Actors and characters

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

4:50 a.m. All right, let’s start again. This time, I’ll sit and see if I can settle into something.


Well, that didn’t work in the way I had half expected. I may have to be more proactive. Probably another case of “the better the question, the better the answer.” I must put my attention to it somehow even without quite knowing what the subject matter is. I suppose the way to do it is to start from where we left off. That was, dramas are doorways. And sure enough, that seems to have primed the pump. Let’s carry it forward and see where we wind up.

The initial insight was that our lives are only “somewhat” real because this level of reality we experience is not in any way an ultimate level. Since it isn’t, we aren’t. We are, in a way, characters in an on-running drama, created for the purpose of being conduits of forces greater than us, realer than us somehow, preceding us and, I gather, destined to outlive us. They may be eternal, whatever eternal means.

Compound beings. Humans. Constructs that live in an abbreviated version of reality, knowing only what can be known while constricted to a present moment that is a moving pinpoint. Yet, eternal beings no less.

Ah, but that’s a difference, isn’t it? We are made of eternal stuff, but our particular guise is more transient than that.

No, that isn’t wrong, but it doesn’t get it, either. Let’s try again. Our part-of-Sam nature is as eternal as Sam, and we assume that Sams are eternal at least for the purpose of the exploration. Relative to any one earth life, certainly a Sam is eternal, immortal. We, sharing that essence, are equally so. not much different from religion saying we share the essence of God (whatever God may be), but the rest of the analogy is close enough to continue with.

But if we are made of the undying essence of a Sam, the combinations we form are not unchanging or necessarily eternal. Need to look at this, but that is how it seems at the moment. Joseph, Bertram, Frank, etc., all have a limited existence in 3D. Do they necessarily have an unlimited existence beyond 3D?

Need to go slow.

I remember C.S. Forester saying somewhere that what ruins plots is forcing them rather than letting them grow in their own time. This sounds like a similar process, maybe the same process. All right then.

Our essence is Sam’s essence. Our personality is the 3D expression of certain combinations of traits, etc., as discussed extensively with Rita and before that with the guys. But what we haven’t done is noted the difference in relative reality. (Funny phrase, “relative reality.” But that’s the way to put it, I think.)

Essence is real and unchangeable. Personality is – well, more like a mask or a costume or a role in a drama, and is real only in its own terms, as Han Solo is real only in the Star Wars movie context, while Harrison Ford is real beyond the movie, in 3D life. But Harrison Ford is real only in the 3D context. The actor who is playing Harrison Ford is real beyond the 3D context, in real (realer?) life.

The difference between spirit and soul, come to think of it. If I have it right, spirit is the essence of God, unchanging, unchangeable, unconstrained. “The spirit goes where it wants to,” to put it into modern language. Thus, the actor playing Harrison Ford. The soul, born into 3D, experiencing all the emotions of life, affected by what happens to it, is Harrison Ford as played in what I used to call 3D Theater.

And it is interesting to me to see the continuity over time. No matter how my life changes, externally or even internally, some motifs continue, and one of them is the perceived opportunity and necessity of melding, or reconciling, metaphysics and religion, rather than having the two always at each other’s throats or studiously blind to each other. They are different ways of proceeding, and nothing wrong with that. But each one pretending the other has nothing to offer falsifies its own position.

But that is not the point here. It is true but only tangentially relevant.

Okay, granted. So—?


Hmm, so the point being pressed is that we are both actor and character, and in that combination is both source of great confusion and great opportunity for growth. To pursue my comparison, religions see us as both divine and human, do they not? Or, no, come to think of it, that is how they describe Jesus – but he is reported to have said that anything he had done, his followers would do and would do more, or greater. I often wondered if his calling himself “son of man” meant that he was what we could become.

In any case, if we are both actor and character, it is as if Han Solo, in character, during the movie, became aware of being the creature of Harrison Ford, and began speaking and reacting as Harrison Ford rather than as himself, not knowing the link between them, and perhaps not sensing the confusion as actually a breakthrough.

It might play hell with the movie being shot, unless the movie was about Han Solo discovering he was a creation of (part of) Harrison Ford.

But I get the sense that I am in danger of my analogy running away with the explanation. We aren’t in a movie, I have been told more than once, but are doing improv. That’s exactly how it feels.

