Continuity and flow

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

5:30 AM. All right, let’s talk more about threads.

We are proceeding in a straight-line direction. First we showed that you as individuals aren’t individual in any meaningful description – despite how a life feels separate, often alone. Then we showed that – as in so many things – it isn’t significantly different on this side. Despite popular mythology of many kinds, there aren’t the individuals on this end that you may be tempted to think us, any more than on your side. All this, though, certainly should raise the question in your minds – where is the continuity among so much flow? Where is the source of the feeling of individuality that is an inseparable part of life? Further questions should include that of traditional religious belief – how is it that people have believed in reincarnation or in judgment followed by heaven or hell, if we are not individuals in the way such ideas seem to require?

The book you published, The Division Of Consciousness, by Peter Novak, first opened your mind to the latter question, but not in that aspect of it.

Yes. Peter asked himself if perhaps upon death the conscious mind – the soul – went one way and the unconscious mind – the spirit – went another. That division, he argued brilliantly, explained the divide between reincarnation on the one hand and judgment followed by heaven or hell on the other. We published a couple more by him carrying his research further. The Lost Secret Of Death didn’t achieve great sales numbers, but deserved to.

That was one of those flashes of insight that are themselves worth more as new questions than they are as answers. For his scheme never questioned that you are the individuals you seem, yet he described, and very well, the intellectual and spiritual emptiness that resulted from people having an inadequate conceptual description of their relationship to life after the body.

Now let us look at what we have been describing as threads. And, as a note on the process, you might quote what Rita told you.

Yes. Rita said there is a problem when, in order to understand A, you have to first understand B, but in order to understand B, you have to first understand A. In such a case, I gathered, all you can do is to keep approaching the subject, correcting previous misunderstandings or deepening your insights as each successive thing gets cleared up. Thus, in order to come to understanding, you have to go through a series of wrong understandings, not because anyone wants to deceive you but because that’s the only way you can build the necessary scaffolding, which then gets discarded in favor of new scaffolding which is still not right, but is at least farther along.

So imagine the job of teaching in such a circumstance, and you will see why we are always playing your song, Frank – “But it’s not that simple!”

Totally as an aside, we point out to you that this is the reason for religions of all kinds, including scientism: People can only be brought along from where they are. If the explanation is too simple for them, they fall away from that religion and go seeking something more satisfying. If too advanced for where they are, they have no attraction for it – no velcro, as you would say – and so either are never aware of it or discard it as obvious nonsense. But if it is at their level, it can minister to their needs on the unspoken assumption that the individual is one part of a larger body, rather than an isolated meaningless individual. A person in a community of people gathered within a religion that is right for them is much like the army experience that Joseph Smallwood described. There is that exalted feeling – we do not mean egotism or psychic inflation – of being a part of something vastly larger. That is a true feeling, recognized as true whenever experienced, regardless what Story is wrapped around the Perception.

The paragraph above would repay close attention. But to return to the question of threads. We introduced the concept as a way of loosening the hold on you of the idea that each person is an individual, in a way that each bit of salt in a salt shaker seems to be individual no matter how many granules there are. The old analogy of atoms – bits of irreducible substance, the “ultimate particles” that material existence had to have if the materialist worldview were correct – has carried much deeper into your mental and emotional world than you usually suspect. No one in medieval times – no matter how educated; it is not a matter of ignorance or simplicity – would have thought of himself as an isolated individual, still less as meaningless or the product of chance (which is saying the same thing twice). The medieval worldview assumed that all of creation lived within the creator. Your day’s worldview assumes that you are all separate individuals rattling around, bumping together, struggling to get through a meaningless life. And your times have been unable to find a way from their “scientific” worldview into any intellectually respectable worldview that necessitates meaning and individual participation. Many are trying, with different parts of the puzzle. Those postulating that consciousness is primary are making headway, but perhaps you can see that this unconsidered assumption of individuality is the Trojan Horse they bring within their walls.

Yes. You’re expanding a theme I have spent more and more time pondering. On your prompting, no doubt.

Let’s put it another way – at our suggestion. It is enough for anyone’s guidance to hold up a thought. If it resonates, it will often enough be taken up. If adopted – and usually adapted – it will become a part of a person’s emotional bias which will silently but continually influence his thought. This is the only way new approaches come to you – through one mind, via a teasing thought that resonates.

You are thinking we are doing a good bit of dancing around rather than plunging into the question of threads, but in fact it is the old story of understanding B in order to understand A. Don’t worry about it.

In order to loosen the idea of you as individuals, we had to start somewhere. So we said the invisible threads that connect you are as obvious to us as the containers that hold them. Now perhaps you will be able – having spent so much time thinking in terms of threads – to see the threads as more primary than the rings. For, after all, traits are universal; individuals are transitory. Plato’s categories – “chair-ness” for instance, though that was not necessarily one of his – were not flights of fancy but were attempts to bring esoteric knowledge into a more widespread mental world. Devoid of context, how well could it be conveyed undistorted? How useful could it be?

But “threads” is a relatively static, relatively barren concept. It is an intermediary, one more way of re-envisioning A. So now let us complicate it a bit, and perhaps give it more life even as an analogy, and see if we cannot inch closer to understanding A and B. Of course, is still going to be an analogy, but the point of analogy is not to paint a pretty picture but to say one thing that resonates, so that any given person’s guidance can hold up an idea and have a better chance of being heeded.

We have spoken of threads, and sometimes of strings, ropes, and cables, meaning to loosely indicate that there are different levels of intensity. Some combinations are more likely to last, to have an effect, and are themselves inherently more meaningful. To have red hair by it self is after all only a matter of coloring. But if red hair is always or usually or even often accompanied by emotional volatility, you have the making of a more meaningful indicator.

However, so far this is still much too mechanical and lifeless, even though we are couching the discussion in terms of human traits such as temper or creativity. It’s time to change the analogy from threads to something more interactive.

Bear in mind, this does not obviate the usefulness of the threads-and-containers analogy; it merely uses whatever mental ground that analogy has gained, to proceed beyond it. This is what always must happen, if a concept is not to become an idol.

Yes, I can see that easily enough. And have we burned enough time in preliminaries that we can again defer the discussion to another day?

We haven’t deferred anything. Context is only context if you have your attention fixed on something else. At some other time you may realize that what was context at the time is valuable in itself, and equally worthy of attention.

It still seems like the perils of Pauline.

Is it our fault that she is accident-prone? We smile.

But consider what we have sketched out for you: an understanding that you by your very nature must be something other than your society portrays you to be. Thus, part of your self-definition is wrong, and the other parts of yourself that have been saying so (though their own ideas may be equally wrong) were right to say so. In other words, your guidance is more reliable than your external situation or anything it argues – but your guidance, too, cannot help being in error. Thus you must become more conscious, for it is not enough to rely on intuitive certainty any more than on sensory data however often affirmed by others (including us).

Now, next time we discuss the subject (not necessarily next time you come to this) we will show why “threads-and-rings” is too static, too mechanistic, a concept. It was necessary scaffolding and will continue to be so for others for whatever time they can use it, but it is scaffolding nonetheless, obscuring what it attempts to reveal.

Well, that’s our usual 70 minutes, almost on the nose. Are we going to be able to expand the time? Swedenborg apparently wrote for much longer periods.

No two people’s tasks or abilities are comparable. This is working well enough, isn’t it?

It certainly is. All right, till next time.

 

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