Inner Michael » Michael Jackson’s Ghosts Part II

Michael Jackson’s Ghosts Part II

The eye of the beholder is an important concept and an important distinction when interacting with works of art. Michael Jackson’s Ghosts is no different than any other of Mr. Jackson’s body of work. It comes at you in sections. On many levels. Michael’s genius is in his use of parable and the layering of parable, semiotics and subliminals to evoke dissonance at a deep level while entertaining on the surface.

 Did Michael Jackson know what he was doing or was it inspired work? Yes. Michael Jackson wrote Ghosts with Stephen King and he released it himself at the Cannes Film Festival. What happens in the creative process of great minds? Did George Lucas know what he was doing and saying with Star Wars? Was it inspired work? Did Steven Spielberg know what he was doing with Close Encounters of the Third Kind? With ET? Did James Cameron know what he was saying with Avatar? Did he say something out loud without saying it? Was their work inspired? When did they know? Does the knowing evolve? And then does the work evolve? And what about the eye of the beholder? Any evolution there?  Do we know what we know? Are we the knower, the knowledge and the known?

My experience in researching Michael Jackson reveals a methodical and deep thinker. Someone who was well read, a scholar of literature, art and life with all its manifestations and complexities. My discoveries and consistent findings of his intensity and tendency toward perfectionism lead me to believe Michael never did anything without thinking it through. The man knew exactly what he was doing. He was someone who discovered his role, embraced it and took it seriously. Michael had many masks and many disguises. So who is this enigma? Who is this man? Know his work, know the man. Was it inspired work? Oh yes. Did he know?  Yes. How did he know? He just did. An open channel, once the origin of the signal is known, no longer questions the frequency or the broadcast.

I have said that Michael Jackson not only was the man in the mirror, he was the mirror. And the world’s mirror. He knew about the mirror and that he was both a mirror and the mirror. What you see the world as… colors that world. This is the concept of the mirror—the mirror of consciousness. The mirror only reflects what  is presented it.

What one sees as or sees from is based on one’s experience. If I grow up in a third world isolated country where daily survival is an issue—whether from an out of control dictator, ethnic cleansing, political manipulation, oppressive religious beliefs, racial intolerance, plague from unsanitary conditions, potential starvation or a host of other ongoing threats, I am going to view the world as an unfriendly place. All my interactions with reality are going to be based on trepidation, survival and fear. I will see as one who is fearful. In Ghosts, take another look at the Amos ‘n Andy character who stutters and says “’s not a good sign!”

If I grow up in an aristocratic family where there is more than enough of everything in my life, I live in a green and pristine countryside estate, and have the best education money can buy, I am going to view the world from a place of abundance and contentment. So my world will be a world of plenty. Look for the characters who represent privilege in Ghosts.

If I grow up somewhere in between, I am going to know the place of “sometimes.” Sometimes the world is a friendly place and sometimes it is not. I will know both poles; I will understand opposites and contradictions or inconsistencies. Are there characters in Ghosts who can comfortably hold opposite poles or who can comfortably swing from one to another?

With each of these me(s) there will be an existential philosophy that forms and determines my view of the world and my world view. The world will be colored according to the lens I am looking through. Is the world friendly or unfriendly? Do I feel secure or am I perpetually hypervigilant because my world is a world of constant threat and danger? And what are my expectations of the world in any of these viewpoints? Would you say I am likely to expect more of the same? If strife is all I know… If fear is all I know… If war is all I know… how am I acclimated to this world, this life?

And furthermore, do I emit a vibe while living from that place in my mind? What if I am relatively happy, satisfied with my circumstances, secure in my abilities? What vibe will I be radiating then? And if I am one of the have-nots, how will I feel about those who live opulent and privileged lifestyles? What if I am spiritually oriented and I see everything as part of a magnificent creation—whether it is labeled “good” or “bad” by human emotions or standards? What if I know myself to be a child of God, a piece of that magnificent creator and this magnificent creation? What if I am perpetually in gratitude for my god given gifts, for the inherent beauty in the world, the love of family and friends, and even for the education life gives me in the lessons learned whether painful or not? What kind of vibe is created by an attitude of gratitude? Look for the grateful non-judgmental one in Ghosts; is that individual scary?

