Posted on April 8, 2013by

Smashwords — Spiritus Mundi – Book I: The Novel — A book by Robert Sheppard

See on Scoop.itWorld Literature Forum

Robert Sheppard’s thriller novel, Spiritus Mundi, is an unforgettable read and epic journey bringing to life the sexual and spiritual lives of struggling global idealists overcoming despair, nuclear terrorism, espionage and a threatened World War…

Robert Sheppard‘s insight:

Spiritus Mundi, Novel by Robert Sheppard is now available on Smashwords!—–Check it Out Now!

See on

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Smashwords — Spiritus Mundi – Book II: The Romance — A book by Robert Sheppard



See on Scoop.itWorld Literature Forum

Robert Sheppard’s thriller novel, Spiritus Mundi, is an unforgettable read and epic journey bringing to life the sexual and spiritual lives of struggling global idealists overcoming despair, nuclear terrorism, espionage and a threatened World War…

Robert Sheppard‘s insight:

Spiritus Mundi–Book II: The Romance is now Available on Smashwords!—-Check It Out Now!

See on

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Sartorius’ Blog from Spiritus Mundi,Excerpts


Note: The following contains several excerpts from the Blog of Robert Sartorius in the novel, Spiritus Mundi, by Robert Sheppard. For additional background on the novel follow the several related links below:

Related Links and Websites:  Spiritus Mundi, Novel by Robert Sheppard

For Introduction and Overview of the Novel:

For Author’s Blog:

To Read a Sample Chapter from Spiritus Mundi:

To Read Fantasy, Myth and Magical Realism Excerpts from Spiritus Mundi:

To Read Sexual Excerpts from Spiritus Mundi: The Varieties of Sexul Experience:

To Read Spy, Espionage and Counter-terrorism Thriller Excerpts from Spiritus Mundi:

To Read Geopolitical and World War Three Excerpts from Spiritus Mundi:

To Read Spiritual and Religious Excerpts from Spiritus Mundi:

To Read about the Global Campaign for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly in Spiritus Mundi

To Read Poetry from Spiritus Mundi

For Discussions on World Literature and Literary Criticism in Spiritus Mundi:

For Discussions of World History and World Civilization in Spiritus Mundi:

To Read the Blog of Andreas Sarkozy from Spiritus Mundi:

To Read the Blog of Robert Sartorius from Spiritus Mundi:

To Read the Blog of Eva Strong from Spiritus Mundi:

Sartorius’ Blog:

“Between twenty and thirty I gradually became more and more agnostic and irreligious, yet I cannot say that I completely lost that indefinite consciousness of what has been oft described as “the Absolute Reality behind phenomenon.
For me this Reality was not the Pure Unknowable or Ding-an-Sich of
Idealistic philosophy, for although I had ceased my childish prayers to God,
and never prayed to It in a formal manner, yet my more recent experience shows me to have been in relation to It, which practically was the same thing as prayer. Whenever I had trouble, especially when I had conflict with other people, either domestically or in the way of business, or when I was depressed in spirits about affairs, I now recognize that I used to fall back for support upon this curious relation I
felt myself to be in to this fundamental cosmical It.  It was on my side, or I was on its
side, however you please to term it, in the particular trouble and it always
strengthened me and seemed to give me endless vitality to feel its underlying
and supporting presence. In fact it was an unfailing fountain of living
justice, truth, and strength to which I instinctively turned at times of
weakness, and it always brought me out.

I know now it was a personal relation I was in to It because of late years the power
of communicating with it has left me, and I am conscious of a perfectly
definite loss. I used never to fail to find it when I turned to it. Now, at nearly
fifty my power of getting into communication with it has entirely left me; and
I have to confess that a great help has gone out of my life. Life has become
curiously dead and indifferent.”

After finishing his blog entry Sartorius glanced at his watch and saw he had only
twenty minutes until his four o’clock class and so he shoved his books into his
book bag and hustled in the direction of the Weiminghu lake and towards the
teaching buildings.

Sartorius’ Blog

There are many chances that theworld may be nothing but a fairy pantomime of which no God has care. We mustarrange ourselves as that on neither hypothesis we shall be completely wrong.We must listen to the superior voices, but in such a way that if the secondhypothesis were true we should not have been too completely duped. If in effectthe world is not a serious thing, it is the dogmatic people who will be the
shallow ones, and the worldly minded whom the theologians now call frivolous
will be those who are really wise.

In utrumque paratus,” then.  Be ready for anything—-that perhaps is
wisdom. Give ourselves up, according to the hour, to confidence, to skepticism,
to optimism, to irony, and we may be sure that, at certain moments at least, we
shall be with the truth……………..Good humour is a philosophic state of mind; it
seems to say to Nature that we take her no more seriously than she takes us. I
maintain that one should always talk of philosophy with a smile. We owe it to
the Eternal to be virtuous; but we have a right to add to this tribute our
irony as a sort of personal reprisal. In this way we return to the right
quarter jest for jest; we play the trick that has been played on us. Saint
Augustine’s phrase “Lord if we have been deceived it is by thee!” remains a
fine one, well suited to our modern feeling. Only we wish the Eternal to know
that if we accept the fraud we accept it knowingly and willingly. We are
resigned in advance to losing the interest on our virtue, but we wish not to
appear ridiculous by having counted on them too securely.—Renan.


