his return to England from Miranshah, India. Quoted by B. V. Jones and published in this series for the first time.

The above quote which might seem insignificant to many reveals the presence of two hero's journeys: the first by T. E. Lawrence and the second, and more important, by Lawrence transformed into T. E. Shaw. Neither were to be completed — not due to any fault by Lawrence/Shaw, but due to a society that, itself, was expressing, and still is, the puer aeternus neurosis.

We can easily track the stages of these journeys: his initial desire to do the things that fate made a reality:
"I asked how he happened to do what he did in Arabia. He said 'I meant to do it from the beginning'. 'How could you? you were neither soldier nor man of action.' He said, 'True. But I felt it as something already done and therefore unavoidable. I felt on sure ground'. ..." 
 Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Heyward Isham, C.B.E. 1890-1955. T. E. Lawrence by his Friends, Ed. A. W. Lawrence, Jonathan Cape, London, 1937, pp. 296-7.
Here we see the call to adventure and the "the supernatural aid" (being an expression of Lawrence's introverted intuition which can not only contact and stimulate a part of the unconscious but see that realized, acausally, in the world (synchronicity).

Then comes all of the adventures as described in Seven Pillars of Wisdom where you can find innumerable mentors and helpers.

Next comes the revelation with the abyss and the transformation:
"When we were away, we were worth more than other men by our conviction that she was the greatest, straightest and best of all the countries in the world, and we would die before knowing that a page of her history had been blotted by defeat. Here, in Arabia, in the war's need, I was selling my honesty for her sustenance, unquestionably." 
T. E. Lawrence, The Complete 1922 Seven Pillars of Wisdom: The 'Oxford' Text, J. and N. Wilson, Castle Hill Press Editions, third edition with amendments, 2014, Volume II, Chapter 113, p. 651f. 
After this stage he should have made the return and the atonement (with the father) where he would become initiated into the company of elders who were already in possession of this same revelation. Instead, he returned to a society whose elders were still living the lie he had realized and the cycle could not be completed. Churchill played the role of the elder, even though part of that lie: he wanted Lawrence to give advice based on his experiences of the Middle East, bringing him into the company of elders. Had Lawrence not had his revelation, but a different one that expressed the society as it was; if his intentions had been solely victory over and control  of those lands, then he could have looked forward to a very lucrative career and later accomplishments might well have lessened his role as hero by transforming him into statesman. as it was, his society fixed him, forever, as the hero, and to him, the hero of a lie. This was intolerable to him, and once again, he set out on a hero-quest: his own transformation into T. E. Shaw.

There was a split in the road at that point: to Churchill, and to the general public, the hero would return to consolidate the victories and further the aims of the culture, the motherland (The gift of the goddess). But Lawrence could not become the Master of Two Worlds (inner and outer), because that would require that the essences of both be the same. I do  not know if "Lawrence of Arabia" served as a model for the societal puer aeternus, or was just another expression of it, but I am sure that the world we now have had its birth at around that point in our history.

Tomorrow, we will look a little deeper into Campbell's perception of our current, and incomplete, perception of the hero, and how and why our world has moulded it so.

John's Coydog Community page

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Hounded to death: the last years of T. E. Shaw. 8. The puer aeternus theory: (ii)

Stained glass window, Longwy steel factory
Louis Majorelle (1859-1926)

" is the one disagreeable word which no puer aeternus likes to hear, and Jung came to the conclusion that it was the right answer. My experience also has been that if a man pulls out of this kind of youthful neurosis, then it is through work. There are, however, some misunderstandings in this connection, for the puer aeternus can work ... when fascinated or in a state of great enthusiasm. Then he can work twenty-four hours at a stretch or even longer, until he breaks down, but what he cannot do is to work on a dreary, rainy morning when work is boring and one has to kick oneself into doing it; that is the one thing the puer aeternus usually cannot manage and will use any kind of excuse to avoid." 
Marie-louise von Franz, The Problem of the Puer Aeternus, p. 10

Although T. E. Lawrence often worked extremely long hours in producing Seven Pillars of Wisdom, and it had been a dream of his to make it a great example of English literature, he became doubtful of his abilities as a writer and even when readers praised it highly, his self-doubt could not be budged. Yet he laboured on in rewrites and in editing. This fervor was not that of youthful enthusiasm, but yet another way of hardening himself; of overcoming his physical image of the boy and its characteristic attributes. We should think, again, about the illusory brain/mind separation for it is much like what has been said about London; that no matter what London you are looking for, you will find it there. It is a matter of multiple realities; a transdisciplinary view; the photon acts like a wave when you look for the wave, and it acts like a particle when you look for the particle. Proponents of any differing views of anything can throw proofs in each other's faces constantly and never change their outlook. It is only by finding the T-state of Transdisciplinarity; the included middle instead of the excluded middle of classical logic that we start to see the connectiveness of multiple realities.

