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I wrote the majority of this with the intent of being humorous. Please don't take it too seriously.
This essay had the Batman effect. It might have been a little too spooky.
It's too late to turn back. Having read the opening words of this self summary you have already begun to enter into the unsettling experience of becoming a subject whom you have not met , but nonetheless recognize. The reader of this summary must create a voice with which to speak (think) the words (thoughts) comprising it. You, the reader, must allow me to occupy you, your thoughts, your mind, since I have no voice to speak other than yours. If you are to read this summary you must allow yourself to think my thoughts while I must allow myself to become your thoughts and in that moment neither of us will be able to lay claim to the thought as our own exclusive creation.
There is no exercise of the intellect which is not, in the final analysis, useless. A philosophical doctrine begins as a plausible description of the universe; with the passage of the years it becomes a mere chapter—if not a paragraph or a name—in the history of philosophy.Historical truth, for us, is not what has happened; it is what we judge to have happened.
To quote Pierre Menard Author of the Quixote:
“Thinking, analyzing, inventing (he also wrote me) are not anomalous acts; they are the normal respiration of the intelligence. To glorify the occasional performance of that function, to hoard ancient and alien thoughts, to recall with incredulous stupor that the doctor universalis thought, is to confess our laziness or our barbarity. Every man should be capable of all ideas and I understand that in the future this will be the case.”
Forgive me but I'm a bit of a showman.
Jacques Barzun once said that the ideal writer would recast his own death sentence as he was reading it, if it were a bad sentence.
I'll try very hard to not make this sound like the introduction to the Vampire Lestat with a postmodern twist but like Lestat I might not be able to stop myself. His introduction in that novel one of my favorite mood pieces. ("Downtown Saturday Night in the Twentieth Century 1984"-I'm a huge fan. I still have my original copy.).
It's unfortunate that people don't do mood pieces more often on this site.
A counseling professor told me once that whoever talks first loses. I hesitate to say that's true but it certainly is interesting.
Of course he also said we all are like the characters in the Wizard of Oz. We all had what we needed all along we just had to recognize it.
Like Dorothy I attempt to maintain a high level of optimism regarding the goodness of human nature but people do such odd disturbing things sometimes. At least it seems that way in the media.
I tend to prefer the thought:
“Insanity in individuals is something rare, but in groups, parties, nations and epochs it is the rule” Friedrich Nietzsche
Perhaps "Acceptance is the answer to all my problems."
Then again perhaps not. In the end who can tell...
Things aren't always the way that they seem but conversely they could be exactly the way that they seem if one's sense of perception were to be freed of the constraints of personality to perceive one's Essential Nature. What is is except when it's not. I enjoy thinking about things of that nature so if that sort of thinking intrigues you read on and draw your own conclusions.
One of my favorite quotes is from the movie V for Vendetta:
Evey Hammond: [reads] Vi Veri Veniversum Vivus Vici.
V: [translates] By the power of truth, I, while living, have conquered the universe.
Evey Hammond: Personal motto?
V: From "Faust".
Evey Hammond: That's about trying to cheat the devil, isn't it?
V: It is.
Please note : V=the Roman Numeral 5 and each of the five Latin words begins with a V. E is the 5th letter of the alphabet.
I think that upon further consideration that this conversation between reader and writer is growing a bit too tangential. Just a bit. Without further adieu I will describe myself; take from it what you will.
Picture me like this if you will: I'm the type of person people walk up to in the supermarket and tell intimate personal details of their life to without prompting. It's nothing I do things just work out that way. I've gotten used to it.
I'm the enigmatic but helpful stranger who helps someone he doesn't know because it is the right thing to do and leaves asking nothing in return.
I'm the troubleshooter either solo or in a group. I prefer to work alone but play well with others. I scored as Faith on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Test!
I was told that I would make a good 911 operator as I stay calm under pressure and am good at negotiations.
I'm eclectic and I tend to study anything that interests me in great detail.
When I write I tend to mimic the styles of other people that I fancy. Mirroring and mimicking help build rapport. Mirroring and mimicry are vices of mine. Like many of my favorite fictional characters I always enjoy interacting in a way that my audience can understand me.
When I talk or text I focus on obtaining rapport with you. It's always easier for me to talk/ message with someone and interact than it is to write one of these self-summaries although this one is proving most entertaining especially as I spend more time on it. I have more details to work with thru the direct interface of our interactions versus my somewhat peculiar ramblings.
Each of us will bring our own interpretation to the conversation based on our individual perceptions and experiences.
