Appearance and meaning

Monday, September 16, 2019

5 a.m. Wholeness, rather than goodness. Shall we pursue the topic?

Fine with us. You do not see where to go with this.

I don’t. I’m getting that we could look at it individually or socially.

Yes, but better to do something between the two.

Please, feel free.

On so many subjects like this, you must remember that the context you examine them in is everything. Look at something while forgetting what you have learned about the way reality really is, and you cannot possibly see with greater perception. But bring these new – seemingly unrelated – perceptions to the subject, and the knots may loosen, the maze may become penetrable.

So, here. The problem of evil. Hardly the first time people have agonized over it. Every religion is at least in part an attempt to see why evil exists in the world, and an attempt at strategies to overcome it. Every serious philosophy must grapple with this question. So far, none has found an answer that others find satisfactory. Manicheans see the world as battleground between equally extra-human forces of roughly equal strength. Some philosophies say evil does not exist per se, but is merely the absence of good. And everything else, all other attempts to see the structure of reality, fall somewhere between these two poles.

Partly it is a question of appearances. How do conditions seem, as opposed to how are they really? Partly it is a question of meaning. How should we see this or that in connection with what else we know?

And partly it is a question of values? Of what we wish to uphold or stave off?

We can see how you would think that this is not only so, but is what we ourselves have said in the past. But, no, not really. Your values are chosen partly by what you were, pertly by what you are, partly by what you wish to be. It is so reiterative a process, it may seem to be circular, but it is not. A cycle looks like a circle sometimes, but it involves an additional dimension.

It is a question of depth.

Yes. And that is also the question in a larger sense. Depth or lack of depth will affect your perception of how things are.

So far this is pretty abstract.

Still, that’s where we must begin, with context. It is always good to provide clarity.

Now, we said appearance and meaning. This too is part of an iterative process. How things appear depends upon the inner resources one can bring to the perceiving. What things mean depends upon the connections one can make. In both cases, changes in the observer lead to changes in what can be observed, and thus both appearance and its meaning seem to change, leading to further changes in the observer.

It’s the same old story: One size does not fit all.

Nor could it ever. There are two reasons, not just one, why you can never step into the same river twice. Yes, the river’s flow makes it impossible. But so does what we might call your flow. You are not the same, even between two attempts to step in the river.

“But” – we hear you object – “there must be some ultimate view of reality. There must be some way things really are.” To this we can say only, “Perhaps there is; perhaps there is not.” In neither case can you get to the bedrock of things. At most you will get to an explanation that satisfies you, now. Don’t expect to get one that will satisfy everybody, nor one that will satisfy anybody forever.

It is easier for me to understand that we might not be able to see beyond all illusions than that there might not be an ultimate view. Something must describe it all, whether or not we here can become able to see it.

Do you think so? That is because you have an unconscious assumption that reality doesn’t change. What basis do you have for assuming that?

That’s an interesting thought.

Yes, isn’t it? People like certainties. They work to understand, and at some point they decide they have done enough. They decide, “Now we’ve got it.” Of course, it doesn’t appear to them to be a decision. To them, it appears that they now know, and, knowing, need go no farther. People find it hard to deal with uncertainty and with leaving open-ended questions open-ended. Thus so many “final” answers, mutually contradictory but similarly certain.

Now, are you definitely saying that reality continues to change?

No. Neither are we definitely saying it does not. Either way, how would you know? How would we know? We or you or anyone could and can (and, often enough, do) decide, “This is the way it is,” but, again, that is mostly a decision to stop looking.

Finding a place that is comfortable enough to be a staging-camp for a possible later further ascent.

Correct.

In terms of appearance, obviously as you change, you discern more (or, if you are losing ground, so to speak, you discern less). The reality you can perceive – which is all you ever have – changes, and you learn to deal with this changed reality. When you think All is one, it is a different world to you from when you think all is chance and accident. When you realize that there is no external in the sense of something unconnected to who and what you are (because you can only perceive that which is related to you), it is a different world from one in which unconnected forces exist. But even as perceptions change, your assigned meaning changes, and not mechanically. You may choose to see things as meaning (you’d probably think as “proving” or “demonstrating”) one thing, or as a different thing, and the choice you make will help determine the next thing that happens to your perceptions

It’s almost a fun-house, set up to distort perceptions.

No! It can look like that. You can interpret it as that. But that isn’t any guarantee that it really is that. And that’s a good example, right there, of how the process of assigning meaning to perception may result in conclusions of great definiteness that may have little relevance to anything but one’s momentary state of being.

Now, it may appear that we haven’t advanced an inch on our task of examining evil in 3D life; may appear, in fact, that we have lost ground. But the motto of the firm is “flexibility.” The more flexible you are, the better your chances of being able to see what is not directly within line of sight.

Well, I get that. I seem to remember you all offering me a chance to stay at one staging-ground or move on, and my saying Let’s go.

It happened twice, actually.

That’s right, I had forgotten. Can’t remember when the first time was – it had to be some time after 2005 – but at that time I said, “Let’s hold up for a while.” I’d forgotten.

And then later you changed, conditions changed, whatever, and when we offered again you said “Let’s go for it,” and off we went. There’s no such thing as an unalterable decision, nor is there any reason there should be.

Things take as long as they take.

How else could it be?

So let’s talk about wholeness rather than goodness.

Yes, we’re smiling too. But surely you can see that the discussion that now follows will be different from what it would have been if your mind had not been turned by this bit of brush-clearing.

If we can hold it.

Don’t worry about that. Re-minding is much easier than putting it in your mind in the first place.

“And enough for the moment.”

Precisely. And we’ll see you next time.

 

4 thoughts on “Appearance and meaning

  1. Hmmm . . . pulling up tent stakes, dowsing the fire, folding the gear back into the pack. Breaking camp. Shaking out the map a bit. Ready for new territory.

    Wholeness rather than goodness. I’m hoping this includes more on the effects of Vast Impersonal ( and Personal) Forces, more on how community works as individual in 3D, more about our deep connection to the All-D. I’ll dust off my thinking cap as well, so that I can engage the material with summaries and questions.

    Let’s be off! What fun!

  2. Yes, to add another metaphor, I feel we’re doing some heavy lifting, finding things I haven’t found before. Great to find I can lift more than I thought I could. Especially with all the help.

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