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Puer; the Eternal Child

August 21, 2013

(An eternal child’s sorting through matters of life, the universe and eternity)

Hey, Press, it’s me, Puer, coming at you with music and fun, and if you’re not careful, you may learn something before…. [that’s Goofy Puer for ya!]
No, seriously; coming at you with some info about the tertiary function and the complex that associates with it (and how it shapes faith, for me)!

Puer’s leapy intro

The Puer (short for “Puer Aeternus” the “eternal child”) represents a common archetype, which is a sort of character role that lies in something called the “collective unconscious”. It’s a model that transcends all individuals and cultures. When an archetype is personalized in an individual, it becomes a complex.
This one represents “the little boy” in all of us (males, that is; for females, it’s Puella, which is “little girl”), and in folklore; the part of us that refuses to grow up.

A puer is also a man who remains tied to the mother psychologically. This involves his “anima” (another of those archetypal complexes), which shapes a man’s attraction to women (seen as “completing” him). It is first based on his mother (called the “Eve” stage), but then later should become directed toward other women (“Helen” stage). It later becomes a “spiritualized muse” (“Mary” stage), which is a source of inspiration (for me, this may explain the spoof theme of this article based on someone I seem to be projecting this onto now). The final stage is when you stop projecting, it, and it becomes a source of inner wisdom (“Sophia”). Most people are content to remain at the second phase.
A man trapped in the “puer” (Eve) stage might suffer the “madonna/whore” syndrome, where he desires an innocent, motherly wife at home (who he may become sexually bored with), but is allured by the seductress he wants to keep on the side. Many of them can never settle down.

Michael Jackson was also a definite example of a Puer, not from his preference in women, as far as I know, but just the whole “Neverland” thing (his icon, significantly enough, arch-Puer Peter Pan) and preoccupation with children. (Which most people in my morally vigilant Christian circle would say was inappropriate and should never have been allowed in the first place).

The traditional opposite of the Puer archetype is the Senex, which is basically a grumpy old man, who John Beebe has paired with another archetype called the “Wise Old Man”, its unconscious “good” side. (For females, instead of Senex, it’s the “Witch”, or more accurately, Crone).
The Senex is considered the shadow of the Puer, though in Beebe’s model, it actually shadows the auxiliary function, which is the “Good Parent”. So the Witch/Senex is the “Bad Parent”. The “shadow” of the Puer then becomes the Trickster, which in Beebe’s model is sort of a “bad child” that creates double binds. You can still see Senex as shadow of Puer if you see these things as “reflections”. So likewise, the Trickster would be the grand opposite of the Good Parent.

The Puer and Senex have provided the basis of many comedy or fictional duos. Abbott and Costello, Laurel & Hardy, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, Peter Pan and Captain Hook, Brak and Zorak.
One light and silly, or totally airheaded and childish, and the other, the stern “parent” figure always yelling at or trying to restrain his partner. “Stanley, this is another fine mess you’ve gotten us into!

Pear meets Puer
(Pear plays a sort of Senex role at times)

The Puer complex has been integrated into type theory by John Beebe as hooking up with the tertiary function. This is basically a reflection of the auxiliary, which he associates with a “good parent”, since it supports the ego’s dominant function by providing the “balance” of an opposite orientation (internal or external; the dominant orientation is what makes you introvert or extravert), and opposite rationality (one function will be about observing or taking in information, while the other will be about making decisions, or assessing the situation.

With auxiliary extraverted iNtuition, my tertiary is introverted Sensing. (Which would be the preferred function for an SJ type). That function is about an internal storehouse of tangible data. Sights, sounds, memories of things. This manifests positively (the “eternal” or “divine” Child), through nostalgia about the past (as you can see on other pages), and negatively, by clinging on to my internal storehouse to stick with what I know to be factually true and refuse to give up or give in; and also the “wounded Child” that cannot get over painful past experiences.

