Wednesday, April 15, 2015
F: 4:45 a.m. Well, Miss Rita, we have a few questions still queued up, but I’m more interested in looking at this question of what access costs people, what pitfalls ought to be watched out for, what fears are merely superstitions and which ones are rooted in reality, that sort of thing. I do feel that my day off has left me sharper, and I could see that I had more “oomph” yesterday, could do more, took fewer naps, than on days when I do this. But of course part of that could be that I also didn’t then have an hour’s transcribing and half an hour’s emailing and blog-posting to do after an hour’s communicating. So, your thoughts on the subject please.
R: To begin with an aside, note that your conversations via your blog comments, and a few Facebook comments, and email exchanges, all constitute a de facto experience of the on-going community – a sort of external reinforcement of an on-going group mind – that I mentioned earlier. Community is everything from now on. The lone wolves have been quite valuable to the pack, but now it is necessary and desirable to recognize that they are still members of the pack even if they live as outliers. It is time for the pack to accept them more fully as they are, and time for them to remember that they spring from, owe allegiance to, and will remain part of, the pack, by necessity. [I took “by necessity” to mean, “by the nature of things,” rather than “because of a specific situation.”]
This is merely to say that no one comes into the world alone, nor raises him- or her-self alone, nor procreates alone, nor even – appearances to the contrary – dies alone. You don’t feed or house or clothe yourselves alone, even mentally. One of America’s present delusions is this over-emphasis on the so-called individual, and the corresponding over-emphasis – hypertrophy – of the impersonal organization. Obvious connection, yet apparently unrecognized, for only family and community make life possible, and if one pretends that individuals are self-sufficient, one must thrust into the unconscious mind one’s awareness of all the nourishing matrix of community functions, and they get pushed off into automatisms – government departments, private corporations, bureaucracies of all kinds, rules of all manner of description and ever-greater intrusiveness. Thus those who think in terms of their idealization of Daniel Boone as a lone pioneer necessarily overlook the reality of Daniel Boone as rooted in community all his life.
F: I knew your politics very well, of course, Rita. This seems to me to be consistent with your dyed-in-the-wool liberalism, and yet wider in scope, putting your values into a context that your ideological opponents could share, if they could hear it.
R: Well, there’s not much use in widening your understanding if you are not going to apply the increase! My values haven’t changed, that’s right, nor should you expect them to. I am what I was, what I was created to [be able to] choose to become. But I am not functioning in the same more limited sphere of awareness, and so now I can see the other aspects of how such values were formed and expressed.
F: I get the sense, which I admit never occurred to me before, that our “past life review” – our expansion of awareness to include the other viewpoints of all our interactions – includes our political and ideological struggles, as well. In fact, I sense quite a big subject there, and I’m tempted to slam the door on it fast, lest it crowd out my more immediate concern over the process, its nature and limitations.
But I can’t help asking, if it is true that upon dropping the body one sees the other sides of all our interactions during that lifetime – including our political thought (which, as I say, had never occurred to me) – why does the process not damp out fanaticism? Why doesn’t “the other side” – the non-3D – act as a continuing flywheel, damping out 3D tendencies to fly to extremes, rather than stoking the fires of misunderstanding, intolerance, and one-sided determination to express only one’s own values?
R: In the first place, it is a big question, and so we would do better to raise it and defer it, which will give people time for it to marinate. In the second, it is not true that fanaticism originates in or is encouraged from the non-3D. What is produced by the non-3D are people with various qualities. How they express them is up to them, and then we help steer their course if they are agreeable to it. Now, that is enough for now. As I say, the delay in saying more will be profitable for those who wish to examine the idea on their own, and express the results of their examination to themselves and to each other. The initial period of mulling it over will allow greater depths of interconnecting ideas to surface within them and without them.
F: I look forward to the discussion. Always a treat to connect two previously unconnected ideas.
R: Now about the process [of communicating].
First, any form of prolonged, sustained, attention is going to cost something. The more you do it, the easier it is, like anything in life, but – like anything in life – it doesn’t come free. So if you are going to make such communication a larger part of your everyday routine, merely realize that you cannot just add, but must substitute.
F: Opportunity costs – if you’re going to do this, you have correspondingly less energy for anything else.
R: Merely common sense, isn’t it? If you practice basketball six hours a day, you can’t do the kinds of other things you might have done – whatever they might be – in those hours. Six hours spent here cannot be added to the 24 in a day; they are chosen and devoted, and whatever else you wish to do must be done in the remaining 18. Not a complicated thought.
F: All right, clear enough.
R: How much energy it is going to take will depend upon how open you are to the process, how much practice you have given it, how far out you wish to go –
F: More on that last?
R: The wider I have to range to find the information – that’s how it will look to you – the greater the energy expenditure on your end, because of the strain.
F: I’m getting the idea, but it hasn’t been said clearly yet. I think you mean, the greater the divergence between our normal thinking and what we bring in, the more it costs.
R: That makes it seem too unusual. Let’s look at it.
What is learning, anyway? Couldn’t you say it is the assimilation of new connections into your already-existing network of ideas about reality? Little children are like sponges, because the process asks little of them; that is, each new bit of information has relatively little relating it must do. But as you accumulate an ever-larger network of interrelated ideas about reality, every new fact requires to be connected to an ever-larger total, and the effort can become exhausting, particularly if one of your values is [to have] a fixed view of what is.
As a practical matter, you can’t be continuously readjusting everything, although that would be the ideal. So either you stop taking in new ways of seeing things or you begin to accumulate clusters of thoughts about things, clusters that don’t necessarily interrelate. Thus you wind up perhaps believing contradictory things in different parts of your mind, and this is only partly because of the influence of various strands within your community of you. Partly it is that – different strands accepting or resisting different kinds of new data – but partly it is sheer information overload, or another form of museum fatigue.
Surely it is obvious that if you connect with someone and the information and context are close to what you already know and value, the strain upon you is going to be less than if you go looking for (or if you stumble upon) something very far from your accustomed mental and moral boundaries. At an extreme, the material must be “channeled,” because there is no way the conscious personality would be able to accept it. But even as in your case, some ideas are more easily brought in than others.
F: Okay, that’s clear.
R: Those two factors alone are enough to keep in mind. Fatigue from the work itself, as from any work; and fatigue from the amount of mental reorganization that may be necessary.
F: I suppose there are other factors.
R: There are always additional factors, in anything. But these two are the chief factors to be considered. And now your hour is up.
F: Very well, and I’ll keep it all in mind. Maybe at some point you can give us pointers on going farther out – getting more distant information. Oh, I feel you smiling, and I got it. What is most appropriate is always near to hand.
R: Of course. What is far to one is near to another. That’s another value of community in action – conservation of energy!
F: Till next time, then. Thanks as always.