TGU — The dynamics of interaction

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

4 a.m. I’m ready if you are ready. You’ve been giving us good stuff, and I’m anxious for more.

Of course – or perhaps this isn’t an “of course” – you realize that being anxious for more can get in the way of receiving more, if it manifests in the wrong way.

Well, I think I do know that. The ideal state is – as they say at TMI – to be in a state of expectation, without expectations.

Even that may be overdone if it moves from acceptance – from receptivity – to what we might call famished over-anxiety, like an underfed dog desperate for anything at all to eat. It isn’t a problem here; we mention it as a general truth.


After all this time, you realize that we often use whatever you have been reading, or whatever has happened to you, or whatever memories are active, using them as springboard to segue into something useful to you. Dreams, of course, are the same process. It occurs to us now that the process could do with an explanatory word, because one might jump to either of two wrong conclusions about it, and clearing this up will help illustrate our larger focus on the interface between personal and impersonal.

You might think (1) They put that memory in play, or led me to pick up that book, or arranged that conversation or meeting, or whatever, or (2) They took advantage of what happened and said, “We can use this.”

And, let me guess, the right answer is sometimes one and sometimes the other, or maybe both and neither.

More the latter, because the dynamics of our interaction – of interaction between non-3D and 3D components – is not as simple and straightforward as logic might suggest. The way you usually think of us allows the “individual” analogy on our end to sneak in.

It isn’t one-on-one, in quite the way we think of it.

That’s right. It’s all well and good – and useful, which is saying the same thing – to say you have a guardian angel, or a higher self, or a non-3D component in the sense of an individual spirit connected to an individual soul. Those are only approximations, verbal makeshifts, because, remember, the very idea of an individual is something of a compromise. And it isn’t quite wrong (in that the definition isn’t quite definite, if we may put it that way) but a closer look is in order.

By the way, notice why religious and philosophical thought is so often over-simplified: It isn’t so much inability to explain, nor intent to deceive. It is that no one can keep explaining so many misunderstood aspects of reality every time, and so the simplified concepts will keep sneaking back in as unexamined assumptions. Also, what is a religion to do for the simpler minds that are unable to hold fine distinctions or are unable to perceive ambiguities or deeper conundrums? It is one thing to say, “Tell them the truth as you see it,” but another to know how to do it so that they may hear, when you already know they cannot understand.

So truth gets told as stories.

Parables, yes. And don’t think that isn’t what is happening here, often enough! An explanation is always a parable, in that it is only as much as the explainer understands, told in a way adapted (ideally) to what the listener may be able to understand in turn. There are transmission errors between reality and the explainer, not merely between the explainer and the student.

Well, that’s encouraging!

We smile. It should be, actually, in that it ought to remove the pressure to be right in everything (or any thing!) you say. You do the best you can, and the hell with it.

I hesitated to write that last, thinking, “That’s me, not them,” then thought, “No reason to assume that.”

In fact, the assumption would contain a deeper assumption, which is the one we are working to undermine here.

That there is a “you” and a “me.”

Well, yes and no. There is a relative difference, if not an absolute one, but we’d say the mistaken assumption lies in assuming you know the nature and confines of either “you” or “me.”

If you will hark back to the very beginnings of our explanations, when you and Rita were posing questions, we distinguished between the relative isolation and single-being-ness of the 3D and the connectedness of the non-3D.

[I felt a long hesitation.] We almost went off on a side-trail there about what it means to be a single being.

But it was a linguistic misunderstanding, not worth pursuing. In a sense, we in the non-3D circumstances could be considered to be all one thing, hence – a single being. This might lead you to see more similarity than actually exists in our state of being single and yours. Then, between our state of being plural, and yours. If you wish to pursue it sometime, we could, but it may prove less fruitful than it appears, because as we say, it is based more on a linguistic, than on a physical, similarity.

You as 3D-oriented beings are suspended between 3D and non-3D perceptions. It’s hard for you to keep your concepts clear. Yet it is that very confusion of, or let’s say overlapping of, concepts, that lets you offer a valuable perspective to us in non-3D (which, you realize, includes you as part of the All-D).

That’s sounding more confusing than it is, I think. What I get is that our 3D-oriented perceptions are a counterpoint to non-3D perceptions, and that we are on both sides of the fence.

That’s true, but we doubt it will seem much less confusing, to many. And it brings us back to the point we are belaboring. Life is different, richer, more complex and interactive, than your concepts of it. It always is; there’s no way around it. So on the one hand, you needn’t worry that you haven’t quite got it all neatly wrapped up. On the other hand, the wrapping-up process isn’t a waste of time.

Now – speaking of wasting time – it is taking us a long time to relate this to the trance of the ever-present moment. The connection is this: The living present moment is the trance. It is the creative place. It is the magic cauldron. Nothing can be done at any other time than the living present moment, because no other time exists! The only reason you don’t realize that in every cell of your body, in every response of body-mind to the changes always around you, is because of the scripts and filters that stop you from living there in active consciousness.

I remember some of this from The Cosmic Internet (which I woke up realizing we should have called Using the Cosmic Internet). Screens, scripts, filters get between what really is and what we think really is.

Yes, but. (It’s always “Yes, but” as long as you are learning. It is only when the word “but” drops off that you move into dogmatic certainty.) What we said isn’t wrong, but it will look different when you remember that neither end of the “you / we” polarity we sketched is quite as simple as the sketch implied.

