Monday, January 27, 2020

3:50 a.m. So, about those vast impersonal forces – ?

We smile too. It seems to you we endlessly circle around a promised coming attraction and make no  move toward it. But as you know, this method of ours is not chosen casually, nor whimsically. Only by becoming thoroughly familiar with a concept, so that you can take it for granted, can you establish a context for seeing something new, or for seeing something familiar as new, because seen differently.

Shared subjectivity as a concept to replace our idea of objectivity or “the world out there,” as one example.

Yes. When you can see the world as alive in all respects, you can see yourselves and your relation to it differently. How many ways we have said the same thing! And the problem is that most of our words are wasted. Words are among the least efficient ways to convey new understanding. They can do it, but only as sparks (poetry, say) or as long chains of exposition, basically describing everything in order to show anything in a new light. And who can describe everything?

Your words are mostly wasted, I take it, because mostly we recipients consciously or unconsciously take in new concepts only to warp them by attaching them to old concepts.

Yes, and pretty much by necessity. You can’t reinvent your understanding of the world every time you read (or receive) a new transmission. But to say that is merely to say it isn’t anybody’s fault, it’s just the limitations of the situation. We ask you to transcend, knowing full well how little able anyone is at any given moment – but also knowing that every so often, the right words spoken in the right way will allow someone to get it. That private, individual, irreproducible, unpredictable moment is the sunflower seed for which all this shelling of husks is worth doing.

I get that. I hope you didn’t strain yourselves with that metaphor.

Oddly, it “came to us,” as you might say, and we adopted it because it gave a sense of a tiny return for a seemingly disproportionate effort.

Okay, Farmer Brown, now what?

Now, another attempt, of course.

  • The idea of shared subjectivity is to eliminate the unconscious idea of a division between subjective and objective, between individuals and the world they live in. We’re all one thing. There is no them and us, no here and there, no then and now, except relatively, for sorting-out purposes, one might say.
  • Therefore, to speak of “vast impersonal forces” is merely to remind you that the interaction between “you” and “the world” is continuous and at all levels.
  • Therefore, too, “vast impersonal forces” and “vast personal forces” are two ways of saying the same thing because they are two ways of experiencing the same things.
  • You do not exist in a vacuum. The world does not revolve around you. Yet you do not revolve around the world, either. Neither do you and the world exist in parallel, nor is the world any more an illusion than is your life. Mistranslated, yes. Other than it seems, yes. Imperfectly understood, yes. But you live. Your life is real. The world exists. The shared subjectivity is

In other words, “Maya” doesn’t mean sleight of hand, but more like “seen in a mist”?

Leave off tying this to other concepts.

Oops. You’re right, sorry.

  • The forces that flow through your life may be equally well described as the currents in your particular life reflect (and affect) the times you live in. This is a cliché, seen one way. Seen another way, it is a door opening outward.

If a strong wind blows, it will be experienced as good or evil not by its intrinsic nature (which is neither) but by the effect it has. Sailboats react to the same wind as do windmills and trees. Same wind; three different effects. And if it is a hurricane, well, hurricanes have beneficial effects, usually unnoticed because of the destruction that accompanies them, but in any case the hurricane has nothing of good or evil in its composition. It is; it is not good or evil. Its effects may be bad from one point of view and good from another, but its effects have nothing to do with its intrinsic nature.

As I was writing that, I got a sense of a hurricane being a huge release of stress, like an earthquake.

A relative rebalancing, yes. How many people, reading of (or, still less, experiencing) a hurricane, think of it as a necessary rebalancing of forces? Yet it is so.

I don’t know why it should seem to be a new idea, this uncoupling of a thing’s nature from its effects, but that is how it is striking me.

You are experiencing the effect of seeing it from a different viewpoint. You all your life have seen hurricanes as destructive forces – that is, you have seen them from the point of view of individuals experiencing their effects. Now you saw them as natural rebalancing; that is, you saw them from the point of view of the world at large.

Pray tell, how is it helpful to draw a physical analogy to non-physical processes, but not helpful to draw on our metaphysical understandings to incorporate new statements? Never mind, it is clear as soon as I state it.

But not necessarily clear to all. Go ahead.

A 3D analogue illustrates; a non-3D analogue tends to correlate. Not the same thing at all.

