Falling in love with abstractions

Friday, May 6, 2011

6 AM. As so often, I have the sense of an agenda that is being pursued, no less than Seth did, though much less obviously, leaving me to do the work of phrasing, etc., more.

You will remember that the question of whether guidance was directive or not started this series of questions. Yes there is always an agenda, no it doesn’t necessarily get pursued in any particular order.

In organization is the beginning of action, sometimes. It is true, sometimes action begins by one plunging right in, but even there it will be noted that more preparation went on behind the scenes, more or less unnoticed, than is commonly realized.

I see that it would be as well to categorize my materials so as to have them not only accessible but indexed, so that I know what I have. A big project, that would have been a lot smaller had been doing it as I went along.

We think you will learn that you have been doing more of that than you realize, and when you put your crib sheets together in one place – so to speak – you will see that this next job is of manageable size. Your hunger to have everything in life categorized, indexed, filed, and available should tell you something, since the desire is inherently not possible, hence is metaphoric. You would like to have everything in your life filed and organized so that you could find it and use it, and so that you could see and express the relationship of any one element to any other.

I suppose you have a problem with that? 🙂

Not all. Let us know when you’re finished organizing. But the detail may take a while –

So, you could look at that as a relatively non-emotionally-charged issue that nonetheless demonstrates the principles involved. You have a desire to do something (to be something) that cannot actually be done. You cannot actually have everything in your life organized, even your paper. So you have “fallen in love” with the idea of, or the vision of, total organization.

You have read somewhere that having “fallen in love” could be defined as mild insanity. That is judgmental, but could accurately be expressed as having fallen into an altered state, not only with respect to the beloved but to the entire world. What is the state of having “fallen in love,” if it is not the overlay onto a physical person of an internal ideal?

When you love someone day in and day out, that’s something else. That state of mind (or state of being) sees the other person clearly, can estimate perhaps what the other person is or is not capable of, and is not pulled off normal bearings by the thought of the other. Love is a good thing, vital to life, but this is not what we are talking about in discussing “falling in love.”

It actually is a pretty close analogy to what we are discussing. You know people who have fallen in love with political theories, or even political parties. You know some who have fallen in love with economic theories, or grander theories of reality that purport to explain everything and provide a crib sheet with all the answers to any question life could pose.

I do. I have been tempted to construct my own One-Size-Fits-All schemes, from time to time.

Well, not quite the same thing. It looks similar but it is a similar result arrived at from dissimilar paths. Any mental effort you initiate is just that, an effort. Falling in love is falling off a log, effortless and perhaps seemingly inevitable. Someone who falls in love with a theory or a cosmology or an ideology or a group (identifying with them in spirit) sees that falling in love as a natural result of perceiving Truth with a capital T, Beauty with a capital B. You see? Any right-thinking person will see it that way! If they don’t, they are muddled or cowardly or evil.

Yes, I’ve been on the receiving end of that one. This day, in fact.

My goodness! You surely don’t mean that internal and external are connected?

Wise guys. No, I’d never imply that.

No, of course not. So who could legislate against falling in love? Who could provide an antidote or, even more, a preventive? Nobody. It is a part of the human condition, and therefore may be considered to have a purpose to serve. Think how drab life would be if you never fell in love! But on the other hand, think how pathetic and ridiculous it would be to be perpetually love-sick. This orientation – being captive to a sort of emotional attitude – is an equivalent to Psychics Disease.

Think about this some. To remain in a state of love-sickness is not a symptom of health and, in fact, is not even pleasurable. Ask the heart-sore young swain!

Don’t need to ask. I can remember, across more than 40 years.

All right. We point out, now, that there are equivalents: falling in love not with an image of a person but an image of an abstraction. Given that an abstraction is itself an image, you see that we just described someone idealizing an idealization. Stated thus baldly, the unreality should be obvious.

Well, it is, but I’ll bet that everybody who reads this agrees but silently excepts his or her own particular form of it.

As you do.

As I do in what particular?

As you do in anything that is so long-held as to be “self-evident” to you. As we have no wish to quarrel with you, and no need to convert you, we will wait for your newly suspicious eye to discern which characteristic ways of seeing the world may be the results (or the evidence) of your having fallen in love with something.

Others could tell me, I suppose. It would be evident to someone seeing my mind from outside.

Yes, some might. But getting you to agree, even if you’d asked, might be another story!

Because whatever I was in love with would be self-evident to me.

Yes, but one other factor. Just because someone can see you from outside doesn’t mean they can always see you better than you can see yourself. Someone who has done enough introspection, with the assistance of others, will be in a better position to understand their internal and even external manifestations than someone who is merely an observer,  particularly if the observer has not done his or her own introspection.

You see? It is not the case that any observer automatically knows you better than you know yourself. That idea is always an observer’s temptation. Think of critics and Hemingway. But a very perceptive observer armed with the knowledge that comes as a result of the deepening that results from self-observation and what you call “work on yourself” does have the ability to sometimes see more deeply into another person than the person can see into himself or herself.

Everything depends upon the relative depth and experience of the two people. And of course it depends upon the qualities of the time and upon the nature of the various strands involved, on both ends. But that is for another time.

So, to sum up, I guess we don’t want to be like Marian the librarian, being in love with love, and we don’t want to be like the music man, disbelieving the possibility and not experiencing the reality.

The resolution of the play was the beginning of a more interesting story, usually untold because not dramatic, and taking many a year to play out. Living love is very different from falling in love, or even what is commonly called being in love. But this too involves some distinctions to be drawn, and you, and your arm, have had enough for the moment.

Certainly we have. Thanks as usual.

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