An Interview with Yury Arkadin of Convival Hermit Magazine #2
1. Aarni's music has been described as "Lovecraftian-Jungian Kalevala Avantgarde". Lovecraft most of us know, but what about Carl Jung, to the uninitiated? What connection do his theories have to Aarni, and to you personally?
MM: I think it is a shame if Lovecraft should be more widely known than Jung. I am under the impression that a basic familiarity with Jung's theories and contributions is a matter of common knowledge - for example the concept of archetypical images of the individual & collective unconscious, their expression via dreams, Jung's categorisation of personality types, the concepts 'introverted' and 'extraverted', his studies of various "paranormal" phenomena, synchronicity etc. etc. To people unfamiliar with Jung's theories I recommend the introductory book Man And His Symbols. It has also been translated to many languages besides English and should be available in most libraries. My connection with Jung's theories is one of practical application...I have come to accept many of his concepts as viable through personal experimentation & experience. The same naturally goes for Aarni, as the band is a manifestation of my psyche. Of course, it is always unwise to limit oneself to just one model, therefore I have also tested & currently entertain Wilhelm Reich's and even some of Freud's concepts. But as a whole my current reality-tunnel is constructed of many things beyond psychological theories. I am also not interested in preaching about anything in Aarni's music or lyrics. I would rather just provide the pointing finger, so to speak, and let the listeners see the moon for themselves...
2. Carl Jung believed that an artist is able to tap into the collective unconscious in ways that other beings cannot. Please correct me if I am wrong. He claimed that, from what I understand, the artist, as opposed to an ordinary human being, call him homo consumens for example (I take this construction from Erich Fromm), has no "free will" when he is creating, but rather becomes a "conduit" of this force, so to speak. This is interesting to me since, in my experiences with interviewing various musicians, I have heard these words repeated from their mouths many times: "it is not as if I am 'speaking' the music," they say, "but that the music is speaking through me". Is this applicable to you also?
MM: Well, to (mis)quote Nietzsche, I think everyone is an artist and a better one than they think...it seems just a question of finding a suitable medium for your creative expression. For some people it may be a rich inner fantasy world or something similar that does not leave concrete "artwork" behind for others to inspect and label you as an artist.
But to answer your question: Yes, this appears applicable to me in the sense that I usually do not consciously compose or "think out" my material...I do not value rationality or logic very much and try not to resort to them unless absolutely necessary. So I guess I rely almost solely on intuition & my material has so far been perhaps 70% inspiration and 30% perspiration. The music indeed seems to be "speaking through me" or perhaps expressed more accurately as flowing from my un/sub/superconscious into the conscious parts of my mind - creating the impression of having arrived from somewhere "outside" me. I think that nobody should take the concept of "Free Will" seriously anymore, not after the discovery of psychology as science. It's just another outdated & primitive "spook" or meme (mental virus) like the concepts of "sin" and "fate" and such. If one would like to "explain" artistic creativity in Jungian terms, she would likely say that the contents of an inspired vision are indeed archetypal images from the personal and/or collective unconscious. For my part I am not that keen on "dissecting" and explaining art away...besides, this kind of theory seems more easily applicable to visual art than music. I like to experience a sense of "irrational" awe and numinosity in the presence of what I regard as good art...I do not need any "rational" explanation for my feelings, at least not at the time. I think everyone will do the biggest possible service to themselves by studying psychology and exploring their life & mind (and all aspects of existence in general) with the tools it provides, but there remains the danger of overanalysis - in my opinion it is sometimes better to shut off your brain's reasoning apparatus and just sit back & enjoy the show.
3. Do you believe that lucid dreaming is a real process? There are some people who say they are able to steer their dreams almost like in a video game. Since I have never been able to do this, I remain mildly skeptical of the process. Master Warjomaa?