Examples provide vivid mental images. Connections to existing beliefs produce logic-chains, and that isn’t the same thing at all. It is the difference between a gestalt and a computer program.

Got it. You expressed it better than I could.

No, actually, it’s the same process. Continuing to look at the same problem results, sometimes, in added clarity. Another way to say it, pulling the same bit of yarn sometimes untangles the skein. If you keep at it, clearer ways of seeing emerge, and it doesn’t matter so much whether your 3D or your non-3D intelligence, or both, or both alternately, does the pulling.

But if our minds are in the non-3D –?

Your minds are in the non-3D. Your 3D expression receives that mind partly directly (intuition) and partly indirectly (via the brain), and in both cases expresses through the limited subjectivity that is you. So, there’s a difference. You might say (inaccurately, but productively) that TGU represents the world at large and your own 3D-oriented consciousness represents the unique product of your 3D experience.


After all, everything mixes.

Okay, I see that. What may be separated for the purposes of analysis isn’t necessarily really separate at all.

Let’s say, rarely or never separates cleanly. The trick is to see things one way, then another, remembering that any one view is only an approximation. The end in view is not to convince but to inspire.

You can’t convince anybody of anything anyway.

Not in the sense of mentally over-awing, no, nor would it be good if one could. But one can set forth a shower of sparks, any one of which may be the one, to ignite the fabric, leading to illumination.

I swear, you are overworking your metaphor-producing machine.

You will find that the image of flying sparks persists beyond the memory of the chain of words that produced it. And enough for the moment.

So, today’s theme?


Okay. And our next theme?

The usefulness of individual interpretation of hurricanes. That isn’t really accurate, but it will start us up.

Okay, our thanks as always.


Overcoming the perils of reform

Thursday, November 4, 2010

8 AM. So what are the counter factors? What is the value and limitation and possibility of social reform, say?

If your society contains obvious injustices, if it squelches initiative, stunts potential, breeds frustration, all of this is added to the difficulties that arise. Remove any difficulty and the way gets easier, right? But – how can you tell what is the right thing to do? Sometimes it is clear, and yet sometimes what is clear is clear mostly because your vision is single. How do you go about correcting the world’s injustices without creating greater injustices both directly and indirectly? The problem is harder and more involved than it may at first appear.

The people who overthrew the czarist empire knew what they were trying to overcome – the dead hand of the past in many forms. But would they have been as happy to see the Czar deposed if they had known that he would be replaced first by chaos, then by civil war, then by Lenin, then by Stalin? Would they have been happy to learn that they were creating the conditions that would lead to fascism, and Nazism, and an even worse world war than they were trying to escape? It is not possible to envision even the intermediate-term consequences, let alone the long-term consequences, of one’s actions.

The liberals of the 1930s who wanted the United States actively engaged against the obvious evils of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy – would they have been so undivided in their political certainties if they could have foreseen the Cold War and the arms race and Imperial America? And the same questions could be put rhetorically to any and every partisan of any and every cause – did your triumphs bring peace on earth and the regeneration of man, or did every intensification of the struggle lead to further intensification, with the goal ever receding?

This isn’t to say do nothing. Was it wrong to free the slaves? Was it wrong to enfranchise Southern blacks in the 1960s? Was it wrong to destroy Hitler and outlast Communism in Russia? But don’t expect that the force that intensifies tensions and hatreds (because it brings up fears) is going to lead where it can’t.

Dr. Jung pointed out somewhere that consciousness tends toward goals, leaving the opposites of those goals to fall out of consciousness, which leaves them powerful and autonomous. Hence, poetic justice but hence, also, the turning of good intentions into bad results.

“Resist not evil” was rooted in just that understanding of unseen forces. If you wish to overcome something, you must transcend it, not oppose it. John Lewis’s way leads toward reconciliation. Stokely Carmichael’s way leads to the stoking of more racism, more violence.

Nice pun.

Not so nice a result, though.

Dr. Jung, I think it was, said that symbols have no opposite, hence do not create the split in consciousness that logic does, or dialectic. What’s symbols should we (or might we) use to create greater wholeness in ourselves and in society?