Sartorius’ Blog


I have felt myself falling more and more lately into a profound indifference, or
an overgrasping passivity. I have noted for several years that my memory was
not so sharp as two decades ago, yet that seemed but a small nuisance—-but
lately the absences of my mind are not those of the small unrecalled facts or
names just out of grasp but seem rather absences of my very self, like the boy
who inexplicably does not show up at school and is marked truant. Often I
cannot immediately recall what year it is or how many years I have been in this
country or the month until I make a strained effort to reorient myself by a
calendar, then recover functionally enough to normalcy.  I often find myself ‘not there’ and try to
recover where I might have been straying to, like the adolescent full of
anarchy and misery lost in an absent-minded cloud of his own thoughts who is
surprised to discover himself on the wrong path on the way to school, heading
out of the town instead of towards the schoolhouse.

More and more my thoughts are like a forgotten pot on the oven that slowly boils away to a charred film at the bottom—boiling down to the last residue of thought—- “what is the use of anything?”—the utter futility of it all. At least six times a day I come
to the fleeting and seemingly unrebutted conclusion of a half-second that this
life is not worth the pain—which somehow seems to be an unavoidable certainty
whereas any countervailing hope of happiness seems the most uncertain and
conjectural mirage, the pursuit of which is infinitely more likely to end in
further disappointment than to any possible satisfaction. Luckily, perhaps,
life is a habit not easy to break and routine carries me along from day to day,
each day avoiding the implications of these heavy thoughts, and each day
returning to them in an altered context. I find myself avoiding more and
more——avoiding the recollection of how many years old I am and how many
years I have been away from home. Home is where one starts from and each year
the distance and the loneliness is increased by one further degree.

I work on with the United Nations work with no great confidence that anything
will ever come of it—-perhaps it is all a beau geste, a beautiful but empty gesture? And if it even against the odds succeeded would the world or any of our lives really be any the better for it all? Would our hearts and lives be any less empty and futile? Would we have created anything more than another forum for politicians’ lies and deceits and
manipulations? For me, doubt has darkened into unbelief, and the dimming shade
on shade of disappointments have pooled themselselves into a well and a wall of
palpable blackness. Are any of these dreams worth the insult and injury, the
endless pain and disillusionment inevitable in the pursuit of them? Faith is
properly the one thing needful, but I have walked in the darkness these two
decades while my small tapered candle of faith has burnt down to its hollowed-out
butt-end and there is still no light at the end of the tunnel. I wish that I
could again believe as I once hoped to believe as a young man, in a loving God,
in a rightful cause, in a brighter future, in a brotherhood of civilization, a
republic of letters, and in a fulfilled dream of love and family, but it all
seems so much whistling in the dark and wishful thinking cum self-delusion. My
heart holds out in the good fight against the bleaker conclusions of my own
mind, but I do not know how, how long, wither or why. Perhaps only a residual
distaste of unmanly weakness keeps me from puking up this sick existence by
suicide. Is there no God then, nor nothing else worth living for?—-My candle
is flickering down to a smoking nothingness as my mind more and more tells me
that these hopes are little more than self-deceits and evasions of a bitterer,
darker truth.

What then? Go down as a tragic hero? But is anyone watching above or below, and would anyone care or remember in twenty years or a hundred? Is it all anything but ego, narcissism and vanity?  I do not know. With stupidity and good animal digestion you can get through life on animal faith, but even
the minimum of awareness leads to despair as much as to any hope—and
happiness has always been as much a suspect goal as it has proven an elusive
one. All of this seems more and more to me a vast and loveless desert of empty
men and empty lives, wherein is heard nothing but the shrieks of animals,
howling wind and the despairing whining of hate-filled men and women choking on
their own broken illusions and self-delusions,——and to which a call for
help to heaven or earth is answered only by a hollow echo.

I would gladly live for any beautiful dream, but I cannot forsake or evade the Truth—I would live for a dream, for a myth even—-but I cannot bring myself to the indignity of living for a lie—-that’s the hell of it, pure and simple. The painfullest feeling is
that of your own feebleness, and of your own blindness and unknowing. To be
weak and helpless is the true misery.

And of what small strength eachof us might have one can know but the little bit of what prospers and but only in what we have done. There is a certain inarticulate or pre-articulate self awareness of who we are or might be, or might have been, but it is discovered but too little and too late in the little areas of life we chance to live out.
Thus the futility of the invocation, gnothe s’auton, “Know Thyself,” until one’s ‘self’ is thrust into action and fruitful interaction with the world, life and experience. But pain blinds us and paralyzes us and takes away even these small fruits. ‘That all men live in suffering, I as few can know; Whether they take the upper road or stay content on the low’—–Pain and death are the great social equalizers in this life—the two great equal
opportunity employers of this squalid existence.