A lot of people fall into what’s called “The Tertiary Temptation”, which is highlighted by type theorist Lenore Thomson.
People in the type community drawing upon this will often speak of people being caught in what they have termed a “loop”, between the dominant and tertiary. The tertiary is the next function in the dominant orientation, so it seems the ego will often bypass the auxiliary and jump to the tertiary. The auxiliary pulls us in the other direction (internal or external) from our dominant. So the Puer becomes associated with defenses learned in childhood.
Beebe’s theory adds to this by pointing out that the Puer complex often becomes involved with what’s called “inflation”. This is the attempt to credit the ego-identity with content that actually belongs to the complex. The ego then attempts to engage the tertiary function to an extent that can appear to top types who prefer the function! So from this, I’ve sometimes led people to think I’m an SJ!

This affects me when it comes to the subject of faith in a world of uncertainty.

Pray for me, y’all, up in h’yuh!

I’ve been grappling with what to make of “faith” versus a “concrete” universe that compels us to “survive”, but does not tell us where exactly the Transcendent fits in (and then watching others try to make them fit, often with some rather ridiculous looking/sounding results. It should be pointed out that this entry: was originally slated to be framed in this “Puer” theme with this title; hence not having a better title for it. One of the books dealt with the relationship of a boy with his father and how that shapes our manhood).

It seems to be pretty much an ST universe (“what is”, is what is), with no natural sense of what it means to living creatures (conceptual or personal consideration). When I began a correspondence with Lenore (whom I mentioned above); part of which she published on Personality Pathways, she pointed out that while the Spock character from Star Trek is always assumed to be NT (the perennial INTJ perhaps), this is based on stereotypes that have formed around Keirsey’s temperaments, and if you look at his focus (which makes him seem so “cold” and detached in the first place), clearly, “He’s utterly factual, always has specific data in mind, does not anticipate the unseen, never uses analogies, never comes up with an answer whose antecedents he can’t cite.”
Hence, ST types, in Keirsey’s intelligence variants and the derivative Interaction Styles end up always “directive”, meaning more task focused and less “responsive” to people. They rely strictly on facts, and there is less room for consideration of personal ideas and feelings.

It seems the things of God on the other hand, are at root N and F (intangible “big picture” + matters of “the soul”, which “personal” beings have to basically carve out of existence), which is why hard ST “science” is so against it. (Keirsey associated NF with Spränger’s “the Religious” type). And thus why it can be so hard to believe.

(Likewise, we could group N and T together as “intellectual”, while S and F are “aesthetic”).

I’m NT (big picture must make logical sense), and so torn, as theology appeals to N, but T is drawn to assess the cold impersonal nature of the universe.
Credible Hulk So I was able to readily embrace the idea of God, but then the same N leads to a conceptual search for more certain meaning that is just not given. It just leaves open a bunch of possibilities and hypotheses, with God ending up as just another one of them. (And then religion offers plenty of doctrines to try to fill in the blanks for you; often preached as absolutes, but based on differing interpretations of both scripture and “general revelation”!)
You basically have to just choose something and take it in “faith”. But when it comes to PRACTICAL meaning, I end up expecting more than what familiar N (especially the extraverted variant) can tell me.

Christians often tell you to look to “the next life” (Heaven or Resurrection) to find hope for all of your pains in this life being compensated in some way. That can be used to pacify people, but on the other hand, it can provide some incentive for going on in life that I’m finding sorely needed!
Yet it seems that the laws of the concrete universe would have to be suspended for “compensation” (perfect fairness) to work; hence, the afterlife as the only possible real for such a world to exist in an experienceable form.
I’ve recently realized the processes that speak back and forth for and against this:

I started out with:
N (intangible pictures): It could be true

But then:
T (impersonal cause and effect assessment): what good does it do to “reward” me? I didn’t really “earn” anything. Isn’t that “pride” anyway?
S (what’s “at hand”): it’s totally unprecedented, unrealistic, farfetched

Now, I’m trying to consider more (regarding compensation):
F (“personal” affects): the joy of affirmation to the soul is important to God

The actual order of this process usually ends up as:
T – N – F – S

With the “S” seeming to get the last word. (N imagery of a world of specific compensation collapses like a house of cards).

I realized I need more of that F and N perspective (which are both also externally oriented for my type), but it’s that (internal) T and S that keep blocking it. (It seems I’m bound to internal world when it comes to “objective” functions (dom/tertiary), but not when it comes to hope).

