Conversations September 9, 2010

Thursday, September 9, 2010

6:15 AM. My friends?

Re-reading — scanning — the previous one or two sessions will help bring you closer to our intent at the moment. We mean this as a general principle. Even if we go off on an entirely different tangent, it will still bring you within the railroad station, even if a different train is leaving on a different track.

You guys are showing your age.

We’re showing yours! Whose mind are we rummaging through for analogies?

Very funny. So —

Let’s devote a few more words to the porous nature of your consciousness. We think we did indeed get across something of the nature of a voluntary consciousness as a halfway house among many influences, but perhaps it would be as well to remind you that the word “layer” or “level” implies a flatness and solidity and definiteness that are quite mistaken as concepts in this connection. Think instead, perhaps, of clouds. Your — our — brain might almost be looked at as one localized area of a continuing lightning storm, lighting up various areas of the overall cloud in such a way as to make the areas appear to be more distinctly divided into sections or units than is true. This analogy has its problems, but it has its instructive aspects, too, so we will pursue it for a bit — reminding you first that it is an analogy, not a scientific identity. A map, not a territory, and in fact not even a map so much as an impressionistic interpretation of a naturalistic painting of a map. In other words, as we said, an analogy.

Think of some world like Venus or Jupiter where the entire atmosphere could be looked at as one huge cloud, and forget the boundaries of that cloud-atmosphere in outer space or on the planet’s surface. We want to raise an image in your minds of a huge expanse, as changeable as air, as locally organized as storms, as invisible as any atmosphere, and as stratified, those strata being only loosely and one might say temporarily defined.

No hard and fast edges.

No edges, correct. Perhaps you have a temporally persistent feature such as Jupiter’s Red Spot, but even in such a feature, it persists only because the pattern persists while the constituent molecules of gas continually move in or out or about it.

In such a fluid but not featureless or homogenous mass, can you see that geographers are going to have a hard time drawing boundary lines? How do you set frontier guards if the frontier itself moves all about the place continuously? Yet, again, if there are no hard-edged lines, still there are zones of division that result in, or rather result from, differences in composition that are organized, persistent, and meaningful as expressions of variation in condition resulting from the underlying conditions set up by the nature of the planet whirling through space.

Again, remember our purpose here. We want to free your consciousness from ideas that restrict your ability to intuit more productive relationships.

Now, if, within this vast sea of atmosphere with its own rules of being, we concentrate on any particular bit of it, our area may have a certain cohesion for some reason, but defining it is necessarily going to be arbitrary. It will be a setting apart for the sake of clarity of things that belong together quite as much as the things that are contained within the unit you create by your definition. Can you write boundaries in sea-water? Only as abstractions. The water itself flows. We could use an ocean as an example nearly as well as an ocean of atmosphere, and either analogy would have its particular drawbacks and advantages.

You can see perhaps why we discouraged you from starting to sketch the porousness of things. To think in terms of levels is well and good, but not if it exaggerates the solidity of the level at the expense of its continuity wherever divisions are made. We still don’t want the illusion of individuality sneaking back in through the side door.

Now, ground the analogy. At a certain altitude (or, if you prefer the ocean of analogy, at a certain depth) a given

Won’t work, will it?

No. We were going to say “a given creature floats,” but that of course immediately returns the bounded individual.

And to say “a given molecule of air or water floats” is formless to the point of meaninglessness.

Yes. A moment, here. [Pause]

Okay, you’ve had several moments, as I checked my e-mail.

It is difficult to find a three-dimensional model for a non-three-dimensional reality. We are tempted to explore the tendril-and-plant analogy but that sacrifices all the fluidity of the model we need. (It might be instructive in another context, of course. Everything in life provides analogies; the trick is to discover what the analogies refer to.) We are going to have to revert, here, to

Really went wandering, that time.

It doesn’t matter. Let us discard analogy for the moment and say it straight, and perhaps the appropriate analogies will suggest themselves. What we mean to say is simple enough, it is merely unfamiliar. But sometimes the clarification (the analogy) itself requires clarifying, and hence is better set aside for the moment.

