Friday, September 13, 2019
4:25 a.m. Shall we continue? I see I neglected to transcribe our private session yesterday. Should have. Now if we do talk I’ll have twice as much to transcribe.
Still, better than that it should be lost within the notebook, is it not?
Yes. All right do you have somewhere specific you want to go?
We can follow your thought; there’s a reason something surfaces when it does, you know.
I have been reading Hemingway’s anthology Men at War, usually but not invariably when I eat a meal. Watching a lot of “The Blacklist,” a Netflix series that is both irritating and interesting, both sometimes profound and other times the worse television and movie clichés. Reading Death in the Afternoon at intervals. Tried Ralph Ellison’s posthumously published Juneteenth, but had to abandon it after four chapters. Watching “Ðoc Martin” episodes whenever Netflix DVDs arrive. And of course thinking of things I’ve read over the years, historical or biographical situations suggested by people’s posts on facebook, for instance.
And it all makes you feel, as you do so often, that you are living in a lunatic asylum.
I feel like I am living in a world structured on behalf of fools, psychopaths, sociopaths. I recognize that this is only a partial view, and that the good and the quietly strong and sane receive little ink in the world, but still, it’s a lot to live with. In fact, it reminds me of when I was in my thirties and began to read mystery and detective fiction – John D. MacDonald first, but more and more after that. I realized that this was my second-hand education in the way things really are. Not that any given plot or set of characters was to be taken as truth, but that the motivations described could be. I, who had such difficulty believing in the existence of evil in the world, or even of bad intentions regardless how evident it was, all around me, learned at a safe remove how to interpret what I didn’t really believe in.
The dissonance you and others are experiencing at the moment could be seen as the thinning of the internal walls between non-coherent belief systems. As the walls thin, you become aware of the contradictions you embody and live with. The result is an improvement in vision, you might say, but the process is highly uncomfortable. Still, it is the difference between James Joyce and his daughter, one diving, the other drowning.
I get that in this we are somehow participating in the group mind of our civilization, going through the same process.
Well, let’s take it a little slowly.
Seems I’ve heard that before.
And it has always served you well.
Let’s take you, Frank, as an example. Anyone would serve as example, and each would be different, of course, so let’s stick to the one you know from the inside, however little you know it, however distorted your perspective because of no distance to provide perspective.
I suppose we couldn’t use historical examples I know about.
We could, or we could use what you call “past lives,” or we could use well-known fictional characters, and any of them would provide illustrative points, but let’s use you.
You were born into postwar America, began immersing yourself in American history at about age 13, gradually broadened out your acquaintance, first via Churchill, then on and on to other countries, other times. That was the inner world you concentrated on, not really paying attention to the world you were actually living in.
Because I couldn’t see inside it in the same way I could see what I read! I don’t know that I ever realized that.
Also because in those days you divided the world into the important and the unimportant.
I assumed that what was written about was important, plus, it was structured and explained.
Yes, and you did not see that the effect of living this way was that you only gave importance to what you did not experience, and gave no importance to what you did.
Is that stated quite correctly?
Not quite, but close enough. You paid attention to what you read, or certain aspects of it. You didn’t pay attention to the rest of life, even as you were forced to live it.
Yes, I was a dope, not knowing what everybody else knew, and I was a savant, living in a world largely invisible to those I lived among, as far as I could see. Even when I ran for Congress, I was doing it for reasons that were personal and were beyond my correct understanding. I lived for years assuming I would run in 1974, and did nothing at all to practically prepare for what would have been a forlorn hope anyway. I ran because I thought I was going to emulate a pattern that had nothing to do with my own circumstances.
Yet it was not a mistake, and it did its bit to lead you onto a larger field.
It did. One thing it did was thoroughly disillusion me by giving me close experience of the men – in those days it was all men – who actually engaged in politics.
It did not, however, provide you with a sophisticated perspective immediately.
No, and of course my life could be seen entirely differently using the same external facts. Where are we going with this?
Return to our immediate point, which is that everybody constructs road-maps of the world. Not one road-map, but many, each tied to specific kinds of purpose, each tied to different clusters of experience. Thus people have one set of beliefs in one circumstance, another in a second, yet another in a third, and often enough the various road-maps are kept folded, each unconnected to the others. Perhaps they contradict each other. At the least, each will feature different kinds of information and inferences. You can function this way – you mostly have functioned this way – changing in changing circumstances, not noticing the changes in you, of you.
The multiple “I”s taking turns steering, that Gurdjieff described.
Yes, but in your age, the maps are being superseded by GPS. Now they interact, and contradictions are glaringly obvious, like it or not. Now it is less and less possible to live with unnoticed internal contradictions. The result may often seem chaotic, but it may be the process of rendering chaos into ordered patterns.
“It hurts but it’s good for you,” so to speak.
It doesn’t even hurt necessarily. Uncomfortable, yes, but sleeping out in the open on a camping trip may be uncomfortable. You do it for the sake of the trip, and you don’t begrudge the discomfort, for the sake of the experience it enables.
I can see 3D life as a camping trip. It isn’t an analogy that had occurred to me before.
That’s what we’re here to facilitate, with your cooperation.
I was surprised to look back and see that we have filled seven pages, and have been at it 45 minutes. A little more biographical detail than I am quite comfortable with, but I’m used to that.
So to round this off: Your joke has been that you realized you were in an insane asylum but only became uncomfortable when you realized you weren’t one of the ones carrying keys. In other words, that maybe you belonged there. But there’s truth in the joke, except for the inference that you are as crazy as anybody else. It’s closer to say, the others aren’t any crazier than you are. It is their actions, their manifestations, like yours, that may be incomprehensible to others, which makes them unpredictable, uninterpretable, and therefore menacing.
Are you saying nobody is crazy?
Let’s say crazy is as crazy does. Crazy, like evil, is a part of the 3D condition. The same mind in non-3D manifests differently. It isn’t like you die to Earth and are then surrounded by dangerous criminals and lunatics. Nor, of course, that you appear like that to others. For one thing, the concept of “others” looks very different in surroundings where the concept of “external” is non-existent, or, let’s say, clearly illusory.
Enough for the moment.
Well, our thanks as always. I feel like I did most of the work on this one.
It’s like the scientist said: All the equipment in the laboratory is there for the purpose of turning the scientist’s head in the right direction, so he can see. That’s our work, too.
Fine. I’ll think of you as flasks and Bunsen burners. J Till next time.