1 George Grow, works, overview
2 The Other Way
3 The Fusion of Hegel and Marx
4 Books of Life Afterword
5 Footnote to 1: Integration of the Shadow, "The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek"
leads out of the "ideal world" erected by the super-ego and normative environment to the unconscious "realm of shadows".
The "ideal world", or as the psychologist Karen Horney called it, "the idealized ego", is a phenomenom through all levels of education. The criticism of it is an essential bedrock for being on the same page, for conducive processes, peace and evolution and includes the invitation "Gnothi seauton", Know thyself.
Great parts of the population move through their "realm of shadow". This causes massive problems in private and in work life, in politics as well as in the person themselves.
Basically all ideologies, e.g. capitalism, sozialism, nihilism, hinduism or catholizism, pertain to one's "ideal world" and produce unconscious "realm of shadows". They make common understanding impossible and produce all sorts of harm and doom at the grassroots wherever they appear.
That's why the opposite direction is integral and George Grow's for the time being last periode of civilization is the integral one. For this reason, the Books of Life are dedicated not to a new "ideal world" and "realm of shadows", but to the actually first construction of a "real world" of integrity.
Needless to say, that the word "construction" indicates that we are dealing with a kind of venture and not with any other idealistic, concluded thing. And it indicates that it is more than an idea but the development of a consitent draft.
*Footnote at the end of the page: The Persona and the Shadow after C. G Jung
Books of life
WALD - The long-awaited fusion of Hegel and Marx
Interview mit Übersetzerin MA Kattia Watson
"Wald - Der Jahrhundertroman"
MA Paul Kachur
Wald – Prophet at a Loss is a novel in George Grow’s Books of Life series, one which carries his Integral philosophy, the "Scientific Integralism", into the intersection between a new grasp of metaphysics, individual, state and politics.
The identity of physics and metaphysics.
In some ways, it starts out in the tradition of novels of self-discovery such as William Somerset Maughm’s The Razor’s Edge, likewise set in India, or Hermann Hesse’s Steppenwolf, which also starts out with a disillusioned young European man looking for meaning outside his familiar social surroundings.
But the protagonist, Wald Whittman, finds himself cast as much of an enlightener as one seeking enlightenment, a predicament also reflected in Saul Bellow’s Henderson the Rain King, whose recurring question "Why did I go to Africa", is reflected in the query that our narrator poses to the protagonist "I wondered why you went to India".
Wald is told in the second person. Our nameless narrator, a childhood friend of the protagonist, has been hired to record and note his adventures. Wald himself has dabbled in writing, business ventures and the social life of Vienna. He has also been involved with persons politically active in Egypt and the Middle East, more as an adviser than as an active figure.
Over time, he senses that this milieu is draining him and he seeks escape, first to his family estate where he soon senses that he is being drawn elsewhere, and finds himself at the airport, simply because the lyrics of a song on the radio directed him there.
At the airport, he comes into possession, by sheer chance, of a ticket to Delhi and resolves to take advantage of it immediately. There he meets a travel agent who recommends that he visit Lake Dal in Srinagar, in the disputed province of Jammu and Kashmir, a melting pot of cultures and religions and a disputed area since the 1300’s, where armed Indian and Pakistani forces maintain an uneasy truce to this day.
In this melting-pot of Moslem, Hindu and Buddhist culture, Wald comes to visit the tomb of Yuz Asaf. According to an Islamic tradition, Jesus‘ brother was crucified in his place and he fled to the region, accompanied by his wife, Miriam, where they raised a family. This is reminiscent of Dan Brown’s The DaVince Code, which reminds us that there are many more legends of Jesus than made the final cut for the New Testament, and lead to an even greater interweaving of religious traditions, such as legends of the Buddha visiting Byzantium.
The story switches back and forth between Vienna and Srinagar as the narrator relates stories about Wald’s life and existence in Vienna and how they shaped his views and character. The narrator starts to come across a bit like Sherlock Holmes‘ Dr. Watson; perplexed but in admiration of his partner who, in his eyes, despite or precisely because of his "spiritual mood", can afford an enviable life with beautiful ladies, excessive parties and extended journeys. Both are closer to Karl Marx than to the Pope of Rome.
