The guys upstairs on four states of mind

Thursday, April 28, 2011

7 AM. There are so many compartments in our minds; one moves from one to the next and we can’t see through doors and so it is as if the other compartments have ceased to exist.

Okay –

Copy states of mind 1 through 4 when you transcribe this.

All right.

(1) he is an indivisible unit

(2) mixture of masculine and feminine psychological elements

(3) not a unitary mind, at all, but a community

(4) a ringmaster holding together multiple strands

The first position, the first set of assumptions, is that the consciousness is centered in the one body, at whatever time is current, and that whatever else it is, it is a unit, a one-thing. Initially, it is rare that people experience themselves as extending back in time – even rarer that they experience themselves as extending forward in time – in any real, effective, ongoing sense, and more than that they experience themselves as really extending elsewhere beyond the stretch of their physical bodies. This point of view is very much (or, rather considers itself to be very much) a point, rather than a line or a grid or a network or an aerosol fog. The perceptions and the acceptable concepts interact to produce a consistent picture: “I am a point in time and a point in space. I may have memories and imagination [thinking that imagination is fantasy rather than a form of perception] but I live here, now, because that is all that is possible to anyone.”

That would be true enough, if his definition of “here” and “now” were expansive enough.

The whole point of living as a point is that they not be expansive. It serves him. And – looking ahead to number two – part of his “all of a piece” mentality is the assumption that he really is only one thing, be that thing male or female, and regardless of the sexual orientation of the male or female. That is, just because a male is homosexual does not mean that he considers himself anything more plural than a male who happens to be homosexual. Or, if he is bisexual, he still thinks of himself as one being who is bisexual in orientation, not as two or more beings in one body.

You might think that this position requires a sort of lack of introspection, but not necessarily. If one’s society’s concepts are strong enough, and are accepted as true – especially if as “evidently” true, or “obviously” true – one might be quite introspective but explain away any evidence leading to the suspicion that in fact he is not the unit that society says he is.

This position, BTW, reacted furiously against Freud and Jung and Adler, etc. You can see why: Their work became a deadly assault against assumptions crucial to this position; hence they were not only obvious nonsense unworthy of examination, but clearly were maliciously inspired nonsense, designed to undermine right-thinking people and to corrupt civilization. There was no hypocrisy or vested-interest motivations among people of this type who reacted this way. They could scarcely react any other way and remain in that state. You might say that Freud and Jung, particularly, provided the segue for people to travel from position one to position two.

(We are aware that this is not the way these events are conventionally portrayed.)

So, the second position still thinks of itself as being in one time and one space. It never considers that it may extend to other times, even if it believes in past lives – because it defines a past life as past. It doesn’t consider that it extends to other places even if it believes in telepathy – or even teleportation! – because its definition remains that it is in one time, one space, doing something, even if that something happens to involve another space. After all, someone shooting a shotgun does not consider that he extends through space just because his shot brings down a bird at a distance.

It isn’t that beliefs don’t matter, or that people’s beliefs are inconsistent. (Inconsistency is better than truncation, as Emerson pointed out.) It is that what one believes may or may not say anything about the world one thinks he is living in. That is, you might divide people between those who do or don’t believe in reincarnation; those who do or don’t believe in parapsychological abilities; those who do or do not believe in time-travel, or bi-location, or whatever – and such sorting wouldn’t necessarily tell you one thing about where they were on the four-point scale that we are sketching in order to reorient your thinking. Two people may believe in the same thing, or even in the same cluster of things, and not be in the same place in our little scheme.

So – to continue sketching the second position – such a person may accept that there is within him masculine aspects and feminine ones, and he may explain this fact to himself in different ways. Some assume that the feminine traits came from the mother and the masculine traits from the father, because they still (probably not thinking much about it) assume that mother and father were each a unit even though child is not! When it sinks in that both parents were necessarily combinations just as he is, the person then may shift positions slightly to accommodate that, but still assume that the new mixing took place in the act of conception. That is, his mixture was the result of a one-time selection. Some of this, some of that from the mother, and the same from the father. But it was a static, one-time, choosing.

The third position is one that we have worked hard to bring you to. “You” aren’t a unit at all, but a community. This both is and is not a revolution. Is not, because the psychiatric community has long observed it, though it tends to regard it as more of a problem than a normal condition, and because it still assumes a basic unity modified by sub-personalities that are more or less under control – well-integrated, as they might say.

Looked at squarely, though, this position is a revolution in thinking, and extends far beyond what is commonly suspected. It means that the ordinary resources of the ordinary mind extend far beyond what position one or two would ever consider possible. It means that you, in one body, at one time, still may contact other worlds – and it puts no theoretical limit on those worlds. Back in time, forward in time, across town, across the world, across the galaxy – where can you definitely set limits, once you have realized that your body-awareness is not the limit?

This third position is a vast expansion, and people may – and do – spend a lifetime exploring new possibilities. Many, many things are to be explained within this scheme that are otherwise inexplicabilities in everyday life. You will recall Dion Fortune saying that the few things psychology had grasped, in her day, it had grasped from the wrong end.

But in a sense, this third position is static, is shall we say genealogical in nature. It explains how you came to be what you are, but still implicitly assumes that you are a unit. You are a community of individuals who have lived, say. You are a unit with the potential to contact other units on other worlds or in other times. You are a unit that may range far and wide – but you are a unit.

That’s a good horseback definition, and will serve many people for a long time, but it isn’t really a true definition either, except from a certain point of view, which, you will recognize, is our segue for changing points of view and proceeding to the fourth point in our scheme.

(Need we add that this perceptual scheme is merely ad hoc and for the purpose of explanation, and is not to be framed and mounted as “the way things are was”?)

It is the fourth definition that encompasses the most profound of the revolutions – although, having said that, we recognize that revolutions are not comparative. The force that propels you to a new way of being is experienced as transformation, and that’s an end to it. Still, this change in viewpoint will move you into new ground, which is why we have spent these sessions giving you a sense of the difference.

To see yourself as ring-master is to fundamentally transform your experience, your interpretation of that experience, and your possibility of new experience, and new kinds of experience. For you are not the conscious unit dealing with fragments and leftovers and inheritances and fossilized predicaments. Instead, you are one force among many, one consciousness among many, making of it what you can while each of them is doing the same thing.

You are somebody else’s strand-mind. You are a strand in somebody else’s group-mind. And neither of those two “somebody else’s” is meant to imply a singular rather than a plural. That is (though it gets clumsy to say it) you are part of many other interacting bits of mind-stuff that might be looked at as fragments, or might be looked at as neurons are ganglions in a larger mind, or might be looked at as cooperating units in a community. Any of these ways of seeing it are somewhat right, somewhat wrong, but the definitions don’t matter. Access matters. Potential matters.

Let us try to say it, and then you’ll have to quit for a while. Instead of you as a unit however broadly or narrowly defined, you are something without any definable boundaries.

You are (from your point of view) the ring-leader, coordinating as best you can a whole circus.

Ring-leader? Or ring-master?

Either one has its illustrative analogy. The point is, to you it must seem that all the forces in the universe converge in you and are balanced in you – and this is a correct perception, for one and all. From your own point of view, that is just what is going on. For each of you, all the rest of the universe converges in your consciousness, for you to affect.

Not to worry, though. It isn’t like you’re going to bring the universe down by a clumsy misstep. There’s everybody else there too, for balance. But it is true that all times, all places, physical and nonphysical, are alive and you are alive within it, and so you are both more and different than you commonly think.

That’s enough for now.

It is. Thank you.

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