What I do with my life and where I choose to spend my mind also determines how I look at the world and how the world responds to me. If I am a homicide detective and I do that long hours and enough, do you suppose it would affect my mind-set? Would I live in a world where suspicion lives? How much time would I spend there? If I am an artist and concert pianist with a national orchestra, how might I view the world? If I am a Wall Street broker, is my world colored by money? If I am a homeless person do I live in a world filled with hope? If I am a parole officer, prison guard, criminal attorney, bounty hunter, how would I feel generally, about people? If I am a dictator and have to keep my population in line and obedient, how will I behave on the world stage? Are there little controlling dictators with little coercive domains?

Does what we do with our lives, our time and our minds color our reality? And if so, what vibe lives in us then and what vibe do we project to the world?

Some spiritual teachers suggest that the world, people and interactions can be distilled into two positions: Love or Fear. We either come from a place of love or we come from a place of fear. When one comes from love as a premise, the world looks abundant, friendly, has inherent beauty and everything is something beautiful in becoming. When one comes from an orientation of fear or lack of love, the world is threatening, people are dangerous, the resources are scarce leaving not enough for me and I am not adequate enough to create my own abundance or my own brilliance. That makes me feel impotent. I must then compete with others, feel inferior, fight for what I want or take what I believe I am entitled to or need, need to intimidate others to keep my illusion of power-over, need to find those inferior to me in order to elevate myself in my own eyes, judge people as good or bad, define an enemy in order to feel superior, and live in the baser emotions like hatred, jealousy, envy. Then what vibe will I radiate?

 A mirror can only reflect what is there. So who is the evil one? Who is the saint? Who is the sinner? Who is the angel? Who is the savior? Who is the Good Samaritan? Who is the devil? Who is the humanitarian? Who is the war monger? Who is the genius? Who is the child of God (whatever you perceive God to be?) Who is the bastard? Who is the damned? Who is the brilliant one? Who is the knower?

 Where are they? How do you find them? Or do they find you? How do you know who is what?

 And if contradictions and inconsistencies are part of everyone’s life how do you get them to stand still enough to label them?

 How do you nail that Jell-O to the wall?

 “Will the sun ever shine in the blind man’s eyes when he cries?”


(c) B. Kaufmann 2010

 Stay tuned for Part III on Ghosts and what Michael said in Ghosts through lyrics and presentation.

  • Comments on this entry will be edited. Only comments in the form of questions will be accepted. No “answers” allowed. (Yes, I know; that’s irritating. So simmer.)


  1. Suvie said . . .

    Oh I wish this movie is re-released on DVD and launched by Sony with all the blitz! Thanks again Barbara! As Michael said, your posts on Ghosts is like looking at an intricate painting, the more you look, the more you find!

    Posted July 30, 2010 at 4:31 pm | Permalink
  2. Jan said . . .

    Why do we need to label them? What makes us qualified to judge? Is it really necessary for the reflection to nail that jello to the wall? Or is it only its nature to reflect? Is this a case of the mirror reflecting an image of a mirror reflecting an image of a mirror reflecting an image, like in the Beat It performances on the History Tour? Aren’t we all all of the above at different times? Or is it all an illusion?

    Posted July 30, 2010 at 5:07 pm | Permalink
  3. Charlene said . . .

    I’m intrigued… How do I meet this challenge of responding only with questions? All of your questions lead me to ask myself, Who Am I? What vibe am I projecting to the world? And if I am, indeed, a mass of contradictions and inconsistencies, how do I label them? How do I know which label is governing the manner in which I respond at any given moment?

    If I have spent a good deal of my life coming from a place of fear, and have since found the way to come from love, how do I prevent the fear, the ingrained habits, from coming back? Is my desire to come from a place of love rather than fear enough to make that my reality? How is it possible for me to effect a significant change in the world toward coming from a place of love if my own vibe is not consistent?

    Will my tears of grief and surrender bring light and clarity to my vision, providing me with answers to all these questions? Is my gratitude for this opportunity to reflect being made clear to you now, Barbara?

    Posted July 30, 2010 at 8:34 pm | Permalink
  4. lmt said . . .

    How does a mind conceive of levels of message? How is it possible to compose and orchestrate timeless music that resonates with all of humanity? And once that miracle is performed, how does the mind lay down layer upon layer of whispers to the soul of who we are being or can be? And intertwined with that soft voice of self revealed, how does that genius mind wrap its thoughts and love around the heart and reside there in all it’s mystery and depth? Truely, how?

