Friday, December 12, 2014
F: 7 a.m. I woke up suddenly, thinking of the question I’m really trying to get to. The two ways of looking at consciousness don’t cohere, and I think if we are on the right track it should make sense of things. We haven’t done that yet.
OT1H – The analogy of the flame is very nice, and clearly we aren’t as separate from others as we sometimes think.
OTOH – If there is a continuing Ernest Hemingway presence, say – or a Rita presence! – how does this square? How can we be both separate and not separate? I can’t even phrase the question very well. What was clear in my mind does not come out clear in words.
Miss Rita, that as good an attempt as I can make. I hope it’s good enough for you to run with – and of course, I am well aware that, chances are, the question was planted.
R: Let’s start with homely analogies. You live in a place – the house you lived in when you rented from me, say. While you are there, that is your life’s center. Your body lives there, and that is where you do your work. You think, you read and write, you communicate, and all your activities, mundane and mental both, take for granted your existence there, on Roberts Mountain Road. You don’t think you are the house, or the community where the house is, but you take for granted that this is your context.
You move to another house, another community. Your memories are the continuity with the consciousness on Roberts Mountain Road, but your new surroundings are your new life’s center. You are the same person as before, yet you are also not the same person. You today know things, have experienced things, have perhaps suffered and enjoyed things, have forgotten things, that the “you” living on Roberts Mountain Road had not. Yet obviously you are a continuity.
So if you look at things as flow, you have to say you changed, time passed, that earlier version of you no longer exists, and no one can say that this is an incorrect summary of the situation.
But if you look at things as a series of situations – snapshots instead of movies, or perhaps better, stills from a movie – it’s different. If every moment of time exists, and does not cease to exist, the snapshots, or stills, are as accurate a description as the movie.
So – are you a continuity? Yes. Are you a definite defined being? Also yes. The confusion about reincarnation and about life in general is rooted in a misperception of time which is rooted in a misperception of reality due, as I indicated earlier, to imperfect apprehension of higher dimensions of reality, collapsing and confusing them into one’s perception of time. As one clarifies one’s perceptions, the nature of things changes. In effect, one lives in a different world.
F: All right, and this ties in to the nature of us as communities.
R: Yes, because it both is and isn’t a mistake to think of continuity in terms of continuity of a given unit. The “you” who lived in my house for those few years did not continue as a unit to move to a new dwelling in another place. As I said, the “you” writing this is not precisely the same “you” as the one of a few years ago. You couldn’t be the same and still experience, for experience alters. And such sequential alteration is the purpose of 3D life, after all. The physical end of things is the hothouse, forcing plants.
But if we leave off thinking of the individual as a unit and think instead of each person as being a community, it may be easier to conceptualize how different members of that community may be more activated or less activated by changes in circumstance. If you cease to live in the woods and move to the city, the part of your community that loved to walk in the woods may become quiescent, and the energy of the over-all unit flow elsewhere, to social interactions, or libraries or whatever.
Two ways of seeing things, both true, neither the whole story.
F: As I was writing that, the thought came to me, each of the pieces of that individual’s community were themselves individuals at some point.
R: Again, both yes and no, but that will advance the argument. Take an historical figure: Thoreau, say, or Abraham Lincoln, to take two of your favorites.
F: Or Ernest Hemingway.
R: Or Ernest Hemingway, but also anyone else who has ever lived, known to history or not. That bundle becomes a strand available to other communities downstream – but not upstream – in the formation of new individuals. That is, after Lincoln lives, his life as a whole provides material to be a strand in a person, as for instance he is in you. Before he lived, he was not available except by reflection.
F: You’ll need to say more about that.
R: Oh, I know it! But, you see, we’re getting somewhere. As I told you a few years back, sometimes, in order to understand A you have to understand B, but to understand B you have to understand A, and in such cases all you can do is keep inching closer by continually refining your understanding of either, then reconsidering the other in the new light, and continuing the process.
F: Stepwise refinement, in metaphysics.
R: Did you think your time as a computer programmer was wasted? You learned certain skills, learned certain concepts and ways of thinking.
So next we need to look at the nature of time. It is true that time exists. It does not flow, consciousness flows, and in the body it is experienced as flowing one way and one way only. There is a reason for that. It is experienced in a way that echoes the reality of change.
Consider the pyramids, to use your old example. You cannot tear them down before they were built. You cannot write on the walls of a building before it is erected. You can’t marry a person before he or she is born. There is a sequence to things, and it is not arbitrary. It has its inherent logic.
Just because time is not what it appears, does not mean it can be anything and everything someone can imagine it to be. Every moment of time exists, but it exists, as you exist, as the sum of what preceded it, and as the seed of what will follow it. The fact that the movie may be viewed out of order, and the stills considered separately and at random, does not mean that the movie itself is out of order, separate or random.
So, to return to Lincoln, he is available as a package, as a new unit, as a new strand, for individuals, downstream from his life. But prior to 1809 there was no Lincoln (thank you for the date, which I plucked from your memories). Prior to 1809 the strands that went into the making of Lincoln existed, but the net result of his life – the container as it was frozen by the end of new 3D experience by death – did not. After 1865, it did.
F: When you and I got this material a dozen years ago, that part was never spelled out clearly. The guys – as I thought of them (and still think of them, pending a new way of thinking about them) – talked about patterns, and they said some patterns were worth keeping and others weren’t, and at the time that seemed to you like they were saying some were worthy and some people weren’t.
R: You weren’t able to give us a very clear picture at that point, because the concept was too unfamiliar, and your mind couldn’t help trying to make sense of what you were getting in light of where you were, what you knew. What would have been clearer would be to say that some people’s lives create a new pattern that can be used as one strand in a new bundle, and many people’s are not sufficiently different to serve in that way. That doesn’t mean the ones that are not different enough to serve as patterns were failures, or were discarded. It means from the point of view considering flow, they can be disregarded. Remember, at the time, the guys were working on giving us a new way to see the world. Side-trails would have confused the issue, so they often ignored them. Besides, side-trails lead in all directions, and anyway there’s not really a difference between the main trail and a side-trail. It all depends on where you feel like going. If you want to go explore some bright object you see out of the corner of your eye, there’s nothing to prevent you from doing so.
F: Thank you, Rita. This really does bring some clarity to things.
R: Whose mouth was it that told me, “the better the question, the better the answer”?
F: A lot of consequences from that meeting at the hospital elevator, Rita!
R: And they don’t end – downstream.
F: I hear that. Thanks, and until later.
8 a.m. That was pretty good. More than pretty good. That really began clarifying things.