An uncomfortable dual citizenship

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

3 a.m. Yesterday I found a way to express something of the meaning of the insight I got in a breath-taking moment. I think where we’re going with this will finally reconcile “you create your own reality” with our sense of being trapped in a reality we don’t like, don’t want, and can’t remember asking for.

That’s a part of it, a small part of the larger effort to reconcile two views of reality, one seen from the point of view of the individual, one seen from the point of view of the larger framework into which individuals fit. The two views need reconciling if you cannot make sense of things. A sure sign of the relative sterility of the existing viewpoints is that they have no place for the very passions and self-divisions and perplexities and anguish – spiritual anguish, call it – that is human life. There is no point in describing “the afterlife” or for that matter “this life” as if it had no conflict, no dilemmas. A description that does not account for pain and sorrow and the deadly sins and the human hopes and fears in so many things may clear up left-over obstacles, but it cannot lead the way to new understandings.

The sense I get is that the problems theology wrestles with are no less important than those particular to psychology, and must be looked at.

The underlying sense of importance is right, but not the accompanying idea that theology or psychology must be scoured for their meanings. Sometimes it is better just to move on, chewing what life provides. Not that there is an objection to such study. But it won’t be for all, and it has its own dangers.

You see, one problem in such explorations is that whoever is doing the exploration, or reading about it, will tend to do so in a certain calm, investigative, receptive manner. That’s all to the good, but it does tempt you to forget who and what you are, what you feel, in other moods.

I know what you mean. It is one thing to say and tentatively believe “all is always well,” and quite another to remember that, to still feel it, when you’re on Facebook scrolling past one-sided and contemptuous posts on this or that political or social issue. Or in personal interchanges, where you see again (and feel again!) what Emerson’s wife said when she told her husband, “people will forgive anything but a difference of opinion.”

Those are trivial examples, true though they may be. How about when you think about – even “think about,” not even witness or participate in – wars, massacres, starvation, injustice, torture, rape, murder et cetera? While you are involved in those things, are you still in the “all is well” space? Nor of course is this even the beginning of a comprehensive list. We won’t try to compile one, but will settle for pointing out that all sides have their own lists, and those lists of evils made by one side include some things listed as good by another side. Any political issue’s deeper emotional roots display this.

Gun control! Nobody on any side of that issue is sane, seems to me. Nobody wants to concede that it is a matter of conflict of rights (needing a compromise) rather than straight right against straight wrong.

And of course your own view is uniquely the correct one.

All right, I’m smiling, but just remember who’s wielding the pen, buster!

But you see the situation. When you are involved in an emotional issue, where is “all is well” in your makeup of the moment? Nor is this a matter of personal foible or shortcoming. It is a matter of an inherent conflict of viewpoint.

I know that some early Christians tried to talk away the problem of evil by describing it as the absence of good, because they couldn’t see how else to avoid a Manichean split into the God of good and the Devil (anti-God) of evil contending and unable to overthrow each other. Carl Jung talks about that in Aion.

The Transcendentalists aren’t much different in this respect.

No, though in their defense, consider that they were fighting the drag of 300 years of Calvinism. They broke through to a sunny spot, a clearing, among the vast stretches of gloomy impenetrable forest. (Hmm, a little purple, there. Sorry.)

The thing is, the Christian formulation and the Transcendentalist formulation and the New Age and Eastern formulations aren’t wrong; they are incomplete. What is true from one level is perhaps not true from another, and to accept either as complete is to inadvertently accept (or even create) a falsehood. If we can get you to see things – to see life in 3D and life in non-3D both – not from one perspective (or, you might say, from one mood) or another but from both, you have the possibility of a real advance in understanding.

The wedge I am attempting to use at the moment is the reality that you exist both as individuals and as part of a larger being. This dual citizenship sets up conflicts; it leaves you sometimes unsure what to do; it leaves you sometimes unsure of what you are, let alone what you should be. And it is all these conflicts that are slurred over when you look at life and immortality as if you were only one thing.

But so far this is only talking about it. It won’t become real until you feel it. Let’s go back to discussing dreaming the world.

Most of what we have to say would not make sense if you believed the world to be as solid as it appears. Much easier if you see that in a very real sense it is projected (in more than one sense of that word) like a motion picture upon a screen, or, indeed, like a virtual-reality game. If you cannot come to some sense like that, you will not be able to feel your way toward the relationship of inner and outer world within the context of an individual, let alone the individual and the larger-being perspectives.

But “projected” does not mean “unreal,” or even “illusory.” “Projected” expresses the ephemeral spirit of the world, but equally there is the seeming solidity that you deal with every day. Nobody inside a video game or a movie or a virtual-reality simulation experiences the given boundaries as anything less than solid. That is the nature of them; how could they be defined and anti-defined at the same time? (There is a side-issue involving the permeability of such reality to being seen through, even fallen through – but surely you can see that this may also be part of the design.)

Within this context, remember the relationship (from an individual’s point of view) between internal and external, between objective and subjective. That’s the next step.

And that’s where old stout Cortez here got his glimpse, yesterday.

Yes. The world is dreamed into being, and dreamed into changing, continuously, but not by any one individual! Individuals recreate their world by dreaming it, and some acquire remarkable ability to influence it – but however skillful the shaman, nobody recreates the whole world. Nobody defines out of existence whole aspects of reality.

But you would have to ask yourselves – I know you have asked yourself, Frank – why should this be? And I am trying to answer by reminding you that you include contradictory elements, not here referring to your strands but to the fact that you are at the same time a conscious functioning unit on one level and a subsidiary, somewhat participatory, less efficacious part of something larger that functions at another level and has elements and purposes and constraints and possibilities as alien and beyond comprehension to you as you, as a body, are to your liver or lungs. Not understanding, not participating consciously in the way you do as 3D beings, you still exist within that larger being’s world.

So sometimes we are like pinballs, bounced around by agents we cannot deflect, for purposes we cannot fathom.

Your analogy, not mine, but it will serve at least to the extent of expressing how it sometimes may feel to you.

Hold that thought – the world is dreamed into being, but not by any one individual – nor by the way, by any collection of individuals at your level. You can change your world by changing yourself, and by intending clearly – but you cannot make everything right even if you cure all your neuroses and overcome all your past traumas. We can resume there, perhaps.

Very well. See you next time.

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