Thursday, 30 June 2016

Hounded to death: the last years of T. E. Shaw. 15. The Brough Superior

Shaw on the 1927 Brough Superior he had named George V.
Shaw's thoughts about the Brough Superior motorcycle fall into two categories: his experiences as a rider, and his observations about the motorcycles that he shared with George Brough. He named his first bike Boanerges (Βοανηργές) which meant "Sons of thunder". The name had been applied by Jesus to the brothers James and John to reflect their impetuosity. (Mark 3:17). His subsequent bikes were all named George. He died six days after the crash of the 1932 George VII in May of 1935

I can think of no better commentary about his experience as a rider than the day he raced a Bristol fighter plane:
"Once we so fled across the evening light, with the yellow sun on my left, when a huge shadow roared just overhead. A Bristol Fighter, from Whitewash Villas, our neighbour aerodrome, was banking sharply round. I checked speed an instant to wave: and the slip-stream of my impetus snapped my arm and elbow astern, like a raised flail. The pilot pointed down the road towards Lincoln. I sat hard in the saddle, folded back my ears and went away after him, like a dog after a hare. Quickly we drew abreast, as the impulse of his dive to my level exhausted itself.
"The next mile of road was rough. I braced my feet into the rests, thrust with my arms, and clenched my knees on the tank till its rubber grips goggled under my thighs. Over the first pothole Boanerges screamed in surprise, its mud-guard bottoming with a yawp upon the tyre. Through the plunges of the next ten seconds I clung on, wedging my gloved hand in the throttle lever so that no bump should close it and spoil our speed. Then the bicycle wrenched sideways into three long ruts: it swayed dizzily, wagging its tail for thirty awful yards. Out came the clutch, the engine raced freely: Boa checked and straightened his head with a shake, as a Brough should.
"The bad ground was passed and on the new road our flight became birdlike. My head was blown out with air so that my ears had failed and we seemed to whirl soundlessly between the sun-gilt stubble fields. I dared, on a rise, to slow imperceptibly and glance sideways into the sky. There the Bif was, two hundred yards and more back. Play with the fellow? Why not? I slowed to ninety: signalled with my hand for him to overtake. Slowed ten more: sat up. Over he rattled. His passenger, a helmeted and goggled grin, hung out of the cock-pit to pass me the 'Up yer' Raf randy greeting.
"They were hoping I was a flash in the pan, giving them best. Open went my throttle again. Boa crept level, fifty feet below: held them: sailed ahead into the clean and lonely country. An approaching car pulled nearly into its ditch at the sight of our race. The Bif was zooming among the trees and telegraph poles, with my scurrying spot only eighty yards ahead. I gained though, gained steadily: was perhaps five miles an hour the faster. Down went my left hand to give the engine two extra dollops of oil, for fear that something was running hot: but an overhead Jap twin, super-tuned like this one, would carry on to the moon and back, unfaltering.
"We drew near the settlement. A long mile before the first houses I closed down and coasted to the cross-roads by the hospital. Bif caught up, banked, climbed and turned for home, waving to me as long as he was in sight. Fourteen miles from camp, we are, here: and fifteen minutes since I left Tug and Dusty at the hut door." 
excerpt from The Mint, 16: The Road.
He toned things down just a little in some biographical details for publication that he sent to Robert Graves on the 28th June, 1927 (The Mint was only published posthumously), but, clearly, the race with the plane was on his mind:
"Put in a good word for Boanerges, my Brough bike. I had five of them in four years, and rode 100,000 miles on them, making only two insurance claims (for superficial damage to machine after skids), and hurting nobody. The greatest pleasure of my recent life has been speed on the road. The bike would do 100 m.p.h. but I'm not a racing man. It was my satisfaction to purr along gently between 60 and 70 m.p.h. and drink in the air and the general view. I lose detail at even moderate speeds, but gain comprehension. When I used to cross Salisbury Plain at 50 or so, I'd feel the earth moulding herself under me. It was me piling up this hill, hollowing this valley, stretching out this level place: almost the earth came alive, heaving and tossing on each side like a sea. That's a thing the slow coach will never feel. It is the reward of Speed. I could write for hours on the lustfulness of moving swiftly."
In writing to George Brough, the following very respectful letter does not totally eliminate his enthusiasm but does provide more of what the bike's designer would want to hear, and it was written so that Brough could use it for promotional purposes:
"27. 9. 26 
Dear Mr. Brough, 
      Yesterday I completed 100000 miles, since 1922, on five successive Brough Superiors, and I'm going abroad very soon, so that I think I must make an end, and thank you for the road-pleasure I have got out of them. In 1922 I found George I (your old Mark I) the best thing I'd ridden, but George V (the 1922 SS 100) is incomparably better. In 1925 and 1926 (George IV & V) I have not had an involuntary stop, and so have not been able to test your spares service, on which I drew so heavily in 1922 and 1923. Your present machines are as fast and reliable as express trains, and the greatest fun in the world to drive:- and I say this after twenty years experience of cycles and cars. 
      They are very expensive to buy, but light in upkeep (50-65 m.p.g. of petrol, 4000 m.p.g. oil, 5000-6000 miles per outer cover, in my case) and in the four years I have made only one insurance claim (for less than £5) which is a testimony to the safety of your controls and designs. The S.S. 100 holds the road extraordinarily. It's my great game on a really pot-holed road to open up to 70 m.p.h. or so and feel the machine gallop: and though only a touring machine it will do 90 m.p.h. at full throttle. 
      I'm not a speed merchant, but ride fairly far in the day (occasionally 700 miles, often 500) and at a fair average, for the machine's speed in the open lets one crawl through the towns, and still average 40-42 miles in the hour. The riding position and the slow powerful turn-over of the engine at speeds of 50 odd give one a very restful feeling.  
      There, it is no good telling you all you knew before I did: they are the jolliest things on wheels. 
Yours very sincerely 
T E Lawrence. "
Note, also, that he signed his name "T. E. Lawrence" In a cover letter enclosed, He signs his name J. H. Ross after explaining:
"I don’t want to sign it Ross, since that only makes the newspapers sit up and take notice: whereas they have already made beasts of themselves over the 'Lawrence' name, and can keep it, so far as I'm concerned. 
"I don't mind your showing it to people (or sticking it up on your stand, if that is a practice at Olympia) but I'd rather you did not print it in a newspaper till after December 15, when I'll have gone abroad. This is supposing it's of use, as a chit. What I really meant it for is best thanks, for a hundred thousand very jolly miles.
It is also very interesting that he did not use his current name: T. E. Shaw:. He knew that the Lawrence name would be more impressive for the public and he first wrote to Brough under his previous name: J. H. Ross. Most later writers about Shaw revert back to the publicly popular T. E. Lawrence but I think that giving the names that Shaw used at the time of any correspondence or incident is not only more respectful to the man, but also reveals the complexities of having several identities. My wife had legally changed her name, too, (picking her mother's maiden name as the last one) and was published under two different surnames. Even the usage of her first name was "Carrie" to her friends and family and "Carin" (her birth name) for professional purposes. Some people imagined that we were not legally married because our surnames were different. the proper use of her names was very important to her, as Shaw's usage of his names was to him.

