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Thread: A Barbarian And A Poet

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    United States Avalon Member Mike's Avatar
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    Default A Barbarian And A Poet

    Be a barbarian and a poet.

    It sounds like the type of wisdom a mafia don might impart to a young upstart in raspy, hushed tones.

    But I think it's my own invention. It's metaphorical and literal, and I'll let you decide where to land on that spectrum.

    If you are incapable of being a barbarian, your poetic acts will have no value; if you are incapable of being poetic, you're barbarism will have no value. Both are equally as important.

    In other words:
    If you are so separated from your so called shadow, or dark side, thru fear or some other mechanism, and it doesn't even occur to you to do something devious from time to time, then your kind acts will lack nobility because you're only capable of doing one thing. On the other hand, if you are capable of doing something nefarious, even strongly tempted by it, and instead choose not to, then something profound and even spiritually invigorating might occur.

    I find that if I don't embrace my shadow, my psyche distorts into all kinds of awkward shapes. I can ignore the shadow short term, but it's a suboptimal long term solution. Something will inevitably give. Now I kind of leave the mental back door open, so to speak..to let everything that needs to flow thru, flow thru. And I've gotten better at not judging it. When the disturbing sh!t flows thru, I remind myself that by not indulging it, I'm initiating some sort of mental and spiritual growth.

    We've all known some barbarians, and we've all known some poets. Both have merits and demerits. End of the day, the barbarian is too obnoxious and the poet is too soft. A marriage of the 2 is ideal.

    Look around: who are you surrounding yourself with? If there are nothing but poets, you are likely scared..scared of people, things, confrontation, the world maybe...but mostly yourself. You're likely hermetic. You're not challenging yourself. Find some barbarians to hang out with.

    If you're surrounded by mostly barbarians, you're also scared..but of different things, like introspection, intellectual conversation, and your emotional universe. Find some poets to hang out with.

    Be a poet *and* a barbarian. Embrace your shadow. It'll provide the relativity required to give your acts meaning.

    (Mike the philosopher has spoken.)

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    Default Re: A Barbarian And A Poet

    Reminds me of a quote from Carl Jung “I’d rather be whole than good”. Good people know their limits, whole people know they don’t have any.

    The motto from ‘The Order of the Dragon Court’, originally a Scythian (barbaric culture to some) order:

    “Be as Fierce as Wolves
    Wise as Serpents,
    And Silent as Doves”

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    Default Re: A Barbarian And A Poet

    Brilliant!!!

    Ut

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    United States Avalon Member Mike's Avatar
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    Default Re: A Barbarian And A Poet

    Quote Posted by Ultima Thule (here)
    Brilliant!!!

    Ut


    Bless you. I couldn't agree more

    Jayke, I love both those quotes. Thanks for sharing them here.

    My process is a little extreme perhaps(maybe it's because I'm a gemini?). For example, I'm very much the barbarian lately. I feel quite macho. This might have concerned me a year ago, but now I just let it run its course. For a week or 2 I'll be tempted to pee on fire hydrants and howl at the moon. I'll wanna sit on a gold throne and eat an enormous chicken thigh with one hand and tell people what to do.

    (oh my God, does he really wanna do that? Does he really wanna pee on fire hydrants?. Well this part is true: I saw this man today enjoying his latte way too much, and I had this really strong urge to walk up to him and just smack it out of his hands. Anyone else ever feel this way? ........Just me? Okay..)

    On the other hand, several weeks ago I was watching that movie 'Into The Wild' and entertaining a Spartan, ascetic life, living in harmony with nature and so on. I was feeling very humble. I was giving money to homeless people. I was consumed with the idea of helping everyone I met in any way I could.

    So there was that whole bit, and now my current one....and if past is prelude, I'll have a few more days of this Genghis Khan phase before I have approximately 3 months of healthy balance between barbarian and poet. It's interesting, every 3 months or so I have to recalibrate. I have to let it play itself out. In a few more days I'll reel this psycho in and be good to go.

    Anyway, the importance of darkness and light and everything in between has become quite clear to me recently. Now if you'll excuse me i have to go bend metal with my bare hands and insult some people.

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    UK Avalon Member Star Mariner's Avatar
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    Default Re: A Barbarian And A Poet

    Interesting thread again, Mike! I think we're all (already) poets and barbarians to one degree or another. How we balance the two is entirely subjective, but inclining towards the light side of the human heart is pretty much the goal, and the path to climbing out of this pit (incarnation cycle). Embracing (or rather acknowledging) the dark plays a big part in that journey. To understand the abyss we must stare deeply into it, only then can we discover what must be done to purge it.

