Secret Agent Man



The conceptual framing of one’s experience into spatial designations of ‘inner and outer,’ ‘self and other,’ ‘me and not me,’ ‘real and imaginary,’ shape, categorize, which through the force of habit and time coagulates into an assumed identity referred to as ‘me.’ Inversely, out of all that remains, the discarded elements of raw experience become what is not me; the dispossessed, unseen, invisible, incomprehensible “other.” Possession is the coagulator of the psyche’s primary boundaries that form an identity.


Hugo Simberg [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Extending outward from one’s identity, the habit of ownership eventually include one’s experience, as it is put to memory, and the reflections absorbed into the private realms of awareness. As we come into contact with others who inhabit public or shared places a consensus, or shared reality then affirms and negates their accuracy and value. Our subjective states categorize the world, both private and public, into, among other things, truths and falsehoods predicated upon our buy-in to the consensus experienced within a cultural context, invisibly absorbed, contained and supported. One’s internal, private divisions tend to reflect and reciprocate public, external divisions. Private and public are then, two aspects of a dynamic pole defining both our individuality and the culture that often reflects the loudest and most resonant ideas and beliefs – devaluing or rejecting what lies on the perimeter and beyond; invisible, discarded, unacceptable or unbelievable according to the consensus as one experiences, absorbs and understands it.

Ideas about ourselves and others, rather than remaining fluid, tend to congeal into static objects by the force and habit of our mental states, thereby cementing for each of us a personal ‘self’ that negotiates definitions of “others.” Beyond, a privation or abstraction of a larger boundless reality remains hidden from awareness and sometimes denied any existence at all to the degree that consensus belief, opinions and buy-in influence the permission given for consideration and valuation of the private states we all experience.

The inability to incorporate and validate the existence of private experience constitutes a loss of dimension and depth, and risks reducing what is by nature fluid into static events and figures of ‘me’ and ‘you.’ What I am then becomes defined by what I censor and can articulate from experience – through the skills, body image, gender and generation that contextualize my experience. What I am not remains dispossessed, unknown and can only be seen by what is rejected – including how others are perceived to be, or to have, that are not mine. The eyes become I’s, the nose no longer knows, and the ear cannot hear.

Consciousness then, abstracts experience into concepts of what is real and imaginary, mine or not mine, friend or foe, true or false. Because our modern myth deems it culturally unacceptable not to accept, believe or buy into the existence of a one true objective reality, imagination is rarely understood as that primary aspect of each person’s experience which apprehends; filtering according to the habits of one’s culture, time and place, but rather is believed to be a special instance of ‘creativity:’ a gift that we either have or have not.



The more one’s agency looks to the consensus for validation rather than to one’s experience, which may not be consensual but rather deeply private and subjectively interior, the less agency one might avail towards the more interior realms of experience. Without a sense of one’s own agency, and its direct access to a reality less censored by either one’s own habits of filtering, or influence from the consensus, we in turn risk denying the existence of agency to other beings. Agency here is understood as the source and ability to apprehend and that which enables us to experience at all – to reflect, evaluate, reveal, hide and express. The less we can distinguish between our private direct experience and consensual filtering, the less agency available to us.

It’s no wonder that both the invisibles; God, or the gods, or even the visible living have become dead to us. Rather than experiencing any direct communion with the invisibles, it’s replaced with belief in ideas or opinions shared among visible beings and approved through a consensus of public agreements, however we come to define them.

Without acknowledging direct, private experience we submit our agency; our ability for true communion, to the human level of the so-called experts of our time, place and public opinion. As we seek for knowledge and power outside the agency of direct experience, the experts proliferate as god-like voices that provide a shared containment for an agreed upon objective reality that serves to validate our deprived and seemingly hopelessly subjective self.



The less we avail ourselves to direct experiences of private states in which we encounter all that visibly or invisibly influences us, and in turn give full agency and permission to have these direct encounters, the more we fall prey to influence as it appears to us in any form; invisible, human, or consensus opinion. The power of unseen influence is then replaced by consensual sources within the visible, human world – making heroes, villains, saviors and saints out of those affirmed and believed to literally have power. Through consensual experience we reject any notion that power might come from unseen, invisible sources. We then look to humanity for power, placing our devotions at the feet of individual public figures, crowned as leaders, professionals or experts, rather than understanding the human condition through an ongoing personal practice of expanding one’s apprehension and senses born of subjective experience. The idealism, perfection, purity once belonging to the gods, is now a choir of fallen angels echoing god-like voices in the human world, placing an impossible burden and expectation on people just like us; limited, frail and faulty.


