Fictional characters and magic

Sunday, September 12, 2000

3:10 AM. Too early for coffee and in fact too early to be out of bed if my breathing would only smooth out.

Last night for the first time I lay in bed actually having a hard time going to sleep – which I rarely have –  because of the thoughts swirling around, concerning the material I’d gotten yesterday in two bites. I can’t consciously remember those thoughts, but I have no doubt you all can. Shall we dance?

What, you don’t want to talk about Star Trek?

I sort of do, actually, but I thought I’d stick to business. I watched “Insurrection” again last night, and I’m not sure it isn’t the best of the 10 movies. I like bits of all the others –  I like all of The Voyage Home, number four –  but I turned on Insurrection intending to watch just a bit of it, and didn’t turn it off till it was over. Beyond entertainment, is there some reason I’m watching all this Star Trek? There was some excuse when Tania gave me all those old TV episodes, but why watch all the movies again?

Why re-read Raymond Chandler?

Don’t know that either. I re-read and re-watch because it brings me back to familiar joys, I suppose. I mean, I don’t re-read what I didn’t like, and don’t watch something I didn’t like the first time so that I can remind myself why I didn’t like it. It’s like hanging out with old friends, I guess. Nothing wrong with that, as far as I know.

So does it have to have a larger justification?

Not a matter of justification, just wondering why I’m drawn one way one time, another way another time. There are plenty of books I own that I haven’t read yet. It isn’t like I’m driven to re-read because that’s all I have: just all I want to read at that moment. It’s a sort of benevolent compulsion. I’ll go on a jag, reading a certain author or, in this case, re-watching a certain series. (Well, come to think of it, Star Trek is the only series I own if you don’t count the Jackie Gleason Honeymooners set.)

Could it be that you’re wanting to be a certain person, so you call forth the external stimulus that brings forth the particular strand-mind?

That’s an interesting thought.

The purpose of this work, remember, is to bring you to see the familiar in an unfamiliar light. Or rather, to reframe your life’s events from a different perspective.

And the examples of reframing don’t necessarily have anything to do with “significant” or “important.”

No indeed. There is a world of significance in tiny things, as much as the great things. More so, in a way, in that there are so very many tiny things in a life; much more opportunity to observe.

So if I were to observe closely I could identify the strand-mind –  or combination of them, I suppose –  that like Star Trek? Or, are evoked by Star Trek?

To put it another way, by close enough observation you could learn how to manipulate your external environment so as to revoke or encourage particular strand-minds to manifest. One form of that practice is called magic, or ritual. Another is called habit (good habits or bad, the process is much the same). So, you might ask yourself, what parts of myself emerge or are encouraged when I watch Star Trek? Which when I play Free Cell? Which when I read mystery stories, or paint, or take a walk, or do anything at all? Which when I snack, or consciously refrain from snacking? Which when I call someone, or e-mail, or go shopping on the Web for my favorite opinion blogs, or whatever.

The converse: Which parts of myself –  which strands –  more or less impel me to do things whether I like it or not? Which are the sources and fuel of what I think of as bad habits, and how do they function and what do they get out of it?

So you see, your robot work plays into this. So does anyone’s attempts to shape or reshape their habits and character. And all of this is very much to do with the work we are encouraging you to do, which –  in your case, Frank –  is examining religious thought for the illumination it can provide. Thought, say, on the virtues and the sins, etc., looking at them not necessarily from the point of view of the theologians, at all, but trying to see what they knew, and fitting it into your own knowing, your own composition. Others will look at philosophy or metaphysics or hard and soft sciences. The field of inquiry will be different; the process similar, and the intent the same.

Man is the measure of all things. As above, so below. Let these be your touchstones. You don’t have to count the cats in Zanzibar.

So, was it worth discussing Star Trek?

The question is, was it worth getting me up at three in the morning. If that was your doing, I don’t appreciate it even for the sake of the information. But actually, I don’t think it was, as it hasn’t really settled down even yet.

By the way, it occurred to me, Commander Data is known to, and loved by, many more people than nearly any real live functioning being. And this can be endlessly expanded –  Horatio Hornblower, say, and the Lone Ranger and God knows how many cultural idols. They’re real somehow, as real as if they had a life behind and beyond the stage sets they were created on. And I don’t mean this as metaphor. If our brains record as real what they have seen and heard, and if our minds record what the brain allows them to record –  and if this reality is a form of hologram projected from a more real reality (such as I visited so briefly once, 15 years ago or so) –  is something created by us any less real than we are? I realize this sounds whimsical, or sounds like playing with words, but I don’t think it’s that. It’s as though –  maybe more than “as though”–   in creating ET, or Hopalong Cassidy, or the Terminator, we are bringing a thought-form into strong existence. How is that distinguishable from magic?

Who said it is?

Edgar Cayce said “thoughts are things.” We keep coming back to it, don’t we?

We do –  and we keep coming back to remind you that man is the measure of all things. If it affects you, can it be unreal at the mental level? If your neurosis makes you want to do something you yourself as ringmaster don’t want to do –  think of Hemingway’s nasty temper, for instance –  can the neurosis be unreal? If memories, even false memories, can set up and continue patterns of behavior (good or bad, it doesn’t matter in this context), can the mind’s choice of memory, or its fabrication of memory, be disregarded as unreal?

If I understand you correctly, and I think I do, you’re saying the same insights are to be found in theology, etc., because of course they would have been observed and studied and analyzed over the ages, but interpreted in light of another system of thought.

That’s it. Nothing more complicated than that. And, by the way, speaking of unexpected complications and connections. How different in effect is a motion picture’s presentation of reality, or a novel’s, from a roadmap or graphic or any other abstract representation?

I sort of have that at the periphery of my consciousness. It flew by before and I almost hear it again.

They all evoke living strands within you. (If they don’t, you don’t notice them.)

That’s kind of a big clue, isn’t it?

It is indeed, although we’ve said it in different words several times.

But it’s 4 AM now, and I’m out of business. I don’t have breath to spare to read this into Dragon. I’ll have to amuse myself otherwise.


2 thoughts on “Fictional characters and magic

  1. This post illuminated the strand(s) in me that drive my writing and why, illuminated the spontaneity of aligned choice that resides in such connections, the satisfaction that comes from putting it all into practice.
    I liked it a lot.

  2. ……”If it affects you, can it be unreal at the mental level? If your neurosis makes you want to do something you yourself as ringmaster don’t want to do – think of Hemingway’s nasty temper, for instance – can the neurosis be unreal? If memories, even false memories, can set up and continue patterns of behavior (good or bad, it doesn’t matter in this context), can the mind’s choice of memory, or its fabrication of memory, be disregarded as unreal?“

    This particularly struck a memory of the following books I read long ago and see now that I could very likely gain further understanding by re-reading now, from a new perspective, as I (and my perception) have certainly “morphed” in the years that passed….

    1. Infinite Mind: Science of the Human Vibrations of Consciousness, by Valerie V. Hunt.
    2. A Mind of it’s Own – How Your Brain Distorts and Deceives, by Cordelia Fine.

    On a side note: I really enjoy the references to Star Trek👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻.

    As always, thank you for sharing, Frank!

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