I always enjoyed the concept that people wear different masks at different times with different people. My question is when all the masks have come off, when the reader and writer have finished their interaction what is left? Is there anyone underneath the masks or are we the sum of our interactions with others? Is there a true subject-object separation?
Another quote from V for Vendetta this time on the subject of masks:
Evey Hammond: Who are you?
V: Who? Who is but the form following the function of what and what I am is a man in a mask.
Evey Hammond: Well I can see that.
V: Of course you can. I'm not questioning your powers of observation; I'm merely remarking upon the paradox of asking a masked man who he is.
Evey Hammond: Oh. Right.
Then again perhaps, just perhaps the interaction of the reader and writer has created another voice although I'm not sure what it sounds like. Are we ever alone inside our heads or do we become some odd collage made out of other people's thoughts and perceptions?
Then again perhaps the masks are just masks.
As George Orwell the author of 1984 said:
“Perhaps a lunatic was simply a minority of one.”
I hope you the reader found this our little interaction enjoyable. I certainly enjoyed writing it so you as the reader to could translate it into a picture based on your own experiences.
I'm currently thinking about going to grad school for social work or mental health counseling. Perhaps I'll do technical writing instead. Technical writers get paid better.
I'm thinking about re-careering in marketing, sales, or career coaching while I do this.
Like Lestat I'm quite good at re-inventing myself for my audience. I like to break all the rules but not the law.
On the Enneagram which is a personality classification system my personality type which is a 6 diverts to 3 under stress. Type 3 is very adept at being able to assume whatever appearance is required for a every role or task but Type 3 often finds that they have difficulty identifying who is underneath all the masks.
Like Evey in the original V for Vendetta graphic novel perhaps I need to discover who V is under the mask. Perhaps like Dorothy and her friends I already have everything that I need; I only need to recognize it.
I'm working on being Present and not disappearing in a plethora of masks but it is difficult at times.
Perhaps like Evey I will come to the conclusion that I am the person under V's mask.
I'm really good at talking people down who are upset or in a crisis. I was once told I should work as a 911 operator. The real skill is knowing when to listen and when to talk. I know that sounds trite but it's the simpliest way I can describe it at the present time. When I think of a more precise description I'll post it
Years of Jesuit Training in social justice made me big believer in the saying:"Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me."
I have a knack for helping them process what is going on with them. I'm good in that type of crisis as I can remain calm under pressure.
I once told someone "The person who is in crisis needs to be the most important person in the world to me at that moment we interact." I'm very,very adept at being who they need me to be at the time to help guide them thru the crisis. I can be quite clever that way-I have an arsenal of masks and can switch them very, very quickly as the situation demands it.
I'm adept at self hypnosis. When I want to achieve a result that is outside what I'm familiar with I imagine that I can speak to and see Milton Erickson, the famous medical hypnotist. He's been dead a very long time but he was the master of metaphors. He always appears with two canes and wears a groovy white hat. Dr. Erickson always seems to know what metaphor to use to help out with my problem.
One day I was very, very tired and sad. I didn't know what to do with all the masks that I wear so I decided to enter into a trance and talk with Dr. Erickson. We appeared outside a lone storage unit in the middle of the desert. It was very windy and dust was going everywhere. I opened up the storage unit. It was shadowy and full of all kinds of masks. Dr. Erickson and I spoke briefly. He said " The masks are just masks. you can lock them up in here and take them out whenever you need to use them." I had the sense that everything would be fine and locked the door. When I woke up everything was as it was before but subtly different.
Perhaps Dr. Erickson's that deep part of my subconscious that intuitively knows what to do.
Perhaps he really is Milton Erickson.
Perhaps, just perhaps he's a special mask that I put on for these occasions when I don't know how to do what I need to do.
It's impossible to say with any certainty what the correct answer is.
However, I always was skilled at playing pretend when I was a young child. Since I didn't have any children my own age to play with most of the time I would create elaborate fantasy worlds to inhabit with lots of imaginary characters. Sometimes I told children and adults carefully crafted stories about them.
My thought is that Dr. Erickson and I go way back.
With an arsenal of masks sales and marketing come very naturally to me although I am very careful not to do anything unethical in that regard. I won't be selling iceboxes to Eskimos any time soon.
Perhaps I will sell the Eskimos storage units in the desert instead.
On the Golden Compass Test I was the multifaceted soul. It said " Does anyone know the real you!"
A few people do and do care.
I'm also a Licensed Massage Therapist and am very good at Cranio-Sacral Work and Reiki.
Batman was always my favorite character when I was a young child. I could relate to his existential loneliness and his need to make the world make sense. What kind of sense is there in a world where your parents get shot down in front of you but you are spared by their killer?
Even better WHY re-enact the event over and over again every night.