In trying to handle his perceived physical shortcomings, T. E. would have also cured himself of the puer aeternus neurosis had he been encumbered by that. His puer aeternus was a physical state. Yet, the work had the same effect on his perception of the problem. Being an introverted intuitive, he had no need to consciously find that T-state and so he never spoke about his work in relation to overcoming his physical appearance. His attitudes toward work would have just felt right without any connections he could verbalize. But this, too, is the nature of the collective unconscious: what is inherited, biologically, is not the mythical contents and images by which the collective unconscious is perceived, but a brain structure that is inherited and allows the mind to frame that structure by the means of such mythical imagery. Even the original myths, themselves, are expressions, in their own right of this translation from brain structure, to instinctive responses to imaginative narrative, each connected at the T-state. We can find an analogy in this, in epigenetics and how it is really quite different from Lamarckism

To end the subject of the puer aeternus theory, I have selected, again, a series of excerpts from his letters that reveal his work-dilligence in matters that no one could mistake for "youthful enthusiasm" and an abandonment of all that could be felt as drudgery. What follows are not the working habits of the psychologically-caused puer aeternus. And we must so assume that the puer aeternus can have a physical correlate that is unresponsive to the problems of its psychological equivalent. I have also included the beginnings of another thread of T. E.'s consciousness; that of his unwelcome fame. Individuals cannot be pigeon holed by single traits and and our multiple concerns all interrelate through other T-states. This is what makes each of us unique.

To his family, June 23rd, 1915 from the Military Intelligence Office in Cairo

"I got a letter yesterday asking for more details of what I am doing. Well, drawing, and overseeing the drawing of maps: overseeing printing and packing of same: sitting in an office coding and decoding telegrams, interviewing prisoners, writing reports, and giving information from 9a.m. till 7p.m. After that feed and read, and then go to bed. I'm sick of pens, ink and paper: and have no wish ever to send off another telegram. We do daily wires to Athens, Gallipoli, and Petrograd: and receive five times what we send, all in cypher, which is slow work, though we have a good staff dealing with them."

To Edward Garnett, August 26th, 1922

"I enlisted in the R.A.F. to find a fresh plane of activity: for it is very difficult for me to do nothing, and I've tried soldiering, and science, and politics, and writing: and manual labour seemed the obvious next."

To Edward Garnett, January 3oth, 1923

"I'm overdue in writing, but have been inordinately worried. The R.A.F. have sacked me, for the crime of possessing too wide a publicity for a ranker: and as I'm as broke as usual the sacking is immediately and physically inconvenient. Also it's annoying to have worked myself up to the point of seeing much good and some thrills in barrack life, and then to be kicked out."

To R. V. Buxton, 10th May, 1928

"Karachi has been bad, lately: and I have asked Sir Geoffrey Salmond to take me away to some squadron up-country. It's not our Section Officers who are concerned. I like the puzzled honesty of F/Lt. Angell, my immediate C.O.: and he is very decent to me. But higher up they panic, apparently, over my mere existence in their camp."

To Jonathan Cape, 30th June, 1928

"I've left Karachi, for good: and have, I hope, settled in this queer little place, a brick and barbed-wire fort on the Afghan border. We are not allowed beyond the wire: so that we have few temptations except boredom and laziness. I'm never bored: and for the laziness I've just done a sample 400 lines of a prose translation of some Greek poetry, for an American firm, that wants to produce something de luxe. If they like it, they'll ask me to do more. My ambition is to earn £200 in the next 19 months, and then come home and buy a motor-bike!"

To H. S. Ede, 30th June 1928 from Miranshah

"Here they employ me mainly in the office. I am the only airman who can work a typewriter, so I do D.R.Os. and correspondence: and act postman, and pay-clerk, and bottle washer in ordinary. Normally flights do two months here, and get relieved: but I will try and get left on. It's the station of a dream: as though one had fallen right over the world, and had lost one's memory of its troubles. And the quietness is so intense that I rub my ears, wondering if I am going deaf. ... and the fellows in camp sit on their beds, round mine, and read tit-bits of their books at me, and say 'Now, who'd have thought that, if he'd known you?' They regard my legend as a huge joke: if it wasn't my legend, I'd do ditto."