Each person will find symbols appropriate to his or her inner state. Only try to find symbols of wholeness, not of partisanship, or the symbols will do more harm than good. The Nazis united behind the swastika, after all. It gave them great strength, and naturally built up opposition to them proportionately. The peace sign, the green flag, anything that is meant as a banner in a war will have the same immediate effect, and the same longer-term counter-effect. Think what happened when the American flag was first rejected by the left then adopted by the right within the past 50 years. It ceased to be the symbol of unity even internally, and of course its extension overseas has created an ever-greater opposition, just by being there.

If you must march beneath banners, fine. Just don’t think you’re bringing better times with you. Maybe Armageddon is fought, not for the Lord, but because the Lord is not among the warriors. Or to put it another way, perhaps battles are fought chiefly in the name of all-transcendent realities that cannot be so misappropriated without correspondingly great damage automatically flowing as consequences.

And yet it is true that evil exists.

Yes, and it is true that the chief cause of problems is solutions, as the newsman said whom you like to quote. “Resist not evil” does not mean, put up with it. It means, transcend it. John Lewis showed you the way, and Gandhi before him, and Henry Thoreau in principle before them. If you must put your body on the line, you must do so for the good of all – of those whose demons are leading them to play the oppressor as well as those whose demons are leading them to play the oppressed – or you will be at best neutral and may easily become an evil yourself, either in your actions or in the forces you help liberate.

There is a difference between an anti-war movement and a peace movement; between an anti-segregation movement and an integration movement; between anything aimed against, which means outward, which means proceeding from rejection, which means ultimately proceeding from fear, on the one hand, and the only true opposite which is love.

Love in action seems so weak and frail, and cannot be successfully resisted because it incorporates that which struggles against it.

Thank you for all this.

Shared subjectivity

Sunday, January 26, 2020

3:30 a.m. I have been asked a question I am reluctant to try to answer, for more than one reason, and overnight, it occurred to me there was a very good reason for my reluctance, more than just a hesitation to impose my interpretation.

It’s worth pursuing. Perhaps we are part of the source of your reluctance (assuming a difference between us and you, rather than a difference in emphasis).

I remembered that you said at some point that it is a big mistake to try to understand new material by merely fitting it into our established understandings.

Yes. It is one form of “nothing but,” and prevents or at least retards the making of new connections from a different point of view. It only reinforces the old one.

To be clear, the specific question was if shared subjectivity was more or less what some people call consensus reality. The first reason I couldn’t answer the question is that I don’t know what either term means, and the second is that although I have a pretty good sense of shared subjectivity, I don’t know at all what others mean by consensus reality. I know what I think they mean, sort of.

You have a deeper reluctance than that, rooted in the ambivalence you have always had about New Age certainties and ideas that became dogmas.

Yes, that’s so.

However, let us look at shared subjectivity, so that instead of giving our opinion of what someone may mean about what they may or may not have understood, we can talk of what we know.

My sense of it is that you are saying that the “external” world is as alive and as eternal as our individual internal worlds; it is not a dead fixed thing any more than matter is dead units occupying space.

That, but more than that. Internal and external are the same thing, the same process, the same working-out of the interplay of forces. Only, just as any one body is one body among all living and dead humanity, so one 3D mind is one mind among all living and no longer living (in 3D) minds. You are the center of your mental universe; everybody is. Extend that idea and you see a universe of live minds, not a hierarchy.

That was too cryptic.

Think of it as a summary statement delivered in advance of the exposition.

  • You are each the center; hence, there is no one center, no implied hierarchy of “central” and “less central” and “more central.”
  • You are each the universe in miniature, and at the same time you are each a splinter of the entirety.

Fractals? Bits of a hologram?

Those are analogies, not bad ones but, as with all analogies, not identical with what is being epitomized.

  • There is no “then” in the real world. The time is always “now.” The year 1865 is no less alive now. Ten minutes ago is no less alive now than it was then. This has consequences. Thinking of the moving moment of “now” as differentiating between what is briefly alive as opposed to what is dead or not yet existent distorts reality.

I think the point requires emphasizing. When you first got it across to me, it clarified a lot that otherwise made no sense.

There is nothing dead, be it moments of time or the things contained in those moments. But your access to any moment except “now” is non-existent in 3D, by design. (Access via non-3D is another thing.) We’ve said all this.

  • Every thing, every mind, every moment of time, being alive, where is there room for anything to be fixed, unalterable, dead?
  • Everything being part of everything, where is there room for division and separations other than in a relative sense?
  • These things being so, surely it follows that “individual” is only a localized version of “universal.”