Let’s take a detour through metaphysical Never-Never land

The tangible universe seems to consist of a 10 dimensional array of vibrating loops of string, with different vibrational patterns making up all of matter and energy, and three of those dimensions extended to give some freedom of simultaneous relative location between things and events, and a general law that energy will want to spread out, so that things will tend to “wind down” and go from a more orderly to a less orderly state, plus an additional dimension to allow for this sequence to run.

There is really nothing here covering the “transcendent”; transcendent by its very definition means outside of this. Some will argue “design” (like where any initial “order” that could “wind down” would come from to begin with), but this does not offer all the details of the “Designer” (or what lies outside of the “string” realm) that most religions define themselves by.

If you get mad about life, you’re only getting mad at a bunch of vibrating strings doing what they’ve been set to do.
The problem or answers lie beyond the strings, in the invisible realm of sentient beings (either bound to the physical world by bodies with sensory receptors, or outside of it altogether), and lies either in someone creating or controlling it from the outside (and the question posed to such a being of the purpose of the physical realm, and why it is the way it is), or just our own interpretations of what’s going on.

We assign “stories” to the physical events, and these (again, representing the N and F element) are what drive our interpretations, good and bad, which then fuel our emotions.
If we could strip life of many of these stories (in which our emotions would be revealed as just neutral “energy”, as at least one philosophy says), then it could conceivably eliminate a lot of emotional pain. This is the gist of both secular self-help, as well as corresponding Christian teaching (as I address in the predecessor to this article, and “Why I am So Critical of Christian Self-help”).

But then I wonder what really is left. It would seem to point to total existential nihilism.
Religion will point at this and say “well that’s only if you reject God and follow those ‘godless’ philosophies; but this over here is the true answer”. Problem with that is, the interpretations of scriptures, which have gone in many different ways among the numerous groups. (For instance, there’s a whole dispute about what the scriptures commonly interpreted as “afterlife” are really describing. One view of eschatology says they’re actually about salvation, now). Also, they will claim the solution to our problems is a supernatural “character growth” accessible to born again believers only, but the process they end up describing is very human (you still have to struggle with your problems and many don’t heal, etc), and thus no different than what adherents of any other religion or philosophy are capable of. (This actually cheapens the Gospel, in my view).
That is what many hold up as the concrete “proof” of the faith, but it still ends up as subjective hearsay, and when you challenge this, then the argument becomes “faith, not sight” again.

So those negative stories, while seeming more malleable and easily replaceable for being so abstract, are still nevertheless attached to concrete reality, so changing the stories still leaves you with the reality that is likely causing the pain or distress in the first place. Hence, all the methods and techniques basically boil down to how you can “change your attitude” to cope better or be “content” and perhaps reduce the feeling of pain.
But the concrete reality remains.

On the flipside, when we die, we presumably leave the tangible, technical world of strings, and I guess the stories, meanings and big picture could conceivably then remain (with the bad ones somehow “redeemed” by good ones, as religion promises us)? Or I guess the “meanings” and “big picture” become more clear. Our immersion in the physical world where we have to struggle to survive seems to crowd out the spiritual world (which for the most part enters the unconscious or “shadow”), but I guess, this is just another imbalance or “split” created from being immersed in reality that will be reset in the next form of existence.
I imagine the unsplit existence will be somehow combine tangible and conceptual reality to an equal amount. Who knows what that’s like?

So for now, I (and I imagine many others) latch onto the physical world because it is so readily testable. The world of concepts, meanings and big pictures (including “the spiritual”), even with myself geared to prefer its perception function, is nevertheless less sure, and more prone to differing interpretations (including us just “making believe” things). This is why faith is so difficult.

Meanwhile, the universe doesn’t “care” about us and our ideas or feelings. When galaxies collide, and black holes eat up stars, or gas giants pulverize nearby bodies into rings, or fling them into outer darkness (which forms a sort of archetypal pattern in us, as we personally identify {F} with such a situation, as if someone stronger were doing those things to us), our wants and needs, or beliefs about how God sees and responds to them just don’t figure.

Anyhoo, back to the Functional split

So ST’s keep reciting “it is what it is”, while others (not necessarily NF’s, but this would hypothetically be their perspective) say “just have faith; it’s good for your soul”. (Which to me comes across like a potential pacification tool that only benefits the ST position. Hence, ST’s coming out as the leaders and NF’s as the submitters).
SF is also half way; S seeing the universe for what it is, but F able to relate to a “personal” God in it, through people if nothing else, or perhaps through stuff like so-called [emotional, visible] “spiritual gifts”.
(This I say, because this seems to have come naturally for my wife).