The vast impersonal forces were not taken into account, if only because one can’t say everything all at one time. Even the vast personal forces were scarcely hinted at. We were dealing with the subject – of necessity – as if both you and we were more simple than is the case.

It occurs to me, Seth overcame the drag of the vast impersonal forces by dictating.

He didn’t overcome them, exactly. He employed them, as we do, by fitting his conversation into the current moment, but yes, the pre-preparation of his books allowed him to give “Joseph” a product unaffected by side-trails or digressions, productive or otherwise. Those came in during conversation.

I sometimes wish you guys would give me dictation. It would be easier.

How do you give dictation to somebody who doesn’t follow orders?

I don’t know, tactfully?

We’re smiling too. And that is enough for the moment.

So, looking back, what was today’s theme?

The dynamics of interaction.

Thank you, and till next time.


Chasing Smallwood .46. Hell in South Carolina

[A book with four interlocking themes:

  • how to communicate with the dead;
  • the life of a 19th-century American;
  • the massive task facing us today, and
  • the physical world’s place in the scheme of things.]

.46. Hell in South Carolina

 And so the series of transmissions (as I came to call them) that started December 18, 2005 abruptly ended on February 27, 2006. It hadn’t lasted a very long time. But marking beginnings and endings in our lives is a somewhat arbitrary process. Only a week later, on March 5, a new series began. This series led me far indeed, for I realized that our ability to talk to those on the other side is not limited to those with whom we had a “past life” connection. We can talk to anyone we have a reason to talk to, if we put in the work and time necessary to learn the process. But that is the subject of another book, that has to do with a lot more than merely contacting others on the other side.

The session of February 27, 2006, wasn’t – by far – the last time I talked to Joseph. He continues to watch my life (and, presumably, others) as he did before, and from time to time we talk. A couple of our conversations bring this account to my trip to Gettysburg in April, and that’s a good place to break off.

Sunday March 19, 2005

(1:15 p.m.) Joseph – having read Sherman’s March yesterday, I got the feeling that you were pretty ashamed of the army’s actions in South Carolina, and now I know why.

War ain’t pretty, but it don’t have to be unnecessary hell. Making war on the whole populace is one thing, and nobody can say it didn’t work. But acting like a drunken mob – being a drunken mob, doing the kind of things that got done, was something else, and I didn’t much like it, you’re right. What I said about our actions in Georgia was right, but I didn’t say much about running through Carolina – South Carolina – and like you say, it ain’t something I like to dwell on. But you know, it’s a hard question. How do you kill people, and burn their fences, and steal their food and livestock, and generally raise hell trying to make ’em stop fighting you – and not let yourself hate ’em? It’s easier if you hate ’em, and damned hard if you’re feeling sorry for ’em. I’d say most of us – the good ones, put it that way, most of the army in my view, went back and forth day to day, sometimes minute by minute. The fighting men, we didn’t much hate them, unless they was doing something like killing our prisoners and leaving ’em on the road to taunt us, or doing something else we’d not stand. Otherwise, they was more like us than either of us was like the people that were not soldiers, and we felt like we understood ’em and sympathized with ’em. Of course when you got one prisoner who was spitting hatred at you, you’d laugh at him, it’s just natural. But they was good fighting men and we respected that, and they felt pretty much the same about us, most of ’em. But then they would hear what we was doing to their homes, plus we were invaders, to hear them tell it, and that would get some of ’em awful mad. And we’d see our own boys getting shot up and we’d think how the whole damned war was unnecessary, and we’d get mad all over again sometimes. So on both sides we’d get hot and then we’d get over it, and we’d get hot again. And the things an army does when it is hot – especially if the man at the top don’t clamp down tight – don’t bear looking at in cold blood in daylight.

Nobody had any doubt about South Carolina – and the thing the histories carefully don’t tell you is the women, hiding behind the fact that they was women and couldn’t be held to account for what they said, the tongue-lashings they’d give our boys when they could. That’s one thing that made our boys behave all the worse, I believe: them women weren’t so high and mighty when they were scared. I’m not defending it, exactly, but I’m saying see it right; see the whole story, not just part of it. People that were civil to us got better treatment even if we did still steal their stuff and destroy around ’em. People spitting hatred at us just naturally didn’t bring out our best side, you know? And I don’t mean hatred for what we was doing, I mean hatred for what we were. We were Yankees (which is a laugh, as five men out of six were from the west) and we were low-class, poor whites – and they were at the top of a very small circle. Well, we sort of knocked some of the stuffing out of South Carolina society, trying to make ’em a little less high and mighty. I tell you, it was infuriating, hearing it from them women just the way it seemed we’d all be hearing it from South Carolina politicians all our lifetimes, back to John C. Calhoun. To listen to them, they were quality and everybody else just didn’t count as much as their favorite horse. Our boys took it out on ’em, and in a way you could say they earned it, and plenty.

But – like I say – you can’t really get at it by hating people. All you do is make ’em hate you more. Nothing you do is going to make anything better. No matter how good you are they ain’t ever going to think well of you, and when you give ’em back some of their own, they only hate you the more. It’s like in your day the Jews and the Arabs.

If you’re going to judge us, all I ask is that you look at how we were in Georgia, and how in South Carolina, and how in North Carolina. When we was with poor people, we were soldiers just the same, but mostly we were decent and sometimes even kind, or as kind as possible. When we came up against the people of Savannah, they didn’t love us, but they were decent to us and we were decent to them, and if we could have got there two years earlier, or three, probably they’d have been back under the old flag pretty quick and not much hard feeling except among the nobs. But South Carolina was crazy at the start and we didn’t give ’em quarter, but they weren’t any crazier at the end than they always had been.