Not sure that will be understood as meant.

Is anything?

Very funny.

Everything we have said or will say is simple and self-evident when seen from the right standing-place, and is convoluted and even irritating when seen from other standing-places.

That gave me a whole new idea of how you work.

And necessarily. [That is, how they work by necessity.] But spell it out.

By giving us descriptions of how things are, sometimes in great detail, you provide us with something to react against. By how irritating or how opaque it is, we can tell how far off we are. When we stand in the right place, it snaps into clarity.

We can’t quite sign off on that way of putting it. That makes it sound like we are confusing people deliberately. But true, that’s the effect. Our plainest statement is mystifying if you try to cram it into an accustomed way of seeing things that does not fit. You can’t believe both that every thing is alive and that the universe is composed mostly of dead matter; nor both that every moment (and its contents) is alive and that the universe is composed mostly of dead matter.

Until you choose a perspective, two contrary perspectives will be a jumble of incompatibles. But an excellent way of realigning your view is to adopt multiple viewpoints, for just that reason.

That is – I’m pretty sure you mean – if we want to escape our accustomed limited perspective, one way to escape it is to tentatively adopt another, and see where the discontinuities are between them. Does that mean we can never come to a fixed perspective?

Not at all; people do it all the time. This is for when your previous certainties no longer satisfy but you can’t quite see your way to a higher synthesis. But no matter how high your present viewpoint, there is always another to be achieved, now or later.

You promised Rita she would never be bored, because she’d never come to the end of mental exploration.

That is confining it a bit, but true enough.

One thing you said seems so obvious, it may bear repeating and restating.

It isn’t difficult. To learn something new as an added item in your inventory, you connect it to what you know. That is not what we are doing together here. Here we are suspending what we know as concepts and rather than trying to add something new, we are trying to look at what we already know from a different angle, to see how our new standing-point may be. So, to try to add new viewpoints to old structures is to defeat the purpose. Again, we have said this many times, but, as we have also said many times, the temptation is very hard for 3D-oriented minds to resist. Addition always seems more sensible than substitution or deliberately imposed uncertainty.

And I’d bet that most people, most of the time, read what you just said, nod agreement, and continue to try to fit whatever you say into their comfortable accustomed mental categories.

You should know.

Touché. Are you accusing me of being human?

We’d never do that; you do it enough yourself. Enough for the moment.

Our thanks as always. What should we title this session?

Shared subjectivity.

Okay. Thanks.


First Continental Congress

The American revolution was a snowball rolling downhill, gathering mass and momentum as it went. Conspiracy theorists see a deep design behind each new event. Coincidence theorists argue that the revolution “just happened,” because of this or that decision or action.

Well, it didn’t “just happen,” but neither was it planned. We of a later age can see that many of the events were the unintended consequences of decisions made for other reasons, but on the other hand, those events had their own logic, rooted in a century and a half of de facto American self government. The way America was governed was going to change, but it didn’t have to change in just the way it did. The specifics were determined by chance, or divine providence, or destiny, however you choose to think the world’s events are determined. The one thing we may be sure of is that no one envisioned what happened.

Take, for example, the First Continental Congress. Who really brought it into being, the colonists, or Parliament? You could argue it either way. The delegates were meeting to coordinate a response to what were called the Intolerable Acts. Parliamentary spokesmen might have replied, accurately, that the acts were passed in response to the Boston Tea Party, which took place the previous December. Colonists might have replied that “the Tea Party only took place because…” You get the idea. You can always find a preceding cause for anything.

We’ll get to the Boston Tea Party in the next section. You know what happened anyway. To English eyes, it was an act of vandalism and defiance that had the complicity of the colonial government of Massachusetts. As all governments think themselves obliged to do, it took firm measures, and, as usually happens, those actions proved to have unexpected and undesired consequences.

The acts were:

The Boston Port Act, which closed the port until the East India Company should be repaid for the tea that was destroyed.

The Massachusetts Government Act, which suspended the legislative functions of the colonial government, and the Administration of Justice Act, which provided that royal officials accused of crimes could be tried in Great Britain rather than in Massachusetts.

The Quartering Act, which required private citizens to lodge British soldiers in their houses upon official request.

The Quebec Act, which expanded the boundaries of the province to the Ohio, and guaranteed freedom of religion to Catholics.

