Saturday, May 22, 2021
3 a.m. So we will continue on saying 47 of Alcott’s Orphic Sayings. When we left off, you seemed at the point of going into a very interesting discussion of actual v. real as it played out – and is playing out – in our civilization. (“Civilization so-called,” I am often tempted to call it.) I get the sense of where you are going, and I feel a little like Yeats watching Shaw, knowing that Shaw could hit Yeats’ enemies far harder than Yeats himself could, even though Yeats and Shaw were of vastly different temperaments.
You might better put it that Yeats and Shaw lived in very different worlds, but still had a common enemy. And the oddest thing there is that Shaw was if anything more rationalist than the rationalists, yet was emotionally and temperamentally on the side of the world as whole, as meaningful whole, as opposed to the mechanistic manipulators of “dead matter” who had no reverence for matter or spirit; not for thing, place, animal or person. And this isn’t quite a detour, but it isn’t where we prefer to begin.
When we paused last, we were at the point of discussing Alcott’s polarity of man and woman (as example of the larger polarity of Actual and Real) in light of a polarity a little less politically charged in your time, but exactly as charged in his day: reasoning v. intuition.
By “reasoning” I realize that you mean logic and thinking but do not necessarily mean Reason, which is a separate category when philosophers use it. At least, I think that’s so. In any case, I didn’t want anybody to be tempted to hare off into mere scholastics.
Yes. You will find it quite enough to attend to our distinctions here, without immediately allowing other associations to tempt you into thinking we mean more or other than we are saying. First get our meaning, then associate.
In Alcott’s day, intuition was suspect. It was considered not merely non-rational, which it is, but ir-rational, meaning less than rational. Therefore, society recognized only logic and thought (and investigation, the so-called scientific method); anything else was the province of the uneducated, the superstitious or – the women. Intuitive promptings, in fact, were often considered to be of the devil. Man, being fallen after the disobedience in Eden, had a corrupted nature that could not be trusted.
I remember some Eastern thinker – can’t remember who, but a contemporary of mine, I think – describing the West’s views as they appeared to him: “Man against God, God against man. Man against Nature, nature against man. God against Nature, nature against God. Very funny religion.”
But, you see, this is the logical result if you preconceive any mental input other than logic as untrustworthy and in fact as probably inspired by evil. It is the opposite of Seth’s “safe universe”; it says you can’t even trust your thoughts.
I believe that DSM-5 defines what you and I are doing right now as a manifestation of Multiple Personality Disorder, or, not quite that, but they have pathologized it somehow.
[However, this isn’t quite fair. In transcribing this, I looked it up online, and it seems that what they now call “dissociative identity disorder” isn’t indicated when you’re doing it voluntarily, but when it happens to you against your will, the difference Jung noted between James Joyce and Joyce’s daughter: He was swimming in the unconscious, and she was drowning.]
They’re still afraid of non-logical input.
Unless it has been coded and put into scripture.
Where it will be safely hedged and disregarded. Emerson said you can’t argue with a fundamentalist (though he used some other term) because they are always answering any idea that is new to them by interposing “their silly book.” Not bad, for an ex-minister.
Well, you see, a society that is deaf to non-3D promptings (insofar as it recognizes them) can only think about even the most religious subjects; it can listen to several-hours-long sermons, following this logic and perhaps not noticing how much of what it takes for logic is actually emotionalism. It dares not explore away from the beaten path. And this carries over into all areas of life. Life becomes an example of logic, a series of explainable processes, not an organic unity with its roots deeply beyond logic or the basis of logic. In those days your scientific thinkers did not yet realize that you are not fundamentally rational beings responding to facts, but are emotional beings responding only to whatever your subconscious minds allow into consideration. In fact, until Freud, more or less, they didn’t concede that there was mental functioning prior to and fundamental to consciousness.
Someone – Gurdjieff? Ouspensky? – called the 19th century “the darkest century yet.” And of course the representative thinkers of that time were rejoicing in their liberation from age-old superstition. Now, finally, humans were becoming rational.
It may be productive to look at this as the usual reciprocating process, by which societies, no less than individuals, go from one extreme to another, each extreme position having the potential to illumine a different facet of nature. The error comes when one confuses this movement with “progress,” as if every newest development were ipso facto an improvement over the previous newest development.
John Anthony West used to make fun of what he called “The Church of Progress.” There’s a whole essay there, but let’s stick to your main point.
Someone – many people, in fact – have said that your age is to see the return of the feminine, after a long period in which feminine values were submerged and disregarded. This is true – but what does it mean? Are you looking at the replacement of patriarchy by matriarchy? Is it just one more shift of an age-old balancing act?
Rhetorical question. I know you are going to say no, and I hope you are going to say why, and what it does mean.
That’s the plan.
Very funny. Well?
This very dialogue – and, as we say, so many similar that are taking place, known and unknown to society at large – exemplifies the change. It is not a question of women coming back into their own, but of the feminine. And that is a very different thing. The distinction brings us back to the starting point of Actual v. Real.
Very neat. I see.
Political, social, economic ramifications of this rebalancing are all examples of specifics; that is, of 3D manifestations; that is, of the Actual. The underlying relationship itself, the new energy that will without fail manifest throughout the 3D, is not a manifestation but the source of manifestation. That is, it is the mold, the archetype, that shapes the input to the physical.
I hope that’s clear to people. I’m not sure I got it just as you want it.
Close enough. “You do the best you can,” translating these knowings into specifics like words. That’s what it is to live in 3D: You receive the non-3D; you live the 3D. At least, that’s one way to put it.
To sum up (though we are aware that you think we have barely begun; much of this will be absorbed only by people being willing to let their own non-3D component feed them unfamiliar and perhaps uncomfortable thought: They will not be persuaded by argument)
That sentence is long enough. Yes?
To sum up, your age is rebalancing as part of the entire
Well, let’s say a little more here than we had expected to. The world you all inherited is dead; the culture is antique, and is running on an exhausted mainspring. You feel it, even if you don’t know why or how.
Oh yes. As they say, the wheel is still spinning, but the hamster is dead.
It would be closer to say that the wheel is still spinning but the hamster has moved on to a different wheel. The world of the ancient Greeks died. That of the Romans died. Pre-Islamic Arabia and North Africa died. The Incas, the Toltecs, the Ainu – everything, everywhere, has a season, flourishes, overcomes, ages or is murdered, and is replaced. This is not “progress” nor tragedy. It is the shifting of the scenery so that different mixtures of characteristics may manifest.
The West that came into existence 500 years ago with the Renaissance profoundly influenced and reshaped the world, but the assumptions, perceptions, limits and confidences that shaped the West have had their day. The successor civilization is forming around you, though it will not show its form until long after you are safely dead. But this is what is going on that is described sometimes as the rise of the feminine. Many values that were disfavored will now have their day, in a brand-new mixture. Alcott didn’t suspect that he was a distant forerunner of this revolution, any more than Emerson did. Still, they were.
Next time we can continue with the next of his sayings. We have to trust that we didn’t over-stretch in giving so much prominence to this one.
Our thanks in any case. Till next time.
Frank DeMarco, author
Papa’s Trial: Hemingway in the Afterlife, a novel