Still, things got out of hand, I know that. Sherman knew it too, you could see it in the book. Probably he didn’t intend that Columbia get burned down – and not even the rebs ever claimed he caused the wind that night! – but he didn’t spend any more time crying about it than we did. It looked like the hand of God, to us – if you don’t count all the dammed drunks running around the night doing their worst. In a way it would have been a howling injustice if the rest of the country had got wrecked in four years – which it did, one way and another – and Columbia got left standing. Many a fellow in the ranks wished we could go burn Charleston, too. But we didn’t have anything special against the tar heels, and we didn’t treat ’em bad. They looked to us a lot like the Georgia flatland farmers looked – three or four meals shy a week, every week. Plus, they was plenty afeared of us, but they didn’t hate us on principle, just out of fear – and not all of ’em did anyway. Lot of Union men in North Carolina, always had been. Maybe if the war had kept on till we got to Virginia, North Carolina would have got it worse, but I don’t think so. It’d been worse because longer, but not harder. It wasn’t their doing and we all knew that – plus Uncle Billy looked like he meant it about treating ’em easy, this time. Like I say, I think he was a little ashamed of what we did to the Palmetto State. It’s awful easy to do something while you’re busy hating that you’re mighty ashamed of later. You just got to hope to God you don’t go too far before you get back to your senses.


TGU — the weather of the present moment

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

3:15 a.m. Shall we continue?

You have been reading about politics in the middle 1800s.

A history of the American Whig Party I bought a while ago, yes. A disgusting chronicle of short-sightedness, petty intrigue, back-stabbing, imbecility – hard to find the right superlatives. I mean, of course, on all sides, not merely the Whigs. Of course part of it is likely to be the author’s selection of facts, but the facts are there.

Yes. Our point here is that such chronicles may serve to illustrate something of the forces affecting a present moment that are beyond any individual’s personal contribution but are more – and other – than the sum of many such individual additions.

I have been getting something of this in the background as I read. You probably know I sometimes fantasize about writing a history in which emotions and shortcomings are the villains of the piece, rather than any specific embodiments.

However, so far this is unlikely to be very comprehensible to any who read this. A few, maybe. So let’s proceed to tie it in. Sketch just one or two factors in those decades leading to the Civil War.

I think I see what you’re going to do with it. Interesting. Very well, this author’s thesis is that the breakup of the Whig Party did indeed lead to the Civil War, as is commonly understood, but that the breakup was caused not only by sectional tensions over slavery but by internal infighting that made it impossible to over –

No, a better way to say it would be that he points out how the search for tactical advantage kept leading various politicians to adopt this or that position, and how the inadvertent and unlooked-for result was to sharpen sectional animosities. I take it you don’t need me to go into specifics. The stupid bastards on all sides were mostly not malicious, with the notable insane exception of John Caldwell Calhoun, may he burn in hell, but were petty, short-sighted, opportunistic, fearful, greedy – name it. Obsessed with power, greedy for patronage and the financial results of patronage, eternally concerned with their reputation among their constituents but not nearly so much with any reason for the reputation – they played their usual games and all the while played to base emotions among the electorate as if thoughts – and emotions! – were not things. In a room packed with dynamite, they threw cherry bombs at each other while always loudly proclaiming how they were forced to do it in self-defense, etc.

Feel better?

Actually, no, I don’t. Reading about it is like wading through a sewer.

You don’t feel better even from the thought that your own day isn’t any worse than the past?

Not really. Should I rejoice that they’re still throwing cherry bombs?

So let’s focus on our point for today. Each of those politicians and groups of politicians, acting from whatever motives (and, this historian to the contrary, more of them, more of the time, were interested in doing the right thing than he allows, only the right thing is hard to find in some times)

I’m going to introduce you to semi-colons and periods sometime. Care to put a point to the sentence and begin a new one?

Care to recalibrate?

Touché. Okay.

People act out of mixed motives; nothing new about that. Politics might even be defined as acting from mixed motives to attain a temporary consensus or decision. Ignoring low motives is as misleading as ignoring more high-minded ones. More, high-minded motives may do more damage than low self-centered ones, because of course politics like any other social dynamic represents contradictory forces. Venality may reconcile antagonisms more easily than self-righteousness does, sometimes.

In some eras, people’s cross-motives result in stacking dynamite. At other times, that dynamite gets unstacked, or scattered, or – goes off. And those various results constitute what we are calling the weather – the result of personal and impersonal forces over time creating a situation in which you wind up living.

A different example. If you were born in the second or third decade of the twentieth century – somewhere between 1910 and 1930 – you were pretty certain to be centrally affected by World War II. You could look at it as (1) you came in at that period in order to experience it, or (2) you came in for whatever reasons and had to experience it as an unavoidable side-effect. Neither view quite contradicts the other; neither is sufficient in itself. World War II, its lead-in and its aftershocks, were the weather for that whole century. That doesn’t make it the unique focus, obviously. Plenty of things happened and were going to happen besides the war – but it affected everything.

You could argue that World War I was actually a bigger event, in that it set the stage for the second war.

But that isn’t our focus here. The point is, people of a certain generation had no way to live their lives unaffected by that central event, even if they were never soldiers or war workers, even if their country remained neutral, even if they scarcely knew it was going on.