    Posted July 31, 2010 at 2:39 am | Permalink
  5. Anne UK said . . .

    Dear Rev Barbara,
    How can I possibly know that the refection I see in my mirror is in fact, me? Is what I see staring back at me coloured by others reflections shining on me? Is life a continual exercise in sorting through layers that might not be in fact, the truth? Are we adversly affected by what others reflect or, by trying to reflect where we ourselves are coming from do we overide these affections? Surely we must start by labelling ourselves before we can label others and isn’t labelling others a sign of judgement? Do we have the right to be judgmental in any circumstance? I have always been surrurounded by love so feel that love is my premise so why although I can see beauty all around me in different areas of my life can I still see the devastation that is so apparent? Why does the premise of fear creep in so that I do not see absolutely everything as something beautiful in becoming? Where is the dividing line between love and fear? Oh my goodness so many questions but the one that I want an answer to is: why did Michael have to die for people to begin to see his teachings? Why were we all so blind? Much love Anne

    Posted July 31, 2010 at 10:43 am | Permalink
  6. gertrude said . . .

    “Only comments in the form of questions will be accepted. No “answers” allowed. (Yes, I know; that’s irritating. So simmer.)”
    Is this not so very funny? am I so grateful that you, Barbara, have laid out the “mirror” with such clarity here because it always seemed it would take a lot of study-time I don’t have for me to “get” that concept? Am I feeling fascination with a mix of trepidation at realizing what I see in others is what is in me? AM I SCARED YET? Am I loving the gift we’re getting from you in this Ghosts series? May I say YUP, big-time? Am I praying that our loveliest of all mirrors is now honoured and nurtured as he so unspeakably deserves, in what I like to call our sky-home wherever that may be? Do I love you Barbara, and all the other sparkle people who give here? hee hee?

    Posted July 31, 2010 at 6:48 pm | Permalink
  7. MariJosee said . . .

    Who is the muse? Is the mirror a reflection of the self? Therefore, creativity is a mirror of the muse? Love you and thank you. Marijo

    Posted August 1, 2010 at 5:32 am | Permalink
  8. Dalia said . . .

    Have you heard the saying? “everything depends on the glass through which you see” and “every head is a world? Is Michael projected in his art work, their feelings, their concerns, their desires? Does he pretend us to send a message? Are we what we think and say? Perhaps we can expect in the midst of misery and desolation that the world around us can be better and it depends on ourselves to make that change? May we be in the worst place in the world, in the worst conditions, but if the heart and mind are prepared to think positive and believe that it is possible to get out of that situation and also help others? Is that the kind of person you admire and want to emulate? Before winning a war I should wage a battle against myself? My prejudices and my limitations?

    Posted August 2, 2010 at 6:07 am | Permalink
  9. Lisa said . . .

    Wow! We perceive Michael’s creativity in a similar fashion. Michael was a true creative genius.. who talked to us in parables, in signs, in symbolism. In some cosmic way, my childhood as poverty stricken child growning up in the Philippines and then coming to USA at 7 years old growing up in a working class Irish Catholic family, has definely shaped my own mirror in how I perceive Michael and his art and as a human being. I always do my best to not only keep an open mind, but a open heart. My connection with Michael is so strong, so spiritual, that I feel him with me yet I have never met him. I didn’t need to. His energy, his spirit was in such abundance, that it reached throughout the world. It took Michael’s death for me to have such a connection and to research his true essence, it is going. I love Michael for everything that he is, his life, his laughter, his genius, his humility, his love for humanity, his pain, his sorrow, his strength, his courage, his eccentricities, his joys, his warrior heart, his magic, his intelligence, his wit, and his heart. Thank you Rev. Barbara for your open heart and your truth of who Michael was and STILL IS..

    Posted August 3, 2010 at 6:06 pm | Permalink
  10. Lynne said . . .

    When I don’t label I find myself in the present moment in time. Yet to label is what we do to give meaning. How can I live a life without meaning or value/judgment. My life is forever affected by my past experience, yet if I am truly in the now – freed from labels does the past exist if only in my memory? Throw the question out to the energy source and let it simmer in time it will return to you with awareness as it’s answer. To experience – feel love without the label. Ah what would that be like?

    Posted August 3, 2010 at 10:08 pm | Permalink
  11. Cassie said . . .

