Choosing

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

4:20 AM. All right, gentlemen, I hereby call this meeting to order, after a good long time. I haven’t sat down to chat on a regular basis since – when? December? November, maybe? First came getting the book into shape, then came a genuine hiatus in Florida with Charles, then a fast search for a new place in town, a month spent preparing to move, and a week and a little unpacking and arranging. But since yesterday Nancy brought me most of the houseplants she had protected from the move by keeping at her house, and since she helped me put up more pictures, I’m about ready to declare myself more or less resettled. And now it’s time to begin new habits, I think. So –?

You did move. It is a responsibility, knowing which promptings to heed and which to disregard, and it was no light thing to move after a 13-year association with TMI as a physical neighbor, passing the center every time you left home. But we had been instilling that background restlessness every so often for many months, as you know. It made it easier, did it not, to respond when the time came around.

It had less of a taint of possible Psychic’s Disease, yes. A recurrent impulse is not in the same league as a one-time stray thought. So what’s our new order of business?

As always, it depends on what you want to do, are willing to do, feel you have to do, or should do. Life is often a choice among many possible actions spurred by a conflict or convergence of motives. That’s where freedom answers in; otherwise, if your lives were impelled by a succession of inevitable necessities, where would the savor be? It is true that freedom is not everything, and that even a stretch in prison, or in a confined and regimented existence, may have its value and even its enjoyment for certain people at certain times in their lives (we speak as much of their inner, unconscious lives, of course, as of their outer awareness). Still, in general life is the making of choices and the living out of the effects of the choices. But this is old ground that you and we have paced out more than once.

Yes, I feel that I do know this, pretty much all the way down, or all the way in, however you would put it. This, plus my progressive realization at deeper levels that there is no victimization, only the unveiling of opportunities to react to things indicative of our inner condition, I could wish to have known at this level much longer ago. I could have saved myself and my associates of lot of aggravation.

And “could have” is worth –?

Oh, I know. But maybe there’s a value in being aware of the road you wish you had been able to travel.

There is that, true. It is a form of summing-up, provided you don’t let it become a sort of routinized regret, a script that lets you remain unconscious while thinking yourself aware.

Interesting way to put it. I can see the distinction. Nancy and I were talking about scripts yesterday, and I could see that it can be difficult to bring people to see that the objectionable part of people using scripts isn’t in whatever the script happens to say, but in the fact that the existence of a script allows them to react unconsciously, thinking they are conscious.

Not everybody will want to remain conscious continuously. Not everybody will be able to. And therefore it follows that wouldn’t necessarily be good for one and all to do so or even perhaps to try to do so.

I have been sort of assuming that greater consciousness is always better.

One size fits all? Some situations do not support greater consciousness and would not necessarily be an improvement if they did. Some things are possible chiefly in the absence of consciousness, or in its diminishment. Lindbergh flew the Atlantic largely on autopilot – that is, in a state of drastically lowered awareness. This was so that he could conserve psychic energy over a period of sleeplessness that otherwise would have required full sleep at some point. Nor does someone undergoing chronic pain necessarily want greater consciousness of that condition. Sometimes relative lack of consciousness is all that makes a situation bearable. A relative lack of conscious awareness of us shifting scenery may aid rather than impede the processes behind life. It’s all an interplay between the individual and the individual’s circumstances.

I’m sort of hearing you saying, “that’s enough for now,” [meaning, it would be okay to quit for the day] and I’m half tempted to go along and half tempted to say, “but that’s a long way from our usual 10 pages!”

The pain in the ankle you injured yesterday; the stray thoughts of further reorganization of your living space; the sheer disuse of your accustomed habits, all militate against your continued focus here. So – decide. Either way is fine with us. Enough for the moment? Or more?

Well, now that I’m started again, I sort of hate to stop.

[I did continue. Will post it tomorrow.]

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