Herds and outliers

[These reports keep morphing in nature, blending the personal and the abstract more than they used to. Not always an entirely comfortable experience.]

Monday, January 7, 2019

7:10 a.m. I get up and am pouring water into the coffeemaker when I think “Robert Parker.” Effortless – only, last night when I was trying to think of the name of the author of the Spenser series, I couldn’t dredge it up for love or money. Pretty delayed action. I had thought of one of his novels, couldn’t remember the title, at first wasn’t sure it was [the unnamable] Parker rather than Lee Child or John Sandford, both of which names I could recall. As I told Nancy Ford the other night, my experience is that if I don’t press, the name comes, but this is pretty delayed. Wouldn’t have been much good in practical terms. Can’t remember the title of the book I’m thinking of, either, but that isn’t anything new, and doesn’t bother me. If I were to go down to the basement room where I keep all my mysteries, I’d find it easily enough, it being a singleton rather than a Spenser or a Jesse Stone, I wouldn’t expect to remember its title unless it were a special favorite, which it is not. (Considered John D. MacDonald, too.) Wilderness is the title, come to think of it.

So, guys, what is it with the way our memories associate? I know that if I associate one thing to another – especially if I can link a visual memory to whatever name it is I am looking for – I can come to it, usually. And, you’ve told Rita and me – 18 years ago, it must have been – that I don’t have a memory problem but a memory access problem. I take it that isn’t peculiar to me, but to all people with problems accessing memories on demand.

Bear in mind, similar symptoms, similar conditions, may stem from many different causes. Alzheimer’s is more than an exaggeration of the normal process of increasing difficulty in accessing memory that comes with age. Your own situation, which has been with you since your 20s, differs from both, though it is now being overlain by the process of aging.

And my condition is –

Let’s say, you live at a remove from the physical world, mentally. This won’t come as news to you, surely. Even when you spend your time reading of the world, understanding the world, conceptualizing the world, you aren’t really participating in it the way other people do.

Which is why I interact so badly with practical things. Have such anxiety when faced with the prospect of looming events such as a trip or a meeting or even a social event.

You used to say, in a different context, that you were always playing “away” games. There’s something in that.

It is very difficult for me, participating in the world around me.

Let’s say, it is difficult for you to do things in the way others do, for you can do things others can’t, and for the same reason. You live from a somewhat different standing-place. You are scarcely alone in that, of course, but by nature you and others in that situation experience yourselves as essentially alone.

That needs some clarification. Not that you are alone in a world in which others are associated together, but that you are alone in a world you do not really share with others except by the narrowest of connections.

I don’t think that clarifies much.

No, it is difficult to state, because the words are not there to express it. The differences, not being widely experienced, have not come into common use in language.

But it is my experience that most things can at least be pointed at, if not described. It’s a matter of taking the time and trouble. And here we are.

Yes. Well, we are willing to make the effort. We’ll see. Start with [Laurens] van der Post’s analogy of the herd and the outliers.

He said that in nature, he had observed that herds of some animal (deer, maybe; doesn’t matter) would have one or more members who for one reason or another were not fully accepted into the herd but were not quite outcast either. He said the outlying positions of these individuals made them hypervigilant, continually alert, even more so than the rest of the herd, and therefore provided the herd with an advantage.

Yes, because the outlier sensed danger quicker than those who were to some degree more sedate, more lulled by the proximity of their fellows, even though all experienced their lives as continually requiring alertness.

Only, van der Post’s analogy didn’t refer to danger specifically, but to increased sensitivity.

That’s right. The race’s sentinels don’t necessarily persuade anybody; they react, and their reactions alert the rest through a process of contagion.

Emerson said in his journal somewhere that every time he received a letter that did not condemn him, he felt like he had had a reprieve. (Not his word.) I understood, eventually, what he meant. He instinctively expected criticism, condemnation, accusation. And this from a man who never responded to criticism, but smiled and left the criticizer to his opinion.

Artists, scholars, prophets, eccentrics – we don’t mean to set such people upon a pedestal nor to smile at them as if they were to be pitied – there is a whole class of outliers in any society, and they serve a function, just as the relatively compact mass that forms a society’s center of gravity serve a function. That does not guarantee that either outlier or mass is comfortable.

