What is a human, and why?

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

4:55 a.m. I have owned Carl Jung’s Aion for years, and haven’t looked at it, waiting for the proper time, I guess. Yesterday I am browsing the bookcase of unread books in the guest room, and it calls out to me, and I see that it is about the structure of the self in the Christian era. I have read only 20 pages or so, but it is clear that it is going to shed light on our current investigation. As always, it centers on his experiences, and the resulting conclusions and speculations, of decades of work as a physician attempting to heal people. He lays emphasis on the fact that his were not theories derived from ideas, but were the results of observation and thought.

So, over to you, friend. For all I know, it was you guiding me to pick up the book. In any case, let’s proceed.

Your intuition is correct: We are to the point of examining what seems to be an individual’s experience of life as an interaction with something greater than himself (or herself, of course, but let us avoid cumbersome locutions).

Having a little trouble ignoring the sense of the presence of those who will read this.

Instead of trying to wall it out, use that sense; consider your work as bridging what comes to you and what comes to them. Use their interest in the work as encouragement, and do not worry about criticism.

Okay. Mostly I guess that is what I have been doing, until certain current political things (like accusations of sexism, for instance) intrude. But you’re right, focus on the constructive.

That would be a productive topic right there – the function of criticism as productive even if unwanted or unjustified, but it is a side-issue at the moment, so we will pass it by.

The point we have arrived at has been dealt with over the centuries by theologians, shamans (in practical terms), scholars, theoreticians, now by scientists trying to see what is the human place in the larger reality. It is just that: What is a human, and by implication why is a human.

Well, you can’t answer that question by assuming definitions, so we have had to begin by looking at things afresh. What is 3D and non-3D and why? What is “an individual” and how does it function and what is it connected to (and, implicitly, why)? These questions even at their most expanded do not lose themselves in thin air. They are not mere words but are rooted in your own experiences in 3D and non-3D, so you have a chance to feel yourselves toward or away from them. That isn’t the only way to approach the subject, but it is one way, the way chosen given your nature (Frank) and given the resources available to you in your reading, your life experiences, your companions. Start from the person, asking always, “but how does this fit?” The Monroe community is largely attracted to the same approach, of course, which is why you work together.

But to leave the discussion where it is, considering individuals as if they were units and considering them as if they were not embarked (singly, at that) upon an “afterlife,” would leave it much as you found it. It would leave it still untethered on the other end, so to speak. So now we are proceeding to consider the soul as it exists as part of the larger being rather than only as it exists as the product of various strands from the past.

I see us as intermediate, between higher and lower forms of organization, able to be considered either as compounds of smaller things or as components of larger things. Or, no, not either but both. And so far we have been looking at ourselves from the point of view of something built up from less complicated things, with only a nod here and there to the fact that we are part of something greater with its own purposes. I get an image, now, of a soap bubble.

The image is of an iridescent, extremely thin surface forming a boundary between an inner and an outer world, each of them being merely air.

The curve of the surface seems as important as its iridescence.

The curve implies the completed shape which you do not see, as it would concentrate your attention on the bubble as a unit rather than on the surface as helping to define the unit. So, think of yourselves, think of your lives, as the thin film of liquid soap, definitely but not permanently defining an area as a walled-off piece of something that of course has no walls, not really.

Interesting. I have read people’s analogies to consciousness as bubbles floating on water that then pop and are re-absorbed into the liquid.

Our image, we say in all modesty, will prove more productive, because of the extensive background investigation we have engaged in with you over these few years. If you will hold that image of the skin of the bubble – not the shape, not the surface it forms on, if any, not the medium it exists in, but purely the aspect of a thin and transient intermediary between what might be considered an inner and an outer, this will serve you well. You won’t be able to build inappropriately concrete logical structures on it – won’t be able to conceive of belief-system territories for soap-bubble membranes – and so will be better able to grasp certain qualities that are, well, evanescent, delicate, transient, yet both things of beauty and things serving to create (if only implicitly) by the way they divide the world into “the world beyond” the bubble and “the world within” the bubble. The specific area defined is (in the view we are commencing to explore) less important than the fact, and the function, of the membrane.

That’s interesting. The very fragility of the image is helping me feel toward some new way of seeing what we have been looking at.

This is the function of poetry, you know, and of art in general – it is the creation of images (which need not be visual, that is the language speaking) that serve to waft you to connections you could not make by logic.

If you say so.

Weren’t you just puzzling your way through a biography of Ezra Pound, trying to understand why he was important to two generations of writers?

Yes. So –?

So he is an example of the power of connection and expression of image, and of the danger of logic and the exposition of logical connections. This is not quite a side-trail, but it may be a while before we pick it up again.

One of my friends was mentioning how he noticed how Rita (in this particular instance) influenced \my thinking, nudging me in a certain direction. He seems to see that as an interference with free will.

Well, that’s where we’re going, to a discussion of how everything looks one way if you look at yourselves as individual agents, and another way if you look at yourselves as part of something greater – when in fact you are both, always, and the complications in your lives or some of the complications, anyway) come from your being just that soap-bubble membrane between inner and outer.

Oh, that was neatly done!

Glad you liked it. Is the scope and the trend clearer now?

I think it is. Until now we have mostly been looking at the inside surface of the bubble – not only the area it encloses but the nature of the membrane itself, seen from the inside. Now, instead of moving to the question of “what does the vast exterior look like,” we are edging toward an examination of the exterior aspect of the membrane and maybe in that context a better sense of the exterior [as well].

That will serve for the moment, but don’t get caught by the metaphor. For instance, it is already tempting you to see a difference in terrain, possibly a difference in substance, between the terrain included in the bubble and that outside the bubble’s space. That would be entirely inaccurate. It is all the same, except, you might say, temporarily, during the lifespan of the bubble. But even this is dangerously concrete. Cling to the sense that will come to you as you consider the iridescent evanescent temporary fragile yet sturdy membrane, and leave off extending the analogy. You may have qualities suggested by a soap-bubble image; you are not soap bubbles.


Understood, but – as we have said before – likely to be forgotten in practice, so just be aware of the likelihood.

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