I look at everything through what is often called “reason”, which is really a Thinking with iNtuition perspective. The “reasoning” comes from the N more than the T “logic” as one might assume. It’s a process of perceiving the meanings and possibilities (what’s intangible or not “at hand”) of the data being impersonally assessed. The universe runs on a T logic through an S “fact” perspective. Hence, the irrefutable answer is always “it is what it is”.

The universe seems to almost abhor this kind of “reason”. I even realize this through seeing or dealing with some difficult people, and no amount of reason will ever show them they are wrong. All they do is twist it around to appear that they are in the right according to “reason”. The biggest example these days is the political rhetoric (spiked up now by the whole Trayvon affair) that seeks to blame all of our problems on the weak (portrayed as “leeching” off of everyone else), rather than the powerful (seen as “deserving”, and thus being exonerated from any blame).
It seems they are the ones the most “in step” with the universe (and its laws regarding power; they recognized their strengths and talents and took advantage of them), and hence praised by others for it, in this heavy ST culture.

The NF perspective will use “reason” with a more personal element (ideals of how to benefit humanity), and SF will use fact with the more personal element (helping others through working around observed “laws” of life, and adornments such as aesthetics).

Here basically are the function pair perspectives:

ST observation and assessment of “what it is”
“this is what it is, and this is what must be done with it”
NT observation of what it means, to assess what it is
“this is what it means, so this is what can be done with it”
SF observation of what it is, to assess what it means
“this is what it is, and this is how it will benefit us”
NF observation and assessment of what it means
“this is what it means, and thus how it can benefit us”

ST (as tert+dom) forms my “dominant introverted face”, but instead of getting me more in step with the universe, it only makes me all the more doubt the N-F perspective I apparently need for more faith. According to an internal (i) observation of how things are (S) and assessment of how they work (T), the physical universe seems to be “all there is” (based on what can be absolutely be proven), and any fanciful notions of what could be (Ne, even as preferred observation) is at best hypothetical, and the “humane” element (F) is shown to be just our own emotional, interpersonal survival strategy that is really not supported by the cold universe.

I’m not stating this as an official stance, for as the whole point of Jung’s theory is the need for cognitive balance, and I’m apparently stuck in a T(N)S mode, but don’t know what to do about F.

NeFe is my [auxiliary] “extraverted face”, but Fe being inferior, this just makes me feel like “submission” indicates inferiority in the external world. According to an external (e) observation of what things mean (N) and assessment of what they mean to us as humans (F), the possibility exists that lack of acknowledgment in the world indicates worthlessness. This then degrades to the shadow introverted face, NiFi (Senex/Daimon), which basically confirms “no; you’re nothing as a person”. SeTe are the shadow extraverted face (Opposing/Trickster), which come out in reactive behaviors, rather than getting me more in tune with the universe.
Like Se Trickster is likely what leads me to demand emergent tangible evidence before I will move. (The complex thus double-binds the ego, and if pressed to move, like “on faith”; I then use the data to try to double bind the other person and get them off my back).

So it almost seems as if:

ST universe most “in tune” types:
Preferred functions:
SiTe (STJ) the “administrators”
SeTi (STP) the “showmen”
(E’s, more visible, I’s, more behind the scenes)

SeTe “dominant extraverted face” (ENTJ/ESFP)
a more dominant “administrator” and a more personable “showman”

The pull of the S perspective is likely from ego living in its N fantasy world so long. So the N perspective naturally runs dry, and T does also, but as the ego’s dominant perspective, it seems that is what I see as still necessary to live.
So it’s like I can’t have “faith” in the intangible, and need to have some sort of concrete validation. (Likely the tertiary/”Puer” S defense). Yet I’m still constantly fighting against S “realism” in favor of the way I think things “should” be. It’s a real struggle.