But for me, so strangely unprosperous have I been, that the net result of all of my work and striving has come down to one stark and simple word—–Nothing.  How can I believe then in some supposed golden future so radically at difference with the past?  When would a simple—“finita la commedia” and an honest curtain drop be the nobler ending of the play? I have slowly faced first doubt and then unbelief in God and gonen on, but the fearful unbelief is unbelief in yourself. But how can I believe?
The mystery of life has grown ever more mysterious, yet ever more painful to
me, and every attempt to solve the riddle has cast me out. I am a
man of no moon. I seem to have been given eyes capable of only seeing my
own misery and inadequacy. Has there been any soul in heaven or on earth to
whom I could could unbosom and release my miseries and loneliness and pains?
No, in truth there has been none. Finding my prayers unanswered from a vacant
and voiceless heaven, why should I speak of those withered, too hungry and too
vain persons, so-called friends, who have disappointed me, and I them in
greater measure no doubt, in that incredible tradition pretending to be called
friendship, not to speak of love?

Now, when I look back at these past few years it seems a
strange and uncanny isolation that I have lived in. The men and the women
around me, speaking with me, were but figures, perhaps stick figures or puppets;
I had practically forgotten they were alive and not automatons or holograms. In
the midst of their millions in Beijing, London, New York, Berlin I walked
absolutely isolated and alone, and savage like the jungle’s tiger as
well—except it was myself and my own heart I was devouring like a predator
instead of theirs. My voice called out for a kindred soul but was answered but
by an echo of my own voice and a chatter and buzz of those urban insect hives. It
might even have been comforting to have been tempted in my despair like Faust
by Mephistopheles—that would have proven that there was some possibility of
meaning in this universe somewhere, even if it did not apply to me. But no, for
me the entire universe was all void of life, of purpose, even of hostility; it
was one huge, dead, immeasurable combustion-engine, rolling on, in its dead indifference, grinding me limb from limb–a mill of death ! Why was I so banished here?

      These have been my feelings of late years, admittedly at times over indulgent in
self-pity, yet not beyond understanding being prey incessantly to such emotional
corrosions, and disappointments. I am conscious of falling into weakness and in
turn falling again into sickness, but who can claim immunity to what I have
experienced or the human vulnerability that goes with it? Werther showed how
beautiful it could be to die of a broken heart on paper but I can confirm that
it is nothing but wretched in practice.

             Walking along the congested streets of Beijing, New York and London I have often raised myself up to the thought of, should I in a fit of absent-mindedness enter the next street unlooking and fate arrange that around the next corner a massive
lorry truck should strike me dead, would it be for the better or for the worse?
More often in the last few years the answer was a profound indifference. Indeed,
for the last two decades, though to all outward appearances I have lived a
normal, some undoubtedly might surmise successful life, in the back of my mind
and from time to time after midnight on a sleepless night I have had the
thought that whatever happened to me I could bear—–if things were to remain this
unbearable on my fiftieth birthday I could always take command of the situation
and kill myself. Perverse as this notion was, perhaps Mephistophlean, it helped
me keep control of myself and bear anything that came my way in the way of
suffering. Normally I did not take such a notion seriously, just as a kind of
joke or private game or crutch when I was feeling depressed, but from time to
time it would resurface and again submerge itself in my consciousness, like the
mythic White Whale biding its time in nemesis. Perversely the looming of this supposed rendezvous with death had a great and salubrious effect, like the exorcism of a shaman of an obscure and dubious cult, perhaps nothing more than a psychic
placebo, yet conferring an unexpected freedom and existential liberty vis-à-vis
the small difficulties of day to day life.

                        After my divorce and some years after I had ceased to believe in God other curious notions took hold of my imagination from time to time. I began to feel
depressed and in despair at irregular intervals, and if I did not have friends
or lost a girlfriend I would withdraw into myself, feeling I was not like other
people but rather more like a wild animal, like a wolf of the steppes. Here in
Beijing a book was published, Lang Tuteng, or The Wolf Totem, by Jiang
Rong——something like Jack London’s Call of the Wild or White Fang,
telling the story from the point of view of a wolf and dog returned to the
wild, passing between the worlds of raw nature and civilization.  My imagination was enflamed from these books and I often felt that I belonged to the tribe of the Wolf Totem, or that I was really half-wolf and half-human, and that I did not really belong in the civilized bourgious world of middle-class humans, but was really a wild animal
soujourning with the bourgious mediocre world on good behavior until I would
someday return to the wild—return to the steppes and forests as a wolf, and
live intensely and free beyond the bounds of bourgious middle-class society. I
began to hate the measured, middle-class, compromising and risk-avoiding,
reality avoiding world of bourgious society, even as I moved within it; hated
if for its spiritual cowardice and craven material comforts that prevented anyone
from living intensely and beautifully in any way or taking any risk that might
threaten convention, be it liberal or conservative convention, or the order of
property and authority—–even such indirect risks as making the political
quantum leap forward implicit in the United Nations Parliamentary Assembly
project. Somehow this feeling and fantasy also influenced my long decision to
live abroad as an expatriate in China, instead of returning to the US, coupled
with my sense of being an outcast by reason of the failure of the many of the
programs and projects such as the UNPA that I worked on and my writings.  I began to feel I was an outcast and no longer
belonged to normal middle-class society.
I declared my “non serviam” to the established clichés and beliefs with
a quantum leap of defiance, indignation and protest:   This non
pealed authoritatively through all the recesses of my being, of my
Me ; and then was it that my whole Me stood up, in native God-created majesty (whether or not there be a God, no matter), and with emphasis recorded its Protest.

