Open Topic – Pt. 1, Ch. 6 – On the History of the Phenomena of Soul and Spirit

Continuing the discussion from Open Topic – Pt. 1, Ch. 5 – The Space-Time Constitution of the Structures:


Place to put miscellaneous thoughts, reflections, questions, illuminations, impressions, confusions, quotations, references, resources, trivia, creative responses, or any other seemingly random yet suggestive content relating to Part 1, Chapter 6: On the History of the Phenomena of Soul and Spirit.

If it feels potentially interesting or relevant, even if it isn’t a fully formed observation, feel free to post it here.

If a thread emerges that deserves its own topic, use the “reply as linked topic” function to continue the discussion in a dedicated thread.

I wanted to leave this here as I mentioned it in the hangout last week: an interesting parallel between Gebser’s commentary on** the symbology of the bird-as-soul** and a current cultural reference.

David Bowie’s last music video, Lazarus, struck a powerful chord. His death seemed to stir something deeper within us – a profound cultural mourning occurred that seemed to be, to me anyway, nearly unprecedented in social media. I didn’t realize how much he’d effect people when he died ( I was a big Bowie listener in my teenage years, so this hit me as a pretty significant moment).

Within the song, obvious references to his death are prevalent. “Look at me, I’m in heaven…”

But I thought it was interesting that Bowie identified himself with a bird, or perhaps rather his soul with a bluebird:

This way or no way

You know, I’ll be free

Just like that bluebird

Now ain’t that just like me

There are a number of other occult references in this music video, as well as in the image of a Black Star(1), but I won’t get into those for now. Suffice to say Bowie seemed to be re-initiating us into the mystery of not only death, but life, as he made his own death a creative expression – a kind of birth, if you will. The polarities of life, death, and transformation swirled together in one big, final output. As Marco mentioned in conversation a few weeks ago – Bowie’s death was like a star going supernova.

Bowie was mutating – transforming, becoming, creating – right into his death, as his own death wasn’t separate from his art. Is this an integral expression? A mythical one? All of them wrapped up together? Suddenly our social media swarmed with images of Bowie in his various personas across his life, from Ziggy to the Tall Thin Duke to the Button-Eyed Black Star. It was as if all of his time here on earth lit up like a multidimensional nova, flaring out in brilliance and free from any one moment in his personal history.

I thought of Gebser’s usage of Pablo Picasso’s drawing (figure 1 on page 25), and its ability to express time. Bowie’s artistic expression, across the web, seemed to be flashing multiple temporalities in a similar, striking fashion.

(1) I’ll just mention one, in the music video Black Star, the skull of the star man is adorned with jewels, not unlike the Minoan Prince who is adorned with feathers on his crown (see the Magic / Mythic sections in Part 1 of the book for significance).

OK, this became a blog (naturally) on #litgeeks: litgeeks.com