To David Garnett, 19th November, 1930

"The Odyssey must finish before the spring and that means 45 hours a week - on top of my R.A.F. 48 hours: and that makes a full working day all through, without the indulgence of weekends."

John's Coydog Community page

Monday, 20 June 2016

Hounded to death: the last years of T. E. Shaw. 8. The puer aeternus theory: (i)

Don Juan poster, 1926
"In general, the man who is identified with the archetypes of the puer aeternus remains too long in adolescent psychology; that is all those characteristics that are normal in a youth of seventeen or eighteen are continued into later life, coupled in most cases with too great a dependence on the mother. The two typical disturbances of a man who has an outstanding mother complex are... homosexuality and Don Juanism. In the case of the former, the heterosexual libido is still tied up with the mother, who is really the only beloved object, with the result that sex cannot be experienced with another woman. That would make her the rival of the mother, and therefore sexual needs are satisfied only with a member of the same sex. Generally such men lack masculinity and seek that in the partner.
"In Don Juanism there is another typical form of this same disturbance. In this case, the image of the mother—the image of of the perfect woman who will give everything to a man and who is without any shortcomings—is sought in every woman. He is looking for a mother goddess, so that each time he is fascinated by a woman he has later to discover that she is an ordinary human being. Once he has been intimate with her the whole fascination vanishes and he turns away disappointed, only to project the image anew onto one woman after another. ..."
Marie-Louise von Franz, The Problem of the Puer Aeternus, Inner City Books, Toronto, 2000. p.7.
Even though T. E. Lawrence mostly associated with men no one could accuse him of being effeminate, Far from it. Nor did he appreciate any trace of effeminacy in other men:
"I ate a little, on this my first attempt, while Obeid and Abdulla played at it vigorously, so for his bounty Khallaf went half hungry this morning, and deservedly for it was thought effeminate by the Arabs to carry a provision of food for a little journey of one hundred miles. We were now friends..."
T. E. Lawrence, The Complete 1922 Seven Pillars of Wisdom: The 'Oxford Text', J. and N. Wilson, Castle Hill Press Editions, Salisbury, Third edition with amendments, 2014, Chapter 13,  p.70 (October, 1916)

"Auda was very simply dressed in white cotton, northern fashion, with a red Mosul headcloth. He might be over fifty, and his black hair was streaked with white, but he was still strong and straight, loosely built, spare, and active as a much younger man. His face was magnificent, even to its lines and hollows, and showed how true it was that the death of Annad, his favourite son, in battle with his Jazi cousins, had cast sorrow over all his life, by the bitter failure of his dream to hand on through him the greatness of the name of Abu Tayi to future generations."
ibid, Chapter 40, p.230 (April 1917)
While there is an aspect of homosexuality that finds strong masculinity attractive, it is utterly at odds with the character of the puer aeternus.
"A filthy business all of it, and yet Hut 12 shows me the truth behind Freud. Sex is an integer in all of us, and the nearer nature we are, the more constantly, the more completely a product of that integer. These fellows are the reality, and you and I, the selves who used to meet in London and talk of fleshless things, are only the outward wrappings of a core like these fellows. They let light and air play always upon their selves, and consequently have grown very lustily, but have at the same time achieved health and strength in their growing. Whereas our wrappings and bandages have stunted and deformed ourselves, and hardened them to an apparent insensitiveness... but it's a callousness, a crippling, only to be yea-said by aesthetes who prefer clothes to bodies, surfaces to intentions." (in a letter to Lionel Curtis, March 27th. 1923)
 This passage gives form to Lawrence's revulsion for sex by explaining how he saw that aspect of his character more of a handicap than a virtue. He regretted not being the sort of person who would raise a family. Perhaps this was also why he did not like very much to spend time with younger women, not because older women would remind him of his mother, but because they reminded him of what he felt he could never have. But there is something else there with talking of "fleshless things":  a person who very much lived within the psyche. He had hardened himself and become the ascetic not so much for the religious reasons that his family might have supposed but to further himself from the image of the boy that nature had dealt him. He could do nothing about his head to body proportions that made him look like a boy, but he could toughen himself and become physically strong, the "pocket Hercules" as he once called himself. His physical desires, competing with those of the psyche, were to rid himself of any aspect of the boy. For him, the puer aeternus was nothing inherently psychological, it was a physical handicap that had psychological repercussions. He also maintained a certain distance from his mother, because, I presume, he associated the mother with his boyish appearance. In his letters home to her he gave none of the salutations he would give to everyone else, even his brothers. His news was restricted to the sort of things that he believed she needed to hear. While respectful, he kept a lot of himself apart from her.