The feeling of doubt and despair and of isolation increased year by year, and I
felt myself in the grip of a universal spirit of negation and nothingness, in
Chinese a “Yongyuande Bu” or an “Eternal No,” and tangentially on a downward collision course and rendezvous with ultimate death.

Who can tell who will triumph tomorrow? Some say God others say nobody, one hypothesis is as good as another, because to speak of yesterday, today and tomorrow is simply to give different names to the same illusion.

Sometimes these fantasies fed on my depression and caused me to drink intensely or abuse some prescription drugs such as Valium. Usually, I would recover from these drinking and depression fits by swearing off alcohol and then burying myself in my work, doing research and writing books on the United Nations Parliamentary Assembly program or other academic or literary works, escaping into a workaholic excess. Additionally, the writing of this blog proved a further help.


On the World Financial Crisis: Needed
Spiritual Recapitalization

All modern societies, both East and West, detached from their traditional spiritual roots, have become compulsively materialistic, spiritually impoverished and
technologically and economically obsessed. Collectively they perpetuate the
fallacies of the alchemists, projecting their frustrated spiritual aspirations
into material things in the delusion they were pursuing the highest value. This
mania of the material, coupled with the uncontrolled snowballing of related
dementias of greed and fear occasionally leads to systemic breakdown and
crisis.  This has distorted perspectives, encouraging us to treat each other as economic and consumable commodities, and to exploit both the human and natural resources of the planet unsustainably, while neglecting the spiritual resources of both the self and the community. A propos of the recent language of the recent world economic crisis, we may say we have reached the point of spiritual bankruptcy. The only remedy for our globalized civilization’s ‘loss of soul’ is a massive reinvestment in the inner
life of individuals and the recapitalization of the collective culture through
revitalization of its mythic and imaginative roots.

Of The Best Life to be Lived

The best life is the life lived sub specie aeternitas; The decisive question for a man is this: am I related to something infinite or not? This, the ultimate question for mankind, has given rise to all the myths and religions ever created, each one being a brave attempt on the part of some human group to relate to the infinite, the eternal,
the quest for the cosmic connection, the experience of the sacred and the holy,
and as such is a fundamental imperative of the Self and its intrinsic
fulfillment.….In sleep fantasy takes the form of dreams, but in waking life too, we continue to dream below the surface and threshold of consciousness. Thus as the moon and stars accompany us unseen during our day’s revolutions, the soul accompanies us as a constant unseen companion, though occasionally verging above the horizon into sight. The soul is constantly speaking to us, but in a voice unheard, and we fail to take in its utterances because we fail to hear them.—Jung.

The Negative Imperative: Accept that the process of life involves being used to a
higher degree than in using. Life and the species use us each for ends not our
own. The life of the individual is the external life of the species. Our human
striving may serve divine ends incomprehensivly beyond our own. The imperative
becomes that of shaping those ends you are used for—-that of insuring one’s
being used for the most vitally highest purposes by the most noble
powers—–life, beauty, love, humanity, the infinite.

On World Literature and the Response to Globalization: The globalization of the world economy has created imbalances leading to financial crisis unmanageable by the
present order of governance by the local nation-state.  Similarly the problems of global environmental degradation and climate change, organized crime and drugs, and terrorism demand the strengthening of international institutions to deal with problems that are global in scale. Thus our work in the creation of a United Nations World Parliament as a foundation for the further serengthening of the vital
institutions of global governance as the only means of coping with the
globalized problems overwhelming our lives. But the deeper and more
foundational challenge is the globalization of the common spiritual heritage of
mankind, reflected in the great challenge of the building and cultivation of a
common world culture, a common human language of the spirit, and a common
universal civilization rooted in a common collective unconscious human soul
capable of modulating and harmonizing the potential ‘clashes of civilizations.’
That such efforts not come to naught, as in the mythic undoing of the Tower of
Babel, there is required the rooting and cultivation of a common culture, the
cultivation of the universal collective unconscious imagination, the
development of a common global consciousness, citizenship and language, or (for
those linguistically skeptical of the possibility of such a common culture
arising spontaneously at a minimum its positive cultural construction based on
a sustained effort to construct a sustainable cultural consensus) as a
foundation for such global institutions. The survival of mankind globally makes
this a modern imperative, and it is a project which historically cannot be
avoided or delayed. The work of a World Literature is integral and vital to the
success of this common project.

Gide’s Ideal:  Disponsibilite—Openness to all Experience—Discourse
and Understanding Based on openness and shared sensitivity to all Experience

Jung: ‘Process of Individuation’—-the full unfolding and evolutionary development of thegreater Self enabling the realization of one’s full human potential.