To return this to the question of memory –

We haven’t left the subject. We are attempting to set it in context. You will remember, we said there is no language to describe it directly. At least, no language that is easily employed and easily understood.

So, hold the herd-and-outlier analogy in mind. Now consider, 3D life is only a subset of All-D life, and the non-3D part of life goes on in the same space (so to speak) as the 3D world. Or, put it that the 3D portion of the world goes on within the larger All-D world. Difficult to express, even after so many months of exposition attempting to express the essential unity.

Your microscope analogy?

Yes, that serves. Twist the focusing screw and you see the world differently.

I am teetering on the edge of understanding where you are going with this.

If your mental world is anchored in one place, it won’t be anchored in a different place. The way you see the world will necessarily be different from any other person’s way of seeing it, of course, because you are all experiencing it as individuals. But beyond that, some of you will experience it as outliers and others as part of the center of gravity. That is, you won’t be living quite in the same world, nor quite in different worlds. You will be tenuously bound together.

Now, having said that, bear in mind, you are all experiencing the 3D world while being part of the greater all-encompassing world of which it is a part. We’ve said many times, you must be in all dimensions. But that doesn’t mean you are all equally aware, or even roughly equally ware, of the encompassing world we have been calling the non-3D.

And the difference is our degree of awareness produces the differences in how we experience the world.

Well, that is tautology. But beyond that, everyone’s particular position on a scale of awareness of the non-3D in ordinary life determines, or anyway facilitates, their particular interim report.

I don’t understand.

You all feed situation reports to the larger beings of which you are a part. Those reports affect the non-3D being – or did you think we are merely voyeurs, here? – and in turn affect our feedback to our 3D components. You understand, language is overemphasizing separation here and understating the degree of connection.

Yes, labels like 3D and non-3D. Can’t be helped, really, I suppose.

Inventing our own argot as we go has helped somewhat, but it continues to be a problem needing to be recognized.

Let’s sum it up this way. Every possible place on the scale of experiencing must be experienced and reported. Therefore,

That didn’t come out right, did it?

No. Let’s try again. All aspects of the world deserve and receive equal attention, which in effect means everything gets reported on, and these reports are collated and summarized and fed back into the morning briefings of the participants, who then go about their day in light of the developing situation. That ought to be an analogy that provides a flexible understanding without luring you to read it literally.

I see. And I hear “And that’s enough for the moment.”

If we did not say it, you would, your hour being up.

Well, at one point I got, between the lines, that I really do need to provide a summary of the understandings gleaned from so many years’ conversations.

If you will not do it, your understanding will not be conveyed in 3D, obviously.

Thanks as always.

 

20 thoughts on “Herds and outliers

  1. Apropos of nothing and everything, here’s a theory I recently came across regarding the so-called “hard problem of consciousness.” For those not familiar, this is simply the problem of explaining (or discovering) how physical matter gives rise to consciousness – subjective experience. Note, this problem is a domain where philosophy, physics, and neuroscience interact – and spend a lot time sniffing disdainfully at one another’s theories and everyone else’s.

    This theory inverts the commonly understood formula of 1. physical particles -somehow- organize into a vast range of coherent structures of wildly varying complexity 2. some very few of which produce -who knows how- the phenomenon (or illusion or epi-phenomena) of consciousness/subjective experience. The typical analogy goes, matter is the hardware and consciousness is the software.

    The inversion instead argues that consciousness is the hardware and physical matter is the software. Denizens around here may be inclined to say, “well yes, of course.” But bear in mind this theory, while by no means widely accepted, and I suspect roundly ridiculed from multiple corners, is still being advanced in a popular venue read by scientists of all stripes. That alone is a semi-remarkable fact. Also, this idea does bear some thinking through, some contemplation. One implication is that the physical world would be more akin to an abstraction, a mathematical model, a set of purely formal relations while consciousness would be the literal stuff, the “matter” with which the formalized models are built….Yes, we’ve heard it all before, dozens of times alone here at Frank’s, but never quite like this imo.