I need not provide any evidence for his complete lack of Don Juanism; his whole life does that.

Tomorrow, how the cure for the puer aeternus relates to T. E. Shaw's psychology.

John's Coydog Community page

Friday, 17 June 2016

Hounded to death: the last years of T. E. Shaw. 8. The puer aeternus theory: introduction

Marie-Louise von Franz with Dieter Baumann (left) and Jose Zavala
photo: BEPJoseZavala
The theory that T. E. Lawrence was an example of the Jungian Puer Aeternus (Eternal Boy, the female equivalent being Puella...) is very believable. This is a variety of the child archetype which we can see as representing one of the stages of life, but the puer aeternus is stuck and does not progress to the other stages (which are also represented by archetypes). This is a very complicated subject and first we have to understand the nature of an archetype. It manifests itself as a mythological figure when it becomes perceived by the consciousness to any degree, but in the unconscious, where it resides, there can be no mental picture as all mental pictures are subjective and conscious. It can be understood, somewhat, as a potential, an energy pattern which can deliver the images and significances that might be understood by the consciousness.  Mythology, itself, is the precursor to psychology: Unconscious patterns of energy can present conscious images that then can acquire a narrative. As these mental pictures are a product of the unconscious, as it it were, they do not constantly and easily present themselves to us and often require considerable interpretation when they do. They can also be manifested in certain altered states of consciousness through drugs, extreme physical suffering or the shaman's practices which might include the previous two as well.

The best study of the puer aeternus was undertaken by Marie-Louise von Franz  and is published as The Problem of the Puer Aeternus, Inner City Books, Toronto, 2000, (part of the series:Studies in Jungian Psychology by Jungian Analysts) It is a transcript, with bibliography and index of a series of lectures delivered by Marie-Louise von Franz at the Jung Institute, Zurich in the winter of 1959-60. The lectures covered two works of fiction and their authors: The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and The Kingdom without Space by Bruno Goetz (Das Reich ohne Raum).

Jung wrote of the puer aeternus and its associations in a number of his works but Marie-Louise von Franze not only gathers these together in a single study, but gives far more detail and analysis. I think it likely that one her main inspirations for the lectures was the following passage by Jung:
"He is, as it were, only a dream of the mother, an ideal which she soon takes back into herself, as we can see from the Near Eastern “son-gods” like Tammuz, Attis, Adonis, and Christ. Mistletoe was also a sovereign remedy against barrenness. (118) In Gaul, it was only after offering sacrifice that the Druid was allowed, amid solemn ceremonies, to climb the sacred oak and cut the ritual branch of mistletoe. That which grows on the tree is the child (pl. XXXIX), or oneself in renewed and rejuvenated form; and that is precisely what one cannot have, because the incest prohibition forbids it. We are told that the mistletoe which killed Baldur was “too young”; hence this clinging parasite could be interpreted as the “child of the tree.” But as the tree signifies the origin in the sense of the mother, it represents the source of life, of that magical life-force whose yearly renewal was celebrated in primitive times by the homage paid to a divine son, a puer aeternus. The graceful Baldur is such a figure. This type is granted only a fleeting existence, because he is never anything but an anticipation of something desired and hoped for. This is so literally true that a certain type of “mother’s son” actually exhibits all the characteristics of the flower-like, youthful god, and even dies an early death. (119)"
"(118) Hence, in England, the custom of hanging mistletoe at Christmas. For mistletoe as the wand of life, see Aigremont, Volkserotik und Pflanzenwelt, II, p. 36."
"(119) There is a beautiful description of the puer aeternus in an exquisite little book by the airman Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince. My impression that the author had a personal mother-complex was amply confirmed from firsthand information."
Jung, C. G.. Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 5: Symbols of Transformation (Kindle Locations 5140-5150). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.
I highly recommend that you read Maarten Schilde's online article: The Boyish Side of T. E. Lawrence before Monday's post as it not only summarizes the theory very well, but presents some of the problems with it. Have a mature weekend.

