Saturday, June 26, 2021
2:55 a.m. The future life of strands?
You’d be better off to think of it as the future life of strands and the future life as shaped by strands, and the future life as it continues with and without reference to strands.
As usual, you’re oversimplifying things, aren’t you?
We smile too, but after all, you aren’t in the market for oversimplified explanations. The world’s literature and living tradition is full of over-simplified explanations, and they do serve a purpose, but it is rarely an advantage to anyone to explain in terms simpler than s/he can understand. Coming to a more sophisticated understanding always comes at the price of a certain amount of work. This is not for some moralistic reason; there is implied no sense of your having to earn something. But the fact is that it is the process of wrestling with the material that makes it yours. If you just accept it on faith, making no effort to think and feel and explore whether it aligns with what you already know (regardless how you come by what you know), it will be only a story to you.
Easy come, easy go.
In a sense, yes. You don’t spend money quite as freely when you have had to earn it.
Seems to me there is at least a couple of sessions’ worth of material we could explore, just in your second paragraph here. But let’s go with what you mean in your first.
Let’s instead, briefly, look at the fact that what we have sketched to date is clear to some, opaque to others, and in either case seems to proceed without reference to so many schemes of “the afterlife.”
We can if you wish. I have never been too impressed by such schemes, no matter how confidently they have been packaged. They have always seemed too simple, too disconnected from other schemes put out with equal confidence.
Hence your own reluctance to invest in such schemes even when coming out of your own pen. A good trait, such caution, but of course it may be overdone, and become a deficit. In any case, it will do no harm to pause long enough to look around and orient our material in the general landscape.
Well, that ought to be interesting. It’ll be a short list, I’ll bet.
Let’s see. Explanations include:
- Religious scripture that portrays life as a testing ground for the soul, leaving description of after-3D existence vague. Christian scripture, mostly.
- Islamic scripture contains sketches of after-3D existence that are clearly based on continuance of the 3D soul in the form and substance it knew.
- Jewish mysticism had things to say about the individual soul’s place in the greater scheme of things.
- Buddhist, Hindu scripture and – philosophic writings, call them – moved well beyond the personal, yet still retained the 3D-individual as base in their exposition. What is reincarnation but an assurance that, like it or not, one continues?
- “New Age” literature, including its attempts to produce scripture, often says one thing while implying another, which is a sure sign of confusion of ideas. In its attempt to deal with “All that is,” and “All is one,” while carefully clinging to the individual’s path as significant to self and others, it isn’t wrong, but neither is it clear except by truncation. That is, it often does not survive careful examination.
- Materialist explanations need to be remembered as well, for any sincere exploration is liable to uncover some truth. Materialists tend to focus on the overall vast mechanism of life and the world. If in the process they sometimes lose sight of the individual, or define him out of existence, well – any explanation is going to be incomplete.
- There is a school of thought that maintains that life has no meaning. This is to be commended in that it honestly confesses its bankruptcy, but it has no practical value except as a criticism of alternative pat explanations.
Many, many other schools of thought exist. (Perhaps it would be better to all them schools of reflection and experience.) They all sort into only a few categories, though.
- Life has meaning in and of itself, but the place of the human experience cannot be determined. We (you) may or may not be intrinsic or even important to it; all that is known is that the mechanism exists and grinds its daily grain.
- Human experience is the only thing we really know, and our past and future are unknowable.
- You (we) as functioning intelligence clearly exist; we surely exist for some reason. That reason is (X).
- Human souls exist within specific times and have a purpose within that time span. This is different from (3) in that it takes “the times” more seriously.
- Inner and outer are all one thing, experienced as different for good reason.
Not a definitive list, but enough to be going on with.
Number one takes the existence of “the world” for granted and does not go beyond what it considers to be “observable fact” (that is, seemingly objective external reality).
Number two goes to the opposite extreme. We know that we are experiencing the present moment (even if generalized to include all moments between birth and death), but that is all we know. The world may or may not be real. We may or may not extend beyond the moment.
Number 3 thinks it has discovered the reason for human life. It follows, therefore, that the helpful and harmful, the “good” and “bad” can be codified into a set of rules to be obeyed.
Number four shifts focus from the soul per se to the soul in the world at a given time, but still says there is a purpose and, hence, rules that may be deduced.
And number five, which may seem a bit familiar to you, says that in a sense it is a mistake to consider either soul or its time-space matrix as separate or even separable. This takes “It’s all one world” to a new level.
We will let you do your own mix-and-match between the various traditions sketched first and the five alternative frameworks sketched thereafter. Some will find it illuminating, some would find it a waste of time. Our point is this: Everything anyone has ever created in the way of expressing an understanding is at least to some degree true. Look for the embedded truth, not for the error or incompletion.
And try to find out, by comparing those grains of truth, the larger truth of which each is an aspect.
If you can, yes. It is pretty pointless to spend your time smacking your lips over someone else’s errors. Much better to spend your time reflecting that just as they were in error, you will inevitably be at least somewhat in error; that’s just part of the price of the ticket. But just as they unerringly did glimpse at least a part of the truth, so may you. It should be at once a hopeful and a cautionary feeling.
So now, should you choose to – or we might almost say, should you need to – you could mentally review any particular scheme you have come across, and ask yourself, what aspect of reality does this embrace, what aspect does it leave out. This of course assumes you have the basis of judgment, which no one can have absolutely. But you can always judge from where you are. As we say, the more cautious and even charitable the judgment, the better for your understanding.
This hour went in an unexpected direction.
But not an unproductive one, though its use will mainly come later, for most people. Next time we can look at the future life of strands, unless another topic suggests itself. And don’t forget, there’s no harm in taking an occasional day off, and some good.
Well, we’ll see. Thanks for all this.
5:40 a.m. We haven’t yet dealt much with interaction of strands within ourselves, and I have a feeling that’s coming up. At least I was lying there experiencing it, or seeming to. It started when I realized that lying on top of the bed, with my robe thrown over me for warmth, may be an echo of Joe Smallwood’s life in the field. Less in the Army during the war, though sometimes there, than during his years as Joe Indian, “sleeping rough,” as Jefferson would have put it, out in the elements. It came to me that my very natural-feeling habit of sleeping this way may come from him, as it did not obviously come from this life.