[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.