    Quote Posted by Mike (here)
    If you are incapable of being a barbarian, your poetic acts will have no value; if you are incapable of being poetic, you're barbarism will have no value.
    Is it not a bit like saying: if you are incapable of hatred, the love you give means nothing? Or, if you are incapable of love, your mean deeds have no impact? As a postulation, and from a spiritual point of view, I am inclined, I fear, to not quite concur. A good deed or a bad is simply good or bad, irrespective of what fuelled it. Although I do agree that good deeds are powerful growing experiences for a dark heart, the reverse on the other hand is purely regressive behaviour, and does no one any favours. It's not something I personally would advocate 'embracing'. I'm sure that's not what you meant anyway, just putting that in there.

    I do however believe that exploring the dark side is a valuable growing tool – particularly for the young.

    When my young nephew turned 18 (now 24) I was most eager to see him throw off the cotton wool his mum had wrapped him in all his life, to get out in the world and experience its perils and pitfalls first-hand. Only then would he be equipped for his life ahead. For my part I took him to pubs to hang out with us old 'uns. I got him thoroughly pissed (which means 'drunk' over here). I took him to the football too (that means soccer!), and no one ever said the football stadia in Britain were gentle places full of gentle folk speaking gentle language.

    I had that experience at his age, most of us did. I knew many such barbarians, some not at all pleasant, the sort who engaged, for example, in 'soft' criminal activity, or took drugs, or others who'd lived only for drinking heavily and getting into fights. Youth culture and all that. I was exposed to this world, and discovered immediately I wanted no part of it. Yes I went out on many a night drinking, enjoying myself, but never got into fights - I walked the other way. I never touched drugs, I walked the other way. I was never tempted to break the law, I walked the other way. I got my taste of this world, and spat it out. I discovered myself.

    In truth, I still enjoy a beer, and I still go to the football. That's life, and I enjoy it, but on my terms.

    It's a far cry from barbarism though, or the 'dark side'. The darkness is an important part of each of us. It must be acknowledged - though not embraced, I don't think that's the right word. As Sitting Bull famously said:

    Click image for larger version

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    It's good for the soul that the young get a taste of the dark, just to better fortify themselves against it. In order for a person to take shape, like a piece of clay, it needs a few hard knocks to make it happen. This is true from the moment a child takes its first steps. It falls down and scrapes a knee, and that's a good thing – it serves as a lesson for a growing mind. It's good for a child to catch a bug and get sick too, that's a lesson for a growing body.

    But I suppose it depends on how you really define barbarian. If you're talking about destructive behaviour and violence, then certainly I don't want to be around that. But if you mean someone who's just a little rough around the edges, less culturally refined or cerebrally challenged, then that's no problem. It's always favourable to surround yourselves with personalities different to your own. Only by sifting through these types, and through differing opinions, can you cultivate your own (and come into your own).

    Personally, I feel the poet is someone who's simply elevated themselves beyond the condition of the barbarian. I would say I'm firmly entrenched in that poet camp. Certainly I'm no saint of course, far from it... But nor am I estranged from those I might call barbarian, in that their daily imperatives stretch little further than beer, women, football, food. I still go out with them, buy a pint. I have a laugh, they have a laugh. We all tap glasses and go home. No harm, no foul. Is my essence in any way changed for their company? Not especially, but I stay grounded. Are theirs enriched for mine? That's another question. I don't know. But I can say that over the years, with this person, that person, in one place or another, I've played peace-maker on numerous occasions when things have gone south. It doesn't happen much these days, but it did when I was young. At the very least, I saved my mates a few bruises!

    tl;dr:
    A bit of barbarism is all right in moderation (put that in a meme!), but I think the barbarian needs the poet more. The reverse is true only within contained boundaries and to a certain extent, and only useful (to me) to touch base now and then with my fellow creatures.
    Last edited by Star Mariner; 30th July 2018 at 19:14.
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    Default Re: A Barbarian And A Poet

    Quote Anyway, the importance of darkness and light and everything in between has become quite clear to me recently. Now if you'll excuse me i have to go bend metal with my bare hands and insult some people.


    I'd really like to watch you do that. It would be immensely fun.

    My enjoyment of life right now, in this heat, is pretty limited.
    Last edited by Valerie Villars; 30th July 2018 at 19:34.
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    United States Avalon Member Mike's Avatar
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    Default Re: A Barbarian And A Poet

    Star Mariner, what are trying to do, make me look bad? Frankly you should have started this thread. Excellent post you damned poet!