John's Coydog Community page

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Hounded to death: the last years of T. E. Shaw. 7. The redeeming hero

Some of the theories about T. E. Lawrence's personality and psychology have been effectively repudiated by those who knew him best. First and foremost, ideas about him being homosexual have been dismissed by many as they point out that Lawrence was repulsed by the sexual act. Some might argue that this was because of the sexual assault he had to withstand when he was, briefly, a captive of Turkish soldiers, however his disregard for sex clearly predates that incident. Also related is the idea that he was a masochist. The problem with that word is that's its sexual meaning springs to everyone's minds while its context as in "He exercises three times a day, he must be some sort of masochist!" is actually closer to the truth. At best, when he is described as a masochist it is a poor choice of terms. In  Malcolm Brown; Julia Cave, A Touch of Genius: The Life of T. E. Lawrence, New York, 1989, p. 8, is the following about his school days:
"He was short — just under 5' 6" when fully grown — but he was far from puny; toughened from bicycle rides and other athletic pursuits he was eventually to make himself, in his own phrase, 'a pocket Hercules'."
Many other examples of this attitude appear in the biography and it was a characteristic of his entire life: he was always pushing himself beyond his limits. Significantly, he had no great interest in team sports, and in the military: in drill. He was always competing against himself, whether in physical or in intellectual activities.

The phrase "pocket Hercules" did not come from boasting but fury. Shaw was greatly angered by something about him that had appeared in the London Mercury and writing to Edward Marsh from India on the 10th June, 1927 Shaw says:
"Also he says that I was a physical weakling. I'm not that yet, despite my extreme age. In fact I passed into the Army as a first-class recruit, in 1923. In 1914 I was a pocket Hercules, as muscularly strong as people twice my size, and more enduring than most. I saw all the other British officers' boots off in Arabia: they went to base, or to hospital, while I did two years in the fighting areas, and was nine times wounded, and five times crashed from the air, and had two goes of dysentery, and suffered enough hunger and thirst and heat and cold and exposure, not to mention deliberate maltreatment, to wreck the average constitution. I go so far as to claim that I've been perhaps the toughest traveller who has ever written his true history. 'Mooning about the towns of South Italy'. Gods!"
Pay particular attention to "despite my extreme age". Shaw was only 38 at that time and he did not say this as a joke. He really believed he was old. This will become an important point in another post. The "deliberate maltreatment" probably refers to the beating he took from the Turkish soldiers at Derra, Of the later beatings by John Bruce, to which Shaw submitted, Brown/Cave, op. cit. offer this from a 1985 interview with A. W. Lawrence:
"He hated the thought of sex. He had read any amount of medieval literature about characters, some of them saints, some of them not, some ordinary people who had quelled their sexual longings by beating. And that's what he did."
I really doubt this explanation and believe it is more due to the Lawrence brother's religious upbringing.

Lawrence reported experiencing sexual pleasure at one point during the beatings at Deraa, In hating the sexual act he would be unlikely to commission beatings in order to experience such for pleasure, so sexual masochism is a poor atribution. Sexual sensations and pain occur in the same part of the brain and both sensations can result in the release of endorphins. We can even look to an evolutionary purpose for this linking that goes back perhaps as far as organic life, itself. Even a fruit tree will bear a larger crop just before it perishes as a way to continue its species. We should also consider that Lawrence did not survive the beating at Deraa as well as he said and in his compulsion to overcome any and all weaknesses, commissioned those later beatings in the hope that he would not have to live with the knowledge that something could have got the better of him. This would be more in keeping with his general behaviour throughout his life. The sexual emphasis being more sensational, naturally draws people to such  as an explanation and thus limits the perception of other causes.

But we have to look deeper still. Not only was Lawrence very short, but his head was larger than it should have been when he was an adult, and his proportions were more like that of a boy. Neoteny (also known as juvenilization or paedomorphism)  is the physiological condition and it can manifest itself in varying degrees and symptoms. Less likely would be hypothyroidism and a deficiency of the human growth hormone, but we place labels, too often, on parts of over all conditions where they are more like a continuum or spectrum (something that David Bohm stressed with regards to both physics and language). We might then speculate that many of Lawrence's actions were his own manifestations of the psychological body dismorphic disorder, to add yet another label to what might be better seen as a "constellation" in Jungian terms. With the latter, we would have to include his personality type as an introverted intuitive, but I will come back to this in another post.

This brings us to another analysis of his psychology: that he was a "Puer Aeternus".  If you follow the link and know something of his life, I will forgive you for saying "Yes! That must be it!" There are some details, however, that do not fit and I think we are entering some unknown territory in the holistic brain/mind "dichotomy". This must wait until tomorrow to start, but perhaps not to finish.

