Not so individual after all
Speaking of time and space and separation and delayed consequences was to lay the groundwork so that you may see more clearly that there are other ways of seeing us than as individuals.
Remove separation because you remove space-time. Remove delayed consequences because you remove space-time. What do you now have? You have a situation in which it is harder to draw hard and fast – and arbitrary – boundaries between “this” and “that,” between “I” and “other.” You have a situation in which to envision is to do; yet to do is not to do anything any more permanent than had existed before it was changed. This is a very long discussion – this question of consequences without delay, and I set it aside for now, merely marking the place, as it were, so that we may concentrate on what we are like in that aspect of ourselves that is not individual and solitary.
Remember, I deliberately try to set out at least two potential viewpoints. To see anything only one way is to force it into a strait-jacket, or rather is to force your ideas into a strait-jacket. It is not a sign of mental weakness or slovenliness to see multiple viewpoints. It is a precondition for truer understanding. Given that it is not physically possible to translate existence outside time-space into existence within time-space – that is, given that the greater cannot be comprehended by the lesser – all understanding is merely an approximation. Any view is necessarily a partial view which may be profitably complemented by other partial views from other angles.
So, here is another partial portrait, leaving you the task of reconciling it with other partial views of the same subject – for if you do not do the comparing and contrasting, you will merely be visiting a view, which will in no way later influence your life. To the degree that you begin to see a thing from multiple, rather than from alternate, viewpoints, your actual world will change and you will to some extent acquire mastery of what you examine.
To the guys upstairs, we appear less as individuals made up of something solid and different than as hollow containers holding together many disparate threads.
These threads are characteristics of all kinds. Every thing that marks you as a physical body, as an animated body, as an animal, as a human, as a member of all the sub-categories of human, as a member of your particular clan and family, and, finally, as the particular expression of the time and place into which you were born – all these things may be seen as characteristic threads that have been gathered up within the container that you regard as “you.” Now, this is an analogy, remember.
Imagine a black background, and on it, a huge number of rings. Each ring is threaded through, and each thread connects different rings, seemingly at random. I mean to suggest a loose network of rings connected by threads, with each thread passing though innumerable rings but not, by far, all or even most of them. Each thread passes through many rings – but skips many. Similarly, each ring gathers many threads, but far from all or even most. That is, one thread may pass through rings A, B, D, J, Q, and Z, and a second may pass through A, J, S, T, and V, a third may pass through only O and P and a fourth through J, S, P, et cetera.
We in bodies are the rings, and characteristics are the threads, and to those on the other side, the threads are as real and as individual as the rings. Outside time-space – that is, escaping the impression of separation – there is not the same clarity of distinction between “individuals” and there is not the sense of continued flow that space and time impart. Thus, it isn’t that they do not perceive the rings, but that they also perceive the threads. They perceive as solid and tangible something what we on our side perceive only as abstract and theoretical. Thus to them it is permissible to say that left-handedness includes George and Sam, or that drunkenness has Bill and Charlie.
As you learn to see the threads that are characteristics running between individuals, you begin to see that it is merely arbitrary to consider individuals as – individual. If what seems a “unit” cannot exist without tens of thousands – millions – of components each of which is shared with uncounted other “units” – it is as true to see that “unit” as one node in a network as it is to see it as a separate item. Either way of seeing it is somewhat correct, and either way will allow you to deal with it adequately – but neither description alone is as adequate as both descriptions together.
As society’s environmental awareness has grown, it has begun to become evident that it is as accurate to describe ourselves as sharing the same necessities like air – which means, seeing ourselves as being peripheral to the centrality of air – as to describe ourselves as central, with air being merely one of your requirements. If air can get along without you but you cannot get along without air, which has a more independent existence? If water, if food, can get along without you, but not you them, where is the independence of the human? Clearly, human activity is primary, in that it could affect and perhaps even destroy the conditions needed for its own continuation – but primacy does not at all have the same meaning as independent.
A human in 3D might be described as an appendage to the environmental systems that sustain life. No air, no water, no relatively stringent temperature range, no chemical preconditions – no humans. That equation cannot be reversed. It is not true to say that removing humans would make impossible the conditions that allow human life.
This is not a lesson in environmentalism or ecology or social science or hard science, so let’s return to the point. What seem to us to be individuals – including ourselves! – do not look so separate when seen from outside time-space. What seem to us in time-space merely abstractions seem a bit more solid and tangible (so to speak) outside time-space. One might say that where we see individual rings and mostly do not see threads except as abstractions, the other side sees threads as easily and as solidly as rings.
The purpose of describing how the guys see things helps you to get a clearer image of our situation, and it sets the stage for the next step, which is to move from description to tracing consequences.
Those consequences involve a description of how and why you may develop conscious access to guidance. Perhaps I should say, more conscious access, or even ever more conscious access. For it is potentially an unending process, or a process without an endpoint, whichever phrasing and nuance you prefer.