Cf. Anthony & Cleopatra

Ideal of Amimetobion: “To live

Synapothanumenon:  ‘Those that in shared common spirit wilt willingly
choose to live and die together”

On Ezra Pound: Living in China I am drawn back again and again to the figure of Ezra Pound, whose Cantos and his exploration of Confucian
culture and virtues was one of the original forces drawing me towards an
involvement with Chinese culture and language. His universal scope of vision
encompassing the world’s great traditions including Fenellosa’s works on China
and Japan and the Greek and Roman classics as a counterpoint and counterweight
to modern fragmentary opportunist individualism and financial capitalism sets
him out as the voice of a prophet of Biblical proportions and moral force,
notwithstanding his dalliance with fascism. As a discoverer or patron of Eliot,
Joyce, Lawrence and Hemingway he stands also as a colossus in the development
of American and world literatures, and his life and suffering in dedication to
his métier and profession of literature is compelling, even discounting his
errors and excesses.  His vision of epic as an engagement of narrative and poetry with  history, and his global horizons are recurring inspirations in the quest for a World Literature, and a literature engagee.  In the post-Soviet
era his engagement with economics as a central reality of history, often
derided as the preoccupation of a crank, resurfaces as the search for an
alternative socio-economic vision to communist revolution as a social ideal
becomes more urgent with the onset of the World Financial Crisis. His crusade
against “Usura” proves resilient as a modulation of the Marxist critique of
money capitalism, though sometimes veering off course towards errant populism
or fascism. If the totalitarian party state of pure communism has perverted the
ideals of its revolution and possibly been “consigned to the dustbin of history”
in its pure form, what then? What alternative arises to capitulation to the
persistent evils of globalized capitalism that it set its program of revolution
against? I am more and more convinced that the crusade against the wrongful alienationof the fruit of labour from the worker and creator highlighted by Marx was  not mistaken, though its correction by a totalitarian party state communism cum
corrupt party state capitalism has failed. There is something wrong in the
concept of “ownership” of the productive enterprise that fails to share that
productivity with the bulk of the workers, mental and physical, who create its
value but alienate it to “owners” and “shareholders” only. Yes, capital needs
to be compensated for its capital investment—but should unconditional
appropriation of the present and future productivity of the enterprise through “ownership” accrue only to the original contributors of capital to the exclusion of the
workers who have invested their very lives in the enterprise? Pound was drawn
to the “Social Credit” concepts of C.H. Douglas in which the workers derived a “social
dividend” from their productive work invested in the enterprise just as the
original investors derived a financial dividend from their capital invested in
that enterprise. Somehow the workers must derive an equitable proportion of “ownership” in the enterprise and at a minimum in the accumulated fruits of its production through some reformulation of the corporation laws to embody some form of intrinsic “sweat equity” to complement the arbitrary “winner takes all—owner
takes all” system of the present that leaves them with nothing beyond a bare
wage and a pink slip in the end. There is no reason the original incorporators
of the limited liability corporation, often contributing only the seed capital,
should have exclusive claim on “ownership.” Why are there no pink slips for the
excessive claims and interests of the so-called owners of an enterprise in time
of crisis but only for the productive workers who may be arbitrarily given “pink
slips” extinguishing any claim or equity they have in the legacy of their
cumulative productive effort—an action comparable to thrusting survivors of a
shipwreck from a common lifeboat into shark infested waters? The Syndicalists
were working along the same lines and some versions of start-up venture capitalism
where employees derive a mandatory shareholding in addition to wages, as exampled
in more modern times by very imperfect employee stock and options plans evolved
in the same direction, though only for the key officers in the main. The
anarchist Proudhoun’s famous dictum “Property is Theft’ still contains at least
a half-truth in multiple directions. In some contexts, such as the feudal
seizure of land by armed barons, property undoubtedly was the result of the
physical force of violence used by a violent minority to expropriate the commom
resources of nature from the general human community and make them exclusive to
a small armed minority. Slavery was an extended instance of the same process.
What on the other hand would constitute a legitimate basis of the institution
of property—including property in the company or the productive fruit of
large scale economic enterprise? It is a crucial as well as unanswered question
of vital importance. Certainly, irrespective of the arbitrary and often unjust
effect of the positive laws of property, one could posit a right of the worker
in the fruits of his labor and transformations of the material of nature. Capital
itself would have a claim of some legitimacy (contrary to populist communist
cant) as the act of saving and accumulation of surplus and the cumulative
productive investment in the transformation of the future is itself worthy of
social protection. Yet the proposition that the registered owner of a large
enterprise has the exclusive property right or equity in the fruit of the
labour of the tens of thousands of souls who contribute to the final product
and to their collective investment in the future is clearly flawed. In Europe
worker Supervisory Boards and employee Directors exercising “Co-determination”
explored the same conundrum, though with rampant conflicts of interests and
lack of discipline in the system. Mere communist expropriation by party and
state in the name of an ill-defined people proved equally disastrous. Perhaps
there will eventually be a solution to this vexing riddle. I continue to puzzle
over it and have not yet found an answer.


Sartorius’ Blog

Who would
want to live life as it is if they could help it? The only hope lies in
unreality —-another world where truth is untrue and life can hide from
itself. It is a place where I drowned long ago as if I were a ghost belonging
to the fog, and the fog was a ghost of the sea, and salvation lay in being
nothing more than a ghost within a ghost.