    For myself, I’ve had an intuition for a decade now that runs something like, “this history of materialism has failed to grasp the most fundamental lesson of materialism.” Problem is, it has remained an intuition which I sometimes could see and feel clearly, but could never quite articulate. Many times said intuition had no sense or meaning for me whatsoever – equal to a distant memory of a stranger speaking Vietnamese. This theory puts words to it in a way I had yet to encounter.

    For those interested see: Hedda Hassel Morch, “Is Matter Conscious.” Nautil.us, April 6, 2017

  2. Interesting discussion. This explains why I so very often don’t feel like I fit in with certain groups. I’ve often felt like an outlier, even when I was an intrinsic part of the organization. I was masquerading, as I knew I saw and thought about things differently. I would suspect many folks here also feel that way, and it’s because we’ve each peeked behind the curtain and have seen the wizard for who he is, so to speak. We have seen that we are a subset of the all-D and have a glimmering of just how important that is.

    As I hold in mind cat’s paws’ remarks — consciousness is the hardware and physical matter is the software — with TGU’s discussions that we are habit systems (disparate parts or threads trying to get along in 3D so as to form a new thing), my perspective shifts ever so slightly. It’s good to remember that 3D is not the only thing going on and not to take the drama of life so seriously. It reminds me to enjoy the improv and not get so attached to the localized outcome. The overarching outcome is assured. All is always well, no?

  3. “one point I got, between the lines, that I really do need to provide a summary of the understandings gleaned from so many years’ conversations.”

    Frank,
    Guidance keeps pushing me to remind you that after ‘so many years’ there’s a fair number of us who are familiar with those conversations … at least the ones published. And that perhaps you’d consider ‘using’ us in this onerous task. 🙂

    I believe that in the past you’ve sent early drafts of your books to people to read and comment; I suspect there more of us willing to help in that way now. Steps up from that could include inviting folks to submit topics for an outline for the summary, and beyond that to pick topics from the outline to write about. Or you could prepare the outline and send it out for comment. Perhaps those years as an editor could come in handy!

    Guidance is saying that the phrase “You are not alone” cuts wider than you may have considered. Your years of work producing the many books and blog posts has created a cohort interested in and willing to support this work.
    Jim

      1. fwiw

        I am open to this, but I am generally a reader, self-learner and big concept-context guy … not an editor or proofreader.

    1. I’m with Jim. I value this project, as I know how my thoughts have changed because of the information. I am willing to suggest topics, write about topics, and help in any way you deem needful. Sometimes it’s easier to edit than to write, so having writers may add wings to this project.

      Our experience is different than yours, Frank, as we’ve received second hand. You’ve been the one who pushed the pen. Yet it’s been a shared experience, as we reflect upon what you’ve written and maybe helped refine it in someway.

      I’m in. I can help with the heavy lifting.

    1. Thanks to all of you for your generous offers of time and assistance. My problem is, I don’t know what would help or how it would be structured. This afternoon I did toy with the idea of anyone who wanted to, writing an essay about some topic related to the material that TGU in the largest sense have brought forth. Several people, each contributing 6,000 to 10,000 words on a given topic, and we’d have a manuscript that I could edit into a book. But I don’t know that this is practical. thoughts?

      1. I’ve been thinking along the same idea, Frank. That’s probably the best way to “crowd source” a book — each person write about some part of the material that’s important to them and how it has impacted their life.

      2. Interesting idea. Wonder if that could kick-start me into developing my texts further? But yes, the thought of a collection of viewpoints seeded by Frank, and maybe some further development from Frank.

  4. My experience with guidance (through Frank, others, and myself) indicates that this line of teaching is for one purpose: to urge/help/facilitate people to ‘get closer’ to their OWN guidance. The information through Frank has been about who they are, what they want, how they see and experience the ‘world’ … but the purpose is to help each make their own better/closer/more aware connection.