Beware of pretty faces that you find
A pretty face can hide an evil mind
Oh, be careful what you say
Or you’ll give yourself away
Odds are you won’t live to see tomorrow

Johnny Rivers

25 thoughts on “Secret Agent Man

  1. Hi Deb,

    How wonderful to see you back at the WP ranch! Reading all the back and forth commentary is music to my ears, metaphorically speaking. I enjoyed your elaborate and intricate musings on a subject close to my heart. I plan to reread this again so I can better absorb it all and offer an articulate response ( hopefully). The community here is like no other and it is lovely to see what treasures your contribution generates.

    hugs, Linda


    1. Hi Linda!
      I’ve been working on this post since September. Crazy yes? That’s a lot of editing, lol! Yes, WP is a great community that shares a unique, personal view of ourselves. I’ve engaged in a lot of very good conversations here and met a lot of wonderful people.

      I hope to write more…we’ll see!

      Thanks for the note and for always being so supportive!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. How wonderful to hear from you again, and as for many others, a beautiful moment of synchronicity! I am currently putting myself through the “KonMari” method of tidying my house (“putting my house in order”.) It is a profound experience of understanding one’s relationship with the physical objects we choose to surround ourselves with, our very “possessions”- what we choose to define ourself, what has a hold over us… and then releasing what is no longer needed, while honouring the role it has played in our lives. This letting go is incredibly confronting and can be very difficult but is ultimately liberating. It certainly enhances consciousness, builds agency and requires a brave facing of the most neglected dusty corners of the inner world…I was wondering if I should write a post about it, as I couldn’t specifically relate it to dreams initially, and then I had a dream about fire – pure fire. And the synchronicities, like your post today, Bluebutterfliesandme “Pruning your life” and many other moment of magic abounding in my life have made me think that yes, the sharing is a good thing. Powerful forces at work right now. I thank you so very much for sharing this, it is another layer of depth and understanding to all I am currently experiencing. If you don’t mind, once I have finished the post, I will include a link back to your post here for people that may wish to reflect on these themes more deeply.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Amy! I’m happy the post resonated so much with you (and others here).
      I’d be honored if you include a link back to here.
      I’ll try to respond more to your note later.
      Thank you!


  3. Well well well!
    I have not written for at least 6 months.. I have been kicking the idea around and after reading this gem, I can see that the discussion about the “outer,” and “inner” worlds need to be delved into a little more. Notice I am not making that into a first person sort of statement, but am opening myself up to the Ggods to explore this idea(s)(ss)(sss) more. Thank you Deb for reminding me that my voice, kept to myself, does not get heard.
    Love your writing!!


    1. Hi Jim!
      Sometimes it’s just necessary to give it a rest, or take it offline, yes?
      You’re welcome for the reminder. Writing really does open me up in a very powerful way. I love to write as a practice not unlike playing a musical instrument, a sport or meditation.
      Thank you for the note!


    1. Thanks David! I’ve been busy at work after yet another promotion. Trying to finish strong in the work realm with the hopes of someday retiring. Hah! Besides that, I’ve been watching a lot of baseball. But, as I am sure you know, the writing never stops, neither does the swirling of thoughts.

      Thanks for leaving a note!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Outstanding post, Debra, which I enjoyed a great deal. It is perfect timing as I have just recently been debating this point in a friendly fashion, in a sort of different context– concerning the validity of personal experiences that cannot be “validated” in a scientific way. The prevalence of the idea that only the consensus reality is pertinent to the condition of our life and being is very strong, and I agree we lose something vitally important in that process. I will read this again to further consider it, but it was full of gems.

    I would have pulled out the paragraph that Ka has done, as it leapt right out to me, but this one also struck me with visceral force, “Without acknowledging direct, private experience we submit our agency; our ability for true communion, to the human level of the so-called experts of our time, place and public opinion. As we seek for knowledge and power outside the agency of direct experience, the experts proliferate as god-like voices that provide a shared containment for an agreed upon objective reality that serves to validate our deprived and seemingly hopelessly subjective self.”

    Nice to “see you” again, my friend.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Michael!

      No surprise that we are on the same page here. I think there are many outliers, many who sense or out right know the power of cultural consensus to betray one’s unique subjective experience.

