The guys upstairs on models of the truth

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

It feels like I may be about to reestablish my routine, which would be nice. It’s 10 till 7 AM, I’m at my desk, which is roughly in shape for me to do some work, and I’m motivated. A little at sea as to where to proceed, though. I suppose I might continue conversations with Papa, but maybe there are more urgent things to be done. Guys?

Not dolls?

I don’t feel like channeling Jerome Kern, or whoever it was. What’s on your mind?

What is on your mind, rather? You are supposed to be the focus, after all. That’s what you’re doing in the physical.

We ought to talk about that. The formulation is too simple. Yes, I can see that I am the focus, because I am in time-space, hence am experiencing the present moment in an exaggerated intensity, and therefore my consciousness is sharper, more pointed, than yours. But that isn’t the whole story. Why don’t you sketch it out? It feels like it would be a lot of trouble for me to try to think it and phrase it and put it out all at the same time.

We can do that. So let’s talk about “who’s in charge here.”

That’s exactly it.

If you are in time-space and are therefore more sharply focused than we are, what is our role in setting the agenda?

Yes, that’s more or less it. You in one way of looking at things are pretty passive – being tape recorders, or library shelves, or, say, librarians. In another way of looking at things, you are the ones setting the agenda, presenting choices, not only observing but directing. And – it’s curious that this hasn’t really struck me before. I can see that it must have struck others.

We find it most productive to help construct one stable platform at a time. If we were to continuously kick over the platform the minute a newer one could be outlined, the resulting feeling of precariousness would more than counterbalance any increase in immediate understanding.

For me, you mean. For my temperament.

For you, at any rate. Not necessarily only for you. But you can see the principle at work. A place to stand is the goal – and a jumping-off place, at the same time. It takes a certain amount of time and familiarity for you – for anyone – to absorb a new way of looking at things and adjust your life to it. Think of how you and Rita gradually came to see that you were looking at life differently because of what you had heard from us. That change didn’t come right away, but therefore it didn’t go right away.

The saying is, “easy come, easy go,” and it is as true of viewpoints as of any other possession. Implied is, if it doesn’t come easy, you’re not as likely to carelessly release it. Or you might compare yourselves to old dogs and tricks. Even if an old dog does learn new tricks, he doesn’t un-learn old ones. There’s a lot to be said for sheer length of time.

So. We accustom you to seeing something in a new way. The very process of learning is more than making the acquaintance of a new fact or set of facts – it’s the living with those new facts long enough for them to interact with what you know. It is the new acquaintance weaving itself into your circle of old friends, a process that takes some time regardless of the warmth of the welcome or the guarded response it meets.

Learning, means changing. Changing, in this context, means absorbing, adjusting, reconciling facts, values, viewpoints etc. that may seem not to have much in common beyond the container. But if there is no change, there is no learning.

It puts me in mind of reading The Autobiography Of Lincoln Steffens, that taught me so much that I said I’d learned more from that one book than any other single book I’d ever read.

But what you learned from that book was not what was in the book. It was, what was in the book combined with what was in you! So, another person may not be able to find what you found because of lack of access to that unwritten book that is your accumulated facts, values, associations, etc. This is why you could endlessly re-read the same book and “find” more in it each time – or could sometimes “realize” that it wasn’t as impressive as you thought it earlier. The difference either way is what you meld with it.

So – we help you to a new place to stand, and you function there for a while, and as you do, the melding of old and new proceeds surely and smoothly – or roughly and by fits and starts – and at some time or other you’re ready for some new input, or rather, some new trail into the woods.

And that’s enough about the process of learning, and why we’re always content to work at whatever level of understanding we find you at. Where else can real work be done, but at the level where a person is?

So, if you are ready to move on, let’s do it. Are we passive or active, librarians or busybodies, facilitators or manipulators? The answer is – it depends mostly on how you want to see us. We can show all these aspects and more, easily enough.

What you haven’t insisted on – which is a good thing – is an overarching concept that would put everything into one fixed scheme. You intuitively knew that this would be, not a finding of truth, but a choice of scenarios. Reality is bigger than anybody’s view of it, and no scheme to help you understand is to be taken as “the way it really is.” A moment’s thought should show you why not.

Yes, it’s clear enough. Every scheme depends upon definitions, and every definition depends upon other definitions that depend upon certain schemes. If I think of myself as a unit, all subsequent definitions will be different than if I think of myself as a community of traits. And so forth.

(And parenthetically, I can see how we are affected by so many things we scarcely notice. A cool breath of air from the open window next to me put me in mind of England, for it shared some quality that my body recognized. No intellectual or emotional component to that distraction, but it was there nonetheless, and it just happens that I noticed it.)

No need to put that paragraph into parentheses, as though it was off-point. It is true, you didn’t intend to do more than to make a note of something lest you forget it – but it is also true that the breeze and the recognition were a quality of the moment. That is, they belong with what you are discussing, or they wouldn’t be here now.

So, from where you are now, what is the closest truth you can come to about the way things are?

Somehow – a quality of the moment, I suppose, or the context of our discussion, or an attribute of our shared mind – I get that what counts is what is most useful, most productive, to believe at any given moment.

Correct. Take a piece of candy, or a gold star. You’ll never know the truth because in a sense there isn’t any “the” truth. But that doesn’t mean that any and every thing that could pop into your head is therefore equally valid since there is no “the” truth.

At whatever level you are on at the moment, there is a closest-approximation to the truth, and that’s what you shoot for. This, BTW, is the true scientific method – continuously shooting for the closest approximation to the truth that can be understood at the present level of being.

As long as you remember that stability is different from stagnation, and that comfort is not certainty is not truth, you’ll be all right working this way. It means changing your way of thinking, which means changing your mind, which means contradicting your past self slightly or seriously, quickly or slowly, repeatedly or even seemingly continually. But none of that is aimless floundering around.

Now, it has been about an hour, and we don’t want to start on the topic and interrupt ourselves, mainly because in conveying between non-physical minds the conditions of the one physical brain and consequent attention-possibility may fluctuate too badly between sessions. It may, it may not.

You care to expound on that a little? I understand that you’re putting off starting the lecture on how things are.

Your mind – our mind, while we work together – is not independent of the body. That will become obvious if you think about it for a moment. Your moods change, your ability to quietly receive fluctuates, your energy level flags or recruits. Well, less obviously, you become more receptive, or less – no, that isn’t how to say it

Some things are more – no

There is a connection between inner and outer, you know that. So let us say, “the times” make one or another thing easier or harder for you to hear. The bit of inspiration that you snag so easily, today, another day you couldn’t get if you worked might and main all day. You could look on it the way you do the weather, as something outside of you that nonetheless affects you.

So, a breeze reminds you of England, to the degree that you feel almost homesick for it. Does that happen every time a breeze blows in? Obviously not. Can you know just what about its temperature or moisture level or scent put you in mind of England? Possibly, theoretically – but in practice, not. It is enough to recognize that a physical stimulus affected a non-physical process – thought. It’s only an example, but it’s a good example.

Sheer coincidence that it happened, of course.

Well, we didn’t dictate that it come or that you recognize it. We merely take advantage of what you noticed. If you hadn’t noticed it, we could have found examples enough.

Okay, I’m tired, I can see it in my handwriting. I look forward to tomorrow’s tutorial – or whenever it may be.

As always, we to enjoy the process and appreciate the cooperation.


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