I haven’t gotten the crux of this yet.

No. It seemed a simple point to make.

Well, I’ll get my second mug of coffee and maybe it will become clearer.


There’s no point in thinking that personal reality extends to changing the entire history of the world. It has its own cumulative inertia.

I came to think of it as changing which timestream we wished to be conscious of, rather than thinking we actually changed anything.


Go ahead.

Envisioning the simultaneous existence of millions of timestreams, differing from each other slightly or greatly, enabled you to escape from the trap of predestination on one side and irretrievable error on the other. But it is only an escape from a false dilemma, not in and of itself accurate.

So enlighten us.

Reality isn’t fragmented into alternative timestreams. It isn’t fragmented at all, quantum physicists and you to the contrary. What it is, instead, is infinitely plastic, infinitely malleable. But this is difficult to cram into 3D logic, given language with its 3D-driven sequential restrictions. All possible worlds exist, yes, but not exactly simultaneously and side by side. More like – well, it’s hard to find an analogy that is not so 3D-restriction-bound as to be impossible. We looked at expressing it as many channels broadcasting at different frequencies, with your intent being the tuner, but really that is more misleading than helpful. Let’s say all reality is many potential results of flicks on the kaleidoscope. Other situations don’t quite exist. It’s hard to describe. It may be more illuminative to say that the reality the kaleidoscope shows isn’t as real or as more definite [than potential others] as it appears. There’s less difference between what manifests and what doesn’t.

But this still drags us away from the one simple point we are pursuing, or illustrating – or, anyway, trying to illustrate. The reality you experience is not a reality that is merely the sum of your personal past experiences or inclinations. It is not merely an externalized representative of your psyche, either your present life’s (your soul’s) psyche by itself or your spirit’s extended experience over many lives. Everyday experience teaches you this, or you – Frank – wouldn’t be living in a reality that followed the murder of John F. Kennedy, let alone Lincoln. It was shaped by more than that, and a moment’s thought will tell you why that must be.

If reality were merely about any of us (even from our own point of view) it would in effect fragment into ever-more autistic self-absorbed fragments, held together only by whatever connections among us existed as legacies of other times.

That’s a way to see it.

Sometimes simple concepts are difficult to set forth, mostly because sequential logic of presentation – that is, language in 3D circumstances – starts you a long way off. And on that note, let’s pause for now. Remember, in journeys such as these, apparent distance covered is only one measure of progress. Difficulties overcome is another.

If you say so. Okay, till next time, and thanks as always.


TGU — the present moment as altered state

Monday, May 14, 2018

3:35 a.m. Very good sessions last week. Can we keep it up? Your move. How is our present moment a trance?

Like a trance, we said. It isn’t an exact correlation. More like a trance than like a physically fixed phenomenon. It is, you might say, always an altered state.

Altered from what? Altered in what sense of the word?

Altered in the sense of directed, focused, intended, in a certain direction.

I’m sorry but that isn’t nearly clear to me. It isn’t just that I don’t have words, it is that I don’t know what you mean to express. Oh, and I hear it. Okay, I’ll recalibrate.

Okay, go ahead.

Remember, vast forces are at play, personal and impersonal, and they are always at play, because the moment is always the present moment. There no more exists a dead past or a dead future than there exists dead matter. Everything is alive; everything is in flux continually, — only rather than “in flux” we would say is “alive and growing,” or “alive and choosing,” or “alive and interacting.”

What this means in practice is that instead of you thinking of a stable picture that gets perturbed, you should be thinking of perturbation as the stability. Continual interaction, in other words, is the norm. Change is not interruption or incident; it is the air we breathe.

This means, you see, that any present moment of reality anywhere involves the totality of being. There is no such thing as a local unconnected incident, if you examine things closely enough.

“All is one” again.

Well, we never said it isn’t true, only that it is misinterpreted, and accepted superstitiously rather than intelligently.

Because everything is connected does not mean everything is equally important at any given time-place (as 3D is experienced). But the relative importance of this and that fluctuates not by size or inherent nature or even by what is going on around it: It fluctuates according to intensity. You see?

No, but I am beginning to, maybe. It is different for each of us at any given moment because at any given moment each of us will be lighting up different things. Each of us will be lending this or that some of our own intensity, you might say.

That’s more the idea. What you concentrate on (deliberately or in reaction to some stimulus) acquires greater intensity. In effect, you promote it to greater importance. Not permanently, not for anyone else exactly, but at that moment and for yourself.

I am deliberately going slowly. I feel like I have about a fingertip’s grasp on the material.

Well, take these sessions as an example of just what we are talking about! You intend to hold a conversation with us. That is, it is held as important in your mind. You get up, you make coffee, you sit at your desk, you write with your pen, you even hold your fluorite crystal in your other hand in case it can help you concentrate. This is all intent and what we might call bodily indicators of intent, you see. The bodily indicators by themselves help, because they are habits, and habits encourage the mind to return to a familiar routine – you can’t call it “routine train of thought,” exactly; call it “routine area of interest.” But bodily indicators by themselves do not suffice; they degenerate into rote and superstition unless maintained in connection with active will.

I think of intellectual Thomas Merton – is this your thought prompting me? – praying and knowing the difference between active mental (spiritual?) practice and going through the motions. He must have seen the difference very clearly in his decades in the monastery.