John's Coydog Community page

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Hounded to death: the last years of T. E. Shaw. 6. The introverted and intuitive Peter Pan

T. E. Lawrence at about seven
“He resented his body’s permanent immaturity. He did not, I think, realize that his personality also would not quite grow up. His hatred for his body was a boy’s hatred; his fear of women was a boy’s fear; his terror of being noticed was a boy’s terror. He liked pranks and stories as a boy does.
"His perception and reactions were those of a boy. His powers of intuition had, I suppose, been exercised and increased by by much listening to conversations in languages he understood only imperfectly. His awareness amounted at times to clairvoyance. ...
"I asked how he happened to do what he did in Arabia. He said 'I meant to do it from the beginning'. 'How could you? you were neither soldier nor man of action.' He said, 'True. But I felt it as something already done and therefore unavoidable. I felt on sure ground'. ...
"His reactions were essentially those of a sensitive child immediate, intuitive, emotional; that is why he was comfortable only with people of simplicity, and that is why it was such a bitter shock to him to discover the world's wickedness and selfishness when the tides drew him forth."
Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Heyward Isham, C.B.E. 1890-1955. T. E. Lawrence by his Friends, Ed. A. W. Lawrence, Jonathan Cape, London, 1937, pp. 296-7. 
Isham's account of  Lawrence's personality is certainly one of the most perceptive in "Friends".  and it reveals him, clearly, as an INFJ at that time. When Isham first met Lawrence in 1919 he thought that Lawrence was much younger and was shocked when he noticed the insignia of Lieutenant Colonel on his uniform. He took an immediate shine to Lawrence, partly due to a shared interest in books, and offered him much help and support many years later. It was during a conversation between Isham and Bruce Rogers about a new translation of The Odyssey, when, according to  a letter sent by Isham to T. E. Shaw in India in December of 1927. "we decided that we could think of no one by whom we would rather have the translation done than your good self ."

Shaw's responses reveal the gratitude he felt for his many kindnesses, even though Shaw was never a willing recipient of such. Always willing to help others, Shaw found it difficult to accept any help, himself. The following snippets from his letters to Isham reveal both:
"Dear Isham, Your letter is, I think, about the kindest thing I've ever had. I cannot imagine how you get through life, if it's your principle to lend a hand to every breakdown you see on the road. Meanwhile, please believe that there's one very grateful one, here. ... I cannot take your offer of a job, of course. It would not do to work for any friendly person, in the first place. ... Again I'd like to repeat my thanks. Yours ever T E Shaw" (22/11/27)
"Forgive the office typewriter, and my botching of its keys. It's in case I need a copy of what I say to answer your letter about Homer's Odyssey . It has knocked me out temporarily. Why should you be so much better to me be than I am to myself? The money suggested is wonderful, but that only shows how well they expect it to be done: and I have no trust whatever in my writing. ... My strongest advice to you is to get someone better, to do you a more certain performance: I am nothing like good enough for so great a work of art as the Odyssey . Nor, incidentally, to be printed by B.R. Your kindness remains overwhelming. Do realise that I have no confidence in myself, and what I'd like is some little job, unquestioningly within my strength and my leisure hours in the R.A.F. Yours ever T E Shaw" (2/1/28)
Of course, he eventually agreed to do the translation, even though making several stipulations which he hoped would dissuade them, still. Highly significant to the importance to him of his new identity these included:
 "I will ask you to promise each other not to associate, in public or private, any of my names (Shaw is real, Ross and Lawrence were assumed ones) with the translation, during my lifetime, without my permission." (To Sir Emery Walker and Wilfred Merton, copied to Bruce Rogers and Isham, 10/10/28
You can see, from the photograph above, that Lawrence looked much younger than his years even as a boy. It was this realization that drove him toward the role of hero even as young child: He was an Iacchus who needed to become a Hercules. Tomorrow, I will start to give my own theory about Shaw's psychology and discuss some that have already been offered. This might well take several posts. It will cover the period from his childhood to his new identity which was best realized in India.

John's Coydog Community page

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Hounded to death: the last years of T. E. Shaw. 5. A new direction

T. E. Lawrence in 1921
We have looked at the way B. V. Jones saw T. E. Shaw in India; the way that Shaw saw the R.A.F; and what mostly occupied Shaw in his off-duty hours in India. It comes now, to try to understand why T. E. Lawrence joined the R.A. F. (and for short time, the army) under two assumed names. Ross/Shaw was not certain of all of the reasons, himself, as the following excerpts from his letters reveal:

To Edward Garnett August 26th 1922:

"I enlisted in the R.A.F. to find a fresh plane of activity: for it is very difficult for me to do nothing, and I've tried soldiering, and science, and politics, and writing: and manual labour seemed the obvious next."

