Thursday, May 17, 2018
5:15 a.m. Guys, today’s theme? Or does it work better when you tell me what it has been rather than what it will be?
It is the difference between a lesson plan and a conversation, you know. We may want to go one way and wind up going another. Better not to set the drag.
Might it not help us stay on a theme?
There are advantages and disadvantages.
Well, as you wish. You’re up.
Let’s talk a little more about the contents of any present moment. The thing people tend to forget is that it is a means of expression, a sum-total of existence, and of course it is going to be a compromise, or, let’s say, a total –
No, it got all balled up. Again? I sort of know what you are aiming at.
Everything expresses, not only those things you approve of. Cowardice, hatred, envy, anything you may think to name, is going to be there, just as much as courage, love, fellow-feeling, etc. Life is not pretty¸ and it is not reasonable, and it is not smooth and orderly. It is those things as well as being their opposite qualities, but it is not any of those things by themselves. Life does not express only part of itself in any present moment; regardless of what is apparent, everything participates. Really, how else could it be?
Sometimes you’ll say something like that and I will realize, “Well that’s just common sense,” while realizing that I have been unconsciously thinking something quite different.
Which is true of everyone, now and again, you realize. Or, if you don’t realize it, realize it now. It isn’t like the world is divided into realistic and unrealistic people, any more than into good and bad, or any other polarity. The dividing line – as always – runs within people, not between them. One person will be realistic in some aspects of life and unrealistic in others. Nobody gets it all right, and therefore – can you see why it is a “therefore”? – nobody gets it all wrong. Someone who sees through one set of illusions probably does so courtesy of a different set of illusions. The person who is a hard-headed materialist who cannot be taken in by fake mediums or by New Age fantasies probably cannot be taken in by real mediums, nor by New Age insights that happen to be accurate. The hard-headed religious zealot, political extremist, a cynic of whatever complexion, the same.
And people like me, looking with a disillusioned eye at so many things –
You find, eventually, that you never run short of illusions. Even the illusion that life is nothing but illusion is an illusion itself, of course. And those things you do cherish and believe in are not going to be absolute truths, either. Your perceptions and values are partial – which amounts to saying, “You are living in 3D conditions.”
But if you are here to live your values – which in a way amounts to upholding them against contrary values – so is everybody else. An Eisenhower embodied virtues and defects quite different from a Patton, or a Bradley, or, later, a Roosevelt or a Churchill, or, later, a Khrushchev or a Dulles or a Rayburn or a Nixon or a John F. Kennedy. You see the point, but expound upon it a bit.
This is using my recent viewing (again) last night of “Ike: Countdown to D-Day,” an excellent dramatization.
It is using the area of life you are comfortable with and somewhat familiar with, though at the level of abstraction. For someone else it might be the molecular structure of silica-based molecules as opposed to carbon-based. So, elaborate just a bit on what we said.
Well, looking at the comparisons you drew, and having anyway a sense of what you are wanting to express, I get that you are using Eisenhower as an example of a complex man whose complexity is best seen – or maybe I should say easiest seen – by comparison to those he worked with and worked against, as opposed to examining his life by the events that shaped it and were shaped by it. And, looking at the array, I see you are silently warning us against over-simplifying the point. Do you really want me to discuss them all?
Well, look at the comparison with his friends and fellow soldiers [George] Patton and [Omar] Bradley. He shared their intense professionalism; all three were deeply immersed in their trade. Patton was a genius of a leader of men in his way and an advanced thinker when it came to mechanized cavalry. Bradley was an equally inspired leader of men in a very different way, and if he was not brilliant he was thorough and reliable and could be counted on to play on the team and not try to hog the ball. Patton was intolerant, pig-headed, self-righteous, devious, hard-driving. Bradley was kindly, flexible, approachable, scholarly, straight-forward, and not so much hard-driving as hard leading. When I was a boy, before I went off to college – and later whenever I worked with working men, unloading trucks when I was with Hampton Roads, say – when I was with men of a certain age I’d ask it they were in the war, and hear whatever they cared to tell me. I never met one who liked Patton or did not like Bradley. The sense was that Patton would use them ruthlessly to get whatever he wanted, and Bradley would protect them as best he could against the hazards that were put in front of them.
And Ike was friends with both, you see. Patton and he worked closely in the 1920s and Bradley and he worked closely in the intricate planning for D-Day. Ike changed as he grew, and the part of him that he had in common with each man made him his own unique combination of expression, as happens with everybody. It isn’t so much a matter of his choosing to take up these strands and lay others down; it was more like, moment by moment he chose to express this way and not that way, and a lifetime’s choosing produces the soul you contribute to the All-D.
Now, you may be more drawn to the slashing, profane, hard-driving Patton or the careful, scholarly, mild-mannered Bradley, but your preferences don’t matter: Each is a valid example of choices. And as you know, in terms of externals, each had his uses for the world. Certainly Patton’s life came to fruition in August and September, 1944. But we are making a somewhat different point here, and it is a slippery one. Some will find it natural, no step at all, and others may find it too big a step. That is mostly a measure of the distance between their beginning assumptions – many of them unconscious ones – and what we lead them toward. It is not, mostly, a difference in internal capacity to understand.
Well, what I get is that you are as interested in the resulting mixture of these interacting individuals –
Yes, and if you can phrase it, you’ll do us both a service.
I started to say, you want to consider the mixture of all these contrasting individuals in any present moment, but I leaped ahead to see that all of us may be considered as sort of active expressions of the underlying qualities.
Yes, but keep going. The proper image here will help a lot as we proceed.
We think of ourselves as units – despite knowing better abstractly, or in theory. Can’t help it; that is how we experience ourselves in 3D. but we could see ourselves a different way. Probably every bubble on top of a cup of coffee regards itself as a bubble, and isn’t wrong to do so as long as the bubble lasts, but more fundamentally it is coffee, it is a liquid in a temporary mixture with air. It assumes a structure – its bubble-ness – but its essence is coffee and air.
Patton, Bradley, Eisenhower were very distinct bubbles, but they were by the nature of things bubbles expressing the same mixture of coffee and air. I don’t know that this is the clarifying image you hoped for, though.
No. Dig a little deeper if you can.
The thing you’re getting at is that we in bodies are temporary combinations of qualities and those qualities will express one way or the other.
No, not quite. Slow way down.
You are after the active-ness of any given present moment. It’s more like actively boiling liquid than merely hot (or cold, for that matter) liquid interacting with the air above it.
The present moment is always a moment’s boiling activity; only, in 3D you see it in split-second slices, so the very transient structure seems to you to be more solid and lasting and hard to move.
I see that. A boiling moment’s cross-section.
It is going to look different to the roiling waters than to the observer outside of time.
And the location and fate of any given bubble won’t really matter at all.
Not to the coffee. Not to the fire. Not to the air, or the observer. But it will matter to the part of all of that that forms a bubble. And just because from the point of view of everything else, the bubble itself seems transient and unimportant, does not mean that on its own scale it is transient, or unimportant. It means merely that different turns of the knob focus the microscope on what seem to be very different qualities.
It has been 70 minutes, but I’d like to continue, if you would.
No, we don’t have time enough to get into anything deep, and there is no need to add to what we have produced, between us, here.
So today’s theme, as it turns out?
Call it, A sea of values. That is only an indicator, but it leads forward.
A sea of values?
You could call it something else. A conflict of qualities. A seething intensity. Anything, really.
Okay, I’ll go with a sea of values. Thanks as always. It may be a few days until we can continue, or maybe I’ll get one done tomorrow, but then there will be a gap.
Just as well anyway. Slow and steady.
Right. Till next time, then.