But that [individual] mental intent flickers, if unassisted by habit. This is the origin of, and reason for, so many religious practices, you see. (We know that it is unfashionable to appreciate them, but after all any attitude toward anything not well understood will soon resemble bias more than understanding.) At any given moment, an independent mind may outshine minds in harness to a routine such as prayer, but over time, prayer bounded by – assisted by – routine and by community will attain a higher average level, so to speak, than will the fluctuating individual. One might say it is a function of a spiritually oriented community to provide a continuing average encouragement in a certain direction. This applies whether you look at a Benedictine monastery or a Gurdjieff community or a Zen Buddhist temple or whatever. Islam attempts to make every day a day of habitual prayer (five times a day, and in public) as a way of doing what the medieval church in Europe did.

Got interrupted just now. Continue?

That little aside was to show you that what we are discussing has its practical application in your everyday life. (If it did not, why bother talking about it? Instead we would talk about something that did have practical application.)

Now, as we have said from the beginning, you continually choose what you want to be, and this is one aspect of that process. If you repeatedly fix your intent upon one thing, it in effect acquires a relatively permanent importance in the scheme of things. You “voted” to make it more important (to put it into Ed Carter’s terms). You emphasized one thing and in the process automatically de-emphasized its opposite. You said, “I choose to value this, to be this, and not that.” (You might, of course, have said you choose to be this and that, and in effect not the other; our point is not rejection so much as selection. Even choosing to accept everything would be in effect to reject the option of rejecting something.)

So if I get the point of this, you are describing the mechanism of “create your reality.” We fixate on what we fixate on, and that assumes correspondingly greater importance.

That is a very acceptable way to see it. Now, bear in mind the distinction we are beginning to draw between personal and impersonal forces; between personal and impersonal reality.

Yes, I see it. Although I don’t have a clear idea of what the vast personal forces are, at the moment, I can see that they would be the things that would directly enter into our choice. Seth concentrated on these in order to restore to us our sense of our power. But there are also vast impersonal forces in play that need to be taken into account, if we are to have a more complete picture.

That’s correct. Your intent for the ever-present ever-current living moment is not the whole story – how could you think it is, when your whole lives tell you otherwise? You have to factor in the existence and influence of the vast impersonal forces that create the “weather” in which you do your intending. If you will hold in mind an image of any given present moment being more a trance than an objectively bounded condition, you will be in a place to continue. So let’s pause here.

Okay. See you next time. Thanks as always.


TGU — the trance of the living present moment

Sunday, May 13, 2018

4:35 a.m. Okay, yesterday you talked about vast forces impersonal and personal. You said you also wanted to talk about the trance of the living present moment.

The trance that is woven by those forces, you see.

Well, I don’t see, not yet, but I imagine you intend to show me.

We do. Remember, this refers to the interface between personal reality and impersonal reality.

Hmm. The first Seth book I ever read was called The Nature of Personal Reality, but it never occurred to me until this moment that it might imply a corresponding impersonal reality.

But now it appears obvious, which tells you something.

Yes. It tells me that I wasn’t very perceptive, and that the very obviousness of the congruence of the two indicates that the perception that it implies is right.

Your very life should have told you that what Seth was saying wasn’t the whole story.

Should have, but didn’t.

Seth was trying to fill out the picture. In the 1970s, the West took for granted that reality was impersonal. He was there to say, “No, you are not flies trapped in amber. You create your reality.” Only, that was a corrective, not a full statement, and was so deliberately, as only an exaggerated emphasis on one end would compensate for the exaggerated emphasis on the other end that was an entire materialist civilization’s assumptions. It was Seth against the world, so to speak. But now you live in the world Seth helped reshape, and it’s time to re-trim the ship again.

What you’re saying makes sense.

Thank you.

Very funny. You know what I mean.

We do. And in a mild way, we mean thank you – thank you for not putting Seth up on a pedestal either. [“Either,” I take it, meaning because I don’t put TGU there anymore either.]

Well, I do regard him as the gold standard in these things.

And that is warranted. What would not be warranted would be to canonize an idea of Seth, or to treat his every word and concept as if sacred and not subject to reconsideration according to context. So, thank you for remembering not to do that. As soon as you regard as final someone’s words (which, realize, will always amount to your understanding of those words), you have lost most of the value of those words. Words are meant to be sparks, remember, not nails in a coffin. Didn’t Seth say that he came in this way – as words rather than as a physical presence – so that people would not be able to turn him into a prophet, and his words into scripture?

It’s a common tendency, though. You know that.

That is why we are thanking you for not succumbing to the temptation.

Now, you may think this is a diversion from our topic, but in fact it is an illustration of it. It is the

Yes, I hear it: Slow down, recalibrate. I notice I get that message usually when you are about to unpack a complicated concept.

That’s when it is usually needed. If it is only a matter of your expressing what we are saying – your finding words for the knowings or feelings that are coming through – you do that fluently, product of long practice at writing plus long practice, by now, of that kind of translation. It is when we come to a bundle of interconnected ideas that we or you have not tried to put into sequential thought – which is what language consists of, sequential thought – that we sometimes need you to change gears, slow way down, reach for the understanding and allow itself to unfold within you.

I have usually experienced that as my being impetuous, and needing to restrain it.

That is true relatively; in those instances, you see, you are overrunning the process. You are moving at your customary pace, but over terrain that doesn’t justify that pace. It isn’t a criticism of you or of your practice; it is a readjustment so you don’t run out of breath on the uphill slope, so to speak.

Okay. That’s an interesting way to think of it. So, you were saying?

[The following came out as one long paragraph, which I went back and reformatted as bullets, for easier understanding.]