Revert to the idea of strand-consciousness, or strand-mind, person-mind, and group-mind as each being similar in composition but each functioning in a specialized way relative to minds at other levels. Obscured in this model is the very important communication and interaction person-mind to person-mind, that is, communication at the same level. Given that it occurs at the level you are familiar with, the person-mind, and given that we are discussing mind not body — in other words given that we are discussing a non-physical not a physically-dependent phenomenon — perhaps you can see that what is true at your level is also true at the group and at the strand levels. Consciousness is a matter of input from all other levels including other consciousnesses at the same level. (A molecule of air may descend or ascend or move sideways, so to speak, but again the analogy is poor except for the aspect of fluidity and absence of rigid boundaries.)

Now, if any given bit of consciousness includes input from other layers, and if other bits of consciousness also include input from other layers, and if the same group-mind contains strands that each consider themselves independent person-minds, and each strand-mind is itself the group-mind of strands of its own, is it not one inseparable swirl?

This for the moment undervalues the separateness of things because concentrating on the unity of things; nonetheless, it is one valid aspect of reality. Everybody is connected not as neighbors with boundaries, but as a cloud or an ocean with separation more by specific gravity or buoyancy or by the pattern of established currents.

You will remember that we have long tried to explain the strands as connecting to other bits at different wave-lengths, or specific gravity, or buoyancy. This is what we were getting at. If a given person-mind comprises strands at many different levels (there’s that word back again) it in effect lives in each of these layers at the same time. A Hemingway may thus occupy a huge range of positions because his person-mind’s strands include such widely different levels. A highly specialized person’s person-mind might by contrast comprise huge numbers of very similar strands, rendering him or her relatively blind to much larger segments of reality so as to put one higher contrast the brilliantly lighted segments it concentrates on.

You are born with a limited range of options: There is no expanding the range of strands that are alive to you. But that limited range is immense. It is your alphabet, your palette, your raw material. By your choices among the strands you decide and create. The links you strengthen are the links you carry over to this side when you drop the body. The links you never notice, or disregard (not, though, reject, which is a different thing), do not.

This is something that I believe you have not said before.

No. One concept at a time is quite enough of a job! But surely you can see that if, at death, you were the same as you were at birth, nothing would have been accomplished. You would have no gifts to bring to the higher self, so to speak, no additions to make to the group-mind. Your time on earth would have been a non-event, a nothing. This cannot happen, as life and the passage through time impels you to choose continuously, but there is a difference between the sculptor tapping bits off a rock in order to make manifest what — for the moment — only he can see, and someone hitting a rock at random.

Don’t live your lives at random. It’s a waste of opportunity.

But are not some people doomed to live a life at random because of the initial makeup of their person-group?

No. But this is a large subject. We will begin on it but will scarcely finish.

Any given life has several coexisting purposes and processes. What is child’s play for one person-group is higher mathematics for another, and is an appropriate field of study for third. Every person-group has within it, and before it, its appropriate task that may be attacked well or badly. This is one more reason not to judge one’s self or that of others, because you don’t begin to understand what the various purposes are or how they are to be addressed or how they may interfere with each other or reinforce each other within the given person-group.

Instead of thinking of strand-mind as simple-minded or less conscious or in any way different from person-mind, or person-mind in relation to group-mind, consider that at each level are some at all possible levels of complexity and field of inquiry. Your own constituent strand-minds are not homogenous within themselves any more than all of them, considered as part of your person-mind, are homogenous among themselves.

And a moment’s thought will show you that it must be this way, as anything else would apply an absolute separation.

But — would it? A relative separation I agree, but absolute?

If you think group-mind are most abstract or most developed or most anything, and strand-mind least so, you are setting up a vertical separation.

I see that. Okay, it’s past 7:30, and even allowing for the little break in the middle, it’s 11 pages, so that’s going to be it for today unless you are in the middle of a thought.

The complication we are introducing here is only a complication because the physical brain will persist in analogizing to the 3-D model that it knows, and we must correct for the bias. But the really important theme we have introduced is that choice determines substance. And of that, much more to come.

Be well, friends. Till next time.

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