Our purpose of being here in this earth is said to be to love and to give, and there is certainly a lot of pain in need in the world to give to. So I looked at how I’ve always felt, realized it was my dominant perspective, and compared it to the other judgment functions:

Ti: based on the way the world works, humanitarian effort seems futile (not that there’s no emotion felt)
Fi: we should still try to fight for the ideals, for it’s the principle that counts
Fe: takes a more direct approach to responding to need. Help people as they come
Te: helping people is seen in a less personal way; making things more efficient will make things better for people

You see where Ti would go more with Fe; it may be futile to try to eradicate problems, but you could still have compassion on individual people you come across.
Te would go with Fi. Establishing some sort of logical order will help in trying to enact the ideals.

Some other examples

In political debate, racist sentiment has been using an ST “concrete facts” perspective (impersonal “power determines who should dominate” view with a focus of the achievements of one side, and the “problems” of the other), while the response (generally from liberals) is usually more NF “we’re/they’re broken people”, and thus seems weak to me.

Again, the conservative rhetoric violates NT style “reason” the way it selectively uses and interprets facts and even scriptures to draw its conclusions, judging only by a surface “net output” that simply appears to confirm presupposed ideology. (It is possible to engineer things to attain these results, but often hard to prove this).

One somewhat empirical-based answer to that is “Iceman” theory, which shows that they are just as “broken” as the blacks; only broken in a different way. But of course, they could never own being broken. It’s a sign of weakness and to them, strength is a sign of divine favor.
If one is not “broken”, they have no need for Christ. If they insist Christ “fixed” them already (the common understanding of the “changed life” of “regeneration”), they have no MORE need for Christ.

Meanwhile, the black response that does not take the NF approach is the “white devil” theories, which comprises a mix of ST (empirical emphasis on white man’s history) and NT (far out doctrinal concepts) approach.
All I see it accomplishing is becoming more fodder to prove blacks are the true “haters”, and thus hypocrites on top of it.

A better method is to stick to historical fact (who had all the power, abused it, and now complains of being destroyed by lesser peoples?) and stay on top of correcting misinterpretations of politics and religion and general rhetoric (who’s really “taking”, “whining” or denying all responsibility) rather than trying to match their beliefs with a religious demonology of our own.

I’m as I’m typing this watching a Superfriends episode from a DVD that just arrived today, of the 16 “lost” episodes of the 1978 “Challenge of the Superfriends” show. One of them was about an incredible underground cavern and intact city of Atlantis discovered at the Earth’s core when the Superfriends were sucked into a vortex in the ocean. I was always upset that at the end, Batman and Superman cause two earthquakes (to get rid of both rock and tar monsters) that destroys the cavern by allowing the ocean to pour in. (And an episode of the Godzilla cartoon the same year had a sort of air bubble on the sea floor that also created an undersea dry world that was similarly destroyed in the end).

I always wondered why I should get upset and these and other fictional stories, when they’re not real. So this is me taking the hard ST approach again. But the N+F view would realize that there are important symbolic meanings to humanity there. Even though it’s not real, to my N, it’s an interesting idea, and it gets destroyed. This is something that often happens in real life, so that’s the S aspect of the issue. And the Puer has been trying to cling onto what’s familiar and hope it is not destroyed.

The Biblical Revelation and “Good and Evil”

It also occurs to me that the N+F perspective would also cover the “Knowledge of Good and Evil” that is said to have caused man’s “fall” in the first place. Good and evil are abstract or conceptual (N) ethical judgments (F).
In the Genesis narrative, man was originally charged only with the S+T function of tending to the natural world, which God had declared “very good”. But when they gave into the temptation to go beyond that, they realized their “nakedness”, which in itself was created “good”, but now became a negative judgment, leading to shame. And the reaction to this shame was all the acts that became known as “sin”, from murder to false religion with the mass control it brings.

This was then projected onto the physical world by much of religion, by making the physical universe in itself bad and to blame for our sin, while the spiritual realm is assumed to be “good”. So man became seen as “good spirit trapped in evil flesh”, and scriptures’ discussion of “flesh vs spirit” was misunderstood to support this. They then surmised that the ultimate redemption was “going to Heaven”, or God destroying this universe in favor of a new one, so that we would get physical existence back through the bodily “resurrection” to this “kingdom” or “new heavens and earth”, but still, this current one is seen as hopelessly corrupted. (And a lot of apocalyptic scriptures meant to be understood spiritually were taken literally, to support this).
So I fell into this, becoming frustrated with “the way the world goes” as was constantly told me.