The popular "T.E.L." was used by George Brough in his contribution to T. E. Lawrence by his friends, and this excerpt  was about Shaw bringing his very dirty bike to Brough's shop one day. It was the shop practice to clean any bike that came in for servicing:
"...I was walking through the shops with T.E.L., and a boy, who had been in my employ for a few days, was very laboriously brushing and and polishing away at the hubs and spokes of the bicycle's wheels. T.E.L. spoke to the boy and said 'I do like to see a boy set about the difficult parts. It is quite easy for me to clean the easy parts like the handle-bars and tank, isn't it? Imagine that boy's feelings, being spoken to in such a kindly manner by the one rider, above all others, of the machine he had helped to make. Immediately T.E.L. had left the works, the boy asked permission to leave and run home to tell the good news to his parents."
We will hear more from George Brough in the later episode about Shaw's death. Tomorrow is Canada Day, and I will be doing much wandering about with my camera so the next post will be on Monday. Have a jolly weekend.


John's Coydog Community page

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Hounded to death: the last years of T. E. Shaw. 14. More than "messing about in boats"

Shaw's close friend, Clare Smith (the wife of his commanding officer)
with Shaw as passenger driving "Biscuit" an 18 foot, 1925 Biscayne
Baby speedboat built by the Purdy Boat Company, New York.
In 1929, Shaw acted as personal assistant to his commanding officer, Sydney Smith's organizing the 1929 Schneider Seaplane Contest and they are presented with a Biscayne Baby in gratitude.

Later, in February of 1931, Shaw and Clare Smith are drinking coffee while watching seaplanes shooting at targets on the water when Shaw notices one of them flying erratically and then crash into the sea. Shaw became a hero yet again, Taking control of the situation, he took a boat and some men out to the wreck and dove in the water to discover men trapped inside the plane. Three were rescued, but nine men had drowned.

