Posts Tagged ‘tropo’

I have so many traveler friends who can deny the nose on their faces because they’ve watched it grow. Culture is what it is…it is where you find it. Geography or a certain number of miles and dollars spent do not necessarily mean that mind shifting discoveries are immanent….that’s just Tropo…Jung’s explanation of the effects of foreign cultures on the minds of western born individuals. For example, I am living in Texas these days, deep immersion in an entirely new culture. The freeways, malls and masses of apolitical independence are demonized by the many media outlets who promote homogeneity, but the unique nature of the Texan mindset and underlying culture is undeniable to the avid observer. I did not have to travel to Bolivia or Cambodia to experience a new culture.

And what is it about travelers who are stalkers of the third world and it’s poverty? I have sometimes considered the thought that it is not just the travel but the narcissistic ego boost in the act of lording a western passport over the impoverished villagers that makes some travelers think they have achieved a new state of nirvana. Does being among the destitute make some people feel better about themselves?

The good old days of the simple rural existence our forefathers once lived are passing us by as demographics shifts with the new economic reality of the 21st century. Whereas 90% of the population once lived in the countryside and 10% urban in the 19th century, this has reversed to an extreme, leaving only 2% of the population producing 90% of all the food we city types need to survive.

These facts are as plain as the nose on your face….you don’t need to travel to Nepal and climb a well worn mountain trail to witness the fantastic changes taking place in our own back yard. I went to a mall yesterday that was two million square feet, built on land where Comanche Indians once occupied 200 years ago. So don’t forget to look at what you have and take pride in your own culture while you’re at it.

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I was thinking about D.H. Lawrence this morning, how he succumbed psychologically, psychically and finally physically to the effects of immersion in an alien culture. (Now if that’s not an implied alliteration, I don’t know what is.) Carl Jung has described this state of travelers experiencing an altered reality as ‘Tropo’, or, the effect of a foreign culture on the mind of a person of the western civilization.

We saw this character played out in extremis on the big screen by Marlon Brando as Colonel Kurtz in the role  of  Joseph Conrads character in the novel ‘Heart of Darkness’ in the Vietnam epic  ‘Apocalypse Now’….”The horror..The horror’.

Thinking about Lawrences books’ ‘Mornings in Mexico’ and ‘The Plumed Serpent’ while sitting outside on this rapidly warming Texas morning with Spanish speaking ladies swirling around as they serve ‘huevo’s revuelto’s’ and ‘cafe con leche’ I understand how a staid 19th century Englishman traveler like Lawrence had his mind blown in slow increments, and in the end lose his mind in between the two worlds and in wracking amoebic dysentery.

‘You can’t go back’ , is a quotation we often hear, when trying to describe having experienced something so profound that that experience has changed the meaning of life. That person, once affected, is never the same again. I know this from having observed people whom I have known after having gone out into the world and have come back into the fold  appearing to have experienced a kind of ‘Jerusalem Syndrome’.

In past comments I have used the analogy of the common accountant who returns to work in dreadlocks and newly inked ‘tribal tattoo’s, as if the latitude of pseudo-primitive drumming sessions and nights of ganja on the Jamaican beach became stuck against the modern backdrop in his sub-conscious and sent his mind reeling into a previously unrealized space and time, in fact I have witnessed the extremes as well. The newly primitive accountant sometimes gets better after a few days in his own bed…but occasionally remains lost in that DH Lawrence state of ‘other-consciousness’.

Many travelers bring home memento’s and souvenirs to trigger and key back the lost state of higher consciousness that they may have experienced while on vacation. I am guilty of this, entire industries are built upon the act of psychological compliance to the mystery of compelling altered states to reappear on a cold dark Euro- morning. For me, it is refrigerator magnets.

These innocuous magnetic photographs are a map of my historic attachment to the past mind and constant reminder  that I have the ability and wherewithal to make the world go away should I require.The mini-vacations I experience every time I go ‘to the box’ for a snack or milk in my coffee have a way of lightening my load throughout the day. This ability to alter my reality and shift through time and space is quite extraordinary.

Like Lawrence and Conrad, I am too far gone to ever go back. I don’t have a clue what I’d be returning to. Would it be possible to reverse course and begin a journey of a million miles by retracing my steps backwards through time? Would anyone want to do that. If you had the chance to live your life over again, would you want to? I will decide as of this moment that today is the final resting place of my yesterday. I must run to catch up with tomorrow.