The trance of the present moment consists of several elements.

  • Every individual’s private world.
  • The sum of those private worlds.
  • The drag of what was established previously, and
  • The drag of what is in process.
  • The “weather” provided by the interface of the vast impersonal and personal forces upon these individual private worlds.

That’s a lot of unpacking in prospect.

Yes it is. But as so often, you will see that what you wind up with is a mixture of the familiar and the unfamiliar, both more strange and less strange than you might expect. As usual, we’re showing you things you already experience, but from our viewpoint rather than yours, and in a different context. What we are always painting isn’t hard, it’s just different.

So let’s go down the list, annotating, and see what we have.

I’ll put your graf into bullet points when I transcribe this.

Good idea. You might mention (but you didn’t, so we will) that you were tempted to do so as we gave them to you, but didn’t know if there would be enough to warrant it. That is an example of the kind of editing-on-the-fly that the work entails. We mention it lest others be deterred as you were once, when they realize that they are an integral part of the process of deciding how the thought is presented. We are not Seth, dictating.

Yes, I get that. In some ways it would be easier on me if you were.

You wouldn’t stand for it, and anyway that isn’t the need at this point. Very well, the bullets:

  • Every individual’s private world. Your life as you experience it. What you are accustomed to calling your subjective life. This is the only inner reality you know.
  • The sum of those private worlds. You are not the world. Everyone else has a private world that is the world to them. Reality consists of all these worlds separately and all these worlds considered as one thing.
  • The drag of what was established previously. This might be subdivided, because it includes many things often considered individually. Your cultural heritage. The physical reality of whatever has been done: buildings constructed, rivers dredged, hilltops strip-mined, etc. The habits and perceptions that are embedded in experience – hunters’ wisdom, say; skills and trades and accustomed routines.
  • The drag of what is in process. This is not so easily seen until described, but call it the tendencies established by whatever is in existence as a result of past actions. The zeitgeist, in a restricted sense. The age’s idea of what is realistic and possible, and of what is fantastic and even unthinkable.
  • The weather. This of course requires a lot of discussion, but for now let’s say the aspect of the zeitgeist that is the way any present moment is affected by the vast forces that are not generated by human mental activity but do affect on-going human mental activity.

Your present moment is never as simple and straightforward as it appears.

No, clearly not.

Well, the interaction of so many factors is what we are calling the trance of the present moment.

I haven’t quite worked out what you’re wanting to add, there.

It is a common way to see the present moment that we’re trying to see how to undermine, and it is our hesitation you experience.

Interesting. Your hesitation. I was assuming it was mine.

That’s why we pointed it out, to correct the idea.

Let’s say this. Any given present moment is not simply the addition of a moment of time to a fixed past. We know it looks that way to a certain habit of mind, but it isn’t so. Neither is it tabula rasa, totally malleable to any individual will. (If you think it is, try moving Egypt to Indonesia, or if that’s too hard, try reversing the result of any recent public action, or, for that matter, relocating yourself across the world – or next door! – instantly.) The present moment is always an interface, and it is more plastic than fixed, but fixed in the limits of the boundaries of the factors that surround or inform that plasticity.

Did I get that right? It doesn’t sound right.

We mean, it is fixed but not by physical inertia nor even by mental inertia. Rather, it is more like a trance than a ratio, or the results of a formula.

Some good unpacking, here. Enough for today.

Okay. Thanks as always, and until next time.


America’s Long Journey: The Mexican War


The story of how Texas won its independence in 1836 is told in its own section, below. From 1836 to 1845, Texas led a precarious existence as an independent republic, officially recognized by Great Britain, France, and the United States, but desiring to join the Union. When Texas did finally enter the Union as the 28th state on December 29, 1845, war with Mexico soon followed.

Here, as elsewhere, it is important to remember that hindsight varies with the times. Sometimes certainties are merely our own unconscious prejudices. It is tempting to see that war as simple American aggression against a relatively blameless neighbor. Indeed, many saw it that way at the time, and it shocked those who thought of the United States as a new beginning in world affairs. Emerson said it as part of a poem:

“But who is he that prates Of the culture of mankind, Of better arts and life? Go, blind worm, go, Behold the famous States Harrying Mexico With rifle and with knife.”

Most Whigs opposed the war, wanting to strengthen the economy with industrialization, rather than expand it. Most Democrats, on the other hand, supported expansion as the nation’s “manifest destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free development of our yearly multiplying millions.” At any rate it wasn’t as simple as President Polk made it out to be in his message to Congress, in which he said that Mexico had “shed American blood upon American soil.”

But whatever the ultimate rights and wrongs of the situation, Mexican actions in crossing the Rio Grande and attacking American soldiers had precipitated a state of war, and then the war had to be fought and won. Once it came to war, the situation had a logic of its own.

Mexico was in political chaos, insolvent, with no conceivable way to pay the many outstanding financial claims against it except perhaps to cede the territories of New Mexico and California in return for the American government undertaking to pay Mexico’s claims. These territories, though long part of Mexico, were largely frontier lands, unsettled, ungoverned, and unprotected, with Americans, rather than Mexicans, constituting much of the non-native population. The fear was that if the United States did not take possession, they might fall to the British Empire, then in its heyday.