    As they say in Australia, you've grokked this perfectly(actually, upon googling, it was an American author who invented that term. Interesting)

    Yes, the barbarian bit was largely metaphorical. I wasn't implying destructive behavior or hooliganism. But, as an aside, I do think it's important to know how to fight. Even if one is peaceful, there will always be instances where one has to defend oneself or a friend or loved one. This is why, in my view, allowing that barbarian some space is prudent(one example anyway).

    Yep, getting small doses of the dark has an inoculation effect. It toughness one up in all the right ways. Too much would be counterproductive, but just the right amount is crucial. Imperative, actually. Otherwise you'll be frightened by everything. A trip to the grocery store might represent a Herculean task. The barbarian is being repressed, and it's consequences will be revealed as the younger generations get softer and softer.
    Last edited by Mike; 30th July 2018 at 19:43.

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    Default Re: A Barbarian And A Poet

    Quote Posted by Mike (here)
    Star Mariner, what are trying to do, make me look bad? Frankly you should have started this thread.
    Lol don't make me blush, I'm sorry for bleating on! I never heard of 'grokked' – them Aussies got some funny words. As for starting threads – debates at any rate – it's something I worry about. I've started many, and deleted them before posting, usually because instead of opening things up like I should, like you do, I end up debating the topic with myself, and reaching a conclusion in the first post. I'm more than happy to leave them to those far better at it than I – like you mate. By all means keep 'em coming.

    Quote Posted by Mike (here)
    Too much would be counterproductive, but just the right amount is crucial. Imperative, actually. Otherwise you'll be frightened by everything. A trip to the grocery store might represent a Herculean task.
    Yes definitely. I do know someone like that actually, a bona fide agoraphobe. Going outside is a terror to him. What contributed to the condition is quite complex, and multiple psychological factors are involved.

    Quote Posted by Mike (here)
    The barbarian is being repressed, and it's consequences will be revealed as the younger generations get softer and softer.
    Agreed. They're getting softer and softer all the while... We're living in a world where soon, actually saying boo to a goose will be considered a hate crime.

    I don't claim to be an alpha male. I'm just simply male, very middle of the road, and I'm not beating my chest over this issue, but I do see what you see – a dumbing down, a softening of what it is to be male. Masculinity to men is just as important as femininity to women (and it's just as important to each other).

    This vid explains one facet of what's going on in today's man culture. It's a bit a sensationalist piece, a hit piece, but it's definitely worth reflection. Stay away from soy!

    Paul Watson so often nails it.

    "When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace."
    ~ Jimi Hendrix

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    United States Avalon Member Mike's Avatar
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    Default Re: A Barbarian And A Poet

    That video was hilarious.

    Yeah I'm much like you, very middle of the road and so forth.....but the reason I'm able to maintain that for months at a time is because I let that barbarian out of the cage every so often (actually he just busts out) for maybe a week or 2. It's a weird rhythm I have - he gets out, puffs his chest out, unloads a few pent up things my inner soy boy won't, and returns back to his cage..but only on his terms lol.

    Masculinity to men is just as important as femininity is to women. Hey well said there. My inner dictator is nodding aggressively Seriously, a profound statement. The current climate makes men almost want to apologize for being masculine.

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    Default Re: A Barbarian And A Poet

    When I was in my twenties my life was going nowhere fast. I had a friend whose life was going the same way, just not quite as fast. We talked one night about giving it a year and if things didn't change we were going to plan a massive gold heist. He had inside information about the where, we just had to figure out the how. The why was accounted for.

    The idea was thrilling. The only thing that worried me was the very real potential of screwing up. I had no moral qualms about it. None. Zip.

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    Default Re: A Barbarian And A Poet

    Quote Posted by Mike (here)
    That video was hilarious.

    Yeah I'm much like you, very middle of the road and so forth.....but the reason I'm able to maintain that for months at a time is because I let that barbarian out of the cage every so often (actually he just busts out) for maybe a week or 2. It's a weird rhythm I have - he gets out, puffs his chest out, unloads a few pent up things my inner soy boy won't, and returns back to his cage..but only on his terms lol.

