Friday, November 1, 2019
6:25 a.m. Sleeping well again. Yesterday morning we began a topic but I was really too tired to continue, nor did I feel able to get back to it all day. Rather than continue, why don’t we begin again, as there was little enough received.
No, better we retain the initial, fumbling attempt.
Because when you proceed with something previously attempted but not yet expressed, it gives you a tendency to skim over it. Better to go at it with the lapse of time clearly marked. Haven’t you wondered why, after so many, many years of journaling without much concern for marking down time of day, a few years ago you began time-stamping everything? It is a difference in approach. Noting the moment of time is noting the passage of time.
If you say so. I can’t say that I get the relevance.
Then let us proceed. Transcribe yesterday’s two pages and we will continue.
[Thursday October 31, 2019
5:40 a.m. Shall we continue?
Just as a mood may be considered to be only one part of a temperament, so with good and evil.
I don’t understand.
Consider a complex of interrelated but quite separate subjects such as love and sex. This may extend from romance at one end to pornography on the other; from tenderest concern for the divinity hinted at by romantic passion for transcendence, to the most direct concern not for another’s individuality but for the experience in human form of a sexual nature. Love, lust: connected but at their extremes unrecognizably different.
This is only one example of the width of the possible spectrum, and the narrowness of any particular position within it. But it is one that everyone will be able to relate to, not despite the fact that it will meet obstacles of emotion, temperament, and inhibition, but because of it. As perhaps the most important characteristic of human life, sex may be used as the universal solvent in analyzing life.
That’s pretty cryptic.
Literally, yes, but the meaning will get through.
More later; still too tired to do this.]
The key here is that what you necessarily experience as good and evil may profitably be considered as a “mood” of reality. Just as any given mood in your emotional life is definite, expressive, coloring your life for the moment, so a “tinge” of good, or evil, may express in the same way.
We are only warming up, I can feel that, the tentative cryptic expression, the sense of circling around a subject, the fog around the focus.
You could look at it as a necessary preliminary to mental alignment. Sometimes the alignment occurs before you pick up the pen, and so you do not observe the process. Partly this fogginess consists of you discarding alternative expectations, for of course your unconscious expectation of what is to come will affect your receptivity to what we expect to convey. Or, one might almost say, your and our expectations and intentions may need to align in order to allow flow, for it is as if the information has its own dynamic and uses us – you in 3D, us in non-3D – to clear the air enough to express it.
And that graf is an example of me letting it flow while wondering if it even makes sense.
To which we say, well done. If you allow only that which you are sure of, little enough will come through.
So let’s look at good and evil as an equivalent of moods. And let’s look at the wide-ranging scale of associations around sex and love as specific tangible examples of the generalized idea.
For the first time this morning, I am getting the sense of being on borrowed time in terms of mental equipment. I am losing words at a suddenly greater rate than before, and it is getting in the way, as I grasp for even the simple words (such as “idea,” above.)
Live in faith and don’t worry about it.
I will righteously persist, yes. But it is worrisome. When I can’t find the words, how will I continue the work? Shall I end like Emerson?
You know his poem “Terminus.”
As the bird trims her to the gale,
I trim myself to the storm of time,
I man the rudder, reef the sail,
Obey the voice at eve obeyed at prime:
“Lowly faithful, banish fear,
Right onward drive unharmed;
The port, well worth the cruise, is near,
And every wave is charmed.”
I do. Just saying. I don’t know why I should be putting this on the record, so to speak, but in general a policy of openness has served me well enough. I realize, I can’t know who needs to hear what when about whom.
How can we say that good and evil are in a sense “moods” of life? It is because they are accurate but incomplete representations of the truth of things. They never represent the whole picture, any more than a given time – 6:56 a.m., say – can represent an entire day, or any day an entire year, etc. But they represent a detail of the whole in a way that considering the whole as a whole never can.
This is one reason why it is so difficult for you in 3D to understand the way things are. If you examine a transitory phenomenon as if it were an enduring presence, you may see it in greater detail, but you are going to exaggerate its permanence, its importance in the overall scheme of things, and the very nature you are examining.
I begin to see it. Even the little you just said illumines it.
Why else does “the problem of evil” present such philosophical difficulties? It is as if in studying a person you were to worry “the problem of sneezing” (physical analogy) or “the problem of” anger, or lust, or depression, or mania, or exaltation, or inability to feel.
Haven’t we just severely mixed categories?
Yes, but it does not matter. This is not a medical text nor a psychology text nor yet a clinician’s guide. The point we are stressing is not category but the difference between transience and – what shall we call it? not permanence, exactly, but – characteristic. That is, a transient phenomenon is not merely a very fast characteristic. These are different things.
How to explain it? If you were more firmly grounded in electrical theory, we could use that.
Nice play on words in passing, though.
Yes, unimportant. Plays on words often occur as one’s mind aligns on a subject. [Responding to a thought that flicked through my mind:] Yes, temperature will do well. The human body has an average base-line temperature, commonly considered to be 98 degrees Fahrenheit. But this fluctuates moment by moment. If one were to study the body temperature at a time when it had been elevated by fever or lowered by hypothermia, the result might be very definite, very accurately and even minutely measured, but it would be a misleading result if mistaken for a baseline condition. You understand?
Well, it is so in all aspects of life. And just as a fever might be temporarily necessary – to burn out germs, say – or a subnormal temperature might be useful to prevent damage in a given situation, so what you see as good and evil may be useful to regulate the larger body, so to speak.
Six pages and we have barely begun
Slow and steady wins the race. This particular topic will not be easily illumined. Think how long people have been debating good and evil, making vast definite pronouncements and getting nowhere. We’re coming at it differently – plus, as always, folding in the elements of process takes time but ultimately pays off.
Agonizingly slow process, though!
Are you going anywhere in a hurry? Got a train to catch?
It would be nice to get the meaning of life while we’re still young enough to get some good out of knowing it!
We share your smile, and even, to a small degree, your mild frustration over the indirectness of the exposition. But, we can only do what we can do. Any communication process is at least three-way, including transmitter, receiver, and the information itself (considered in this context as a separate player, as, in a sense, indeed it is).
A little more today, and then we will start again another time. Good, evil, are not so much abiding entities as overshadowing moods of the moment. Love, lust – to use the example we began but have not yet pursued – are, similarly, not so much enduring processes as temporary fluctuations. Now, love may last a lifetime; lust may too, though of course manifesting differently. But this does not make them permanent; it makes them merely persevering, long-lasting. There is a difference.
I get that it is the difference between death and life. Thoreau wrote somewhere that nature presents nothing in a state of death, meaning I think that death is a transient moment, not an enduring state.
Yes, but this blurs distinctions we would rather have clarified. So let us continue not from Thoreau’s statement but from the one we just made. Enough for the moment.
Our thanks as always.