Only Somewhat Real: Not reasonable beings

Sunday, October 15, 2017


Don’t be offended that we remind you that you tend to reach for more than can be grasped before further preparation. No harm in it, provided that you compensate for the tendency once it has been pointed out.

Your lives are not lived as reasonable beings. You like to think of yourselves that way, but even the most placid and self-contained among you are driven by emotion, and even, one may say, when it is being driven by the absence of emotion. And, yes, we realize we shall have to explain all that this short statement means.

Think of any story you have ever heard or read. Think of any event from your past that sticks with you. Think of any long-running trait or interest or characteristic of yours that arose, flourished, and died down. Think of the transient things in your life, and the enduring ones. What do that all have in common?

That’s an interesting thought. Is it true?

Perhaps you haven’t grasped it all yet, only in part.

Perhaps not. Well, I was going to say that you were proposing that what we have in common – what the things you listed have in common – is that none of them are determined by thought or decision.

You aren’t far wrong, but it needs, and will repay, a more careful statement. You are not, fundamentally, reasonable beings, living as Sherlock Holmes tried to live, a life embodying logic and order. Look at the life he is painted as living, and you find that he got bored, that he used cocaine to change his mental state when boredom got unbearable, that he had prejudices, blind spots, and animadversions. The man he was (as painted) was radically different from the man he thought he was, or rather, the man he would rather have been. Now, it is true that Holmes is only an invented character, but it is an illustration, as creatures resemble their creators. The important things in your life are always associated with feelings (even though sometimes strong feelings are disguised as lack of feelings).


Your lives – there is so much to say on this subject! – your lives are not yours to mold in the sense that you start with a blank slate and may go anywhere, do anything, change in any way, that you like. You just don’t have that much freedom. If life were the way you sometimes unconsciously assume it is, wouldn’t you all be living quiet reasonable lives, even if you were skydiving or trapeze-flying? That is, regardless whether you wanted a physically quiet or a risky life, you wouldn’t be thrown about emotionally the way you are. You would do things for reasons, and not because you had to. You would do what you wanted to do, not what something else within you forced you to do. Or, to put it slightly differently, you wouldn’t always be struggling within yourselves, suppressing this, encouraging that, outliving this, regretting that.

I get your point. Our lives are battlegrounds.

Fields of contention, anyway. You want this one moment, that, another moment. Or you want two or more incompatible things at the same time. Or you want this action but that result that cannot follow. You pursue an interest with diligence and even obsession – and then the interest is gone as if it had never been. Or, one or more interests seize you at an early age and last you your entire life, and the same, each possible variation, for personal relationships, emotional habits, categories of thought, even forms of physical environment, and forms of circumstance.

The latter two are a little vague.

“Forms of physical environment” means merely you may tend to live in the same kind of physical or energetic surroundings. “Forms of circumstance” means you may tend to create and re-create (or “find yourself in”) similar relationships or habits of life. And, as we said, these may manifest in various ways: sudden changes, or continuity through life, or any variation between the two extremes.

You may ask, Why is this? Why do sudden gusts of anger run through your lives, or fits of unreasonable and undeniable yearning, or steady unquestionable and immovable certainties? Why are you prone to the seven deadly sins and the Eighth Deadly Sin (or the one preceding and causing or anyway enabling the other seven) of Not Knowing What You Are, Or Why You Do and Feel and Think As You Do?

Not a very catchy title.

Call it Unconsciousness of Self, then. The point is the same.

Jung quoted a Gnostic gospel as saying that if we bring forth what is within us, it will save us, but if we don’t, that same content will destroy us.

That’s a little off-point, but applicable enough. The point at the moment is, why is your day-to-day existence not the thing of reason and calm that perhaps you imagine it ought to be? And the short answer is that you are not as you imagine yourselves to be.

Not who we think we are

Which of you knows yourself as your acquaintances close or not close know you? Yes, you know things they cannot, but they know things about you that you cannot, or cannot anyway know in their way. And none of you, separately or together, can have a complete picture. The wellsprings of your 3D existence are mostly hidden.

You live as conduits of vast impersonal forces rendered as personal; that is, the animating forces illuminate and enliven the shape of your lives.

I hear you saying, the forces of spirit may be impersonal and even neutral themselves, but the structures they blow through are the result of so many past entanglements. I can see that. But it kind of begs the question of where these entanglements come from in the first place, doesn’t it? Are humans malfunctioning, as some believe? Was there some equivalent of Original Sin that warped the pattern, setting in motion conflicts that keep building, generation after generation, as each new soul is born embodying past karma?

You could look at it as progressive complexification, yes. But to assume that this is a large malfunctioning is to overlook the fundamental question of where these tangles came from before Adam and Eve ate the apple. And – remember the original sin was to eat of the tree of Perception of Things As Good and Evil.

Which, someone pointed out, was an obvious set-up. Tell a child it can do anything except one thing, and the psychological pressure to do the forbidden thing becomes enormous and eventually irresistible.

Yes. Pretty efficient myth, wouldn’t you say? It encapsulates psychological insight into easily memorable form, as myths do.

So, remembering that descent into duality is only a relative thing, and assuming that there may be a very good reason for it –

But it has been an hour, and so we’ll resume another time. Am I right?

You’re the one holding the pen. But yes, this is a good time to pause.


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