The workwise relationship between the protagonist and the narrator is not like the one between Marx and his lifelong friend and mentor Friedrich Engels, who arrived to the same results in his examination.
Unlike Engels, our narrator is skeptical and scrutinizing, and he accepts payment for his support. However, what Wald and Marx have in common is the conviction that the people "vanish" the more the state (with its rational legislation) takes possession of them and makes national subjects out of them with the result that the creative power which first makes man human is atrophied in them. In capitalism, not evolution but production is the center of all activities – a perversion that do not only destroy the environment and the global peace, but men themselves.
Without that they need to be clear of this matter, men experience themselves as non-creative subjects, and in this form, they face off the fellow people as well alienated from themselves. Only from this point of view, Wald is glad that fanatical Islamic terrorists drive him before them – a chase that brings him to Kashmir, India – and that way, he escapes "the mop obsessed with ideological apparition".
Interestingly, as Marx in his days, Wald operates with the idea of a revolution. However, the "exploited and mentally paralyzed masses" need a theory that helps them to "overturn all relationships". Wald wants to give them this intellectual weapon, but unlike Marxism, this weapon is not violent and not pointed at capitalists, but wakes up all those who suffer from it, but doing nothing, or to use Wald’s beautiful picture: "The head of this emancipation is the head and the heart of it the belief that jointly everything becomes (not worse, but) better", whereby "head" is defined as his own philosophy and "heart" as the meaning of life (evolution) inclusive real Democracy.
But in one thing he and the "authoritarian hothead and anti-Semitic drunkard" Marx cannot cope: it is their conception of the sacred world. "Marx", he dictates to his friend, "did his work as a critic of faith and denominations and not as a critic of spirituality". In other words:
Although the matter is timeless, uncreated, as Marx and before him Hegel stated, is "the first, fundamental and eternal principle", materialism does not exclude Hegel’s Mind of the world as the spirit and the consciousness of matter, which becomes even more and more conscious with "the mind, the eyes and the hands of man".
For Hegel, Marx and for Grow, history has meaning and purpose. But not only God, "the living universe", not only the working man, the proletariat, and not only the capitalist willing to invest are the motor of the processes in the universe, but they all as well as the natural processes are the engine of evolution.
"Evolution is more than production", is the central point in Grow's critique of capitalism.
In his grow – already Hegel stated – the Mind is used to use great personalities, because they push development quickest. One of them – Wald Whittman – arrives in Kashmir on March 31, 2008, where a series of individually appointed coincidences continues and culminates all of his existence in one spot and meaning. But "not only the Mind inspires man", as he says to the Sidhi, „also man inspires the Mind – even if this happens in both directions in the rarest case noticeably.“
Our anonymous narrator is still skeptical – even against Wald’s undoubtedly ingenious inventions, of which there are so many that he could fill eight showrooms and sell them almost entirely to investors. "Inspiration is just the beginning", he tells the Prince and his charming niece. "We are constantly inspired by things and people. But only when the relations to them are consistent and numerous, they can be an indication of the world and its nature" – a rare matter, since religion is a reactionary, idealistic and not integral matter to this day.
Wald’s biographer struggles to continue his work. Already Hegel exceeded the limits of knowledge drawn by Kant. He spoke of a world spirit, but did not provide visible evidence of the existence of such a being. Therefore, for him, as Bertrand Russell already objected to Hegel, there is no logical reason for believing this philosophy to be true in the end.
But the events roll out one pinnacle after the other, such as the identity of physics and metaphysics, the integral value, the course of man and humanity in three phases – culminating in the integral theory of history – and the cult of culture as the key for integral experience in which the "living universe" speaks in "body language" to us – with signs, with "arranged" coincidences and also with miracles that do not blast the physical law but the limits of expectation and possibilities.
Only when the narrator becomes involved in the events, as we can find them in the lecture today, and he is demanded to be a great personality himself, a second view open to him and makes the world understandable beyond the things. But even that must be doubted – as one can doubt even Mohammed, as he notices in the small tent village of the Prince. "Everything can be believed or doubted until you have experienced it first hand."