This raises concern, because in type theory, we know we cannot make certain perspectives “bad”. However, it is true that while N and F awareness may have been the venue of the Fall, it also seems to be the venue of salvation as well. At least for those of us who weren’t around to witness the life and death of Christ directly in a tangible and/or impersonal fashion. The remedy of the Fall was to be regeneration, which ultimately was based on faith, which again seems to be a more conceptual and personal perspective.

The tangible gesture of this took place in the Temple, which represented the system of Law that highlighted man’s shame. Beginning with the curtain of separation being torn, during the Crucifixion, and then the final removal of the entire system 30 years later (which some of us believe was the actual “Kingdom” that was promised).
The Church afterward would then attempt to turn faith into a tangible and impersonal endeavor through ritual and eventual political control, often with a focus on morality. The Kingdom was either futurized, or attempted to be established through Church rule (or both, in the system of Postmilennialism). In either case, it was literalized or made concrete.

It seems this fulfilled a need for many people who prefer something concrete, while more abstract minded people tended to either wander away from the faith (into all sorts of other theories, or concepts), or some remained to use its concepts for control. You can contrast Biblical era [literal] idolatry with post-biblical gnosticism. (Which said matter was evil, and was into purely abstract concepts). Both are “seeking” God in their own ways, that often become forms of idolatry.

So it looks like S+T covered the original “naked and unashamed” position, while N+F brought in the knowledge of good and evil. Then, S+T became the center of man’s attempts to compensate for the Fall (to return to the original state, through controlling good and evil as if that would counteract the “knowledge” of it, and instead obliterating the opposite perspectives through cold empirical logic, which is what I reacted to, or demonizing the current physical order and imagining a new one), while N+F was the direct solution to the original problem.
Hence, back to my starting point of wanting tangible incentives for life, but being told there are none.

I guess this maintains a place for both perspectives; and them having both a good plus bad (“shadow”) side to them.

Anyhoo, really trying to come to grips with all this stuff. You can hit me up with any comments; I’m out.

  1. Having an emotional reaction to the Seaside fire. Was on a long break just starting to read reading Philip Yancey’s new book, which he had just decided to offer for free download on Kindle, The Question That Never Goes Away, which is all about tragedy; and I saw this on the news, and couldn’t stop watching.

    I notice the pattern, in how it starts in one small place, a single frozen custard shop on one edge of the park, then, it seems the boardwalk catches fire, which spreads it all across the area. You see some structures on the very edge of the fire, and they seem to be holding out from becoming fully engulfed, but the firefighters can’t get it under control fast enough, and they all gradually succumb. You see one of those swing rides and even a couple of untouched structures in the middle of all of it somehow, but then the whole area is covered by smoke. One of these holdouts was the Funtown Pier House (which had survived Hurricane Sandy), which was near the place where the fire started, but as the bulk of the fire moved another direction, ended up surrounded by smaller fire the whole time and held out. Then, fire is on the side of it, but the bulk of it is still holding out. Then the fire gets under the pier it’s on. I go upstairs to try to load a Google map of the area on my tab to see where it was and what it looked like before, but then come down when it’s close to my interval, and then whole house is totally engulfed and then collapses into the space under it.

    This also happens in apartment fires, especially when it gets in the cock-loft, which is the space between the top floor ceiling and the roof. You see smoke pouring out of the hole the firemen cut in the roof. Doesn’t look too bad. But after the next break, fire is raging out of it, and soon, the whole top floor is lost.

    This reminds me of a discussion my wife and I had about the song “Could It Be Magic” by one of her favorite artists, Barry Manilow. To her, the way it builds up from relatively calm, to a raging orchestration toward the end is like the passion of lovemaking building up. The first thing it reminded me of is big fires, like this one. Starts small, builds up to raging energy. It also, by extension, represented the passion of lovemaking as well, inasmuch as I could imagine a guy seeing some girl he hoped to be the first guy for, going through that process with another man. Just like the fire spreading to engulf the whole block, you wish it could be stopped and at something be saved (and then perhaps she leave him, and give you a chance), but it’s usually isn’t.