    Masculinity to men is just as important as femininity is to women. Hey well said there. My inner dictator is nodding aggressively Seriously, a profound statement. The current climate makes men almost want to apologize for being masculine.
    Don't apologize. You're half the human species. Some women actually love men for being masculine. I do.
    "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what we share with someone when we are uncool." From the movie "Almost Famous""l "Let yourself stand cool and composed before a million universes." Walt Whitman

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    United States Avalon Member Mike's Avatar
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    Default Re: A Barbarian And A Poet

    Quote Posted by AutumnW (here)
    When I was in my twenties my life was going nowhere fast. I had a friend whose life was going the same way, just not quite as fast. We talked one night about giving it a year and if things didn't change we were going to plan a massive gold heist. He had inside information about the where, we just had to figure out the how. The why was accounted for.

    The idea was thrilling. The only thing that worried me was the very real potential of screwing up. I had no moral qualms about it. None. Zip.


    Oh my God, I once planned a gold heist too! (No I didn't but I think that's simply awesome)

    Mike's opinions on gold robberies are Mike's and Mike's alone, and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of Project Avalon.......etc

    I always find myself rooting for the so-called villian. There's a reason John Dillinger was such a hero to so many. It was because they admired his moxy; he was doing things many of them would have liked to do had they had the guts.

    I think we often use our so called morality to justify all sorts of reasons for not taking risks. We stand smugly behind it like a shield, hoping it will conceal our weaknesses.

    Many times the bad guy is really the good guy in the grand scheme of things, if one can get past their surface, superficial morality.

    Autumn, I salute your inner barbarian

    ¤=[Post Update]=¤

    Quote Posted by Valerie Villars (here)
    Quote Posted by Mike (here)
    That video was hilarious.

    Yeah I'm much like you, very middle of the road and so forth.....but the reason I'm able to maintain that for months at a time is because I let that barbarian out of the cage every so often (actually he just busts out) for maybe a week or 2. It's a weird rhythm I have - he gets out, puffs his chest out, unloads a few pent up things my inner soy boy won't, and returns back to his cage..but only on his terms lol.

    Masculinity to men is just as important as femininity is to women. Hey well said there. My inner dictator is nodding aggressively Seriously, a profound statement. The current climate makes men almost want to apologize for being masculine.
    Don't apologize. You're half the human species. Some women actually love men for being masculine. I do.


    You're a champion, Val. I do appreciate you saying that. Now me, you and Autumn need to stop procrastinating and go rob some gold.

    Last edited by Mike; 1st August 2018 at 00:24.

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    Default Re: A Barbarian And A Poet

    I feel bad about the gold heist....bad that it never happened. Now I don't have a criminal record...damn. I do however squirrel away things overnight guests leave at my home. And I don't know why. It's as if I'm planning to decorate a Christmas tree with one large pair of geriatric underpants, a couple of socks and a doll's hat.

    So, the only question I have is why, WHY do I knowingly keep insignificant items like this and how will they look with tinsel?

    I think it's all about compensation for not doing something truly magnificent that would have landed me in jail.

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    Default Re: A Barbarian And A Poet

    Quote Posted by AutumnW (here)
    I feel bad about the gold heist....bad that it never happened. Now I don't have a criminal record...damn. I do however squirrel away things overnight guests leave at my home. And I don't know why. It's as if I'm planning to decorate a Christmas tree with one large pair of geriatric underpants, a couple of socks and a doll's hat.

    So, the only question I have is why, WHY do I knowingly keep insignificant items like this and how will they look with tinsel?

    I think it's all about compensation for not doing something truly magnificent that would have landed me in jail.


    Your inner barbarian is eccentric, and that can be charming and mostly harmless. I can't stop giggling....I'm envisioning a Christmas tree with blinking lights in a cozy room, turning a slow circle on an electric stand, revealing assorted non related items: (oh look, there's uncle Charlie's fake teeth! Yes, right next to that lint covered toothpick!)

    I think we're all compensating in small and big ways for ignoring our inner barbarian. Me, I shout at the automated Google maps lady for no reason at all other than she can't respond and I know there'll be no repurcussions: no, no, *i'll* decide when it's time to take a left okay??? You shut the hell up! Got it?

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    United States Avalon Member Mike's Avatar
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    Default Re: A Barbarian And A Poet


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    Default Re: A Barbarian And A Poet

    Funny.

    A girlfriend's mother once asked me, upon meeting her, if I drink.

    I said, yes, a little, why?

    She said she doesn't trust any man who doesn't get stupid from time to time.
    Forget about it

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    Default Re: A Barbarian And A Poet

    Quote Posted by AutumnW (here)
    When I was in my twenties my life was going nowhere fast. I had a friend whose life was going the same way, just not quite as fast. We talked one night about giving it a year and if things didn't change we were going to plan a massive gold heist. He had inside information about the where, we just had to figure out the how. The why was accounted for.