MM: Funny you should bring this up, as I have been recently discussing the matter with my friends & collegues. Synchronicity, perhaps? I have seen lucid dreams frequently for as long as I can remember, maybe a few times every month. I have also collected instructionary material for the process, but have not yet had the opportunity to study it. In my case it seems that a dream naturally becomes lucid when my period of rest nears its end and my consciousness begins to "wake up". It appears to start doing so in slow stages, usually especially if my body's sleeping position is uncomfortable and/or very much at odds with the activity of my "dreambody". I speculate that at this stage my dawning consciousness dimly senses that I have "two different bodies" - this leads to a sensation of falling. In my dream this seems to manifest as the sudden realisation of being able to fly. Usually at this point I also become aware that I am in fact dreaming and can steer the dream-events by willed effort. I think "will" is very much the operative word here - it pays to systematically train your will, especially with various "occult" techniques such as visualisation in a meditation/yoga or ritual magick context. Jung's psychoanalytical technique of Active Imagination can also be helpful in this manner, besides of course serving its main function of dream-interpretation.
On the other hand, why should you strive to control/tamper with your dreams - especially if you adhere to the Jungian theory that the dream-content represents a more or less encrypted, valuable & urgent message from your superconscious/higher self? Intentional lucid dreaming could be seen as downright harmful to your individuation process in this sense. Another thing entirely is the widely reported & somewhat studied phenomenon of "astral" travel in a lucid dreaming state. The difference here is that you are not operating in a "subjective" dream, but rather in the "real" waking world or on some plane close to it - with people who are awake to potentially verify your experiences. I may have some personal experience of this, but I regard the evidence I have so far presented myself as being inconclusive. I however have friends who apparently have had rather convincing OOBEs. But I digress.
4. What is the most recent dream you've had that you can remember, a dream that has left some deep emotional impact on you? Do you often remember your dreams? Do you believe, like Carl Jung, that dreams can spell premonitions?
MM: I am in the habit of keeping a dream diary and do often experience/remember what I consider intense & "unusual" dreams. I do occasionally dream of events that actually happen in the following day(s), but I regard these dreams as being useless although amusing. Jung explained the mechanic behind this kind of "prophecies" by the collective unconscious/synchronicity hypothesis. I do not wish to discuss my dreams in public, as I believe they are at least in part personal messages to me from my unconscious, and mere pointless phantasmagoria to everyone else.
5. Do you prefer dreams to reality, assuming there is a difference?
MM: I hope there is a difference (in a sense) and so far I do not think I have confused the two...dreams can easily be more intense & numinous than everyday waking existence, but I think it would be pathetic escapism to prefer dreams to "reality". Yet I do not believe the matter is so dualistic & clear-cut...with certain mental techniques you can meld these two seemingly different worlds of perception nearer to each other. This can result in your existence becoming more meaningful and rich - in all senses of these words.
6. What is your opinion of so-called mental or conscious expansion through drug use? Is this something you do?
MM: If the word "drug" is defined as meaning a conscious-altering substance, nearly everything falls under this category: for example eating a potato alters your consciousness, although less radically than, say, LSD. Drinking coffee or alcohol or smoking a cigarette alters your perception noticeably, all in different ways - but the most potent drugs change your whole outlook on life drastically...these drugs include ideologies, religions and every sort of spurious convictions. I think these are the worst drugs in existence and their effect lasts a lifetime in extreme cases of stupidity. Compared to these, mere chemical substances are as nothing...
Consciousness expansion is a thing I wish every sentient being would practice - in the sense of exploring your mindbody, discovering the way your personal psyche is constructed. This seems to me like the most useful thing anyone can do, and also the most difficult & rewarding task imaginable. All other activities in life seem mere cowardly attempts to escape from yourself. But you do not need any chemicals to explore your mind - the same effects can be achieved via various techniques of meditation...these cost nothing but time & effort and do not pose a risk to your health, quite the opposite.
Yoga is perhaps the most widely-known tool of consciousness exploration, but I think it contains unnecessary dogmatic baggage. Far better to use techniques stripped of religious and metaphysical content. I recommend two books as starting points to anyone interested: Prometheus Rising by Robert Anton Wilson and Undoing Yourself With Energized Meditation And Other Devices by Christopher Hyatt.
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