    This is not something I ever experienced, beyond seeing perhaps the first stage; of girls I liked passionately kissing guys. Knowing where it was likely leading, I believe it is what made me take note of technical virginity when I heard about it; as it allows libido to flow to fruition, while diverting it to spare what’s most important, thus maintaining some amount of “integrity”. This I discuss here: Its archetypal significance, as discussed in that article, is a felt loss of “Eden” (“naked and unashamed”).
    For me, I have come to project this also onto objects, such as buildings, and places. Perhaps, as an Aspie, because they are not as much “risky business” as people who can hurt you in many different ways. So these things only “hurt” when they get destroyed).

    This was an amusement area, and reminds me of childhood trips to Coney Island, a place that’s had its share of fires as well. And was littered with burned out buildings in the 80’s, including some old rides, before they began demolishing most of them. It was so bad, that after 1986 (remembered playing VS Super Mario Bros there, perhaps for the very first time), when I heard the Kansas Fried Chicken owner wanted to rebuild the Steeplechase Park on the decrepit western end of the area, I vowed not to set foot in the area again until it was open. It kept getting denied, and then he I imagine gave up.
    I went 15 years, until getting the job in Transit, with its huge Stillwell Avenue terminal, and so had to return to the area for work (working mostly on those lines, in fact, until I started picking jobs closer to home four years ago). I still never crossed Surf Avenue (not even when Keyspan Park was built on part of the area). Still waiting until they finish whatever they plan to complete there. (Now been 27 years!)

    Amusement areas are built heavily of wood, including the boardwalks, of course, and the salt sea air dries it, making it even more flammable. There are also flammable cooking and other machines, and stuff like propane tanks (I heard something mentioned about this today). You wonder what they were thinking!

    So they’ve taken on an archetypal significance (to me) of something that promises fun, but can become tragic. (In addition to all the water hazards, getting sick, rides failing and possibly killing people, etc).

    The connection with this article is that this again is the S+T laws of nature, and it seems “bad”, but that’s our own projection, because of the way we have come to depend on physical objects. But physical objects are destructible, and that’s why the Church often teaches to not “love the world” (kosmos 1 John 2:15), but instead “fix your eyes upon Jesus [and Heaven; based largely on 2 Cor.4:18]…and the things of earth will grow strangely dim”. Unfortunately, this has often fallen right into the belief that the physical world is bad, which was a staple of gnosticism.
    The Church substituted the term “fallen”, based on the “curse” God placed on the ground in Genesis 3:17-19. But the John passage shows that it’s not the kosmos that is bad itself, but rather our use of it; “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life” (v.16) Even in Genesis, the curse might be more their perception of the pains of life.

    This, tied to the “knowledge of good and evil”. It’s hard to imagine how we would deal with thorns and fires and the pains of childbirth any better if we didn’t have that shame. This is why the focus on “Heaven” or the literal “New Earth” sticks.

    Anyway, still trying to come to grips with living in this difficult world, and what this shows me is that I cannot become too attached to concrete things, as my “eternal child” complex is prone to do. Not because the physical world is bad, but just our perception of it.
    The loss of property, which could also include living places, and even human life itself is not a mere misperception, but I guess it’s the general judgment of the whole universe when we realize how violent against us (i.e. our sense or order and need for conditions conducive for our survival) its laws can be.

    [Update: Amazing that the one building still left standing (shown in morning after photos with a bright white wall to the far left facing us, if looking west), is right next to where it started; that wall being the one to the left that those first big flames were blasting onto in that tight space on the early video. (Looks like the siding only melted from all that). Wonder how that managed. Looks like a frame building, but perhaps it was all metal, and empty. The big “FUNTOWN” sign survived as as well, tough fell over, in addition to the big metal tower in the middle of all of it.

    Building on left survives, but everything else for blocks is obliterated!
    That’s sort of like an amazing story of survival. Fire has since been ruled as starting from Sandy-damaged wires under the custard shop].

  2. The essence of “Puer Si” (eternal child complex around introverted Sensing), reminiscing over the past. (First time attending the NYCT Bus Festival {now combined with the Atlantic Antic festival} in 11 years, due to always working on Sundays until the current pick).

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Dividing Reality between the Concrete and the Abstract | "ERIPEDIA"
  2. Saturday, what a day; the Fun Day before Sunday | "ERIPEDIA"

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