An entirely new understanding
Friday, November 27, 2015
F: 5:30 a.m. Took my day off yesterday, so – let’s go. Papa?
EH: Let’s talk a little more about Martha and Key West and the roads not taken. We’ve looked at it before, but things always look different after a lapse of time, especially to the degree that you yourself – one, as you would say – have changed in the meantime.
Martha cost me a lot, and she did so about as deliberately as Pauline had done,
F: I can feel myself drawing a neat antithesis.
EH: Part you, part me. Let’s start again. What Pauline had done for the first time in my life, Martha did again. But this time I was in my 30s, not my 20s, and I was older than Martha, not younger as I had been with Pauline. I was on my feet financially, as I hadn’t yet been, and Martha wasn’t rich like Pauline, so it wasn’t like we could just readjust the deck chairs and go on sailing.
This time, in other words, I knew how it would come out.
F: All the way down?
EH: No, and that question is a measure of your increased sophistication about my situation, as my own actions were a measure of mine.
F: I doubt anybody is going to understand so elliptical an exchange, so I’ll unpack it. What I mean is, you knew and you didn’t know. Some parts of you were intent on retaining any innocence still possible – hmm, that sentence surprises me. You’d better take over, I guess.
EH: But that is a vital point. Not just for Hemingway but for anybody’s life. Yours, your readers, anybody. You haven’t yet absorbed all the ramifications of the fact that we were communities, in 3D, learning to function as units.
Communities are rarely unanimous about anything. And they are probably never all at the same stage of development. You should keep that in mind, in judging actions.
As a matter of fact, you should keep in mind that you are better advised to judge actions than character, because if you try to come to a decision about a community as if it were a unit, you’re going to be mistaken. There is no such thing as collective guilt except in a collective way. Yes, of course this leads to all manners of slippery slopes logically and in practice, but that’s just too bad. The fact that something is untidy doesn’t mean that the untidy pieces don’t belong.
So, when you are thinking about my life with Pauline and then my life with Martha, the temptation is to think you’re dealing with a unit, in either case, and then that that unit is a constant thing, that I am more or less unchanged, or that I change by decision-points or by slow degrees, but otherwise I am the same. And that is what life looks like, isn’t it? You always feel like you are the same you, no matter how different you become to yourself and to others over the years. In fact, the differences you somehow attribute to “the years,” as if the very passage of time were an active factor. Someone in his 20s is expected to be different from when he is in his 30s but the change is attributed to the passage of time affecting an otherwise constant quality.
F: I can’t tell if that is clear to anybody on the strength of the words alone.
EH: Fortunately it is never a case of having to rely on the words alone. They’ll get it one way or another, if they’re ready to get it. The short version is that “external” circumstances draw different proportions of an “individual” to the fore but except for the fact that externals are actually reciprocals of internals, there is no progression, no steady building of one block on another, but rather always the possibility of starting any new day – anew.
F: I wrote it out, but I don’t understand it. Was “reciprocals” the right word, for instance? I hesitated but didn’t want to interrupt the flow, but it doesn’t sound correct.
EH: What I am saying is a combination of simple statements. Let’s see if we can break them down for analysis without forgetting that they are all one long statement.
Externals and internals are two angles on the same dream.
Conscious life is not a straight-line progression, and is not a crooked progression either, building one thing upon another. I know it looks like that, but it isn’t really.
Any given moment has more possibilities of freedom than are usually recognized.
What you are doesn’t change, but you are so much more than you realize, that you may not
F: Sorry, went wandering.
EH: Try to hold on to this. There could be resistance to understanding it. You – everybody – are a community of beings, most of which don’t manifest because there isn’t scope enough in a given lifetime.
This is important, and I am seeing clearly the inadequacy of linear sequential language to describe a state of being that must be snagged all at once. Try to hang on long enough for the pieces to snap together into one new bit of understanding.
F: All right. I think I know at least a part of what you’re wanting to convey.
EH: I’m scratching the head I no longer have, trying to find the easiest angle to grasp this from.
F: Can’t we start with the Larger Being?
EH: We could, but it would be easier if your idea of it were a little more accurate. That is one idea you’ve held for a good while that really isn’t right, only righter than what you had had before. But it is too long to tackle in this context. Let me try again.
What you are calling the Larger Being is the ocean out of which you were formed as an ocean in miniature. It isn’t All That Is except in exactly the same way you are, in miniature.
F: We are scaled-down holographic replicas of All That Is. Man was created in the image of God.