As masked
actors we speak not our own lines but hide in the language of others. So masked
we speak as another and, momentarily, evade the self which can be, and always
is, so overwhelmingly vulnerable to pain.

evasion of pain leads by dark necessity to that corresponding evasion of self
in the obscure moment of unconscious life, and its corresponding evasion of
responsibility in expedient erasure of past and future consequence within one’s
self.  Mute unconsciousness is thus an effective
opiate protecting against the danger of real communication and recognition. In
short I am a coward perpetually hiding from myself and from my own cowardice. I
am a failed magician forever attempting by sleight of hand the substitution of
unsustainable illusions for painful realities.

How long
before our masquerade will end its noise? ……and we shall find out it was a
solitary performance? Our relations with each other are oblique and
casual….Nothing is left us now but death. We look to that with grim
satisfaction, saying, there at least is reality that will not dodge us. It is
very unhappy, but too late to be helped, the discovery we have made, that we


The work
of art is not a jewel but a lens. Its efficiency is not the formalist ideal of
perfected form, but the clarity of vision of self, soul and spirit and the
world that it enables and reveals.

Sharing a sense of doubt can bring
men together perhaps even more than sharing a faith.

Four on
the Human Mind:

Browning:            Prize the Doubt; Low kinds exist

A man’s reach
should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?

(Andrea del Sarto)

Milton:                 The mind is its own place, and
in itself

make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heav’n
(Paradise Lost)

Emerson:     Nature is the incarnation of a thought, and
turns to a thought again, as ice becomes water and gas…….The world is mind
precipitated.  (Nature)

Yeats:           Considering that, all hatred driven

The soul recovers radical innocence

And learns at last that it is self-delighting,

Self-appeasing, self-affrighting,

And that its own sweet will is Heaven’s will;
(Prayer for My Daughter)


Short-story Scenario: A Case of
Anterograde Amnesia (Ground Hog Day Redux)

  1. A  54 year old man perpetually believes he is
  2. Every
    day on arising he writes the same entry in his diary: “I have just become conscious
    for the first time—–my life is beginning on this beautiful morning—-it is
    a great awakening to the future.”

The Post-Modernists: They believed in the most important
thing of all:  that nothing was real.  If it was the middle of the night under the
full moon and you wanted it to be mid-day under the sweltering sun, and if
enough people could be made to believe it was noon, then by God it was noon! If
there was snow on the ground it was not real snow, but you simply paid a little
money and the illusion of snow went away, as did all inconvenient truths or
personal complications. And, happily, if the world was an absurd and
meaningless illusion you were absolved of the further illusion of attempting to
assume any responsibility to change or better it or even make choices or to struggle
with it. A comfortable sneer would be a sufficient response to both the inner
and outer life in which one so absurdly and hopelessly found oneself. Reality and
any values in response to it was not only negotiable but up for sale on the
block to the highest bidder possessed of sufficient currency, which currency
proved undetectable in its coin or crown under its own counterfeiting, redeemable
at face value only as the supreme fiction. In short they were Post-Modern.

The Post-Modern Fallacy: That there is no truth or knowable
reality. Therefore our actions and beliefs have no real consequences or costs.
Stories can end and be varied at will. All is an empty charade, play and fictional
pretense. Yet even our fictions and masks have consequences and costs in both
their own terms and in terms of referential realities. Even dreams have
opportunity costs, and one fiction may exclude another, as well as any supreme

The Greatest Muse:
Pain and its suffering is the greatest muse, opening an inescapable
window on the real.

Feminism at its Worst: A Zero-sum game of Power in which
both sexes subtract from one another to the limit of mutual nothingness and
mutual death.

Feminism at its Best: The full development of the full
potential of the female human person mutually supporting the full development
of of the male in fruitful union and common complementarity.

Of Man and Society:

is inside man, and

Man is inside society;

The fish is inside the water,

The water inside
the fish.

Of Nietzsche:  A rectal thermometer for acute rectitudinal

Walter Benjamin:           Mankind’s
self-alienation has reached such a degree that it can experience its own
destruction as an aesthetic pleasure of the first order.

The Engines of Illusion: Lifestyle
against Life

Sexual Modernity: Characterized by the Singles Bar Paradigm, by which sexuality is
degraded to a transactional basis grounded in commodity exchange and in which
mutual fear and non-communication produce a counterfeit sexual commodity, a
black market of skin denuded of soul. Sexuality is a common currency, but
counterfeit and of false value, cheap but unsatisfying, transient, and in the
end meaningless at any deeper levels. It is a world drained of beauty, purpose
or meaning in which aggression is substituted for communication and communion,
and even that is inadequate to overcome the isolation of solitude and despair
which ultimately drive the Engines of Illusion. In this neverending crisis of
Post-Modern Capitalism I shall not be surprised when the day arrives when the
latest airline alliance announces they shall begin charging extra for the
carrying of a soul as excess baggage.


Sartorius’ Blog

The War on Terrorism:  Making war on our own shadow. —-(Shadow
Boxing!—Tai Qi Quan!)

