Rita on vitalism, and on changing paths

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

F: 5:10 a.m. A little tired, this morning. Onward?

R: There isn’t any rush. Enjoy your coffee, come to this a little more gradually.

F: Yes, I guess I was startled when I woke up to find it five a.m. instead of the 2:30 or so that I thought it was.

R: So you bolted out of bed as though you had to cut off an alarm clock. No need.

F: No. I remember those years of alarm clocks, though. That was tough. Okay, I’ve sort of caught up to myself. Continuing in order down the list of questions?

R: Yes, I think so, and after the current list of questions, perhaps we’ll change gears.

[Dorothy’s question: This puts me in mind of the current effort in certain consciousness studies to eliminate “vitalism” from their thought. By this I take it they mean a type of Cartesian dualism in which a non-material spark of life or spirit is thought to animate inert matter. If this effort isn’t interpreted in a sense of pure material reductionism, I think it can be harmonious with Rita’s formulation of 3D and non-3D as inhering in the same non-dual whole. But I’m having trouble conceptualizing the interweaving of 3D and non-3D. Some scientific-minded types want to find a specific interface between living cells and the quantum fields where they suppose consciousness to reside, perhaps via ion channels or microtubules or whatever. I suspect that this idea fallaciously collapses a whole lot of levels, but I still wonder whether it’s broadly (or even narrowly) on the right track. I also see that this might be one of those “questions which lead not to edification” as the Buddha put it – intellectual curiosity that doesn’t really help one live right. But still I wonder …]

R: I am particularly pleased by the sentence recognizing that not all curiosity is a productive use of time. However, no one should attempt to judge what is a waste of time for another, I don’t mean that; but it is worthwhile to ask oneself.

The difficulty with this attempt, as I think our questioner recognizes, is that it silently assumes that matter is inert, or dead, or unconscious.

Yes. Colin Wilson’s whole career was based on an idea he had gotten from Bernard Shaw and others, this idea that life was attempting to insert itself into dead matter. I took it to be an attempt to return to a spiritual sense of things without God or religion. When I was very young, I thought it a hopeful approach, because I was comparing it to a very dead materialism. Now I see that it is rooted in materialism.

R: I was a scientist myself. I don’t have your suspicion of the scientific method or even of scientific sociology, let’s call it – the social taboos and implicit agreements that science as a profession engenders. But of course I saw the limitations of the prevailing beliefs, even among those psychologists who were farthest toward the

F: I couldn’t find the word for the end of the spectrum you meant. Anti-materialist didn’t seem right nor non-materialist, and I ran dry. Try it from another angle?

R: The point is, I left that orientation when my Gateway showed me an entirely new and surprising approach. But even the world Bob [Monroe] introduced us to remained very solid, very material. There was nothing airy-fairy about the life we all led on the old Roberts farm! Bob would have said, nothing is simply what it appears to be – but at the same time, when he would set George [Durrette, his all-purpose workman] to work building something, he didn’t treat the physical world as if it were animated in the way you tend to think [of it]. He didn’t look at a piece of board and envision it as being entirely alive, always.

F: And yet it is.

R: Well, that’s my point, here, and I had to go about it in a little bit of a roundabout way, to get you to hear it. Life is exactly what it appears; it is nothing like what it appears. It all depends on the eyes seeing it.

F: I take it you are not saying, “it’s anything you want it to be, or anything you can imagine it to be.”

R: No, I’m saying it is always going to be a mystery, because lower consciousness cannot comprehend higher levels of consciousness any more than a box can contain a larger volume than its own interior. That is only an analogy, but perhaps an important and productive one. Thus my answer to Dorothy’s question is not, “there’s no way to tell you,” nor, “no way to know,” but more, “no way to make any definitive statement.” At every level of consciousness (and “level” is itself an analogy, remember), what is functionally real changes, because as she intuits, our ideas at different levels involve a collapse of different unexperienced levels of reality.

F: Collapse as in, we experience the higher dimensions not distinctly but collapsed into something we experience as aspects of passing time.

R: And perhaps collapse isn’t the right word. Perhaps “slurred” or “deformed” or something would have fewer misleading connotations, but actually, I doubt it. The difficulty for you is to remember that descriptions are, necessarily, analogy, and cannot convey unvarnished reality. You don’t get a sense of reality through words, but between them.

F: It would be good if scientists could remember that, as well.

R: Don’t forget that your idea of what scientists are or how they think or, really, anything about them as a group are descriptions not of an external reality but of your own orientation toward (vis a vis) an idea in your head. Just because you have strong feelings about an abstraction does not mean the abstraction even exists as you conceive it.

F: So don’t fall into Psychic’s Disease, confusing strength of feeling with demonstration of accuracy.

R: Exactly. So, to circle back, as you like to say, the short answer to Dorothy is that everything is conscious and the result of consciousness. How one perceives this depends upon one’s own mental world, partly self-constructed, partly constructed with the assistance of the “outside world,” or so it is perceived. To try to conceive of 3D and non-3D “interweaving” is to implicitly see a frontier where none exists, so of course the resulting picture is going to be hazy and ever-changing, and unsatisfactory.

F: Is this the fish at the bottom of the sea trying to imagine the man at the top of the hill, watching television?