To Robert Graves November 12th 1922:

"Honestly I couldn't tell you exactly why I joined up: though the night before I did (a very wonderful night by the way: I felt like a criminal waiting for daylight) I sat up and wrote out all the reasons I could see or feel in hope that I'd find myself on common ground with men: by a little wish to make myself a little more human than I had become in Barton Street: by an itch to make myself ordinary in a mob of likes: also I'm broke, so far as money goes, by an unexpected event. All these are reasons: but unless they are cumulative they are miserably inadequate. I wanted to join up, that's all: and I am still glad, sometimes, that I did. It's going to be a brain-sleep, and I'll come out of it less odd than I went in: or at least less odd in other men's eyes."

To his mother,  February 15th 1922:

"My own plans are still doubtful. I asked Winston to let me go, and he was not very willing: indeed he didn't want it. I told him I was open to hold on for a little till his first difficulties were over (there are new things happening just now), but not in a formal appointment. Probably I'll get leave on the first of March, and not go back again, unless that Paris idea comes further: or some other odd notion. There was a question of me for Egypt, if Allenby came away: but that of course I wouldn't accept. I don't think ever again to govern anything. If I get away finally from the Colonial Office about May my plans are to do nothing for a little, and then perhaps to consider the Air Force. Of course I'm too old to join it, but I think that the life and the odd mind (or lack of mind) there, might give me a subject to write about."

To B. E. Leeson, February 4, 1923

"...(did you understand that I enlisted not to write books, but because I was broke?) and am not yet quite in the deep stuff, though three Govt. Departments exhaust themselves trying to find me a billet.... I turn down all their ideas, and ask for something poorer, and they think I mean richer. Soon they will burst themselves. You see I'm fed up with being called Colonel in this ridiculous year 1923: and am determined not any more to be respectable. Besides I liked being an A.C.2. and would like to be something of the sort in future..."

To Lionel Curtis March 19th 1923:

"What should the preliminaries be? A telling why I joined? As you know I don't know! Explaining it to Dawnay I said 'Mind-suicide': but that's only because I'm an incorrigible phraser. Do you, in reading my complete works, notice that tendency to do up small packets of words foppishly? At the same time there's the reason why I have twice enlisted, in those same complete works: on my last night in Barton Street I read chapters 113 to 118, and saw implicit in them my late course. The months of politics with Winston were abnormal, and the R.A.F. and Army are natural. The Army (which I despise with all my mind) is more natural than the R.A.F.: for at Farnborough I grew suddenly on fire with the glory which the air should be, and set to work full steam to make the others vibrate to it like myself. I was winning too, when they chucked me out: indeed I rather suspect I was chucked out for that. It hurt the upper story that the ground-floor was was grown too keen. The Army seems safe against enthusiasm. It's a horrible life, and the other fellows fit it. I said to one 'They're the sort who instinctively fling stones at cats'... and he said 'Why what do you throw?' You perceive that I'm not yet in the picture: but I will be in time. Seven years of this will make me impossible for anyone to suggest for a responsible position, and that self-degradation is my aim. I haven't the impulse and the conviction to fit what I know to be my power of moulding men and things: and so I always regret what I've created, when the leisure after creation lets me look back and see that the idea was secondhand.

"This is a pompous start, and it should be a portentous series of letters: but there is excuse for it, since time moves slower here than elsewhere: and a man has only himself to think about. At reveille I feel like Adam, after a night's pondering: and my mind has malice enough rather to enjoy putting Adam through it. Don't take seriously what I wrote about the other men, above. It's only at first that certain sides of them strike a little crudely. In time I'll join,...

"I'm not sure either that what I've said about my creations is quite true. ...

"...and my other creation, that odd and interminable book... do you know I'm absolutely hungry to know what people think of it - not when they are telling me, but what they tell to one another. Should I be in this secret case if I really thought it pernicious? There again, perhaps there's a solution to be found in multiple personality. It's my reason which condemns the book and the revolt, and the new nationalities: because the only rational conclusion to human argument is pessimism such as Hardy's,..."

Winston Churchill by Willian Orpen, 1916

Winston Churchill had placed T. E. Lawrence in what should have been the ideal position for Lawrence: the mythological/psychological next step for the returning hero becomes that of the elder, adviser and counsellor. Not that Churchill would have thought of such things. Churchill saw in Lawrence, a highly intelligent person with a very deep understanding of the Arab world: its states, cultures, leaders and populations. Who better to advise in Middle Eastern politics after the First World War for a West with a new thirst for oil?