Taken together, these laws were a masterpiece of legislative stupidity. One can imagine the British MPs, rubbing their hands together and saying to each other, “this will teach those recalcitrant colonials.” It did. It taught them the need for unity amongst themselves.

It didn’t occur to the MPs, perhaps, that the major port cities of New York, Philadelphia, Norfolk and Charleston might look at Boston’s fate and consider that they might be next, and hence might better unite to defend Boston than wait their turn. Or that the other colonial governments might look at what happened to the Massachusetts government and draw analogies to their own situations. Nor that the Quartering Act went directly against a cherished English tradition that said that a man’s home was his castle. And as for the Quebec Act, there they managed to jangle two nerves with one measure: Regardless what the Crown wanted, the colonists were going to cross the Appalachians and settle. And (less creditably, but also in the English tradition of the previous 200 years) granting Catholics freedom of religion aroused all their fears of renewed domination by a Roman church. (To understand this fear, we need to recall American fears of Communist subversion that were rife in the 1950s.)

The acts presented a common threat. They required a common response. In Boston, the Sons of Liberty called for a boycott, but to succeed a boycott would require unanimity among the colonies, or at least widespread agreement, and enforcement provisions. That required coordination. Various colonial legislatures named delegates to attend a common assembly to argue it out. And so in September, 1774, in Philadelphia (which was not only centrally located but was the largest city in the colonies), 55 men met, calling themselves the Continental Congress, and representing every colony but Georgia. Among them were George Washington and John Adams.

The delegates weren’t radical. They still thought their position, if stated clearly enough, might obtain a fair hearing. They sent separate addresses to the people of Great Britain and to the North American colonies, explaining the colonial position, and added a similar address for the people of Quebec. They sent a “Declaration of Rights and Grievances” directly to the king. (Note, they didn’t send it to Parliament, which they saw as the source of the problem.)

But they didn’t just plead. They made it clear that they were serious.

For one thing, they agreed that the colonies boycott British goods beginning on December 1. Each colony was to form committees of observation and inspection to assure enforcement of the boycott. (And, in fact, in 1775, imports from Britain were down to three percent of the 1774 figures.) They also provided that if the Intolerable Acts were not repealed, exports to Britain would cease as of September 10, 1775, but by the time that date came around, matters had proceeded far beyond boycotts.

Then they agreed to reconvene in Philadelphia on May 10, 1775, and they went home.

So what had they accomplished? More than they knew, perhaps. For the first time representatives from New England, southern and middle colonies had met in a common assembly and had learned to work together and understand each other. They had come to common understanding, had agreed on measures, and – more important than anyone could guess – they had arranged to meet again, the following year, never dreaming that in calling for that meeting they had provided the nucleus around which a government and a nation would eventually coalesce.

The 3D world as shared subjectivity

Saturday, January 25, 2020

3:10 a.m. On Thursday you said we should talk about the vast impersonal forces in the context of “beyond good and evil.” Yesterday morning you said I should take the day off. Today?

Do you know how some people blame anything and everything for what happens to them? That is a very human tendency. It stems from trying to see invisible linkages.

Scapegoating, you mean?

Simplifying, call it. In a world of multiple forces

I don’t have enough energy for this, do I? Too well to sleep, too sick to work.

It isn’t that, quite. You could get a little more sleep now if you were to try.

Couldn’t, a few minutes ago.

But you have had some coffee now. Those few sips help.

Counter-intuitive, that.

It is a mistake to assume that the same substances affect different people in the same way. Musicians using marijuana are affected in different ways than, say, lawyers or secretaries or teenagers listening to hard rock.

When you put it that way, it seems to make sense. A + B is not necessarily the same as A + C or A + D, etc. But we are accustomed to thinking of ourselves as chemical compounds, I guess. If that were true, or let’s say if that were all of it, then it would be true that any two people would be affected more or less in the same way by any given physical substance.

You needn’t limit that statement to physical substances. No two people are necessarily affected in the same way by any stimulus, physical or non-physical.

You’ll have to explain that.

And that brings us back to the question of the vast impersonal forces as they manifest in your lives as vast personal forces. It is because no two “individuals” are alike, even identical twins, that

Dammit, that addition of “identical twins” sent me off on a tangent, and I lost sight of your intended point. Again?