What’s more, the people of Northern Mexico didn’t necessarily object to the transfer of sovereignty. In the 25 years since Mexico became independent in 1821, it had become less and less able to defend the northern half of the country. Comanche, Apache, and Navajo Indians, especially Comanche, engaged in large-scale raids hundreds of miles into the country, stealing livestock and killing thousands of people. When American troops entered northern Mexico in 1846, they found a demoralized people who offered little resistance, perhaps preferring their new masters to their old, perhaps not, but at any rate appreciating the greater security that the American military presence promised.

The genesis of the war was simple enough. Texas had won its independence in 1836 on the battlefield at San Jacinto, in which Sam Houston’s army captured Mexican president (and general) Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. Santa Anna had signed the Treaties of Valasco, which recognized the Rio Grande as the boundary of the Republic of Texas, but the government of Mexico repudiated the treaties, did not concede the Texas independence, and insisted that in any case the Nueces River was the limit of the territory that it controlled de facto.

For political reasons, the Congressional resolution annexing Texas deliberately omitted any mention of the Rio Grande boundary, but when the Republic of Texas became the 28th state, the United States inherited its territorial claims. President Polk sent General Zachary Taylor to Texas, and by October 3,500 Americans were on the Nueces River, ready to occupy the disputed land. In November, Polk sent a secret representative to Mexico City to offer $25 million for the Rio Grande border in Texas, to forgive the $3 million owed to U.S. citizens for damages caused by the Mexican War of Independence [from Spain] 25 years earlier, and to pay another $25 to $30 million in exchange for the two territories of Alta California and Santa Fe de Nuevo México.

Mexicans refused to deal. When president Jose Joaquin de Herrera considered receiving the president’s envoy, he was accused of treason and deposed, and a more nationalistic government publicly reaffirmed Mexico’s claim to Texas.

At this, President Polk ordered General Zachary Taylor south to the Rio Grande, about 150 miles south of the Nueces. Mexico demanded that Taylor withdraw. Instead, Taylor constructed a makeshift fort on the banks of the Rio Grande opposite the city of Matamoros. On April 25, 1846, a 2,000-strong detachment of Mexican cavalry attacked a 70-man U.S. patrol, routing it and killing 16 American soldiers. American blood had been shed, to be sure. On American soil? Polk thought so, or pretended to think so, and sent a message to Congress saying so. Congress approved a declaration of war on May 13.

Santa Anna persuaded the Americans that he would work to sell the contested territory at a reasonable price, and he persuaded the Mexicans that he just wanted to fight for his country. Or course, as soon as he got command of an army, he double-crossed everybody, declaring himself president and trying to fight off the Americans.

In May, Taylor and 2,400 troops defeated 3,400 Mexicans in the Battle of Resaca de la Palma, in fierce hand to hand combat. Taylor’s troops crossed the Rio Grande and took the city of Monterrey, then in February, 1847, held the mountain pass at Buena Vista against an attack by 15,000 Mexican troops led by Santa Anna personally. A second army under General Winfield Scott was transported by sea to the port of Veracruz, and on March 9, 1847, Scott performed the first major amphibious landing in U.S. history, using specially designed landing craft and 12,000 volunteer and regular soldiers to offload supplies, weapons, and horses. Veracruz surrendered after 12 days. Scott then marched westward toward Mexico City, defeated Santa Anna at Cerro Gordo, captured Puebla, the second largest city in Mexico, and successfully stormed Mexico City in August.

Meanwhile, a U.S. cavalry force reinforced by a Pacific fleet had invaded western Mexico, lest Britain seize the area. California was won by army and navy operations, culminating in the treaty of Cahuenga on January 13, 1847.

President Polk achieved his goal of American territorial expansion to the Pacific coast. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo forced Mexico to cede Alta California and New Mexico to the United States in exchange for $15 million and the assumption by the United States of $3.25 million of debt owed by the Mexican government to U.S. citizens. Altogether, adding up territory lost by the secession of Texas, the territory ceded after the war, and the Gasden Purchase of 1853, Mexico’s land-mass was reduced by more than 55%. However, the land lost was mostly empty of Mexicans. Alta California contained only about 14,000 Mexicans; Nuevo México, fewer than 60,000. Of those, the great majority chose to remain where they were rather than relocate to the south.

With time and politics, the war came to be seen in the North as a Southern plot to gain new territory geographically suited for the expansion of Slavery, and that view, though not complete, was not wrong. The question of whether the newly acquired territories were to be free or slave brought the Union closer to Civil War. It might have come in 1850 – almost did – but in 1850 political opinion in the North had not been hardened by a decade of ever-increasing defiance, insolence, and invective hurled at it day by day by representatives of the South. That defiance stemmed from a sense of injustice, as the Southerners saw what looked to them like a conspiracy to deprive them of the spoils of a war that had been largely fought by Southern troops. President Ulysses S. Grant, who served in Mexico under General Taylor as a young army lieutenant, said in his Memoirs: “The Southern rebellion was largely the outgrowth of the Mexican war. Nations, like individuals, are punished for their transgressions. We got our punishment in the most sanguinary and expensive war of modern times.

TGU – Vast personal forces

Saturday, May 12, 2018

10:55 a.m. Shall we go again? It’s easier than trying to do the work I find runs so counter to my grain. Notes and logical analysis and all that – necessary to do what you want done, and I hope it will be done by somebody for whom it is as easy as these conversations are for me. Why can’t we each stick to our specialty?

In any case – more?

We can’t do this together all day, but we can do more if you wish, bearing in mind that you won’t be doing it next weekend. [My AIG weekend course runs from next Friday to Sunday.]

