Tuesday August 9, 2016
6:50 a.m. Last night I noted in my journal, “It isn’t just emotions, moods, thoughts, values. It is also pain, illness, suffering, accidents, altercations.” I have noticed over the years that people trying to explain life generally see life, and then exceptions to life. Life in health as the default, and then illness as an exception. None of this quite says it, so I’m hoping you guys can run with it.
“Fluctuations” is the word you want. Life is fluctuation, yet schemes attempting to describe or analyze life generally treat it as a static or regular event rather than a continuously fluctuating range of possibilities.
Remember yesterday we set out to itemize the many conditions of life that must be accounted for. That was to show how truly complicated the working-out of a life must be. What looks simple, even inevitable, is still the culmination of many a convergence of factors.
Now if you are going to change analogies from bounded structures (dimensions) to non-bounded ranges of action, you are going to have to account for the same phenomena your previous scheme accounted for. For a new scheme to be worthwhile it must give you something useful, else what’s the point? So it is well to bear in mind the phenomena to be taken into account.
In studying life with the emphasis placed not on structure but on flow, fluctuation becomes the important fact of life, and instead of it being an obstacle to clarity – blurring the picture of a given structure – it becomes the microscope’s adjusting knob, selecting focus.
Illness, suffering, is one such measure of fluctuation, or, let’s say, not “measure” but “reflection.” Illness, and the other things that came to you in the evening – pain, accidents, altercations. Anything that disrupts what the individual would prefer to be, rather than what is, is important.
Look for our clues in anything we don’t want?
Not quite. But the things in your lives that come to you against your conscious will are demonstrations that you at your level are not in charge of your life’s circumstances. That is, your reactions are your responsibility (and your opportunity) but the conditions themselves are not under your conscious control, no matter what a half-thought-out metaphysics or religion may say. It is true that there are no accidents, but it is also true that you on a 3D level are not in charge of the scenery or the other actors or the plot of the play. You on your 3D level are placed in your circumstances and you must do what you can do.
This should not be any big problem. In your day to day life, you know this. When you get a cold, when you live with asthma, when you live in a society whose values are not yours, when you repeatedly are confronted with facts you would prefer not to be facts – doesn’t all this tell you that you are not in charge of the play? Common sense would say the same, but it is true that common sense often misinterprets.
I have wondered, so many times over the years, what am I doing in a world where John F. Kennedy was killed? If there are other versions where that didn’t happen, why am I not in those? Or, if I am, why am I also here and why is “here” the only one I am aware of?
Yes, because unlike asthma, you could not by any assumption have “chosen” it. So let us look at things beginning with stage and players.
Consider that common sense is not always wrong, is not always superficial. Your bias is to suspect anything that is commonly accepted. It might be better for you to replace “suspect” with “inspect,” and you will be less prone to dismiss things that, rightly understood, may prove to be of value. “Inspect” is not “accept,” and certainly is not automatically accept. A common-sense understanding will always have value as a sounding-board. It will shed light on things even if it does not reflect but distorts what really is.
So, common sense says you as individuals do not create the world you exist in, any more than the goldfish creates the fishbowl. Take that view and contrast it to “you create your own reality” and do the work of considering them in relation to each other without dismissing either. Or, take the view that “accidents happen” or “illness happens” and view it in connection with the view that says that every thing in life is meaningful and of a piece.
The mental effort involved in weighing the two views against each other – not allowing yourselves the easy out of merely dismissing one or the other as wrong – will help you move toward the way of perceiving and judging that will be able to see life in its unbounded rather than its structured aspect.
I don’t have a good sense of this.
It is only preliminary. (Some people need different preliminary material than others do. That is an essay in itself! But we will not stay for it.) You live in different worlds according to your moods and internal circumstances. Is that more helpful?
Well, it gives me something to chew on. I presume you mean us, and not only me.
Of course. You move up and down a scale of consciousness, one might say, or perhaps you range along your being, identifying now with one level, now with another. Depending upon where you are, you are to that extent a different person than when you are at a different place.
Now, this is a simple statement: Don’t complicate it or try to make it more, or less, than it is. Take any scale you please – moods, emotions, wellness, conceptions of your place in things) and you will fluctuate along it according to many factors.
Take moods. If you are depressed, you may be said to be toward the lower end of the scale. If you are in quiet faith that all is well, you are toward the higher end. But in any case, you are placed somewhere on that scale, and no matter if it seems to be you moving yourself or “eternal events” moving you, still it is movement. This is not news to any of you, surely. In your regular day to day lives, obviously you experience this fluctuation. Only, don’t forget it when you come to think about how the world is, how reality is, how you interact with the world.
Take illness, either temporary or chronic. For the duration of the illness, you live in a somewhat different world than you would in the absence of the illness. This will have positives and negatives, and it is up to you to find them, but, in any case your life will be different. You will not have caused it, not at a 3D level. (Even a physical miscue causing an accident will not have been “random.”) No, but you will be left with the living-out of it. In this, illness or accident is not different from the rest of life. Life might be defined as the living-out of the situation you find yourselves in, as that situation repeatedly modifies itself “on its own” and in reaction to your own choices.
Remember, we are at the very beginning of this alternative explanation. Please don’t jump to premature conclusions, or, if you do, hold them lightly. Just because a given statement reminds you of something, or suggests something, does not mean that was its intent. Take note of your reaction, but don’t cling to it or take it for granted. Hold it lightly.