  • No two 3D people are identical.
  • No two larger beings are identical, of course, being far more complex than any 3D manifestation.
  • 3D by definition is one time, one place for any (and every) individual.
  • The 3D cauldron exists to enable and require 3D individuals to continually choose who and what they are to become. It is always about becoming by being and choosing from within that place of being.
  • But, choosing among what? That is, given that the 3D conditions enable and require choice, choice among what alternatives? That is where the “external world” comes in.
  • You – we – are the external world.

That last statement struck me as, at the same time, obviously true and incapable of being explained.

Any understanding deepens with the attempt to explain it.

  • The external world is not some separate thing; it is part of the same thing we as larger beings and we as 3D beings participate in. There is difference without the difference being absolute. Difference, like separation, is relative in this universe, not absolute.
  • Take your subjective world as one thing and your objective world as another, and you have a collision of improbabilities that amounts to chaos. See them as two aspects of the same reality and you can feel your way to understand who you and we really are.
  • Think of the external world as your own subjective world and everybody else’s, they being alive in this moment or not.

That starts to provide context.

For you, for some, not for everybody. Some will react with bafflement or with irritation. Again, the same stimulus meets (creates) different responses depending upon the nature of the recipient.

  • If you begin to think of the external world as shared subjectivity, you may begin to see things differently than if you see your own subjectivity as a subset of the universal objectivity. Yet they are only two ways of saying the same thing.

Some people say we are drops of water in the ocean, or soap bubbles.

Yes, and can you see the difference in emphasis, slight though it is, between our explanation and that analogy?

I think it is that the soap-bubble or the drop-in-the-ocean analogy assumes the priority and the permanence of the collective and not also of the individual.

Exactly. Congratulations on seeing that. It is a subtle difference but it makes all the difference. A soap bubble is transient, local, ephemeral. You are not, or let’s say, not any more than everything else! The difference between eternal and transient is not between external and internal, but between non-3D and 3D. And you, like we, belong to both worlds. Your – our – transient aspects die to the world in due time. Your – our – eternal aspects couldn’t “die” if they wanted to. It is a matter of environment, not of different nature.

It is often so comforting to talk to you, whether you are stretching our concepts, or redefining what we thought we knew, or challenging our knowns. Come to think of it, that’s three ways of saying the same things. Anyway, thanks.

You are welcome. As we have said many times, people paying attention is our reward. We didn’t say “people agreeing,” we said “people paying attention.”

Taking you seriously enough to consider.


But you aren’t quite finished for today, are you?

Not quite.

  • Once you see the 3D world as in a sense objectified shared subjectivity, you may be able to see how it can never be dead, nor inert, nor non-responsive. At the same time, it is not necessarily alive and responsive and infinitely malleable to anything you happen to want it to be.

Common sense, after all.

Not all that common. When people first realize that the external world is not disconnected from their own interior world, they often think they ought to have more control over it than they do, or else they feel threatened, menaced, by “external” interference with their own desires.

If we can help you come to a sense of the internal and external world together, as a living consciousness of which you are in intrinsic part, we will feel that we are getting somewhere.

And although you may not see it, this session has indeed dealt with the question of vast impersonal forces and the reality “beyond good and evil,” only there’s so much more to say once the groundwork is laid.

Thanks as always. Till next time.


The real cause of social conflict

Nov 3, 2010

Re: the guys on elections and such

I hope you pick this one up right where they left off. What sort of forces? What do they mean by translated? What is the nature of the intangible, but classic (in Zen among so many others) concept that maintaining your own center is more essential, literally, than social action?


Thursday, November 4, 2010

6:15 AM. My brother asks that I have the guys continue their original transmission from yesterday, which ended thus:

I can’t see anything to do but stay in my own world while the dinosaurs fight it out. But it makes me feel guilty – thinking of John Lewis, for example, whose biography I read yesterday.

When you don’t have a clear task, it’s better not to try to find one or carve one out arbitrarily. Do what you feel called to do. The more people who do that, the less fuel for the fire.

Meaning, I take it – hold your center.

Politics and ideology and government have their place in life but they are not any more central than physical life is central to life seen whole. Just as living in 3-D is important to life but is not all of it, so politics etc. is important to 3-D life but is even less of life than 3-D life is of overall life.