R: Let us put it this way. Understanding that water may be seen as H2O does deepen your understanding of the nature of water in a way, and yet, seen another way, all that does is fit water into a scheme of explanation that doesn’t really explain, but merely relates, or describes a relationship. It doesn’t help you understand what is behind the scheme; it helps you manipulate “matter,” not really understand it. The whole idea of quantum fields, like any other scientific idea, attempts to make sense of the world, and of course nothing wrong with that. But it attempts to make sense by harmonizing with the existing [mentally constructed] scheme of things, and although it may not be immediately obvious, the harmonizing very much includes what are called scientific revolutions, no matter how disruptive. Einstein, Planck, all those physicists who explored what matter and energy really are, were looking to correct errors in existing understandings; they would not have described their work as starting anew.

F: ¬And this brings us – where?

R: To the next question, via a reminder that lesser consciousness never comprehends the greater. The way to understand more is to grow into it. More explanation cannot do it for you; at best it can encourage the continuing effort.

F: All right. When I go back and transcribe this, I’ll want to see if this really answered the question. I get the sense that it didn’t. Here’s question two.

[John’s question:
[Can we (both our 3D and non-3D parts) in the process of experiencing the 3D part of reality actually make, or even influence, a change to that reality, or to anyone else in it? Or are all possible changes built in to the scripts we can choose from, giving us the illusion of changing the reality or “helping” others, but in the end all we do is change ourselves?
[To simplify for the sake of clarity:
At some point a stray cat wanders into my yard.
Script A I take the cat in, feed it, care for it, and give it a good life.
Script B I take the cat to the humane society, they can’t find a home for it, and have it euthanized.
Script C I shoo the cat away.
[There are a very large number of scripts, each of which we could discuss the possible effects on the molding of my soul. And we’ve already learned that alternate versions of me will take all possible paths, so the end result on molding John-in-all-iterations looks like it would be the same. But do I, or any alternate version of me, really affect a real cat, or is that illusion?
[I would expect that Rita might readily understand the issue and reword the question as necessary to bring clarity to it.]

R: I’m sorry, but this question is so shot through with misunderstanding as to serve chiefly to illustrate how one can misinterpret these illustrations if one attempts to force them into previous understandings. I am not chastising the questioner or criticizing the asking of the question. I am pointing out a specific pitfall that from time to time is going to entrap nearly everyone. (And, when you have fallen into a pit, the productive thing to do is not to berate yourself for having fallen into it, nor to bemoan your fate, and certainly not to blame another for misleading you, but simply – climb back out again, and proceed anew.)

F: So –

R: The model we have constructed (and remember, models are constructed for a purpose, and to match a specific situation. Different purpose, or different situation, different model) that model is of a reality in which all possible versions of the reality spring into existence as potential “paths” not as the path is trodden [that is, not sequentially] but ab initio. From the beginning. Inherent in the nature of the creation. So where is the scope or possibility for adding to reality – which, in context, is what changing reality would mean.

But this question contains the roots of many a disquisition that we don’t have time to even fairly consider here, in these few minutes remaining. Perhaps we should resume with this question, so let me finish saying where it is wrong, and next time we’ll look at where it points us that may be productive.

Don’t allow yourselves to be confused by the question of which version is “real” They are all equally real, which means they are all equally theoretical. Think about that.

And there we will have to leave it, till next time.

F: All right. This has been an interesting session to experience. I felt even less “with you” in your explanation yet even more “with you” in its transmission, than before. There’s always a new rabbit hole, apparently.

R: You will notice, looking back, that this newer sense of things did not manifest during our discussion of the first question, only of the second. And perhaps we will discover why, as well.

F: So you’re into cliff-hangers. Are you writing for television, too?

R: Till next time. Don’t cling to [doing] this.

F: Okay.

5 thoughts on “Rita on vitalism, and on changing paths

  1. Frank,
    Will be interesting to see if/how we ‘change gears’ as Rita suggests. A group like this will always have widely varying interests: in high school (late 50’s) we had the ‘Electronics Club’; over time some lost interest, some remained interested but worked in other fields, some became professionals (e.g. electrical engineer).

    This ‘great experiment’ feels like something completely different, yet I suspect we’ll see the same ‘spreading out of the pack’: some will lose interest, some will continue to be interested but at a ‘hobby’ (intellectual) level, some will feel the pull to make it their way of life.

    I find myself in the latter category but have been wondering how to proceed. As I write this I hear Rita’s words from last Friday:
    “ …establish your intent firmly; you wish to explore, you wish to be of service, you wish to grow in a healthy direction, you wish to preserve your autonomy without either retreating into isolation or losing your protective boundaries.
    Those who prefer ritual should invent a ritual expressing this. Those who do not prefer ritual should still find a way not to forget that these are the boundaries within which your explorations proceed.”

    What she calls ‘ritual’ I think of as ‘establishing a practice’, so that’s what I’ll be working on … do I detect some ‘guidance’ in getting here ?!

      1. Feel like I ‘need’ both of you; your work is pushing my awareness big time!
        But seems like Rita has been pretty open and clear: we all (3D and non-3D) travel together down this path she’s outlined … we each have a role, and connection (and resonance, Sheila!) is what it’s all about.

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