    The idea was thrilling. The only thing that worried me was the very real potential of screwing up. I had no moral qualms about it. None. Zip.
    Damn, AutumnW. I'm impressed

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    Default Re: A Barbarian And A Poet

    Hi Mike, outstanding thread. Human condition 101. Have you ever read any Jim Harrison? He's my go-to "barbarian/poet" guy when I get these type of feelings...

    Cheers,

    T Smith

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    United States Avalon Member Mike's Avatar
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    Default Re: A Barbarian And A Poet

    Quote Posted by T Smith (here)
    Hi Mike, outstanding thread. Human condition 101. Have you ever read any Jim Harrison? He's my go-to "barbarian/poet" guy when I get these type of feelings...

    Cheers,

    T Smith


    Hey thanks!

    No I've never read any Harisson, but I will now for certain.

    In my mid 20's I became aware of some deficiencies of mine that I couldn't justify avoiding anymore. I tried everything, but it kept eating away at me. I was scared to fight. I was scared of getting hurt or humiliated in front of a crowd. It was a hole in my "game", and I was sick of always being forced to work around it.

    I was more of a poet. But I hung around with barbarians. I had an intuitive understanding as to why I did that, but I couldn't articulate it at the time. I still recall my girlfriend at the time being utterly dismayed at my friend choices "..ugh I can't believe you hang out with Mike Case!" She was so frustrated. She couldn't fathom how 2 very different people could be such good friends. Plus, being sort of a posh, sheltered, hipstery type, she simply couldn't see his value properly. On top of all that, I suspect he frightened her; he was a mirror, showing her all her weaknesses. Just like he did me.

    She tried to hide behind her sense of virtue and high standards, but they were flimsy excuses. I think it was Jung who said something to the effect that most people try to mask their cowardice with what appears to be virtue. Most people that disliked Mike did that. He was like this fearless, untamed animal, and he wouldn't allow anyone in his orbit to do that. He'd call them out immediately. They couldn't cop to being cowards, so they would find some other reasons to dislike him.

    Back then, it was easy for people to call him a "bad guy". But that was myopic and intellectually dishonest. I knew he wasn't a bad guy, and I intuitively knew why, but I couldn't quite explain it then. Now it's so clear to me that he was just very much in touch with what we might call the "shadow".

    He was obnoxious at times, and short tempered, and hypocritical. But we all admired his fearlessness. It wasn't an act. It was genuine. He lived for those moments that most of us were terrified of. Thrived actually. Sought them out.

    Jordan Peterson talks about accepting the fact that you're a "monster", capable of just about any evil under the right circumstances..and the best men are the one's who are totally aware of this yet decide to remain civilized anyway. Being so in touch with his shadow, it was 10x harder for Mike to remain civilized. And he was civilized for the most part...so in a way, he really was the best of us, despite the fact that he was viewed by most as a troublemaker.

    Weak men can't be virtuous. Walking away from a fight, for example, isn't noble and virtuous if you're afraid to fight. That's cowardice. On the other hand, if you're a blood thirsty warrior type like Mike, walking away from a fight represents enormous discipline and character.

    So I hung around with these dudes deliberately, and got myself into some trouble. Necessary trouble, I call it...because these were experiences I really needed to have. I found myself in quite a few fights; i recall one where i hit this guy and then basically just dropped my hands..waiting to get hit back. Looking back, I wasn't in it to win or lose really, I was mostly in it for the experience. I needed to dish out some hits and get hit a few times too. It was all part of this process of respecting myself, demonstrating courage, and adding elements of the "barbarian" into my character. I did it clumsily and awkwardly maybe, but I did it....and despite some tough times I'm glad it all happened.

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    Default Re: A Barbarian And A Poet

    Amazing, Mike.

    I've had a few transformative experiences. And though I have an anxiety disorder, I am not usually fearful in the presence of actual danger. Maybe the anxiety is preparatory for the actual event.

    I remember when I was eleven, after a battle with my father, looking him in the eye and saying very calmly, "You may have won this battle, but you haven't won the war."

    He was a hard ass military type who was a bit of a sissy beneath it all. I always had his number and I think it freaked him out. In terms of the shadow, my father played peek a boo with himself, hiding behind a veil of "wit" at other people's expense, alternating with a taciturn front that concealed all of these parts of himself he was just barely aware of.
    Last edited by AutumnW; 1st August 2019 at 21:00.

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