The Interface: How we experience

You said we would discuss moods, today: how and why they are generated, how they act to smooth out transitions between moments.

In context, remember, of our statement that 3D is lived first in feeling, then only later (even if “later” means fractions of a second) in thought. It is so important that you realize that rationality follows and does not precede feeling, in how you experience life. If you cannot come to accept that as fact (and, in time, accept it as good rather than bad), you cannot come to understand your life from a proper non-3D perspective.

Meaning, I think, that a non-3D perspective allows us to weigh things properly, while a 3D perspective over-values the 3D portion of ourselves.

Yes. It’s simple enough, but many will find it difficult in practice. Until you know that your 3D component is only part of you, you stand no chance of understanding such concepts as Self, afterlife, karma, purpose, shared subjectivity, the innocence of life, the interplay and interdependence of 3D and non-3D. To try to make sense of life – of your life, of anyone’s and everyone’s life – while taking into consideration only the 3D aspect of things is to miss all the interconnections: It is like trying to understand an electric drill without knowing that there is such a thing as electricity.

Or like trying to understand cars while being ignorant of the existence of roads. You could see that the car functioned – the motor ran, the steering wheel controlled turns, etc. – but you could never get the “why” of it.

That’s correct. And the “why” of life is at least as important as the “how” of it; of course in the last analysis the two aren’t really separable.

So, here is how what we are calling moods function as part of your lives: Understand, we could begin from the 3D end or the non-3D end and at first the description would seem to be quite different, but that is so only in the way that the description of a bridge might seem very different when begun from either end, and only when the entire bridge and both abutments had been described would it be obvious that the two descriptions showed the same picture, only begun from different places. Either strategy presents difficulties. Perhaps it will be better to try to represent your lives as you are used to experiencing them.

  • Let us start at any given moment in your life. You are awake and functioning. Your attention is focused, probably, upon the world around you. It need not be; we could begin with an introspective moment, but let us postulate that you are focused outward, doing any of the many things that fill your daily existence.
  • Something happens.
  • It may be something immediate to you: You burn your finger, say. Or it may be something that still concerns you personally, but not quite so closely: Your car gets a flat tire. Or it might be something a little more remote: Work goes badly, or you get into an altercation with someone. Or you may receive bad news that will have major impact upon your life: something material, perhaps, or something affecting status or income or – well, nearly anything that is personal to you. In any of these cases, it seems to you that life and your inner life have, shall we say, collided. You cannot doubt that you are affected; you cannot doubt that even if you had something to do with the situation, you were not the prime mover, and indeed you may have had little or nothing to do with causing it.
  • Alternatively, what happens may quite clearly have nothing to do with your input. You watch the Challenger explode. You live among the discordant emotions that surround the decision to invade Iraq. You witness events throughout your life, and witness them at best second-hand, and mostly not even that close. Coal miners get trapped underground in a state you have never visited, and your human sympathies are engaged. You get the idea. Abstract causes engage you emotionally, usually, though equally usually you think you are engaged as a result of rational processes.
  • These are two very different-seeming sources of impact on your life. One stream affects your body or your status or your personal relationships. The other may affect none of these, yet be no less important to you.

You don’t need to persuade anyone who lived through the killing of John F. Kennedy, or the destruction of the Challenger, or the destruction of New York’s twin towers. There are some shocks that unite us all, regardless of our opinions or our vested interests. And on the other hand there is falling in love for the first time, and watching your child be born, and attending the funerals of friends and families, and – more tentatively but not any less real – succeeding or failing to find your work in life, or your place in life. And I take your point: Both streams of input are emotional, they are not concerned with thinking. Thinking may be a part of them; it is never the essence.

All right, so if you understand this much, let’s proceed. How do events of either kind affect you? How do you feel them, how do you process them, how do you allow them to change you, or how do you struggle against them changing you?

Doesn’t that lead to a bigger question?

Of course it does.

  • At any given moment in your life, you live within a set of beliefs you have created or accepted. Events may change this belief. How?
  • Can it be a process of logic? For that matter, can it be a process that is thought-driven? Initially you might be inclined to say yes, but we suggest that closer examination will remind you that thought examines how to do something, not
  • Can it be a weighing of possible courses of action against your firmly held structures of beliefs? This is closer, but still over-values thought, per se, as the agent of change. Someone in love, or for that matter in lust, is not necessarily acting rationally even in its consideration of options and of dissonance with what otherwise it might have considered congruent.
  • But if neither thought as logic nor thought as argument, then what changes who you are? (Or, it might be easier for you to grasp this if we say, What determines what threads it allows you to put down or pick up?)

I presume you intend to say it is feelings, but that doesn’t address the “how” of it.

No, and that’s a longer discussion than two minutes at the tail end of an hour. But we’re getting there.

Seems like it.

Moods next; you’ll see. As always it is a process of providing helpful context, lest it degenerate to being merely words.

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