Improv

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

4 a.m. Mr. Lincoln’s 211th, and dad’s 105th.

You indicated, as starting place for today, the thought that the role we play in life depends upon the relationship of our personal concerns and the state of the shared subjectivity that we experience as “the outside world.”

It should be clear that a Lincoln born into another time, another place, might have had the very same personal karma to work out, but it would have interacted with a very different set of affairs, hence would have appeared very different. And yes, the objections to this statement that occur to you are worth examining. Perhaps it is your turn to express in bullet points.

Very well.

  • Big subject, and what do you mean by the word.
  • Would the same set of personal issues have presented themselves if the time and place had been different? Or would the larger being have placed a different set of characteristics, hence problems, into 3D?

While I was writing out your part, I thought there were more objections, but I can’t think of them now. Let’s go with these two.

Your first bullet point could be better phrased. You mean, we think, what is the difference between personal karma and your part in the larger world around you.

I suppose I do. It seems like there are a whole lot of definitions and assumptions silently packed into your statement.

This discussion could easily move away from looking at Lincoln’s life as example of your 3D lives as experienced by others. We could easily wind up looking at his 3D life as extension of his non-3D self, which is what discussions of personal karma would lead to. Let’s stay with what we were doing, and say merely that anyone’s individual existence interacts with the time and place it expresses in, and that interaction defines the person and to a degree defines the time/place. Mostly it affects the time/place (or “history,” you might say, or “contemporary society”) very little. Few lives affect it to the extent that Lincoln’s did.

This is a springboard to a discussion of fame and influence.

It could be, yes, and perhaps at some point it will be. But not now. We want to hold this to one point: Your personal agendas form in a particular moment of space/time, and the two poles – personal and impersonal or individual and society, or personal subjectivity and shared subjectivity – affect each other.

As you would expect, the shared subjectivity is vastly larger, more massive, has greater inertia, than any given person. It’s only common sense, common experience, after all. No one outweighs the world. A Washington, a Napoleon, a Caesar, may make a huge impression on his world; he cannot make but a tiny impact all in all. No one has things all his own way. No one magically transforms the world to suit himself. At most, he has an impact. But even an impact that is vast by human standards is little enough in the overall scheme of things.

Nonetheless, neither does the world necessarily have its way with you as individuals. And this is worth stressing. Despite what looks like an overwhelming disproportion in force, the shared subjectivity only provides a context; it does not dictate your inner reality.

An analogy that came to me is the mineral kingdom. Mountains define our surroundings but they do not direct our lives. Our lives may have to take them into account, but we are in no way puppets or slaves to the mountains.

Not a bad analogy. You exist in a somewhat different dimension.

That invites misinterpretation. I know you didn’t mean it literally.

No, we mean, each of you 3D individuals is firmly rooted in your own non-3D being, which is not dependent upon the shared subjectivity that makes up the world you experience as external. You live in it; you are not created by it. you are somewhat shaped by it, but the material to be shaped exists independent of it.

In a way we are back to the thought expressed earlier, that we are all doing improv.

Not a bad analogy either. The improv exercise does not create the actors; it creates the characters. There’s a difference.

I find myself at sea as to where we are going today. it seems you have said what you wanted to say, yet that is little.

Perhaps you have not yet reflected upon it. The spirit that provided the substance of the soul (that is, the non-3D essence that became inserted into the 3D on Feb. 12, 1809, and became Abraham Lincoln) had its own on-going agenda, as do you all. Your personal process of development and creation always has an existing agenda. At the same time, you exist in a time and place, a shared subjectivity that appears objective and external because relatively immovable by you.

Thus you are two things at once, a person with its own challenges and opportunities, and a participant in a time and place that functions as the canvas for you to paint on. To overlook the first is to fall into the error of assumed insignificance. To overlook the second is to fall into the error either of solipsism or of a different form of assumed insignificance. To adopt either view in the absence of the other is truncation. You are you; you are also one member of your world. Both, not one or the other.

A simple sketch of what your lives are, but you may find it hard enough to hold it in mind. In practice, you usually see yourselves as one or the other, at any given moment. Nothing catastrophic about that, but it is a practical limitation to be aware of.

So when you think of Lincoln the politician, dealing with the currents of public life in his day, remember that he was also, always, unavoidably, the man he had shaped himself to be throughout his life. Different personal, individual choices as he grew, different person when the crisis of the Union came. That is, the public man was the private man as he interacted with his times.

I don’t know, I get the sense you are saying something important, but it doesn’t seem so, writing it. It all seems so obvious.

That is because it is obvious if you already share the assumptions. But if it’s a new idea to you, it may come as revelation or as mildly interesting, depending.

Enough for today, even though we’re a little short? (Fifty minutes instead of an hour.)

We can pause here. Don’t underestimate this session, though. It will repay thought. Roll it around on your tongue, so to speak. As you apply it to your own life and to others you know, famous or not, specialized or not, you may see that it has greater application than first appears.

So call this – ?

Improv.

Okay. And next time?

We may look at one or two well-known acts of Lincoln’s public life and see different connections than are commonly made, again as a way of exposition on the nature of your lives as seen by yourselves as part of the shared subjectivity. But we shall see.

Okay, till then. Meanwhile, continued thanks.

 

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