And, in the pause after that sentence, it comes to me, maybe one reason for the improv is for the actors to see through the drama (knowing there is no plot) for a couple of reasons: to realize fully that they are actors (i.e. only relatively real in that their roles are added on to their essence, not intrinsic to it) and that the purpose of their acting is not to fill the time but to give expression to the forces that they feel flow through them. The cardinal virtues, the deadly sins. Real forces, expressing in 3D. Why? As a sort of safety valve? A puppet show? Why?

I get, list them. So, I list them. The cardinal virtues: prudence, justice, temperance and fortitude. (And some add faith, hope, and charity.) The seven deadly sins, whose initials I years ago made into an acronym so I could remember them: LEG CAPS. Lust, envy, gluttony, covetousness, anger, pride, and sloth (or ennui). Of the seven deadly sins, pride is traditionally considered first in importance.

All human life may be considered as a playing-out of those forces among varied circumstances.

But the forces pre-exist human life.

They are realer than human life, as you are realer than your human roles.

Hard to see how they could manifest outside of 3D conditions. Gluttony? Lust?

That is how they manifest in 3D conditions. But the underlying forces exist or they could not manifest.

I suppose not. All right, so where do we go from here?

Think of these forces as your 3D environment, and resume here.

All right. Well, we’ll see where we go. Our thanks.


17 thoughts on “Actors and characters

  1. Life as improv–that’s what I believe. Its what I think Seth meant when he said “spontaneity knows its own order.” That formation of our own order, flying by the seat of our pants, is our life. Informed by, but not following others, responding in the moment (not over-thinking our response). It sounds like life is about management of our emotions–like the Buddha saying the mark of an adult is the ability to be around pain without adding to it. I’m still working on this, but your session connected more dots.

  2. I like this. I first read only the responses by the newer entity and pondered that. Then two hours later, I came back and read Frank’s commentary along with the entity’s.

    I am wondering if a more focused question helps expand the conversation here (another one of my ideas, Frank, so use as you wish).

    What are the underlying forces of lust?

    Desire? Attraction? Ever expanding (pro-creation) Consciousness? Something beyond human language?

  3. Virtues/sins: somehow this aspect of christianity never opened to me. The yoga principles of yama (fixed observances/vows) and niyama (rules of conduct) are more fruitful for me. Ahimsa, non-violence is one of the vows, santosha, contentment one of the niyamas. So a list of things you observe consistently in your behaviour, and a list of things you aim for. This I find somehow more conducive to private developing of consciousness. The christian tendency of harsh judgement prepares the field for some very warped mind-tricks that definitely do not develop consciousness. Demons and demonizing is one example of that mindset.

    So, looking at the list of so-called sins: they are all about wanting something. Wanting sex, stuff, others/the world to be different (anger), to be better, others to do one’s work. Things that keep the world moving around. So that we get to show off what we’re built of. Because there’s also love, admiration, appreciation of fine things with gratitude, desire for improvement, clear boundaries, brilliance in excellence of work well done and surrender to being helped by others. The words of a song: Its not what you do but the way that you do it.

    Interesting to see where Frank will be going with this. As Jane (and we all) say, putting words to serve this purpose is not easy, and we are so different in our consciousnesses that landscapes become quite different.

    Looking at myself doing this, it occurs to me that I seem to have a sort of expectation that I should be able to do this well and successfully. A pesky passenger called entitlement. I mean, just to be able to have these glimpses is cause for dance, joy and celebration! Not being good at expressing it: it is opportunity for practice.

    1. The Western intellectual and spiritual tradition is rooted in Christianity, and as Carl Jung pointed out, for Westerners, it is deeply rooted in the psyche. It seems to me that we must come to terms with it, and coming to terms never implies condemnation or outright dismissal, but seeing it in its own light, then making our own assessments.

        1. A little. You said, “The christian tendency of harsh judgement prepares the field for some very warped mind-tricks that definitely do not develop consciousness. Demons and demonizing is one example of that mindset.”

          1. Would you say that what I say is untrue? In saying it I have in mind, as an example, a case of a priest here in Finland who beat up his wife because she was beset by the devil. I can think of other examples. And I do, of course, understand this is not only christian, it features in many religions. Having some enemy outside oneself to beat up is extremely convenient.

          2. Kristiina, look what you’re doing! “Having some enemy outside oneself to beat up is extremely convenient.” That is what you are (inadvertently) doing here. Any tradition or institution can be attacked by citing its shadow side. But it is not ONLY its shadow side, and it is a mistake to treat it as though it were.

