Sunday, May 17, 2015
F: 6 a.m. Lovely lightening sky, not Homer’s rosy-fingered dawn, but a quiet blue and white. It will be interesting to see again just how early the sun comes up, by solstice. It has been so many years.
Miss Rita, when we finished yesterday I had something on my mind as a continuation, but I have now forgotten what it is. No doubt you know. Over to you.
R: You were somewhat vaguely thinking about how much you – anyone – can change or not change in your life. Sometimes it seems the sky’s the limit, sometimes it seems quite circumscribed, depending on the filter you view life through.
F: That’s an interesting way to put it. I would have thought to finish that sentence “depending upon circumstances,” probably.
R: Yes. And thinking that change depends upon circumstance – externals – tends to put one into victim mode. Thinking it depends upon conceptualization puts one back in the driver’s seat.
F: I can see that. But of course if that were all that was involved – merely choosing – we would all be living trouble-free productive lives, or anyway whatever we wanted to be living.
R: And that is an excellent jumping-off place for a discussion of good and evil, chance, fate, predestination and free will, and the connection between the individual as [commonly] experienced and the individual as the community – the very extended community – it really is. Not to mention the individual as experienced versus the social external as experienced.
F: I hope you can explain it in just a few words. I have these books I’m reading, plus there are these crossword puzzles to do, and facebook to monitor.
R: As you would say, very funny. But all those subjects connect in one very elementary way, and exploring it will lead us far, in relatively a few words.
Here is the key, given already but in another context. You, although you experience yourself as an individual, comprise a community of strands, each of which comprises a community of strands, and so on. A moment’s thought will remind you that this is why we are all one – we interconnect, and not just as any one point but repeatedly and unpredictably.
F: Like Virginia genealogy.
R: Yes. Explain.
F: The early Virginia families intermarried continuously, so that eventually someone like Thomas Jefferson, say, with his Randolph connections through his mother, would have relations all over the colony. Those relations might be related to him in more than one way – a cousin through one branch who was also a second-cousin or something through another line of that same person’s descent. It got tangled.
R: As does any closed society – and humanity is a closed society. For that matter all 3D is a closed society. All reality is a closed society – it’s just a matter of how closely you examine relations.
Well, Virginia genealogy traces past connections. But what if we look at present connections? We – for more than merely 3D is involved here – are all connected, inextricably.
But so far this is too abstract to move anyone, and all I can do to make it substantive is to appeal to your imagination. Let’s use your supposed spiritual genealogy, Frank. I say “supposed” because not everything you know or deduce is right, least of all names or details. But let’s trace it out as a way of giving people the idea.
So, there’s Frank, living in the US in the 20th and 21st centuries. He is shaped by what happens to him as well as by his physical heredity and geographical location. In his case, particularly, he is shaped by the construction he builds from books and other imaginative inputs. All well and good, but there is a more primary set of inputs, long unsuspected [by him] but not the less experienced.
David Poynter, for instance, the Welsh boy who left his home among endless sheepherding to find a life in the city; who traveled extensively (for his time) and who devoted quite a bit of his life to journalism and to psychic exploration. His influence on Frank was early – in an Anglophilia probably quite a bit stronger than David’s own, but a result of an instant feeling of belonging; in an immediate resonance to the idea of Edgar Cayce as soon as he read of him; in an immediate sure-footed life with his pen, and an instinctive knack for journalism that led to his first piece for his student newspaper in college being run unchanged. In what could be called innate memories, such as the flood of grief Frank felt, in seeing only the words July 1, 1916 on a monument on the London Embankment. And so forth. A strong influence.
And yet at an even earlier age, John Cotten, the young man of the American frontier of the late 1700s. a strong sense of the beauty of the wild world, and a resentment of reminders that it was no longer wild and untouched. A feeling of displacement at being in a world without horizons, which his South Jersey home surrounded by trees and flatlands was. If David called him to England, John called him to the woods that he loved to wander, led him to fantasize being a lone cowboy (though this not direct from John but, say, John interpreted by television), led him to emphatically see himself as American, with that pride in nationhood characteristic of the revolutionary era. Contradictions, you see, but both valid.
Then take the much sought-after Joseph Smallwood, who reinforced the love of the wilderness (a love not made actual, notice, but no less strong for that) and who primarily brought the fascination with the West and with the Civil War and with Lincoln. Later in Frank’s life – another dozen years, when he was 24 – it led to Thoreau. All these obsessions expressed in attitudes toward the world and in experiences of the world. And they all flowed with and against those of John and David.
And that only scratches the surface, of course, but it is one way for people to explore their own community – examine your lives for such influences and preferences, examine your “past-life” stories for resonances, see how things flow together. Consider it all just a story you are telling yourselves, if that makes it easier; that isn’t so far wrong anyway. It is just a story; it is the real thing.
So, now, there is Frank, the product of a post-war upbringing in a family very different from John’s or David’s or Joseph’s (of which, notice for what it’s worth, he has explored, and found, almost nothing), being viscerally affected at intellectual and emotional levels by connections at first unsuspected by him but all the stronger for that. None of the three we have mentioned is any more unitary than Frank is. They are all composed of many strands, each of which, etc.
When we say “you” – what are we referring to?
If the individual temporarily in the body – can it exclude the individual’s strands?
But if all the strands, or even if only the most dominant strands, is there any unity?
There is. And, there is only the everything. And, all points between.
F: It depends on the viewpoint the observer chooses.
R: Of course. Now, let’s postulate that you – anyone – can choose any version of reality you wish, at any time, and can choose again – what you call jumping timelines – any time you wish.
F: I get it. Which you? or maybe I should say, how often do we vote?
R: That’s right. And some people are very consistent – said to be strong-willed – and experience no internal conflict and so go straight to what they want, regardless of obstacles. That doesn’t mean their way is magically smoothed for them, but they are in the right place at the right time, repeatedly, and they are at the still center.
F: Churchill, famously.
R: Yes, although he wasn’t particularly simple – many sides to him – he was particularly consistent, untroubled by contradiction (except, there was the Black Dog – depression – that we might say was the result of his suppressing so much, but that is a side-trail).
Other people are blown by the wind, changeable as quicksilver. You, for instance. Your community shares access and alternates the hand at the wheel.
F: My natal Mercury is the one planet with no bad aspects.
R: Well, your mercurial nature has nonetheless landed you in the soup more than once, but yes, mercury – quicksilver – is a good description of someone responsive to many influences. For such a person, the more self-knowledge the better, yet it can be particularly difficult to acquire, for lack of a stable point from which to orient.
Your hour is up, however.
F: Can we not continue a bit? I don’t think you have quite cinched the nail.
R: It is there for those who reflect upon it. What you got is what you want – which “you”? That’s enough for today.
F: All right, thanks. Another beautiful soft morning out there. It occurs to me for the first time, I am probably within the reach of the [energetic] influence of Monticello. I’ve moved about as close to it as I’m likely to get. Is it having an effect? The energy of it, I mean?
R: As River Song would say to Dr. Who – “Spoilers.”
F: I suppose if Hemingway an watch Star Trek with me, I shouldn’t be surprised that you’ve been watching Dr. Who. Till next time, then.