We ended somewhat abruptly, I felt. Maybe that was me, looking at the clock and seeing that our usual hour had elapsed.

Or that you were at the end of a page? No, such things might enter into a breaking of a connection, but at other times you might go 70 or 80 minutes. No need to assume that you abandoned ship. If we ended abruptly, perhaps that has as much to do with the deep waters we are about to plunge into as with the lapse of time.

You were at the end of a section, you mean?

It was a reasonable place to pause, put it that way.

Initially you said you wanted to discuss vast impersonal forces, vast personal forces, and the trance of the living present moment.

Nor will we do more than begin on any of the three topics, of course. But, as a way of providing an initial orienting view, fine. So let us leave off the topic of impersonal forces for the moment, and touch on the subject of the vast personal forces that frame and influence and even animate your 3D lives.

I’m getting the sense that there’s less difference between the two than the adjectives would suggest.

It’s always more a matter of perspective than of any absolute relation. If you look at any two things from one angle, you see the ways in which they are connected. Look at them from a different angle, and the differences are accented. So long as you remember this, you won’t go making absolute (and therefore arbitrary) distinctions that in their absoluteness become unreal.

Why do religions stress the personal relation between the individual and the divine, do you suppose?

Can we take that as a given? Animism? Buddhism, for that matter? Pantheism?

Good reservation, but look slowly. Even if we take Buddhism to be a religion, does it not center on each person? If we take animism or pantheism to be religions in the same way as what are called “the higher religions,” do they not center on the relation of the person to All That Is? For this moment, we are centering our discussion not on any religion’s idea of God or gods or any formulation, but instead on the believer. We maintain that all religions stress that the person is not stranded among uncaring forces that take no notice of him. Is that a clearer way to state it?

It is clearer; I don’t know still if I can agree with it – and you did ask if I did.

By implication, yes we did. Very well, let us drop the implication and return to making flat statements subject to your later examination.

That might be easier.

“Jesus loves me.” Powerful statement. “God is love”: In some ways a less powerful statement, or a more powerful, depending entirely upon whether the soil the seed falls on is fertile or stony.

I am feeling that you would like to give other examples, but I’m not familiar enough with them.

It needn’t be confined to what you (any of you) call religion. The work of Emoto demonstrates what we might call oneness in compassion. Any way of seeing the unbroken oneness of creation sooner or later comes to the oneness of that creation with its creator – and when it does, who cares (in a sense) how that creator is conceptualized? Now, you do care, obviously, because if that creator is seen as The God of Wrath, or as a tyrant in the image of an ancient Near Eastern king, or of Thomas Hardy’s conception –

“Like flies to boys are we to the gods, They kill us for their sport.”

[Incorrectly remembered. The actual lines, from King Lear: “As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods, They kill us for their sport.”]

It makes a difference. The Good Shepherd is a radically different concept. But even a god conceptualized as a vengeful demanding tyrant may still embody (so to speak) the personal element. “You’d better follow his commandments or he’ll clap you into hell when you die, and maybe torment you while you’re still alive.” You see? It isn’t pleasant, it isn’t even entirely sane, but it is a personal relation, as if you were living with a vitriolic unpredictable father. Even that may be in some ways preferable to being an orphan whom no one cares for.

Obviously – we hope it is obviously! – we aren’t advocating any of these conceptualizations as the only accurate way to see it. Instead, we are saying, people have always felt that personal relation to forces that otherwise seem entirely not personal. It is not as simple as saying your ancestors were stupid cowardly superstitious people who personified impersonal manifestations so that they would feel more comfortable. In fact, you could very nearly make the opposite accusation against your contemporary dyed-in-the-wool materialists, and say that they ignore all evidence of teleology in nature, all evidence of non-sensory interaction, all evidence of the created-ness of creation, solely because they find it more comfortable to believe in a mostly dead universe without meaning.

No, people sense these vast personal forces, they just don’t have any commonly agreed upon way of looking at them.

So I take it you are going to suggest such a way?

That’s what we’re doing, right along, of course. Sure. Only, as always, absorb the idea, then wrestle with it. What you reject and reconfigure may be an advance in everybody’s understanding. But – again as always – you can’t get anywhere by refusing to consider a thing except in so far as it agrees with what you already think. How can you experience the clarifying shock of unrecognition if you refuse to look at things you have previously rejected, or refuse to look at things in a new context?

You might think of the vast personal forces in your life as local variants of the vast impersonal forces.

That needs translating. The image that comes to mind is electrical, transformers stepping down current.

A serviceable analogy, if a bit impersonal

Well, a dialect as opposed to a language.

Let’s say, speakers of a dialect, as opposed to speakers of a larger language. Yes, that’s getting there. or families as opposed to clans as opposed to nations as opposed to all humanity as opposed to all mammals, etc. You do have the basic idea there. Unlike the vast impersonal forces that are like the weather, products of forces beyond you, the vast personal forces we refer to are very much the byproduct of human mental and emotional activity. That activity usually results in physical activity, but it is the mental field itself that concerns us at the moment.

But this is enough for now. In the first place, we’d just as soon end on a suggestive rather than a definitive note, and in the second place, this is as much as a usual session, and enough is enough. Don’t come back for another bite of the apple today. If you do, we can’t stop you, but why should you ignore counsel given for your benefit?

I know, remember what happened to Edgar Cayce when he refused to listen.

Remember what happens to Frank DeMarco when he refuses to listen!

Smiling. Got it. Okay, till next time.