  4. Your discussion is useful to me. Every time you, Frank, reference religion, it pushes a button for me because it’s not hard for me to see this material and Christianity as at odds. I believe the life of a Jesus or Siddhartha or any other religious figure can be an inspiration, an aim, a clue, a shortcut, an ah-ha moment for us, but no more than that. When that life is captured and distilled, the figure pedestalized, the teachings institutionalized, it can lead us all astray in the abandonment of the leading of our own lives. These figures went out and engaged the world in search of their own truths. That, I believe, is the framework for a way, not the only way and not meant to dictate our way. So, when you, Frank, give primacy and regularity to those references, I’m not always sure of the intent or the point. Maybe that’s my shadow side. I’m a really interested follower of this blog because I think it shows us how to see our lives as the personal improvisations they are and that, as informed by others our perspectives of course are, no one is in the driver’s seat but us.
    (I don’t know if I’ve said what I really mean here, but I’ve learned something from expressing it. I mean no disrespect to any other views, in fact I think I thrive on them, and I appreciate the openness people bring to this forum.)

    1. I am deliberately pushing just that button — in you, in many, I suspect — in hope that people will re-examine their attitudes toward religion. It is a widespread and unfortunate attitude, that religion is all minus and no plus, that it is the cause of wars, that it is corrupt and superstitious, etc., etc. And of course in the age of televangelists and other snake-oil salesmen, what else is to be expected? Still, it is too broad a brush, and ignores the fact that in religion, as in most aspects of life, the vast majority of priests, rabbis, imams, and ministers — to say nothing of their flocks — are honest, well-meaning, diligent and are never portrayed in the news.

      We cannot see anything straight as long as having it mentioned presses our buttons and replaces the real thing with manufactured reactions. Religion plays a vital and irreplaceable part of the lives of uncounted millions of people, to say nothing of our ancestors. The fact that we ourselves may be unable to join whole-heartedly, or even half-heartedly, does not vitiate the value of religion for others. The only thing such reactions do is to assure that we are unable to see straight. And seeing straight has never been more necessary!

      1. It feels as if I’m your button. I’m not arguing corruption, religion as minus, warmongering, etc. (though clearly there’s truth in much of that). I’m arguing that organized religion entices some people to give their power (of decision, of thought, of action) over to it, leaving them thinking they’re supposed to if they want to be ‘good’ people. They believe they’re meant to be followers. That doesn’t help them see straight. I think that’s a lot of what we see in the world–unquestioning followers. Materialism and consumerism, race and class and other things play a part in this, too. I agree with much of what you say about the value of religion–as a road to civilization and communal organization, as promoters of education, as producers of advanced thought, etc. I just think there was an interest in and a need for producing followers, too, and that was the point I was trying to make. (I probably deserve the broad brush you paint me with, though, because I think you’re saying ultimately the good outweighs the bad, and I’m not always sure I believe it does.)

  5. I can’t believe I’m arguing religion in (semi-) public. Can any good come of that? Who knows. But I was being nagged by something, and I think I’ve pinpointed it. (1) a quote from this morning’s post: “Pioneers don’t use maps, they don’t even necessarily make maps.” This is life to me; I think we’re all pioneers. (2) the reading of the Tettemer material. I was really moved by it. In it he says that the organized and codified interpretation of Jesus’s experiences is not sacred; it’s the “greatest crime committed against God.” I thought his whole transformational realization was that our own revelations bring us our own truth; this is what’s sacred.
    This is where I felt the contradiction between the material you’re presenting and your references to Christianity. (I have enjoyed this discussion. I hope you have, too.)

      1. You make a good point, Frank. Having religion seems part of the process. Thank you for this exchange. It’s been very clarifying for me.

  6. Yesterday I was fairly lost, as I felt being an elephant in a china shop – Frank said I was smashing something, that I did not notice myself. An interesting, sickly feeling to realize that what I say seems to be smashing something valuable. When I am not really able to see the object of value myself. Very strange things came up for me – triggers about being understood, heard etc. Jane and Franks discussion clarifies a lot. Thank you for both!

    I have thought about the normal people, who live in their times. A lot hinges on something that I can only call destiny. Born in the thirties in India, joining a popular movement meant being a follower of Gandhi. In Germany it meant being a follower of Hitler. How much of a difference does it make in the journey of a soul? I really have no idea. And even pondering this question has faded in importance for me. There are always different triggers available in society. How well am I herding my own impulses amidst these triggers? This appears to be the crucial question to me, not so much how others are doing and choosing.

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