Rita — communities and knowledge

Friday, May 6, 2016

F: 4:50 a.m. Rita, I’m sure many people value what you have been bringing forth for us, but I’m lost as to where next. So, I hope you haven’t been neglecting your lesson-plans!

R: You may take time off whenever you wish, you know. No need to do this if you are too tired. It [tiredness] weighs you down.

F: Well, I’m a little weighed down, it is true, but not from lack of sleep. A couple of beers for supper last night and I went to bed at 9 or so and got up when I felt like it, and down again, and up again. My friend cat – my daughter’s cat, visiting for the week – is always ready to be up and around when I am, so that probably abets the situation. But it is too early to be making the coffee, I think, so I’m maybe working at half-steam.

You have as good a take on where I am as I do. You tell me. Go [that is, go ahead with a session], or wait?

R: Wait, perhaps.

F: Okay. Later, maybe.

7:45 a.m. Maybe it’s time to ask people for questions on the latest things they’ve gotten.

John Wolf listened to Schubert – in two senses of the word “listened” – and sent me a brief guest post.

8 a.m. Well, Miss Rita, after our misfire at 5 a.m., I’m ready to try again. But where do we start?

R: You may leave that to me, safely enough. However, your idea – “your” idea! – about asking people for questions on the material as we go was, if I do say so, a good one.

F: Very funny. All right –

R: There is a problem — it has obsessed you for decades, as you well know – and that problem is at the heart of many seemingly unrelated social and political issues. The problem is – how do we reconcile science and art and religion and

F: I ran away with myself, I could feel it. The problem is –?

R: Some people see the world in religious terms and some are violently against seeing it that way

F: And the rest of the bell-curve are in the middle as usual.

R: Well – they are. You just aren’t going to find life divided into binary either / or positions except in so far as you insist on seeing it that way.

F: This, for the studio audience, I know.

R: For the studio audience, but anyone may find himself or herself falling into the either / or trap on a given issue or at a given moment. Life is binary and the temptation to see things that way is strong.

F: Life is binary?

R: Anything and everything may be divided and divided until you come to an either / or. The mistake is to over-simplify.

F: I see.

R: So let us look a little at the division between religious temperaments and – or let us say between religious and anti-religious opinions, rather than temperaments. It is the opinion that divides, not the manner of carrying the opinion.

This discussion is to be connected in your mind with the directly preceding discussion, because the consequences of admitting new possibilities are very different when strained through dogma of one kind or another. To say that a machine has a soul, or a fictional character has life, or an “inanimate” object has consciousness, is quite a revolution in thought, and will fit only illy with some. (For some, it is true, it will come as a liberating revelation.) Someone firmly within a religious convention may see it as a form of heresy. Someone firmly within a scientific or scientistic viewpoint may see it as superstition, or, in fact, as a surrender to lunacy. The two still won’t see eye to eye, but they will condemn from opposite positions.

The challenge at hand – you will not live long enough to see even the beginning of the resolution, not the youngest of you, not the one who lives longest – the challenge is to reshape the civilization’s perspective to accommodate realities presently firmly suppressed both from the religious and from the materialistic end.

F: Can’t be done. Won’t be done. What we have will be replaced or modified by the impact of all the world’s cultures before that redefinition can take place.

R: Did I not say none of you would live long enough?

F: The people alive in 1500 were at the end of one way of seeing and at the beginning of another, but it took a long time for the change to take hold.

R: And you are thinking only of Europe.

F: True. And this time it means everybody – Spanish-American societies with their indigenous cultures – us too with ours. African, Asian, Polynesian cultures – it’s going to take a while.

R: And while it is in process, it will seem chaotic – will often be chaotic – and may seem like the loss of civilization.

F: Depending on who is counting, and what they value, sure.

R: The way of seeing the world TMI and its community is coming to is very different from the assumptions driving the main culture. Yet remember, there are uncounted numbers of cultures that also dissent from the dominant view, only they dissent from TMI, too, and from each other. Amish, Mennonite, high Lutheran, Santeria, Pentecostal, fundamentalists of many stripes – and on another spoke of the wheel, rationalists, objectivists, militant atheists, etc. In fact there is no need to limit the dissenting traditions to religious and anti-religious, even with all the subdivisions each has. There are innumerable other ways people see the world that dissent from all the others. Think how many varieties of artistic movements!

F: Then there are economic reform movements, political and social revolutionaries or would-be revolutionaries, etc.

R: Then add the schools of psychology, and how they see the world! It is a vast unbroken sea of icebergs, so to speak.

F: I like that metaphor – an unbroken sea – meaning everything is connected – but full of icebergs – meaning separate-seeming islands within the unity. A nice metaphor for your world, too?

R: The non-3D is no less your world than mine; it is merely that your attention is held to the 3D more by your sensory apparatus.

F: Point taken.

R: So if your culture – as one part of world culture – is itself divided into innumerable fragments, this gives you great freedom of action – because there is not a monolithic accepted reality to have to contend with – and gives a lack of reliable signposts – for the same reason.

F: Which is the story of my life anyway.

R: Which perhaps fits you to help move people to live in these conditions.

F: By example, presumably.

R: That’s all you really have to offer others, example. But that may not be intuitively obvious. Let’s pursue it another time, if ever.

Here is the nub of it. By personal exploration combined with comparing notes, it is possible for small groups to create communities with a common understanding of the world. This effort is always good. But you can’t expect the understandings to agree. People and their experiences and temperaments and needs and values are too different.

You can see that. What may not be equally obvious is that the fact that various understandings won’t agree is a good thing in the circumstances. It preserves everybody’s freedom while allowing them supportive communities.

F: When I was taking down the graf before last, I was thinking, that’s how we proceed in a program – individual experience alternating with a group debrief, all within a common if implicit understanding.

R: This is no less true for a Methodist church, say, or any prayer meeting, or any task force religious or scientific or artistic (though that may be harder to visualize). Individual forays into non-3D guidance, alternating with group forays in which non-3D gets to express itself through the words of various others.

F: Interesting slant on things. The fact that the conclusions various groups come to are incompatible really doesn’t matter, does it?

R: Not unless you have somehow come up with the ultimate truth (which does not exist within 3D limitations), no.

F: So it is more a matter of how people treat each other when acting from their own received truth.

R: It is, and I think you will find they are not so different in total effect, although in any particular situation some will be tolerant and others not, or some perceptive and others closed, or some vengeful, or terrified, or self-righteous, or anything else you would care to name. In the end it balances out. In the meantime any given group considers itself most reasonable.

F: Don’t I know it. Okay, this feels like a place to stop. Thanks as always.

R: You see? We didn’t talk at 5, but we talked nonetheless. There is always opportunity.


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