Under the pressure of events, Wald’s exciting, dangerous, but at the same time, amusing and liberating adventure raises further conditions of his claims. Either they are picked up by any figure – as the magician, the Sidhi, the Prince, his eerily-prominent guest Osama bin Laden, by the boatswain at the pier or by the cold-blooded photographer from Pasadena – in vigorous-humorous debates or they are presented in meaningful scenes and events speaking for themselves.
Will he find in the mighty prince – as Marx did it in Engels – a partner for his revolution of consciousness?
After this report is completed, our narrator will start other book projects with Wald. They will appear as a series titled Books of Life and deal with the "Scientific Integralism". Both non-fiction and entertaining prose will arise, highlighting those issues which are lagging far behind: democracy and spirituality rather than ideology and religion.
The complexity of the world and the yearning for simplicity
Which simplicity is possible today – and honest?
Our world has become complex. Be it migration, digitization, multiculturalism, competing ideologies, religions and parties, financial markets – nowhere there are simple solutions. Technology companies respond with artificial intelligence, populists feign sovereignty, advertising and self-help industry lure with the promise of "simplify your life".
The interdisciplinary author and philosopher George Grow explores the widespread longing for simplicity in an increasingly complicated world. How can we deal with the many issues which block the reduction to simple solutions? What kind of simplification is needed, wherever reduction is a need of the moment?
These questions seem to have little to do with our present day: One cultivates immunity to the temptation of simple answers. On the one hand, for taking our totalitarian past into account and on the other hand, to open ways and barriers to the "new way of life", which cranks economy up and with it the problems across the world such as environmental degradation, climate change, depletion, migration, but also problems of internal and social life.
All this also applies to sacred life: no faith can prevent succumbing to the lure of fundamentalist simplification, because every faith, be it religious, economic or political, is only one among many that contradict each other. It is not faith, but deeper experience and the close observation of complexity is the method by which simple answers are possible – answers which are not absolute, but can point the way and the direction throughout one’s life.
The biggest common denominator.
In the Books of Life, we meet more resource that can make sense of our desire for simplicity and make us fit for complexity.
Footnote to 1: The persona and the shadow after C. G. Jung
The persona (Latin mask) is the representative, outward-looking aspect of ego-consciousness. In the social space, through their persona, the individual person tries to portray an image of their personality that corresponds with their ego ideals. Thus, the persona usually also serves the adaptation to the social environment, insofar as they like to show – at least externally – a social behavior that corresponds to the valid values and norms.
In a sense, the shadow is the antipole to the persona. The shadow includes areas of personality and behavior which do not correspond to one’s ego-ideal and usually not to the explicit values of the social environment.
Since the ego-consciousness mostly shun turning towards the "dark sides" of their own personality, the constrution of the shady sides is usually first refelcted and confronted by the social environment.
The shadow is part of the ego-near personal unconscious and consists of those unconscious identifications, aspects, inclinations and characteristics, which are inconsistent with the ego. As long as no conscious confrontation of the ego with the multitude of unconscious shadow aspects happen, they are typically only seen at other people.
This favors the process of projection. Unwholesome parts of the own personality and behavior are involuntarily "attached" to other people. They are blamed for the shadows of their own, even if this does not apply objectively or just to a lesser extent. More than others, conformists tend to build authoritarian "pyres", to pursue «heretics» and destroy dissenters.
The critical approach with the shadow, hence its integration through ideational realization, adjustment or change, represents an important and indispensable step on the way of becoming whole or individuation of the personality.
George M Grow "Never Hide"
In the "opposite direction", there are the aspects repressed by the persona and there are the undiscovered treasures which have been withdrawn from the social space. This withdrawal is a predominantly moral problem which requires of the individual to make considerable mental adjustments. This indicates intensified performance in introspection and reflection of one’s own behavior and on the sociological level of an overall cultural achievement that "takes back" the struggle against the outwardly projected shadows. The "Opposite Direction" leads into the depths of the self and collective consciousness. There is plenty to be found of what we really lack and we secretly long for.