My friend the psychiatrist said in Batman's world he is the only sane one. Everyone else is crazy. And yes he really was my dear friend. Now that he has passed on I miss him very much. If you can imagine David Lee Roth as a chain smoking psychiatrist from his 1980's " Just A Gigolo" video you'd have a pretty good picture of my friend.
My burning question was always who was the real person Bruce Wayne or Batman? Which one was real and which one was the mask?
I thought the story Batman :Ego captured the Essence that question but I'm sure some would disagree:
Please allow me to make a mini-synopsis since it relates to all the masks:
Bruce Wayne has a conversation with a shadowy, monstrous Batman figure who appears to him in the BatCave after a criminal Bruce is chasing kills himself. Batman isn't merely a mask that he wears or a uniform he can put in the closet.
Batman takes Bruce back thru his childhood showing him that Batman was there all along even before his parents were killed.
Batman was waiting for him.
When Bruce Wayne vowed to avenge his parent's deaths he conjured up Batman.
My favorite quote from Batman: Ego is :
" You like to call me Batman...but my name is Fear."
I also liked the Darknight Returns by Frank Miller and Batman Forever for the same reasons.
In The Dark Knight Returns the Bat is described:
"Surely the fiercest survivor...the purest warrior. Surviving Hating...claiming me as your own."
In Batman Forever the conversation between Dr. Meirdian and Batman I also found quite fascinating:
Dr. Chase Meridian: [laughs] What is it about the wrong kind of man? In grade school it was boys with earrings, high school; motorcycles; college, leather jackets. Now...
[feels his suit]
Dr. Chase Meridian: *Ah*. Black rubber.
Batman: Try firemen, less to take off.
[hastens away but she follows him]
Dr. Chase Meridian: I don't mind the work. Pity I can't see behind the mask.
Batman: We all wear masks.
Dr. Chase Meridian: My life's an open book. You read?
Batman: I don't blend in at a family picnic.
Dr. Chase Meridian: Oh, we could give it a try. I'll bring the wine, you bring your scarred psyche.
Batman: Direct, aren't you?
Dr. Chase Meridian: You like strong women. I've done my homework. Or do I need skin-tight vinyl and a whip?
Batman: I haven't had that much luck with women.
Dr. Chase Meridian: Maybe you just haven't met the right woman.
But Batman's particular story can only be my story of how I perceived his story.
Other comics I liked:
The New Frontier, anything by Grant Morrison or Warren Ellis. The Authority, Ultimate Avengers. The Sentry
The Ninja was one of my favorite novels.
A new book I really liked was Just Listen by Mark Goulston. Look it up on Amazon if you are curious. I also enjoyed It's Not All About "Me" a book about communications and body language by a former FBI agent.
I also enjoyed the Destructive Emotions by the Dali Lama, the Kundalini Equation, Jorge Luis Borges (anything by him is great), Camus, Bob Henlien, and Roger Zelazny.
I like to read about psychology and criminology. I like Dr. Irving Yalom, Dr. Karen Horney, The Enneagarnm Institute, Cloe Madanes, Family Therapy, and Erickson hypnosis. In terms of Criminology I enjoy anything involving the criminal mind. My current favorite was The Gift of Fear.
Favorite Vampire Novels-The Vampire Lestat of course! Anno Dracula, Interview with a Vampire.
Television- Dr. Who, Criminal Minds, Lie to Me, Anime, Smallville, Buffy, Angel.
Movies-The Matrix, Stigmata, The Shadow,The X-Men, Thor and of course V for Vendetta.
By the way aspects of V were borrowed from the Shadow. The Shadow was a master of disguise in the old pulp novels. When he finally unmasked he wasn't Lamont Cranston like in the old radio shows. Even with the unmasking there was sense that perhaps that wasn't who he really was. Maybe after all those years in thousands of disguises The Shadow forgot. That always seemed out of character to me. Perhaps the Shadow like Batman was the real persona and all the disguises were just masks.
My favorite part about the old radio show was that it portrayed a man who was invisible in a medium where one couldn't see him anyway.
Music-varies depending on my mood-can range from classical to punk rock.
Food-I really like Chinese , Cuban, and Italian. I like to experiment with new foods.
Problems with Authority
Talking to Dr. Erickson
Working on this profile
Quoting V for Vendetta
I used to like to write fiction as a young adult and I'm indulging in that activity right now although I have no plans to write anything to publish at the present time. It's more likely that I will write an article for Massage Today or a social work magazine.
I'm curious by nature and enjoy esoteric subjects. My dream vacation currently would be to go to Tom Brown's Tracking School.