    I am new to reading all of this beautiful manuscript here about Michael Jackson, HE WAS THE MIRROR and the face that stared back at him was the face of all the lost children. My heart shudders at the magnitude of what Michael Jackson did. I think God sent him! The forever child in his heart. Angels are amongst us. For me, in my lifetime, Michael Jackson is and was that angel.

    Posted August 5, 2010 at 3:55 pm | Permalink
  12. CassieforMaxwell said . . .

    My question is in reference to Michael. Could the reason that Michael continued to change his appearance be because what he saw in the mirror was a reflection of his father first, whom he feared; and then possibly the reflection of what he thought society saw him as? Why was he so discontent with his appearance in the mirror? He was never satisfied. What was he searching for? At one time he made the statement that when he looked in the mirror what he saw was a lizard! I never understood that. Please explain, because in my eyes, he was perfect.

    Posted March 21, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Permalink
  13. B. Kaufmann said . . .

    Cassie, Yes, it is puzzling that he never saw the perfection others saw. Originally I think Michael had his nose done because it was a large ethnic nose, was made fun of and he was someone who made his living on the stage so improving his looks was part of the “Hollywood” culture. (He was sensitive to appearance we know because he had acne and made his living onstage.) He said he also had work done on his nose to open the chambers and hit higher notes and that makes sense because the sinus cavities and internal structures of the face are actual resonance chambers. I have learned that Michael saw his life, body, voice, dance, and all gifts as bestowed from God– and one can see that when he works. So it makes sense that he saw himself (entire self) as a canvas for God. As a canvas for God, we dedicate our life, self, body, gifts to God and allow God, as the artist, to use us (the canvas) to paint divinity into form through the human.. Michael confirmed that he felt that way. If also makes sense that he loved beauty and perfection and there is evidence that he studied faces for their beauty even surreptitiously. He saw that beauty in males and females alike. He was a lover of aesthetics. Also- in this thing we call reality, there are worlds within worlds and in the worlds of metaphysics, archetypes and metaphors Michael represents (for me) “the changing face of humanity.” There is so much of those worlds in Michael’s work that Michael himself becomes ultimately– a metaphor for the human experience. In the world of celebrity it was necessary to reinvent oneself to remain contemporary and relevant– i.e. facelifts and “work.” In the shamanic world Michael is a shapeshifter and when I watch him, I see flashes of that– and sometimes animal faces which inclulde the cobra face (Egyptian.) Shamans will often take on the appearance of their primary or other power animal/s or other symbols. If you want to see an example of how that looks check out Susan Seddon Boulet’s artwork.

    Posted March 21, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Permalink
  14. CassieforMaxwell said . . .

    Thank you for responding. It’s amazing that you mention shapeshifter. I so agree with that. He was certainly God’s canvas. No matter what he did to change his appearance, the inner beauty shone through so strong that the outer beauty simply had to conform. He was beautiful from inside out. Nothing done could alter it. His eyes, the most intense, beautiful, caring eyes I’ve ever seen. To peer into them, even on a picture, sends a feeling of warmth through me. It feels almost as if he is reading my thoughts and saying to me, it will be okay, just believe.

    Posted March 21, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Permalink
  15. souldreamer7 said . . .

    Michael is definetly a mirror. I know this deep inside my soul. Thank you for this entry.

    Posted May 26, 2011 at 6:55 am | Permalink
  16. Mary Ann said . . .

    According to those close to him and his own words, the nose was broken during a complexe dance routine and the first surgery failled. He got to surgeries on the nose and achin lift. The rest is normal change due to growth, diet and dances.

    Whatever happened, his metamorphosis can say alot: He had no color, ne gender and no age. Was is his mission to represent each of one of us?

    I find Michael handsome all along his life and everything about him is divinly inspiring.

    Posted August 9, 2011 at 8:54 pm | Permalink
  17. victoria drumbakis said . . .

    Was he black or was he white? Was he an adult or a child? Was he male or female? Was he an innocent or a sage? Was he rich or was he poor? Was he in good health or was he ill? Was he young or was he old?? Was he a master or a slave? Was he divine and human? Was he the divine messenger, the yin and yang of creativity sent to change the world?

    Posted April 12, 2012 at 4:27 am | Permalink
  18. B. Kaufmann said . . .

    Beautiful. “Yes” he was. And “yes,” to your next question. Sent. ~B

    Posted April 12, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

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