The world is too much to bear in its unending
sickening spectacle, and yet we have no alternative but to bear it. I cannot go
on—I go on. Another heart-sickening day in the global villiage passes by as I
watch Buck Bolger on the television screen pontificating in unyielding, unfeeling
and unseeing posturing self-righteous pride from the floor of the United
Nations demanding submission and unconditional surrender of his terrorist foes
across the globe as another three hundred are blown to bloodied fragments in
Baghdad, Bombay and Anbar Province and the farce of the latest round of the
Middle-East peace talks implodes for the umpteenth time in a grim pantomime of
pretense, posturing and insincerity. The barrier between the antagonists has
not weakened by time. Time, consoler of affliction and softener of anger and
grief, could do nothing to help them. Israelis and Palestinians, that
ill-assorted couple unhappy in themselves and in the other with whom they must
so involuntarily cohabit their slight share of this earth and its human possibilities,
manacled together by history, and chafed to the bone. We have discovered that
we live in a Global Villiage, but have discovered that it is inhabited by

day of hatred, pride, humiliation and exasperation on all sides. It is so
unnatural to reason that we should so spend our energies blighting each other’s
lives, yet so inexorable and omnipresent is such a condition as to have become
completely natural. So sick in heart, it might be worth while to inquire what
Nature is, and how men work to change her, and whether in the enforced
distortions so produced, it is natural to be unnatural.

round upon the world of odious and unbearable sights—millions of human spirits
have no other world on earth—at the slightest mention of which our middle to
upper classes reach for their remote controls to switch channels to more
pleasant pablum, chide in self-satisfying inertia they get what they deserve,
or mutters to their more sympathetic friend “je men fiche!”

in the street to escape thinking and stray from the good neighborhood on the
good side of town, stray to the industrial districts of Karachi or Lagos,
Baotou or Gaza or Bhopal, Los Angeles and Lima, and breath in the polluted air
from tailpipes, refuse heaps and factory chimneys, foul with every impurity
that is poisionous to health and to life; and have every sense conferred upon
our race for its delight and happiness, offended, sickened and disgusted, and
made a channel by which misery and death alone can enter. Vainly attempt to
think of any simple plant or flower or wholesome weed that, set in this fetid
bed could have its natural growth, or put its little leaves forth as its
creator designed it; try again to call up the image of some ghastly child,
stunted in form, blind or twisted in face, think but a little of its having
been conceived , born and bred in such conditions so close to the living image
of Hell.

the noxious physical particles surrounding such lives were rendered visible to
the eye we might see a black cloud hovering about the hutongs and hovels and
barrios that would sicken the heart. But if the moral pestilence that rises
with them, and in the eternal laws of an outraged Nature, inseparable from
them, could be rendered discernable too, and likewise visible to the naked eye how
horrific the revelation! Then we should see the depravity, greed, oppression,
cruelty, selfishness, theft, exploitation and murder and a long train of
nameless sins against every natural affection and human relation, hovering over
the encampments of human beings on this earth from the privileged and gated
villas to the squatters’ shanty towns, and creeping on with the fog over the bad
and good parts of the city, blighting the innocent and spreading contagion to
the pure. We should see how we ourselves generate the diseases which strike our
children down and entail themselves on unborn generations; there also we breed
ourselves of our own diseased hearts infancy that knows no innocence, youth
without modesty or shame, maturity that is mature in nothing but in avarice, suffering
and guilt, blasted and wasted old age tht is a scandal upon the form we bear.

for a bright and ecumenical Revealing Spirit, who would take the housetops off
with a benign hand and fly us on magic carpets above the night to observe the
defects and infections of our millions of souls and sleeping hearts made
visible as by the pathologist’s purple stain, and might show how rising from
the good homes of Christian, Hindu, Moslem, Jewish and Buddhist communities a
dense host of the darkest shapes born of hatred, prejudice, pride, greed,
selfishness, avarice, blind and baseless fear, blindness and unfeeling, and the
lust for power rise to swell the armies and legions of the Destoying Angel as
it moves forth towards us all! Bright the morning after such an epiphantic
night were such a vision to impel us to apply ourselves as creatures of one
common origin and spirit, and tending to one common end, to make the world a
better place untwisted by our self torment and torture! But all this is a vain
dream, and the reality the nightmare from which I am struggling so vainly and
uselessly to awaken.

Seneca:  litterae
nihil sanates

As for
myself, weak as I am, I carry on the war from year to year to the last moment;
I get a hundred pike-thrusts, I return two hundred, and I laugh. I see near my
door Geneva on fire, with quarrels over nothing, and I laugh again; and, thank
God, I can look upon the world as a farce even when it becomes tragic, as it
sometimes does. All comes out even at the end of the day, and all comes out
still more even when all the days are over.—Voltaire.

The history of civilization is
largely an account of the attempts of man to forget his transformation from an
animal into a human being.

Birth is not a beginning; death is
not an end. There is existence without limitation; there is continuity without
a starting-point. Existence without limitation is Space. Continuity without a
starting point is Time. There is birth, there is death, there is issuing forth,
there is entering in. —Chuang Zi—3rd Century BC.

Sartorius; Blog:


man is movement, motion, a continuum. There is no beginning and no end to his
voyage. He runs through his ancestors, and the only beginning is the primal
beginning of the single cell in the slime.