But Lawrence's original goals of the heroic quest (and these existed before he made them a reality) became tarnished along the way because mythology has no place for political expediency. He saw his ideals become increasingly tarnished by economic lust with its mantle of patriotic nationalism:

"When we were away, we were worth more than other men by our conviction that she was the greatest, straightest and best of all the countries in the world, and we would die before knowing that a page of her history had been blotted by defeat. Here, in Arabia, in the war's need, I was selling my honesty for her sustenance, unquestionably." 
T. E. Lawrence, The Complete 1922 Seven Pillars of Wisdom: The 'Oxford' Text, J. and N. Wilson, Castle Hill Press Editions, third edition with amendments, 2014, Volume II, Chapter 113, p. 651f.
As the mythology about "Lawrence of Arabia" grew in the public mind, its expressions were daggers to his own psyche whose ideals had already been damaged by the realization of the role that he was playing for his country. He had betrayed what he loved for his country and now he had become the myth to the public who wanted only the hero and not the elder. Western society has not progressed a single iota from that time: The hero defeats the bad guys, gets the girl. and the credits role, as Joseph Campbell expressed it. The mythology: the cult of young. Our society is still a young adult. We have yet to reach the wisdom of earlier tribal societies. They achieved that state because they were small enough to do so; to evolve within a small system. So-called "primitive governments" are far more complex and far more directed to "special cases" than global politics and modern "big government" whose leaders are remote and have little comprehension of the ordinary person. Although Lawrence might have psychologically evolved to the state of that of an elder. The forces that were directing him had different motives. He had no choice: "I turn down all their ideas, and ask for something poorer, and they think I mean richer." It was a reversal; an enantiodromia; Mythos to Logos. Possibly, he was even changing from an INFJ to an INTP.

There were other forces at play, though, and tomorrow we will look at what made him set out on his hero quest in the first place.

John's Coydog Community page

Monday, 13 June 2016

Hounded to death: the last years of T. E. Shaw. 4. The Mint

A 1919 pencil sketch by Augustus John that Shaw
had intended to use as the frontispiece for his first
limited edition of The Mint.

We have to ask ourselves why T. E. Shaw would have wanted to use the portrait illustrated here. The Mint started out as a series of notes about his service in the R. A. F. in England from August until December of 1922. He had enlisted as "John Hume Ross". His previous job (as T. E. Lawrence) is described by J. M. Wilson in his preface to the Penguin edition of The Mint as " the Colonial Office as adviser to Winston Churchill on Middle Eastern affairs." He had planned to leave that post as he wanted to put his former identity as "Lawrence of Arabia" far behind him. He could have used the pencil portrait by William Rothenstein (1920) which did not show in Arab  garb, or he could have commissioned another.

The bookplate on the left had been pasted in my first edition of T. E. Lawrence by his Friends, Ed. A. W. Lawrence, Jonathan Cape, London, 1937. It bears a T.E.L. monogram; the Latin motto of the R. A. F. and a desert scene with camels (I placed the coloured square on the graphic to prevent forgery). The only T. E. Lawrence bookplates apparently known are posthumous, made for his estate and are on books from his Clouds Hill library. In a letter to Edward Garnett of October 5th, 1933 Shaw is discussing someone else's bookplate and says "I'm not able to put any mark in my books - unless, sometimes, T.E.S. in pencil on the fly-leaf...". The incongruity in design of the bookplate puzzled me: the normal format for a monogram contrasted with the T.E.L. used by his fans to this very day but the R. A. F. motto is odd for a fan fantasy bookplate. I contacted Nicole Wilson about it and she thought it was curious and that they (her and J. W. Wilson) had never came across any statement in his letters about him thinking of having one printed.  She also said "One can only think that this plate was the work of some artistic person who wished to represent Lawrence's life in that way. We haven't seen it anywhere else".  I had about the same thoughts, thinking, too, that it was an odd design to use.  I did expect, though, that it would be a well-known "fantasy" piece, so I was surprised to hear that they had not encountered it before, even though I could find no record of it through Google. If anyone would have known about it would have been them. Now, I am thinking that the iconography of the bookplate is no more strange than the iconography in Shaw's choice of a frontispiece for The Mint.

I can add nothing substantial to the description of this book and its history to what is covered already by J. M. Wilson in the link I gave for the book and in the Wikipedia entry for it, but I can say that I think the iconography of both suggests the meaning of transition. That Lawrence had twice changed his name and had become an enlisted man in the military is more than just trying to lose the "Lawrence of Arabia" identity. He could have become anything at all and still have done that. The first part of his process was to obliterate the old and that is explained in the use of the word "mint".

We will start to look at the second part tomorrow. It becomes especially clear with the absence of unpleasant distractions which his service in India gave him.

John's Coydog Community page