      Thanks for leaving a note!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. CosmicDrBii

    Really good post. There is a lot crystallized here. You have clearly been thinking and reflecting a lot in your time away from blogging!

    I have been very aware recently, as result of a fourteen-day plant dieta that I did, which included seven ayahuasca ceremonies, of how much our consciousness has been colonized by all the images from advertising, billboards, TV, the internet/Facebook etc. that surround us and that we largely unconsciously absorb.

    I spent the first three ceremonies wading through all the cultural dross, which took the form of trashy visions, that my mind was saturated with – and I hardly watch TV. When I told my Shipibo Maestro/teacher about the kinds of visions I was having, he said he would ‘clean’ them for me. He then proceeded to sing to me to do this and following this, these kinds of visions receded greatly.

    That itself is mind-boggling to me – that someone could ‘clean’ your visions. It also shows how someone could manipulate your visions. And it also indiactes, I think, that we are very influenced by Western notions of individualistic agency – that we (that is to say our egos) are in charge of our consciousness, which makes us easier prey for all the capitalist, consumerist, materialist ideology and images that are constantly seeping into our minds, even if rationally we oppose these ideologies.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Paul,

      After tweeting about baseball last fall, one of my blog friends asked me on twitter, What happened to Hillman? Funny to think that someone who has a writing practice such as this couldn’t possibly have other interests. So yes, what ends up here on the blog is an expression of what’s percolating in the never-ending thought stream.

      It’s amazing to me that even though you are about as far removed from the constant stream of the cultural backdrop, you still feel its influence. In a way, I’d say that’s good. Might mean that you’re not trying to remove yourself from a particular aspect of the world? There may have been a time when I desired that kind of isolation, and did in fact isolate myself, but it’s not as much of a threat now. I think it might be because I can more easily accept now that the world has always been full of suffering and therefore I am not afraid to mourn. The nature of our suffering is in many ways ironic; that we seemingly have so much and yet still experience a tremendous amount of pain and suffering.

      Perhaps it’s impossible to be outside of influence, which is partly the point of this post, but in varying degrees we can be aware of it and give ourselves permission to reflect and respond to it. There seems to be a huge cultural message that we can change the world. Yes, the world changes, but often it seems that the unseen consequences of what we actually do to change it are as bad as the previous condition!

      Maybe too, getting older means that youthful hope blossoms into an acceptance of our smallness and if we’re lucky, we can still appreciate the beauty and wonder of both the greatness and the horror of the world.

      Thank you for the note!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jeff,

      One of the things I love about pop music, especially 60’s, the music of my youth, is that its simple lyrical phrases and ideas lend themselves so easily to metaphors about life and the human condition. Modern music has mostly gone too literal to be a container for ideas in the way that some of the older pop music was able to do.
      Thanks for the note.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hey Deb.

        Well, while I love the music of the 60s and 70s, I have to say there is still a lot of good music coming out today. Problem is, much of it never gets commercial air play. I’m fortunate that I have kids who introduce me to new music. Give a listen to Jake Bugg. I bet you will like his stuff. Also Death Cab For Cutie. I went with my daughter to see them last night. They were amazing.

        Cheers, and remember the words of the great Jerry Garcia: “Once in a while you can get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right.”

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Ooooh. Please share a couple new bands you are listening to. I am always looking for new and interesting music. Have you heard The New Pornographers? They are another contemporary band that I really really like.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Welcome back! A wonderful return. I love everything about this post! Especially this:

    “The inability to incorporate and validate the existence of private experience constitutes a loss of dimension and depth, and risks reducing what is by nature fluid into static events and figures of ‘me’ and ‘you.’”

    I adore how you address self-agency and interiority and how one interfaces between self and other, what gets in the way of “seeing,” what helps seeing self and other, owning and disowning in terms of identity, where creativity can be “error” of perception (but you don’t just such a term, I did). Very excited to have you back!! The richness of direct experience is inspired.

    Xo Ka

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks Ka! I have been poking at the ideas in this post since last September. More and more I realize that the editing is the practice, which is an experience itself. As the months roll by, I wondered if I would ever post anything again. Something came through me yesterday in a more definitive way. Somehow, the post seemed complete, or at least it seemed time to release it because afterthoughts are already in place, which means clearing the table will make room for the next meal.

      How wonderful it is to see notes left by you and others.

      Liked by 2 people

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