Saturday, October 26, 2019
2:30 a.m. Shall we continue?
If you proceed on the understanding that 3D and non-3D are not separated realms but are gradations of the same reality, your life becomes redefined.
- Clearly life is not confined between birth and death, except in 3D conditions.
- Clearly 3D life with its special conditions is an integral part of a greater whole, understandable only in that greater context.
- Clearly 3D and non-3D is only a provisional way of understanding.
Perhaps not so clearly for everybody.
- But it ought to be, will be, except insofar as previous intellectual conditioning renders one blind to certain realities.
It keeps coming back to the fact that a concentration on the visible and tangible without equal consideration for the invisible and intangible renders a fair judgment of life impossible.
What you just said is true but itself requires explication.
Seems to me that we – you and I, in our separateness as well as in our identity – have spelled it out more than once.
We would say, rather, that long familiarity with the concepts – with a way of reasoning, no less than a way of seeing things – has led you to forget the difficulties you had to face to come to where you are. It is clear to you now; it was not always.
You’re the ones who were saying “clearly” a moment ago.
We, you, it is debatable and at the same time not worth debating. The point is that now you know it and people’s burdens are clear to your eye; then you did not know it, and the burdens people now bear, you bore then.
It’s like Rita, isn’t it?
Very like. But spell it out.
Rita in life had questions and perplexities and problems. After life her new understanding illumined those questions – and was enriched by her having experienced them.
- To have gone through something always provides the opportunity of understanding it intimately in a way that cannot really be achieved in any other way. Hence the 3D experience.
Well, that’s interesting.
Do you imagine that the conditions of 3D life can be truly understood by those who have never experienced them? Do you think you have experienced Army boot camp, or a life lived under a bombing campaign, or a life of academic seclusion, or as a homeless wanderer, or a mercenary soldier, etc.?
As my friend Joyce used to say, “Been there, done that.”
There is no other way. Except – what have we been saying about Hornblower and Washington?
Imaginative re-creation has its own reality.
Not exactly “has its own reality.” More like, reflects reality. Augments reality. Re-creates, or let us say modifies reality. But only from the point of view of a later take on things. A movie on Washington crossing the Delaware can only be made after the 3D man endures the crossing of the river.
That makes it sound like we in 3D provide the raw footage.
If you will not live it, it is only abstract potential.
As so often, that sounds (feels) right as I write it, yet seems to contradict what else you have said or anyway what I have understood. I thought all versions exist.
You are overlooking the fact that – well, let us compare the situation to the making of a movie. It is a limited analogy, but perhaps a productive one.
- The film maker shoots many scenes that are left on the cutting-room floor.
- Those scenes, viewed within themselves, were as real potentially as the rest of the movie.
- Several different versions of the movie could be constructed by juggling sequences, by omitting certain scenes and adding others. But if it was not shot, it is not available for post-production.
- From the point of view of the ultimate viewer, there may be only one film (or several, in these digital days that allow reconsideration).
- But – who is “the ultimate viewer” of 3D life? Therefore, which is the director’s cut?
This movie analogy seems to be suggesting things, yet they do not become clearer. Can we return to what I thought we were agreed upon, the existence of 3D and non-3D as part of one undivided reality?
Well, oddly enough, that is what we are trying to get across. What you do in 3D matters; yet it does not determine. The cut you make does not prevent others from making “directors’ cuts” that may amount to quite different movies, using the same raw material.
The finished product doesn’t exist?
The finished product is not the film but the filmmaker.
Ah, the light dawns. It is the old story: Art is not about producing a finished product, but about producing the art; it is the process itself that is important, not the success or failure of the attempts.
That is closer. But the limited point we are looking at today is that your lives in 3D matter. Less to the 3D world – how much impact does the life of a street-sweeper have on a nation’s life? – than to the potential you allow to flow through you. The street-sweeper’s being, his or her “inner world,” his or her connections to others, may be entirely invisible and no less important for that.
No, let us rephrase that; you got what we meant, but it came out muffled. Your lives in 3D are lived by you in the context of your larger life that of course is not bounded by 3D. If you are cast as a street-sweeper, it is within the context of who you were created to be, what limitations you were created to live between. The fact that you are also an actor in the 3D movie does not detract from your separate existence as an actor, yet from the point of view concerned with the film, your part in the film (perhaps as a scarcely noticed extra) is what matters. These are viewpoints, not a matter of one “right” way to see life and another “wrong” way to see it.
So I think you have been saying (in this session which has flowed remarkably smoothly and rapidly, surprising me to see that we are 45 minutes into it, and eight pages), that our lives must not be seen only in their 3D context, yet must be seen also in that context. That is, a complete view takes in both worlds.
Well, that is why we are continually inching toward demonstrating the existence and influence of vast impersonal forces in 3D and non-3D. We want to give you the tools to better tie the two aspects of the world together. There is no other way to see things whole than to knit together the previously unconnected pieces.
That metaphor limps, a little, but I get it.
Tell your reaction to MacLeish’s poetry volume.
I got the collected poems of Archibald MacLeish from Alderman Library, and have been reading it, finding myself obliged to skip many of the poems, liking some, not understanding some, not in sympathy with some. But what you want me to express I guess is that in his work, as in his friend Hemingway’s, the presence of death is so great, such a distorting presence, it’s hard for me to relate to it. I am seeing my own death as probably not so far away, and I cannot understand the point of view that sees death as tragedy. That viewpoint seems to me like arrested development, someone refusing to let the river flow, fearing that perhaps that if the river flows, it flows to oblivion.
This isn’t just a matter of thinking “the alternative to death is an increasingly frail old age.” It is, the alternative to living life as flow is trying to live life as stasis, and good luck with that.
No, it is even deeper than that. Try again.
Well, it’s that if we didn’t die to 3D, how could we really live? If we clung to one moment, how could anything have meaning? The film of Hemingway’s life could be cut to concentrate on any of the several phases his life encompassed, but his life – Hemingway’s life from this own center, not the 3D world’s – did not and does not depend upon what it looks like or looked like to the 3D world “external” to him.
And to relate it to MacLeish –
It seems to me that people live life as if it were surrounded by tragedy in that it is surrounded by lives ending as well as lives not yet ended. It’s so unnecessary.
But not unnecessary if one is thinking that 3D is all that is known to exist; as if the 3D portion is all that is really there.
And there is your hour.
Our thanks as always. I wonder sometimes if this is as endless to you as to us, a continual attempt to say what doesn’t quite get said.
We’re satisfied with the process if you are.
Yes. Till next time, then.