Saturday, April 23, 2011
7 AM. I guess it isn’t a matter of what I produce, so much as what I become. I know that, so why is it always a revelation? But any time I am able to make it real to me, it’s like the first time, each time. So. I’ve just been on this absolute binge of reading since I got home Tuesday. Three books by Michael Dobbs on Churchill during the war, and then The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest that Bob lent me, Thursday at lunch. More reading than would allow me to do anything or to realize anything. The only points of reality were conversations with Michael and with Nancy.
And dreams. I woke to a dream of sitting at a table with many others and this big flying creature like an intelligent aware bee — must have been a foot and a half long or maybe 3 feet — hovered right in front of me and concentrated on me, and I was so pleased to be interacting with it, so more alive and aware because of it, or anyway while it was going on.
This was a recognition that you are remembering, putting yourself back together.
Neither Nancy nor Michael put much stock in my worry and angst about doing nothing — they say the pattern is, worry, worry, worry then “get out of my way, I have things to do.”
Do you think they are wrong?
No, I know they’re right, but I know it only because they remind me. I wouldn’t have perspective on it otherwise.
Which is what you do for them. It keeps you all functioning at a higher level.
I can see that.
Now, that you are able to see that this is not primarily about production is a very good thing. We have arranged for you to live comfortably without financial stress and without the need for continuous production that so harassed others like Churchill, for instance. But that doesn’t mean we did so in order that you might write books.
Like Jim Meissner, huh?
In a way. Jim saw his life as devoted to producing gadgets. You, and we, kept reminding him that this wasn’t the purpose of his life, but only one way he might choose to pass his time. As you can see the analogy between you and him, so you will have a better way to see your own tendency.
First, you create yourself. You stop yourself from running away into activity. In your case, it looks like in-activity, but the dogged pursuit of a book through 600 pages is not inactivity. It is among other things a preemption of other activity.
A building of gadgets so as not to know things?
That’s too black-and-white. More like this: You don’t slow down enough to function at your maximum. We know it sounds backwards.
It does, a bit.
You have all that input. If it doesn’t get digested, it is to a degree wasted. It isn’t a matter of using it to produce output, as much as it is to maintain the process in balance. The more you absorb, the more you know, the more you connect, the more you create within yourself. That is serious creation. Externals follow or don’t, but in neither case do they matter.
That sounds like saying, it doesn’t matter if you don’t produce anything external, you haven’t wasted your time. But isn’t that too convenient an excuse?
No harm in it being convenient, if it is also true. Think of Churchill, since you just finished reading those four novels. At the end of his life –
I know, I have quoted it often. His daughter was trying to console him in a period of Black Dog depression on a birthday and said he had accomplished so much.
And he said, I have accomplished so much, to have accomplished nothing in the end. That is what Churchill, in a certain mood, thought of the books and paintings and political achievements and even of his undoubtable historical contribution. In a certain mood, none of it counted, in his eyes, for anything.
But did he ever regard his friendships and his loves that way? It’s a matter of what proves to be important, you see. Do you think he ever regarded his understandings that way?
You might want to rephrase that to be more easily understood.
You do it.
I suppose I’d say that you are saying, at the end, what we create that is of value to us is our children, so to speak.
We hardly think that is less cryptic than what we said!
I know, and I don’t know quite why it came out that way.
Is a way of broadening the understanding, encouraging the mind to make its own connections rather than settling for those given. In this case, your “children” might mean the things you bring forth by your efforts, and they may be many and various:
– physical children, descendants
– manufactured children, artworks or crafted products such as sculpture or bookcases
– imaginal children, stories told, things written or spoken
– metaphysical children, call them, things connected within you which perhaps never received an external expression but which you construct or assemble.
And these may come in all forms, but the products of love are always the products of relationship to others, either manifested or implicit.
That’s not quite clear.
You may love an individual, or may love an idea, an abstraction, or the grain of a piece of wood. What you love, you mingle yourself with. You cannot create, nor love, by remaining aloof, and the reason why is that the two are the same thing. There is no creation without love, no love without creation. Or perhaps we should go deeper into this.
Love and hatred are two expressions of connection. You do not hate that which has no connection to you. So when we say there is no creation without love, yet it is true that creation may proceed through hatred. Yet this too is rooted in love, and the hatred is based in fear for what is loved.
Care to provide an example?
Scarcely necessary, we should think.
If your creation is a political column, or, even more so, a political movement, based in certain values, it is extremely easy for it to begin to express as hatred for what is opposite to those values. So it looks like creation out of hatred, but isn’t, really – it is creation out of love, but perverted by fear and hatred.
Churchill in the 1940s? Scarcely seems a fair comparison.
Oh? Then think of Reagan in the 1980s. In both cases, old men, defending old values, pouring scorn and abuse up on those who don’t share those values, who are seen as threats to those values. And the values weren’t wrong, and the results of the defense of those values were a far cry from what either man expected or wanted.
Let’s get back to me.
This is all about you. You look at a Sinatra or a Churchill or at anyone who has attracted such undying prominence and you wonder why them and not you, even as you shrink from the competition you feel within yourself that you are of that caliber but you see no evidence of it, mostly because you automatically disregard any evidence.
So, if you now slow down and live a little differently, these five years are your unanticipated culmination.
More or less. What you choose will alter things, but that’s the core of it. You are Churchill’s age when he came to his real life’s work. By 70 he had accomplished it. This is regardless of externals, you understand. In his case he was a state’s-man. His actions moved people, though they proceeded (in a very untidy fashion) from his values and feelings.
You aren’t saying I have a comparable task.
No. We are saying that your culmination is now, and for the next five years. Build carefully. You’ll be living with that created mind for a very long, long non-time.
I feel like we’ve barely begun here, but I feel I should be looking at e-mail, taking a shower, whatever.
Yes, that is the temptation. When you feel yourself tempted to run away — don’t.
In a sense. Running away is either a habit or a response. If a habit, it isn’t as conscious as you want to be. If a response, it might be as well to know what you’re tempted to run from.
Plus it helps build connections.
The “building” here is reconnecting elements within your person-group. If you wait, shy animals come out of the forest. Otherwise, not.
So that familiar impatience isn’t really to be heeded.
No. But it is a useful signal.
Useful in that it tells me that something may be making me uncomfortable?
Sometimes but not necessarily.
When I’m immersed in a project I can go, go, go. Why can’t I do that routinely, but not so excessively long?
It isn’t your rhythms that are the problem. (To the degree that there even is a problem!) It’s merely a matter of remembering.
And unfortunately it is all too easy to remember the process but not really remember the emotional or intellectual content.
Yes, it is. So be aware of it. Your prime enemy is the urge to kill time.
I do know that. But knowing it hasn’t sufficed to defeat it.
Of course not! How could it? Only action acts. Only intent put into effect results in anything. Knowing and not doing anything about what you know isn’t the same thing as knowing and intending. It isn’t even about result or action so much as focused intent — and by intent we don’t mean vague wishes.