    We have a pretty good idea/feeling of what guidance means to Frank and how they work together. Seems like it would be useful to develop a wider picture of what it means to get closer to guidance, as I understand TGU is looking for something for folks new to this area, a book (?) that ‘speaks’ to the common person;

    Frank, one way to do this is to invite a brief (1-2 pages) ‘story’ about how each of us ‘got’ to Guidance, and how we use our connections in daily life. Seem that between this blog, the TMIExplorers mail list, and other folks you know, a wider, more universal picture of what TGU is talking about and where it leads could emerge.
    Jim

  5. Jim,

    It’s been yours and other’s posts supporting this idea, that has sparked a conversation between Frank and me. We’re talking about putting together a manuscript for publication of our stories: how we have interpreted the writings of TGU/Rita/Nathaniel and what it means to us. I would think that an essay of any length, 2 pages or 20, would be good. A variety of viewpoints will be nice, as we each bring our own background material to this discussion – be it Seth, religion, psychology, science, Course in Miracles, Edgar Cayce, you name it. Our audience will appreciate finding themselves in our experience. Frank will write the introduction and conclusion, providing the bookends to our essays.

    This project will be open to all who want to contribute. I’ll put it out to TMI Explorers, and Frank will post it to his FaceBook folks.

    Frank has asked me to take the lead on this, and I’m excited to be part of it. Expect more this week. I’m thinking it’s time we get the ball rolling on this, and it’s something we’ve all been part of. The audience is just as important as the speaker.

    Jane C

    1. Thanks, Jane, for taking point. I hope that many people will contribute, not allowing themselves to be stopped by thinking “I don’t have anything special to add,” or “I’m not a good writer,” etc.

    2. I think this is a great idea. There’s been an urge to contribute going on in this blog for a while. It’s good to see it get organized. I like Jim’s idea of a 1-2 page initial contribution, which could be helpful for Jane to get the lay of the land in terms of her editorial contribution. I’m looking forward to contributing and seeing where it goes. Thanks for being open to it, Frank.

    3. Jane,
      Well your message got ‘my’ guidance giggling and high-fiving again … this broader picture of what closer connection to guidance might mean for each reader is what they’ve been pushing (me) for. I have ‘grown up’ on the information Frank has brought and continues to bring through … I suspect may other have also. Very good for us, but it tends to make one think that writing about guidance is what connection means.

      I suggest that (in TGU’s words) that method of interaction is an ‘outlier’ … and is completely different from how I interact 🙂 . I think TGU is pushing for something to appeal to the ‘herd’, and the herd is nothing if not “a variety of viewpoints”!

      Started on my ‘essay’; will send when I have something. Here, or private? I don’t mind posting mine, but some might want a little more privacy?
      Jim

      1. Jim asks, “Here, or private?” I’d say both ways are just fine. The reason being, this process is not so much about getting something into publication as it’s more about anchoring the information in 3D. We each do that individually and collectively through our reading, thinking about, and responding to Frank’s posts. Your post may spark someone else, and their response may be very meaningful. Or it may spark their writing process.

        1. Some thoughts on “Here or private.”
          If here:
          – ‘here” (on this blog) is a moving target: this (original) post is seven back and a week old already, with 19 ‘thoughts.’
          – adding work on this project to the blog makes it less understandable to new comers.
          – I’m reluctant to change the tone of this blog dramatically, as for me it’s become the ‘graduate course’. I’m delighted to work on material for ‘freshmen’, but mixing information for such different levels of awareness could make the blog unwieldy.

          If private, we need a ‘place.’

          In writing this I can see the question: does Frank’s blog become the site for this project: “a manuscript for publication of our stories: how we have interpreted the writings of TGU/Rita/Nathaniel and what it means to us.” or does the project need a different ‘home?’

          Jane, it seems you lean toward ‘here’: this process is not so much about getting something into publication as it’s more about anchoring the information in 3D.” I lean toward ‘private’: it ‘feels’ like people would be more comfortable submitting in private, knowing an ‘editor’ will ensure that the ‘right things’ get on the blog.

          I hope others will chime in and discuss.
          Jim

          1. Yeah, I see what you mean, Jim. The intent is to publish, whether in paper or digital format. I want the editorial help, as that’s how I get better at my writing skills. And I want my stuff to be readable so my message will be heard. I’m thinking private is better, and folks can post occasionally as needed.

            As to place, I don’t know. It might work out that we run all our manuscripts by email. Let me think on that, and maybe others will chime in with ideas.

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