Gyres again

The ever-sharp Mike Sanders blogged a bunch of stuff about authenticity, self, and mask. The authenticity question I have avoided, because authenticity is a concept that lies outside the world we live in, at least according to postmodern theory. According to Baudrillard the path of history has been a map of the precession of simulacra; the real no longer exists. The real has been replaced by the hyperreal. Because that is the case, there is no authenticity anymore.

I can’t say that I agree completely. However, the question of authenticity is inextricably linked to the questions of mask and self. Oddly enough, that is precisely the terminology that WB Yeats used to describe the gyres which rule existence. However, in Yeats’s conception what most people refer to as “mask” is really an interface between the creative mind and the emotions, which were what Yeats defined as the mask. If it sounds confusing, it is. Dr. Murphy tried to convince me that where Blake and Shelley were algebra, Yeats is calculus. I don’t agree. Blake is ultimately more confusing and difficult to grasp. I’ve been working on Blake for years, and I couldn’t condense it to a “short version” the way I can Yeats. I’ve been talking about Yeats’s system for a few days, and it is difficult to envision. So I made a cheesy graphic:

The “self” has four parts, divided between the objective and the subjective. The objective faculty is the “will”; the subjective is the “creative mind”. The negations of these things are the “mask” and the “body of fate,” emotions and chance. The objective and the subjective rotate in opposite directions like tornados interpenetrating each other. The will is opposed to the mask, in Yeats’s system the emotions and will are forever separate. The creative mind is in opposition to fate: things that cannot be shaped by the mind. Yeats mapped this rotation out into 28 phases, like the phases of the moon, but I’m not going to go there tonight. The key point is the oppositions involved. In this view the self is multivalent, containing both subjective and objective parts churning desperately against each other.

Ultimately, the entire paradigm is a HUGE confusing mess, and difficult to talk about. But I do find visualizing the storm of life in this way to be somewhat helpful. It may not be accurate in a scientific sense, but in an emotional one, it has resonance. The emotions constantly move in and out of phase with the creative mind.

I just thought I’d throw this out there, because I know my discussions of gyres may not be easy to follow. I also like Baudrillard’s precession of simulacra; in many ways this encompasses maps like Yeats’s. We keep trying to make sense of self and mask, and we create simulations to try to envision it. But the world dances and spins, just outside the reach of any neat conceptual model.

1 thought on “Gyres”

  1. Hi Visible Darkness:I borrowed (stole) your graphic! I wanted to play with it in other dimensions. The two sites are: (a radio blog with a couple readers at most) & (a manila site I am experimenting with that has no readers)If you have a problem with its usage it can be deleted or if you feel more documentation is required please let me know. I read visible darkness daily & admire & am provoked.Thanks. (I tried to send this via email but it didn’t work)– Raymon Montalbetti
    You’re not the only one who lifted it. I don’t mind, really. If I would have known it would be so popular, I would have spent more than five minutes working on it!
    would love to read more:”Yeats mapped this rotation out into 28 phases, like the phases of the moon, but I’m not going to go there tonight.”please go there some night.with respect

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