The essential connections of man and his universe are not subject to the verbal
abstractions of the intellect. If we insist on confining knowing to rational
knowledge then we can know nothing beyond our own powers to create; and man has
created neither himself or his universe, neither his reason nor his “little man
inside,” the ego, or the voice of intuition in the service of his unconscious.
If we reason about our place in linear time and learn to intuit with the
unconscious our more fundamental place in primordial time, then we have the possibility of both maintaining and nurturing the individual living self, while harnessing the generative power of our archetypal selves.

Theproper study of mankind is man, but man is an endless curve on the eternal
graph paper, and who can see the curve in its wholeness?

                                                   The Voices of the Sirens

What could protect the hearer from from self-destruction having once put their ear to the heart of the universal will, and felt the raging desire for existence pour fourth into all the arteries of the world? What protects the hearer from this self-destruction is
the interposition of the narrative of intrinsic beauty and of the tragic myth
and the figure of the tragic hero—of Odysseus straining at his bonds. They
are the forms that shield the partaker from the collapse of all form, even the
illusory form of the fragile vial of his own fragile self, releasing him into
an ecstatic union with the primal oneness behind all appearances. Self-abandon
restores the almost shattered individual with the illusion of transcendent
beauty, the Apollinian arising from the convulsion of the Dionysian, rescued by
the healing balm of illusion and blissful deception. The Dionysian threatens to
destroy the individual. The Apollinian wrenches man out of his orgiastic

The world is full of mysteries that only the dead can answer. We partake in the mysteries like Acoetes, the humble ship’s pilot voyaging out of Homer and Pound’s Cantos who found on his boat as unexpected passenger the god
Dionysos, first disguised as a young boy, loggy with vine must, then as the
boat is hijacked by thugs, eager to sell the boy into slavery, revealed in his
living divine power in dazzling metamorphoses, summoning from thin air the Bacchic
totems, then transforming the thugs into monsters, the ship into a tangle of
living vines afloat on a wine-dark sea. We are all sailors on this primordial
and undying sea. And our voyage is both an enchantment and a disenchantment. A
disenchantment, in that metamorphosis leads ugly things to distend their
ugliness and in their ugliness dismember and drag us downwards towards death.
An enchantment, in that metamorphosis is the controlling force of human
evolution. Let us suppose the onward evolution of the human species. Let us
suppose the evolution of new organs of a deeper life exteriorizing from the living
roots of the human organism—a horn, a halo, an Eye of Horus….  Given a brain of man’s power, the question
arises, what organ, and to what purpose?  But man goes on making, drawing out of his
roots, organs and onward trajectories, new faculties, new forms of
genius—-from the faculty of hearing the simultaneous counterpoint of of the weave
of voices of the musical fugue or canon—–the counter-melody of the Four Quartets,
punctus contra punctum———-to the nose for money………

Fare thee not well but fare forward then, O Brothers and Sisters! ….Our voyaging eyes thusly forever transfixed upon the floating horizons, the great horizons of human life and of human existence,that our voyage might hasten the morphing evolution of a newer human race—–a race that sprouted horns, occult eyes for newer and finer wavelengths, transcendent whiskers for brushes with the unseen, antennae sensitive to the divine trembling in the aether, so that…………………………

Principles of Art and Literature:

The Apollinian—formal beauty and achieved balance
of aesthetic perfection;

The Dionysian—Magnification and channeling of
the infinite energies of Life and the Cosmos

The Promethean—The Creative and Self-Creative
Impulse: Declaration of Independence from the powers of the gods and of nature—Revolutionary
Humanism—-The Faustian Aspirational

The Transformational—Maturation, Self-transformation
and Re-harmonization of creative man with the sustaining energies of Nature, Spirit,
the World and the Cosmos; Continuity of Life and Death, the Living, Dead and
Yet Unborn—Evolutionary Sustainability.

Possible Standards of Intrinsic/Extrinisc Literary Merit (for evaluating candidates for
inclusion in the corpus of World Literature:

Comprehensiveness of Vision

of Power of Expression/Skill of Technique

of Intensity of Experience and Memorableness Evoked

of Beauty and Pleasure Experienced

Standards of Extrinsic Literary Merit:

of Cultural and Historical Impact, Influence and Embodiment

10) Degree to which the Work has become
Foundational to Values and World Views of Major Cultures, Traditions and

11) Degree of Universality and
Cross-Cultural Validity and Influence Attained

12) Subjective: Degree of Contribution to
Strengthening of Collective and Individual Life Force/Enhancment of Human
Powers for the Struggle of Human Life within the Cosmos

How the New Enters the World:  The Function of the Modern Writer at the
Present Time


The function of the modern writer is to mediate between the greatness of the past
and the new. This implies a progressive conservatism of the future:  its goal is the preservation of a core ofvalues around which, in beautiful forms, the new might crystallize. Art and theimagination supply the missing seed crystals of this process. This also impliesthe hermeneutic imperative to understand and interpret our experience of theworld and the ongoing life of which we are a part. To inherit something one has to understand it; inheritance is, after all, culture. Life is also inheritance and transformation, ever evolving onward, down to the double helical core of every cell of our inner being.

Copyright Robert Shepprd 2011 All Rights Reserved

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