Shaw's concern about the R.A. F.'s use of boats predates this incident but certainly added to it, but his letters reveal another importance to him: he could gain some respite from his unwanted fame, from the press and the politician's rumor-mill, Throw himself eagerly into hard work and yet again achieve something worthwhile without adding to the sort of fame the public needed. He could become the "quiet hero" on his own terms without attracting unwanted attention:

To Bruce Rogers, December 12th 1929: 
"The weather is very bad: we do much extra work therefore. Two of our motor boats were sunk last week." 
To Lady Astor, January 19th, 1930: 
"I am duty crew here (one week's engrossment in motor boats on the Sound and Caltewater) so cannot be spared for the Naval Conference. 'Sink the Lot' would be my advice, only alas I have not been asked it!"
To James Hanley, December 28th 1931: 
"I have owed you a letter for months: it has sat much on my conscience. Here is the Haslett back, anyway. For months I have been in Hythe, near Southampton, testing R.A.F. motor boats and engines. That explains some of the delay, and much of my distraction. When at this job I cease to think about books and writing". 
To Clare Smith. January 2nd. 1932: 
"I have taken root in Hythe, almost. The Air Ministry want to adopt a hydraulic oil-motor engagement of gears, in the 200 class, and for weeks we have been re-designing and modifying the systems offered us. I hope it is nearly finished. It has been very difficult. I have orders, also, to write a handbook on the 200 boats. This shows me how little I know. Between these jobs my days and my nights are wholly occupied. Hence I neglect everything else. No music; no books. All work, they say, is dulling. At least it leaves me unconscious of time and neighbours."
Shaw makes some attempts to sound regretful of his workload, but not convincingly so. His importances had shifted: no longer was it with people; with the plight of the Arabs; with literary work. The machine would not worship him, nor would it betray him. He had started to exhibit more of the INTJ than his former INFJ. His close relationship with a few women at that time was also significant: they were unavailable, romantically, but they were also a new type of woman. Women had fought the system and gained their right to vote in 1928 and this was part of the culmination of a major change in society brought about by the circumstances of the First World War. I remember clearly, back in the mid eighties, of meeting such a woman who would have been of young adult age in the early twenties. Although very old, she had a liveliness about her; a twinkle in her eye and a sharp wit that I found lacking in many younger but still elderly women of my parent's generation. I also had a friend in Calgary in the seventies of that same generation. Marion Cooper had wanted to become a marine architect when a young woman in Scotland, but such things were not open to women at that time. She became an important interior designer instead (designing the interiors of Rideau Hall in Ottawa and The Jubilee Auditorium in Calgary) When I knew her, she owned an art gallery and was a mentor to many young artists, myself included. At the age of seventy three, her doctor advised her to give up cross-country skiing.  And later, I discovered that when my maternal grandmother frequently said to me "A little bit of what you fancy does you good" the line was taken from a rather ribald music-hall song. Perhaps Granny was a flapper! Shaw admired people who were genuine and their own selves and his relationships with his independently-minded female friends in those days gave him joy, but did not divert him from the more important quests he then sought.

Tomorrow, what became the most unfortunately significant machine in Shaw's life: the Brough Superior motorcycle.


John's Coydog Community page

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Hounded to death: the last years of T. E. Shaw. 13. The introverted intuitive

Introverted intuitive types attributed to Lawrence/Shaw
Discovering your own Briggs Myers personality type is very simple: there are several free on-line questionnaires to choose from. Attributing a personality type to another is not so simple. For a start, if you attempt to do so through examples of the subject's writing you might enter a situation where that person expresses themselves very differently in their written communication than they would in any vocal communication, or through their actions. There is also the problem of the functional aspects of all of the types. I am an INFJ but many people who know me have a hard time seeing that because my feeling (F) function is extraverted. The least credible of all attempts to analyse the Lawrence/Shaw personality is through the movie "Lawrence of Arabia": What would a verbal analysis of the script reveal? If the line is not a direct quote from Lawrence, himself, it is from the mind of the scriptwriter who might be expressing his own views of a situation or estimating how Lawrence would have said something. And what if the director had a line changed as it did not fit his vision of the character? the movie, after all, is the creative product of a director. It is his movie not Lawrence's; it is not even the scriptwriter's.

