Completed v. in-process

[Thursday, February 9, 2006, continued]

All right, I guess I’m in the mood to chat and not to work “by myself” as it were. Joseph, you tired of telling war stories?

Well you know, the kind of stories I been telling you ain’t so much war stories as meaning stories. Not what happened to me, so much as what I figure it all meant, and it just happens to center on me because, well, when you come right down to it, that’s about all we ever do know. And remember, you’re talking to completed-Joseph, not in-process Joseph.

Talk to me a little bit about the difference, practical and theoretical, or either one, whatever you want to talk about.

You’re just this minute realizing that you are experiencing for the first time in your life what it is like to have a grandfather to talk to. And that is more or less our relationship here – you feeling you haven’t had any experience, me wanting to tell my life to somebody who is interested in listening. And you can have that sort of experience with any of us, even little Katrina – if you get your own ideas out of the way first. If you are busy thinking, “she was just a little girl when she died, what can she tell me,” then, no, there ain’t going to be anything she can tell you, but whose fault is that going to be but yours? But if you are willing to work on the assumption that we have all got wisdom for you – not so much because of how we lived as where we are now –

Well, let me start off on another foot.

There’s in-process Frank, February 1978, say. He’s – how old? 32. What does he know of anything that followed? Damn-all. But there’s completed-Frank talking about Frank in February 1978, and that’s a whole different story. That Frank [i.e. completed-Frank] has been to the institute, he’s had experiences 1978-Frank couldn’t dream of or believe in. He thinks different, acts different, feels different.

You’re talking to me as completed-Joseph. How do you suppose it would go as a conversation with in-process Joseph, in July, 1863, say? You remember. Your filters, his filters, and it was only love that connected you. Otherwise anything that came across was pure gift.

This will tell you something – would tell you a lot more, if you were more familiar with the subject – about mediums and spirit controls and all that. You sort of skipped by all that, not even noticing, and that is as it should be. But others get caught up in talking to some in-process self and they have got to have a spirit control – a completed-person – if they are going to have any conversation at all.

You read the Lanny Budd books; you know Upton Sinclair’s description from his own experiences. You were sort of vaguely puzzled that those experiences didn’t match yours, being as you trusted him as a reporter. But we couldn’t give you any clues to what the difference was, because you didn’t really have the ideas in your mind. You don’t do a lot of thinking – if you don’t mind my saying so – and this is sometimes a good thing and sometimes not so good. It’s good because you take it as it comes, and you don’t make it fit into some framework first. It isn’t so good in that you could do some more thinking after the fact – analyzing what happened – and be all the better for it, because the process of thinking lets us introduce concepts to you.

Did you ever think about that? When you think – putting one thing in relation to other things, Mr. Lincoln’s specialty – we can suggest things and you can do the active linking up that makes a chain of thought – a habit, sort of – that makes it easier for you to think that again. We know you don’t think much of logic in these matters, yet sometimes you do. Who more than you worried over whether there could be no time on this side? And although we still haven’t gotten it to you, your thinking on the subject will make it easier for you to get it eventually. We can feed you bigger pieces, you might say.

Whenever I hear “we” I figure the guys in general are horning in.

One more concept you haven’t thought enough about! But it ain’t that you’re wrong, just that things look different when you bring different eyes to ‘em. Now that’s enough about in-process and completed for the moment. Bet you forgot that’s what we was talking about.

How come your grammar varies? I mean, what are the conditions that bring forth sometimes better grammar, sometimes more colloquial speech?

There’s two things going on here. One thing is, grammar in “your time” ain’t the same as it was in mine. Rules slide, some things get let in, some get let out. You don’t say “ain’t” much and you don’t usually say that a plural “was” anything. But that don’t mean that’s how we said it. I don’t hear you criticizing David’s grammar. (That’s by way of a joke.) The other thing is that, it is true, when my mind is on one thing my way of expressing myself fits that thing, and on something else, it changes to fit that. Never thought much about the rules you could put around it – and it it’s all the same with you I don’t have an interest in doing it. Rules is just rules; sometimes they have something to do with reality and often enough they don’t. Anyway, this particular question don’t interest me enough to pursue beyond this unless it becomes real important to you somehow.

No, just a passing wonderment.

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