Friday, July 2, 2021
Sixty years today since the morning that Ernest Hemingway killed himself, nineteen days before what would have been his 62nd birthday. Old, ill, tired, diminished, without hope for the future, he found a day to die. In two years more, he will have been gone as long as he had been here. An amazing life, in all.
3:15 .m. Waiting for the coffee to kick in. It always seems so wasteful, having to build up a new head of steam from a standing start.
Start with “We are a creature of the times, and will remain so.” This grounds you in the life of the world, you see. You come into existence at a specific time, various elements cohering because “the universe” needed them, or let’s say called them forth. You lived a 3D existence and it came to its natural end. You then continued to exist, and the world (the universe, reality) continued to exist, and your place in it continued, because how could it not? What has been created is not un-created, leaving a hole. Rather, it continues as part of the shared subjectivity. How else? Does this put a different light on the Indian, saying to his neighbor, “It is a good day to die”? He didn’t mean, “That’s the best thing we can think of to do this morning,” but “We are to die today; we got a good day to do it.”
I get your point about the Indian, but I‘m not clear on why you connect that moment with “You will remain a part of the times.” But, writing that, I see you mean, “You will remain part of life.”
Yes. You as 3D individual deciding moment by moment, creating an arc of being, first to last – you are not separate from the times that called you forth, and that continue intermingled with you, though not obviously. The shared subjectivity shares. Or, one could say, you share in that subjectivity. You are part of the human race (to confine it to those terms) and it is part of you, internally. This is not just a glib generalization. It has consequences.
I think of T. S. Eliot, and of Sartre, say, and of so many writers who have been oppressed by a conviction of powerlessness and isolation and, therefore, of meaninglessness. I think of whole schools of thought obtaining some perverse satisfaction from thinking that life is meaningless. And I think of people desperately clinging to a creed they can’t quite believe in, the only alternative seeming to be a concession that life is a tragedy, meaningless or not. All so grim, all so unnecessary.
Well, unnecessary – unnecessary things do not come to be. You may not like a given manifestation; you may disagree with it, or with where it leads; you may be convinced that it is an error – even, perhaps, a perversely chosen error. Still, if it exists, it exists because it was evoked. It exists, one might say, because it was needed.
For some reason, the universe needed to have that point of view expressed.
Yes. Expressed, which means not only said, but lived.
I have, running through my mind, the refrain of “Funiculi, funicula,” which is ridiculous, given that almost the only words I know for it were pasted on by a bank commercial, 60 years ago and more, as “Money, money, money in the bank. Money, money, money in the bank. Funiculi, funicula, funiculi, funicula: There’s nothing in the world like money in the bank.”! But the few words that were running were part of the real words. Okay, you players of the internal juke box, what’s the connection?
[Courtesy of the internet search function, the English words I was feeling but not remembering were:
[“Some think it well to be all melancholic,
to pine and sigh.
But I, I love to spend my time in singing
[some joyous song.
To set the air with music bravely ringing
is far from wrong.”]
the song –the original, not only the bank’s reworking to make its point about financial security – says, “Life is short. Enjoy it as you go along.”
Huh! So, emotionally quite appropriate, even though seemingly out of left field.
That’s how your minds often work. If you pay attention, you may learn to take what we might call logical shortcuts, by following the emotional logic of a seemingly spontaneous, seemingly irrelevant, occurrence like the welling-up of a half-remembered song. “It’s all one thing” has its mundane uses, you know.
I see, of course. That isn’t an application I had thought of in this context.
The Indians, like any people living close to the world, knew how to interpret any given manifestation. They could read the world, you know.
Either I am slower than usual this morning, or faster; I can’t decide. But as we go along I can feel so many possible connections eluding us (more that, then to say “we missing them”). It’s like deer in the forest, slipping by noiselessly.
Yes, you are for the moment unusually tuned to them; you are momentarily aware of a condition that is always so. Your isolated consciousness is always a campfire in the woods, or a light on the dark high seas or prairie. Most of the world around you is darkness to your senses. As you use other means of perception, shadowy figures are seen, possibly for your first time.
It makes vividly clear how less connected my conscious thought is.
A valuable insight, only it needs spelling out, if only a little.
We tend to think of thought as linear, from here to here to here, as if following a bus route. But I’m feeling it, this morning, as every moment a decision where to go. That is, it isn’t a vector but a continuous series of decisions as to where to go, what to follow. It is way more awkward and pasted-together than it seems usually.
And this fits in with our theme, you see. You might say that our discussion is leading you to experience your mind that way. It isn’t that you are functioning differently; it is that you are more aware of the submerged aspects of your functioning that always exist that way.
Hmm. So drugs like mescaline or LSD, releasing the usual limits on our perception, aren’t showing us different ways to function, but are showing us different unsuspected aspects of how we already function.
That is a pretty wide generalization, but – in general – yes. Your mental life is not logic; it is not conscious perception; it is not something ordained, or necessitated, or linear, or dead in any way, or disconnected from your neighbors. (That is, from the entire world.) It is closer to magic.
And, I’m getting, that is why the death of the senses leads not to blindness and deafness but to an enhanced perception, a richer life.
Yes indeed. Your senses, remember, report a tiny part of what they perceive. Your brain is a reducing-valve, constricting the input to a manageable trickle. Once the need for the reduction is gone, how much more exciting the world you perceive!
We feel that, sometimes, and we try to extrapolate what “the afterlife” must be like, and we fail because we conceive it as if we continue to experience ourselves as separate.
That’s right. That’s what we’re trying to correct, and we’re getting there, we assure you. Already you must see (or feel, anyway) that you will approach this differently, remembering that you are this widely connected being.
I think so. Can’t imagine otherwise. So our next starting-place? Our resuming-place, if that’s a phrase?
Perhaps we will start with that awareness of how any moment’s conscious thought is far more tentative and undirected – pulled many ways. It is an aspect of choosing that can use some spelling-out.
Okay. Thanks for all this, as always.