We are further ahead if we look at his actions, but the best approach, in my opinion, is to take all aspects into consideration in a holistic manner and this is what I have been trying to do in this series. Failing to do that, the task can resemble the fable of the blind men and the elephant. However, the complexities do not end there. there is one biography (at least) which analyses Lawrence almost entirely from the Seven Pillars of Wisdom. First we must ask "which edition?". No one can do it from Lawrence's first draft which was lost. His rewrite, "The Oxford Text" suffers, somewhat from Oxford University Press's editors "house style" and that has been rectified only recently by Castle Hill Press; the subscriber's edition was an abridgment leaving out, significantly, much of Lawrence's inner feelings about himself. N. Wilson (one of the two editors of the latest Castle Hill Edition) was very pleased when I told her that my first impression of the text was that it felt "fresh". They had intended to remove all traces of the Oxford house style of editing, so it came across to me more as the work of Lawrence, himself. Lawrence also had a tendency to over-edit and this, in my opinion, is a common fault in all creative work. It is best-known, though, in painting where such a painting is said to be "overworked". I have seen the same phenomenon in a recording studio with a musician friend. She wanted things to be absolutely perfect, myself and the sound engineer preferred the previous version because it was a bit "edgy". Traditional Japanese pottery is a perfect example of "unmessed with" creativity: it is done with the minimal fuss and all at once.

Even if we pay attention to all that I have mentioned above, the fact remains that, on different days and with different circumstances, our personalities can change some what. In an extreme case we can exhibit our shadow. There is also the possibility that the core personality type can change over the course of a lifetime. I think that this is very possible with the transition from Lawrence to Shaw; his two 'hero-quests" that are very different from each other. I feel that he was able to transcend rather than that the two were examples of the conscious ego and its shadow.

So, given these many caveats, my impression is that he started life as an INFJ. I can see many similarities in my own early years, although I was not encumbered with any physical problem of being small and younger-looking with its resulting physical correlate of the puer aeternus that Lawrence spent much of his life overcoming by hardening himself and engaging in honest and thorough work. He did not dally with work as some of the purely psychological types with a mother complex do: he threw himself into the tasks regardless of how mundane they were. I think, too that this resulted in a later shift from the INFJ to the INTJ. The former pays more attention to how human systems work and the latter to how mechanical systems work. The INFP's creativity gives us a problem and this is the type most attributed through the examination of the movie. It is thus more likely that the it is reflected by the creative acts of the people who made the movie. Lawrence engaged in a number of events where you would not expect the involvement of an INFP.

Finally, there is yet another caveat: each type can exhibit, sometimes, traits of another type at first glance, and with an historical figure, we are subjected to something quite similar to the first glance phenomenon. There are two really excellent analyses of the problems we face here:

INFJ vs INTP 

INFJ vs INFP

We have to consider, too, that the shortcomings of any function can be overcome through intensive training and practice and, naturally, this sort of thing improves over time. It will be less apparent in the younger person than in the older. Lucian's Herakles was an expression of the orator trying to overcome the "cult of the young" by giving an example of how an older orator (himself) could run rings around the young upstarts!

Back to the events of T. E. Shaw's later years tomorrow.


John's Coydog Community page

Monday, 27 June 2016

Hounded to death: the last years of T. E. Shaw. 12. The cynic

Antisthenes the cynic
photo: Marie-Lan Nguyen (2009)


For the Cynics, the purpose of life was to live in virtue, in agreement with nature. As reasoning creatures, people could gain happiness by rigorous training and by living in a way which was natural for themselves, rejecting all conventional desires for wealth, power, sex and fame. Instead, they were to lead a simple life free from all possessions.
Wikipedia entry for Cynicism (philosophy) 
This description of the cynic best describes Shaw after he had abandoned his identity as T. E. Lawrence and "Lawrence of Arabia". While not keeping himself free from all possessions, he certainly limited them to the bare essentials and allowed himself only the pleasures of his library and his motorcycle. His rigorous training was not limited to his studies and to his military enlistment, but also included a lifetime of hardening himself to overcome all that nature and circumstance had placed in his path.