Currently I am studying the Enneagram. By the way my Ennea -Type is incorrect on this site's test. I am a Counter phobic 6 with a very strong 5 wing on a more complete test. One test calls it the Defender personality. I have a strong 5 wing so I tend to be very investigative and analytical by nature. If you are curious to learn more about the Enneagram please check out the Enneagram Institute's website.
I recently took part of the microexpression reading course by Paul Ekman the technical advisor to Lie to Me online.
Relax: The course is designed to improve emotional recogniton and communication. The course only became moderately famous due to the show; it's been around for years. Originally Ekman thought it would help psychologists see if people were lying about being suicidal.
I've done a variety of martial arts: Karate, Kung Fu, Chinese Internal Martial Arts, and Systema.
I still remember the name of the first Ju Jitsu book I ever read:
Cliff Freeland's Guide to Ju Jitsu. I was 6 years old at the time and I wanted to be able to do what the Chinese Acrobats from Taiwan I saw on TV could do.
It's a result of how I viewed the world when I grew up in my family. It was difficult for me to be authentic so most of the time so I withdrew into my mind when I wasn't doing whatever needed to be done. Most of my hobbies are solo activities. I once told someone that fencing is a team sport because they have a team.
Sometimes it's difficult being the enigmatic but helpful stranger. I can only help for so long then I must return to the Silence to commune and regenerate my energies. Like the Shadow I have my Sanctum Sanctorum in my mind where no one goes.
The silence can be deafening.
But again I am Working on being Present.
My favorite part of this website is all the unique fictional character tests that the members have devised and that I have taken. The results were to my mind quite fascinating:
I was the Doctor on Dr. Who. I did end up as Captain Nemo on this site's fictional characters test and Picard on the Star Trek Captains test. Those character descriptions fit me well.
I scored as Satan on the Biblical Villains test, the Genius Maniac Super villain, and the Megalomaniac Super villain. I was Faith on the Buffy Test. I was the Fallen Angel on the Angel Test.
I was positive I would score as Picard, The Doctor, and Satan when I took the tests. I say that not to be frightening but to more clearly elucidate what I am like.
I didn't think I would end up as the Emperor I ended up as the Emperor Palpatine on the famous Jedi Test. I had a very strong sense that I would join the Sith- I knew the power of the Dark Side of the Force calls to me too strongly...(It's my strong 5 wing on the Enneagram. 5's tend to have a fascination with the dark side of things. Of course without light there would be no shadow...)
On a less serious (?) note: I prefer the Satan from Milton's Paradise Lost with his famous line " Better to Reign in Hell than to Serve in Heaven." My way of thinking about that is that it's all about autonomy and being willing to endure pain to have that state. Pain is unavoidable; suffering is optional. Message me if you would like me to explain that in more detail.
I liked the description of the Fallen Angel:
"To have known bliss and lost is far worse than to never have known it at all.
You are the fallen angel; unlike the angel you did not have the strength to keep away from corruption, eventually, you got curious, you touched the filth and it tainted you, and you regretted it ever since, as someone who knew innocense you cannot do true evil, however as someone who was tainted, you cannot return to you brethren as they shun you for what you have done. "
On the Anime Test I was Vash the Stampede:
"Its not that you don't love people, its that everyone you love dies, or you prefer that they don't. Thus, you tend to be a lone wolf. The classic Anime hero. You are a bleeding heart. It is people like you that make the world fall apart. Or hold together.."
Like my impressions, my reading of the text if you will, of the Doctor and Picard I would like to believe that people mean well but sometimes don't act in a sensible way. I tend to retreat into my mind as a place of refuge from the craziness in the world. I don't like to see innocent people get hurt but it happens all the time. Part of many of my former jobs was to correct that situation.
I'd like to say that I saw the world as a completely safe place but because of the work I did in Social Services and Law Enforcement I can't say that I truly believe that.
Conversely, I was raised at the tail end of the 1960's and I do remain optimistic that we can make a better world. As JFK said we are on the edge of a New Frontier. Perhaps we can all make peace with our Jungian Shadow Selves. Perhaps not.
However Hope Springs Eternal:
On an optimistic day I like to think that we are all like the characters in the Wizard of Oz. We already have everything we need we just need to recognize it.
Perhaps there is a light at the end of the rainbow.
My Enneagram type is full of dichotomous traits. Go figure.
Don't be surprised if this section keeps changing. I'm sure it will be a work in progress as I keep re-editing it. Keep coming back and re-reading it so you can bring new interpretations to the text.
I am quite expert at applying balm to those in existential torment and propping up shorn egos.
Scars remind us where we've been. They dont have to dictate where we're going.