EH: All right, that’s pretty good. So, if you are a holographic representation of all that exists, clearly you will contain within yourself all possibilities, won’t you? You aren’t a truncated version of everything, you are a smaller-scale version. There’s a big difference between the two.
F: I see it.
EH: All right, well, you in any one lifetime can’t express the whole universe any more than anybody else can. Or you could look at it this way – that is what you, and I, and everybody are – the universe manifesting itself, with each little sliver taking on one tiny part of the job, but each sliver being the whole thing, not any one part of the whole thing the way it looks.
F: Deep waters here. Not what I expected.
EH: So just as Walt Whitman said he contained universes, it is actually true of everybody. We all contain everything. There are always surprises in the bottom of the box. Only, you can’t express what doesn’t have a place in your life. That is what “external” constraint is, what it does (well, really, what it expresses, but it is going to look like “what it does”), it stops you from being a Buddhist monk and a whore and a Wild West gunslinger and a rocket scientist at the same time, the way it stops you from living in the 14th century and the 20th together.
F: Except – it doesn’t! Not the way we usually think!
EH: Exactly. But that’s how it keeps it all sorted, you see. That’s how you pour non-3D experience into 3D perceptions.
F: I do see, I think. That doesn’t mean we have expressed it coherently.
EH: But we aren’t finished, so get another cup of coffee and we’ll keep trying.
F: Okay. It’s 6:30 now, and the sky at the horizon is reddened with the white and then blue just beginning to climb over Monticello. I’m fine to keep going.
EH: Do you understand what we just did? We redefined the basis of your understanding of man’s place in the world without invalidating the nature of the perceptions you have been exploring for all these years. A nice touch, I think.
F: Here’s what I got out of what you transferred. You, and I, and everybody we know or ever will know, are not different sub-sets of a larger being, as I have been thinking us. We are each one replicas of the entire thing. We are each one, then, the same thing. It isn’t that “all men are brothers” so much as that we are all clones of the whole shooting match. In one sense, you could say there is only one being – and you might as well call the being God, except for people’s emotional baggage – and that being by definition includes everything, or at least that is our assumption. If –. No, I don’t see how the creator can be the same as the creation.
EH: Don’t get wrapped up in that, keep going.
F: Well, we are all the same; we are all everything – but we experience only an appropriate amount in any given circumstances. We are aware only of what fits into our time and space. It’s hard to cram the understanding I got into words.
EH: Time separates. Space separates. The existence of time-space may be defined as the creation of a 3D spreadsheet to sort out the various parts of yourself so that adjacent bits may interact and non-adjacent bits may not interfere with one another.
F: So Hitler and Mussolini and Roosevelt and Churchill and Hemingway and Steinbeck and Dos Passos and millions of people were all alive at the same time; they were shaped by their history of being born in a given time and space, they expressed given parts of their character according to their personal decisions and also according to the part they were created to play.
EH: But, you should go a little more slowly, because you are cramming it back into 3D understanding, in your attempt to say everything at once. When you can’t grok you have to go very slowly. Yes, all those people were placed in a given molding environment. But they weren’t exactly created and they were not at all shaped, or truncated. There is an immense difference between essence and expression.
Everybody is everything. No “potentially everything,” but everything. At the same time, each person is created to express one local version of the everything, and therefore the vast majority of what they are can never manifest overtly inside any given space-time. But consciousness is not bounded by externals except indirectly. You can always get free of your mental limitations — at least, you can in theory. The reality depends upon your intent and your will.
F: I think it says in the Upanishads somewhere, though your sins be as scarlet, you can soar over them the minute you see how things really are. That’s a rough paraphrase, of course.
EH: Scriptures rarely make sense at a level lower than they were written at, and at the level they were written at, they are merely uncommon sense. And that’s enough for now.
F: This, I realize, was only Hemingway in a sense.
EH: None of your definitions – nor ours! – are any more than a rough guide moment by moment. Use definitions as hand rails, not as prison walls.
F: Hand rails. I like that. Well, we’re written our way into early daylight. It’s like an analogy – the sky is lit but the hills and valleys are still only backlit – but they’re getting clearer even as I write.
EH: And that is one way some people experience life.
F: Next time, then. And say, thanks very much for this. I can almost feel myself readjusting.
EH: You will find it difficult to hold onto this new awareness. The next time someone irritates you or outrages you, it may be difficult to remember that that person is another exact copy of what you are an exact copy of, manifesting one small part of the pattern as you are, and as you both are in other times and places, except that “you” is a far more relative term than you experience it.
F: Yes, I can imagine that. Well, nothing to do but keep on, I guess. Thanks again.