But he also, now and again, would express the popular notion of the cynic. as the following two excerpts from his letters reveal:
To Ernest Thurtle, July 29th, 1929:
"I think the planet is in a damnable condition, which no change of party, or social reform, will do more than palliate insignificantly. What is wanted is a new master species - birth control for us, to end the human race in 50 years - and then a clear field for some cleaner mammal. I suppose it must be a mammal?"
(I ended one of my own blog posts in a similarly cynical way.)
To W. H. Brook, 30th December, 1929:
"The poor kid - am I to god-father him? Fathering I've dodged so far: god-fathering is possibly easier, as one doesn't have any financial responsibilities. Don't tell the child he's named after me, because then he would have to change to Shaw, and again to something-else later on, like me! Of course I shall be very pleased: but you say the little misery is only a few weeks old. Perhaps he will turn out a violent pacifist (unlike his father) and curse us both as a couple of blood-stained old dodderers, when he is old enough to curse. They talk, I believe, at about two (parrots not before five) and walk at much the same age. Infant camels, as you have probably told Mrs. Brook, can walk three hours after birth. One up on them. You do not say what you are doing now. I assume that it's not what you did in Arabia: though parts of Brecon would lend themselves well to irregular war. I've come down in the world - enlisted about eight years ago (when the politics of the Middle East got smooth, and let me go) and propose to stay on enlisted till my beard is long and white. It is a life which pleases me - few cares, some friends, a little work, much laughing."
While people can suddenly change as the result of reaction to some thing; a reversal or enantiodromia; Shaw's change was more calculated and discriminatory: he never changed his way of  toughening himself but there were clearly two "hero quests" in his life which were separated by experience and considerable soul-searching. Some people want another to change, but most people reject changes in the people whom they know,The public, in general, found it impossible to let go of "Lawrence of Arabia" as he had been constructed as an archetypal hero and, since the last half of the nineteenth century, materialism had truncated the view of the hero as but one stage in a life. Jung expresses his own brand of cynicism about modern materialism:
"The fact that a metaphysics of the mind was supplanted in the nineteenth century by a metaphysics of matter is, intellectually considered, a mere trick, but from the psychological point of view it is an unexampled revolution in man’s outlook. Other-worldliness is converted into matter-of-factness; empirical boundaries are set to every discussion of man’s motivations, to his aims and purposes, and even to the assignment of “meaning.” The whole invisible inner world seems to have become the visible outer world, and no value exists unless founded on a so-called fact. At least, this is how it appears to the simple mind."
Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 8: Structure & Dynamics of the Psyche: Basic Postulates of Analytical Psychology (p. 339). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.
 Shaw classifies and explains the course of his life from 1914 while talking about Seven Pillars of Wisdom to Frederic Manning, on May 15th, 1930 in one of his most revealing letters :
"Your remarks hit off very closely the obstacles that attended the delivery of The Seven Pillars . I was a rather clumsy novice at writing, facing what I felt to be a huge subject with hanging over me the political uncertainty of the Arab movement. We had promised them so much, and at the end wanted to give them so little. So for two years there was a dog fight, up and down the dirty passages of Downing St., and then all came out right - only the book was finished. It might have been happier, had I foreseen the clean ending. I wrote it in some stress and misery of mind.
"The second complicity was my own moral standing. I had been so much of a free agent, repeatedly deciding what I (and others) should do: and I wasn't sure if my opportunity (or reality, as I called it) was really justified. Not morally justifiable. I could see it wasn't: but justified by the standard of Lombard St. and Pall Mall. By putting all the troubles and dilemmas on paper, I hoped to work out my path again, and satisfy myself how wrong, or how right, I had been.
"So the book is the self-argument of a man who couldn't then see straight: and who now thinks that perhaps it did not matter: that seeing straight is only an illusion. We do these things in sheer vapidity of mind, not deliberately, not consciously even. To make out that we were reasoned cool minds, ruling our courses and contemporaries, is a vanity. Things happen, and we do our best to keep in the saddle. ...
"What you say about the descriptive stuff slowing down the narrative pleases me, rather. I had suspected it. Descriptions shouldn't be more than a line or two. Only I was not really out to make a masterpiece (-or was I? I think I wanted to, and felt that I could not, and had not) and the sense of the country and atmosphere and climate and furniture of Arabia hung so tightly about me that I put too much of them into the story, in hopes that they would make it life-like. I wake up now, often, in Arabia: the place has stayed with me much more than the men and the deeds. Whenever a landscape or colour in England gets into me deeply, more often than not it is because something of it recalls Arabia. It was a tremendous country and I cared for it far more than I admired my role as a man of action. More acting than action, I fancy, there. ...
"The first draft was not destroyed by me, but stolen from me; left behind in the refreshment room of Reading Station, and taken by some unknown! It was shorter, snappier, and more truthful than the present version, which was done from memory. I do not think it was franker and angrier, for I do not get angry much, and 1920 (the date of this text, in the main) was a worse year for me than 1919, the date of the first draft. My compromise with fate you will see happening gradually in 1922-23, as I settled into the R.A.F.; if you read The Mint . Here is the chronology:
1914-1918: the War
1919: Peace Conference: misery
1920-1921 (Aug): Dog fight in London with the British Government
1922: Eighteen months work with Winston Churchill settling the Middle East after my lights.
1922 (Aug)-193O: R.A.F."
Tomorrow, the vagaries of the Intuitive Introvert.


John's Coydog Community page

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).



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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.


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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)

"...work 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."


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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