Wednesday, June 20, 2018
1:45 a.m. Very well, gentlemen. Concluding remarks? Whatever that means in this case.
You will note that some of your readers have gotten the point of all this, and have said so, emphatically. The same passage that strikes some as theoretical and others as mildly interesting strikes some to the core, and they wake up. But what does that mean, to wake up? Is that to imply that the rest of humanity sleeps?
I don’t see what else it could mean.
Well, say that is so, we have yet to explain what we mean by the difference between waking and sleep. It may seem obvious, but, as with so many matters, the closer you look at it, the more facets it presents, and the more potentially contradictory implications.
Gurdjieff said humans were asleep, and that no work on oneself could be done in sleep. I begin to see what you may be driving at.
Your friend Colin Wilson often used the analogy of a neon tube under insufficient power, that flickered rather than glowed, or a pot of water under insufficient heat, that couldn’t quite be brought to the boil. The image is of discontinuity rather than continuity. Twilight, then a momentary illumination, then twilight again, a repetitive but not regular alternation of states. Your own long quest began when you were first exposed to the idea, and you went in search of a way to connect those moments of lucidity.
It was Colin’s novel The Mind Parasites that made me aware of the problem. But I didn’t know what to do, where to turn. It is hard to pursue mental clarity and continuity when beginning from a position of flickering awareness.
And if you will – slowly, ploddingly – sketch out the situation as you experienced it, we will get where we want to go.
If you say so. It seems obvious enough.
I wanted that clarity of mind and continuity of consciousness that Colin had brilliantly illuminated for me in that book. But I was not yet 24 years old, and I felt I had already missed so many opportunities! I had drifted through my college years, drifted into an early marriage, drifted into a job, all the while waiting until I should be old enough to run for Congress and emulate John F. Kennedy’s career. My internal life was mostly divorced from my external life. That is, I was waiting to begin what I felt was going to be my career, but I did nothing to bring it about.
Yes, but go even slower, allow yourself to sink deeper. Don’t skim over the surface of the subject; don’t go into Story, but feel your way through it.
If I were to put it into conceptual terms, I’d say that I was living a pretty meaningless external life, while dreaming an entirely different internal one. I read incessantly, but what I read wasn’t aimed at anything, even vaguely. It wasn’t yet my time of reading detective novels, nor even fiction to any large extent, so far as I can remember. This was long before the internet, and long before I could buy any book I wanted without thinking carefully about the cost. I was, at first, in a small town with a small town’s library, then later in Iowa City with the university library, then in Tampa with the city library, even more so when I began working there. but I can’t remember, now, what kind of books I was reading. Anything by Colin Wilson, but beyond that, what? Anyway, I was leading one life externally, a different life internally.
Look at that more closely. This does not involve you alone, nor even you as an unusual case study. It is closer to you as a typical example of a not-so-widely-understood phenomenon.
My mental world and my physical world didn’t really coincide except that they were going on at the same moment. Externally I was a young news reporter trying to do a job for which he was entirely untrained (and would receive no training), a young husband with no idea of what married life should be and no imagination to envision the emptiness of my wife’s days back when we had only one car and she had no job.
Yes, but –
I’m still reaching for whatever it is you want. Internally I was dreaming, though I can’t quite remember any more what it was I dreamed of. I expected to be a writer and make my living – get rich, in fact – by my writing, but I did nothing to connect that internal dream, or expectation, even, to reality. Similarly, my political career-to-be, I –. Oh, now I get what you’re after!
If you can hold it. Go ahead.
I never knew what it was all about, no matter what “it” we refer to. In politics, I could see results but no causes, could respond but not initiate, could relate anything to my dreamy ideas and feelings, but could not relate any of it to the core of me.
Still more carefully.
Well – I guess it was like I was trying to play a game without knowing the rules or the objective, and without insight into the other players’ motivations. I don’t know that I ever felt the reality of other people. They and the world existed, but I existed sort of next to them, not with them or among them. Is this what you’re wanting?
Let us take it from here. We would say that the nub of your problem was that although you were experiencing your life as disconnected from the world around you, really you were disconnected from your own inner motivations. You had ideas about your life. That is not the same thing as participating in it.
Now you might say, “How can anybody live without participating in their life?” And we would say, “Look around you. For that matter, look within you.” That is the source of people’s sense of futility.
Take someone who has found the only thing for him or her to do – Picasso painting, Hemingway writing, Churchill steering or attempting to steer society, Georgia O’Keefe painting, Jacob Riis or Lincoln Steffens trying to bring social reform – anyone in any field who was consumed with a task not as a means to achieve fame and fortune, or even to keep body and soul together, but because they knew that this is what they were put on God’s earth to do. It doesn’t matter how messy the rest of their lives may have been, nor what else they may have spent their energies doing, nor even how successful or not they were. Examples are usually success stories because they are known, but the reality isn’t any different for those who do not become known.
When someone knows what they are in 3D to do, their life has a continuity of consciousness that may have nothing to do with externals. The continuity is not between moments of time, nor between themselves as individuals and their fellows. It is continuity of connection with their deepest self. This is why they are single-minded about what they do. (Single-minded, even if they may do many other things as well.)
That may not be as clear as you think it is.
The difference between being engaged in something and merely going through the motions has little to do with one’s relation to the external world, and little to do, consequently, with success or failure of their efforts in any particular thing. It has to do with connection. This is what you are considering as continuity of consciousness. You quote Carl Jung to the effect that he who looks outward dreams; he who looks inward awakes. Does that really mean anything to you, or is it just words? For, you can look outward while dreaming that you are looking inward, and that is the most difficult trap to emerge from. If you dream that you are awake, what will spur you to awaken in real life?
Your connection with your non-3D component, presumably.
We don’t know what else could do it. But suppose you live in such a way (and in such a world of accepted ideas) as to be not in conscious connection, then what?
Then a feeling of lostness, I suppose, a feeling of marking time and losing ground.
But you often feel you are marking time even today. Would you say your internal life is no different from what it was at 24?
No, not even close.
The difference being?
Somehow I am more here, now. It feels like I wasn’t really there, then, not fully formed. Hard to put it into words.
You had not had the experience of being consciously fully present. A child is fully present as its natural state, but with the coming of the age of reason, at year seven or so, its world divides into inner and outer in a way difficult to define but familiar to all. To return to that childhood state of non-division [consciously] is the point. And you did not experience that until your experience with mescaline in 1970 and then not again until your Gateway experience 1992.
Yes, I see that. And the penetration into reality is what has made the difference. Not that it made my life any easier, but –
Oh come! Of course it made your life easier. What you mean is, “Not that it made my life automatically without problems, and not that it made me able to function smoothly and flawlessly.”
Correction accepted. You’re right, that’s what I did mean. Life still had difficulties and I made no end of embarrassing and even painful mistakes, but from that point I had a touchstone.
There is more to be said, but perhaps another time would be better. You are feeling the strain.
It has been 75 minutes. All right, then. More tomorrow?
We’ll be here, if you will be.
See you then.