Conversations June 5, 2010

Saturday, June 5, 2010

6 AM. I am still reading Reynolds, Papa, getting toward the end of The Paris Years, and while he is very good as a recorder of your life, and seems to be appreciative of your work as it changed our literature, I don’t get the sense that he knows the kind of thing you’ve showed me here. The analysis of A Farewell To Arms, for one, though I haven’t gone back to reread that session.

It does show me the value of this, and the autonomy of the information source (that is, I’m not just making it up) — and shows me I need to index the material, though I don’t know how I’ll do it.

You know how to make [index] cards, and how to make lists from the cards, what’s so hard about that? If it makes you think about how to describe what you’ve been reading in a given session, so much the better.

The apparatus of scholarship — never my strong point.

Easier to learn than marlin fishing.

I’m smiling. All right, I want to glance back at that Farewell To Arms summary, and will be right back.

Okay, it was May 13th, not very long ago. In one short paragraph you summed up what it was about in a way I couldn’t have done — and in other paragraphs you reminded me why it was revolutionary. I’ll put in that summarizing paragraph when I transcribe this.

[Frederick Henry sought a sexual conquest, and to his surprise found love. Found that he could feel love, and give love, and in this sense live in love. That changed him. It made him vulnerable in a whole new way, and he had to learn to live with that. Until then he had been floating with the tide, cut off emotionally from his family at home for reasons never explained (because they don’t matter) and cut off yet connected to his army friends because he was in another country’s army, yet he was sharing the experience. He had Rinaldi, and the priest, and the others were acquaintances, even if very close and long-term acquaintances. The wound separated him from them — and brought him to Catherine — and when he returned to the Army, he did not really return to them. He was a part of the Army when he was wounded. He was a part of Catherine when he returned from the hospital.]

I presume you have a reason for it —

Notice that our habit of cooperation, call it, has grown so dependable that I can haunt you while you’re off-duty with the idea of something, and you can recognize the difference between such communication and a “stray thought.” It’s another benefit of continued ILC, for those who wish to practice it.

As you were writing that — that’s what it felt like, [even] if it was my hand and arm doing the writing — I suddenly got the sense that you and I connect along your idealistic thread, which is why the “you” I am experiencing is so different from the total you as expressed in your life.

Yes, and that is a first experience of something you’ve had as a concept for several years now. There’s a difference, experiencing a thing, or hearing a concept, or experiencing the same thing in light of the concept.

That’s what this process is all about. Frank is experiencing this at first-hand; anyone reading it, or reading of it via anyone who earlier read of it, may get enough of a sense of concept-as-experienced to serve as a bridge for their own first-hand practice. In other words, one person’s experience makes it easier for another to have a similar experience, and perhaps carry it much farther.

I begin to understand the saying that the best assurance of a long life is a great task.

Sure. Why go to a lot of trouble to set up an experiment just to destroy it before anybody gets the use of it?

Does that imply that Stephen Crane would have lived longer if The Red Badge Of Courage hadn’t reached publication?

Only if you wanted it to mean that. Life isn’t quite that simple, as you really do know. But to return to the point, here. I’m going to ask Carl to draw us a model, I think: This wouldn’t be my strong point.

[CGJ] Yes. Consider this model a thought-experiment, not dogma or even teaching.

In other words, you are going to present something to help us bridge over to a later concept.

Precisely. Concepts are scaffolding. It is no tragedy, no waste, and certainly no presumption of error, when scaffolding is taken down after the structure has been completed.

Your model of rings and threads has helped sketch the fact that relationships within individuals are as important and as meaningful and as full of consequences as relationships between individuals. Indeed, our point is that no one is “individual” in the way society assumes, even though the possession of separate bodies leads to the presumption that minds and other forms of energy are equally separate and distinct.

Now we extend that concept in practice, at least a bit. Not so much Frank contacted Ernest, but a strand of Frank contacted a strand of Ernest (because the strand was shared, of course).

But see what results. The contact and the resultant interaction has the potential to change both! I don’t have a diagram to illustrate the point, but the concept can be made clearer. Frank consists of strands ranging from 1 to 9, let us say. Ernest, let us say, extends from 9 to 18. In their connection, as they communicate beyond a superficial level, it can become as if both of them extended from 1 to 18, or as if either of them shared any one strand or combination of strands.

This is important because it shows the bridge between imagination and manifestation. This will require some explanation.

Let us say that in life Ernest extended from 9 to 18. As he was created, he was incapable of extending beyond that range by himself. But anyone with whom he interacted potentially extended his range. Or take Frank’s two favorite statesmen, John F. Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln. Kennedy radiated wholeness and versatility, Lincoln depth and compassion. In both cases, this showed an initial disposition heavily modified by extensive contact with others, absorbed and transformed by their ability to sympathetically comprehend the range of the others.

And the example of Intuitive Linked Communication being practiced here shows another way in which instinctive sympathy may broaden one’s range, quite as much as if experienced externally.

Given that such interaction occurs continually at levels far below and above consciousness, as well as a certain amount consciously, does this not somewhat redefine the concept of an individual a bit further? Initially the model was designed to show that you are not as much of a piece as you commonly think. This modification of the model, or let us say this demonstration of how the model operates, is designed to make the model a bit less static. There is nothing static about your life in time. You change continually, and those around you change continually, and you change each other, again continually. This is not chaos because each person has a core, and because people are not equally open to change, and because not all parts of a person are equally open to change. Not chaos, but never static.

[EH] And, to make the specific application clear, you might consider that everybody is functioning in a sort of closed-off, divided state. The idea that you’re separate individuals leads society to do some insane things whose consequences would be perfectly predictable if the model were understood. Just as there isn’t any “away” to throw stuff, there isn’t any “individual” to be unaffected by what happens to everybody else. John Donne said it and I quoted it, but people take it only politically.

I’m tempted to quit, but sense that I should not, so give me a minute, here. [A few seconds to recalibrate.] All right.

This began — the entry-point was your getting a sense that your “feeling” for me didn’t match the sense of me you got from reading about me. It progressed to your seeing that you and I connect along specific threads. (You’ve concentrated on the one thread, but there are more.) Now we’ve shown that not only do people experience each other differently depending on what they share; they change each other depending on what the other has that they find attractive. It is the finding attractive and being able to follow that thread that is the essence of free will, of choice, of life. And it is imagination that offers the key; is the door through which you enter.

Say a little more about that?

Your senses can only report what is there to be reported. Your thoughts can only process what is there to be processed. Those are valuable functions, but they are only half the story, and the mechanical half, at that.

Your intuition reports what your senses cannot. Your imagination processes what your intuition reports. These two are valuable functions.

Obviously, of most value is senses and intuition both respected and listened to; both thought and imagination used on the combined data returned by senses and intuition. Anything less is crippled.

And how do you suppose I functioned as a writer?

Oh, I don’t have any doubt about that, Papa! And I see, wholeness, again, is the source of that immense attractiveness that was powerful enough to influence the whole world.

Yes — and it was my disruptive negative traits that made me a lot of trouble, don’t forget — and The Paris Years should be showing you that they existed in full measure long before fame.

I do see that. And I sense that we’re going to discuss their significance  some more, yes? But I think I should quit for the moment. As always, thanks to both of you, and to all others who participate.

And our thanks to you and to all who read this and participate.

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