To confine things to your everyday social reality. The forces that people are feeling are real forces that will be experienced and translated one way or another. How they become translated is less important than that they become translated. Your keeping your center assists the process.


Very well. We were speaking of your everyday social reality. Within those terms, you experience the tensions that accompany movement and readjustment, movement and readjustment. No one moves without affecting the whole. No one fails to move, or refuses to move, without affecting the whole. There is no such thing as isolation, no matter how far back in the woods you live. Even Thoreau couldn’t help be affected by political tensions when they resulted in Civil War.

Those tensions are rarely the ones that are seen and understood. Or, to put it another way, mostly people deal with symptoms. The economy falters; wars break out; youth are disaffected; volcanoes erupt; people become addicted to some new technology or some new way of inter-relating. All symptoms.

Political hatreds; racial or class or gender or ethnic intolerance; culture wars. All symptoms.

Domestic violence. Alcoholism. Drug addiction. Crime, you name it – all symptoms.

Go beyond these. Communism, capitalism, fascism, nihilism, anarchism, any-ism – all symptoms and the reaction to symptoms.

You might almost say that industrial civilization itself, even the agricultural civilization that preceded it, was more a symptom of human reaction to forces playing upon them than it was cause or even conduit of the forces.

This is very unclear so far, at least to me. I get it that you are saying that most of what we deal with is a symptom and not a cause – so what is or are the cause or causes?

The actual cause (within your social context) is the friction between the independent human soul and the interdependent human reality. That is, even in a world in which the individual is more a convenient fiction then an independent reality, you have to deal with people as if they were as individual as they feel themselves to be.

Or, put it another way, we need to look at people in their individual aspect as well as in their never-individual aspect. That’s our method, as usual: View it one way, then view it another way. Beware the one-eyed vision.

Seen as if individual, you see people cradled in one part of a culture, and raised in it, and going off in whatever direction they go, but remaining the product of that particular place and time, even if they rebel against it or ignore it or forget it. In one sense, everyone is a creature molded by time-space and genetics. That’s the physical part of the soul, so to speak. And in another sense, everyone comes from the non-physical world, from a web of connections to other minds, and is firmly rooted in connections invisible but unbreakable.

That tension is within you, and it must be lived. That’s your continual choosing. Are you going to express this or that? Are you going to live this or that? Fight for this or that or neither or both? Who are you really as you were created, and how happy are you with the threads you have been expressing so far?

Now, you may think that problem is a private matter, but you would be wrong. In the first place, just because you don’t obviously broadcast your thoughts doesn’t mean that in the mental world – non-physical, remember – all thoughts do not interact. In the second place you continually broadcast what and who you are. You can’t help doing it and you can’t help receiving the broadcasts of your fellow humans. In the third place, what and who you are is translated in social terms through institutions either implicit and private like family or explicit and society-based like, say, law or occupation or government or any other seemingly externally determined group endeavor. In the middle are associations larger than the family but more open to your input than impersonal institutions. All these are interfaces that modulate millions of individual reactions and produce a sort of current expressing them.

This is an easier concept than it sounds. A good analogy would help. Anything that took multiple tiny inputs and added them algebraically to come up with a representative moving sum that changed as they did. The point is, take a society of happy individuals and you wind up with a society that represents that state. Take a society of frustrated, isolated, fearful, angry individuals and what do you suppose you’re going to wind up with?

Now, that force is going to translate. It won’t be obvious, it may not be immediate (though the longer it builds, the greater the explosion or torrent when it goes) but it will translate. You may be able to prevent it from translating once, twice, three times. You avoid Nazi-ism, communism, anarchism, Maoism, kleptocracy, whatever. At some point your string is going to run out, and those forces will translate.

So surely the value of individuals setting up a counter-force merely – merely! – by working on themselves is obvious. Far from being futile, or escapist, it deals with the prime factor involved. Ignoring symptoms, it changes causes.

Enough said?

I think so. That’s enough for me, at any rate. I think that was a good question to ask, and a good answer to the question. Even though this is very short, I think I’ll stop here if only for now.

Fear in smothering proportions

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

11 AM. Come to think of it, I think I hear you saying that election campaigns keep people out of trouble. Rather than generating all that hatred as it appears, perhaps they merely channel it and keep it within bounds, partly by giving people the next election to look forward to, partly by keeping it in a well-defined us-and-them relationship rather than letting it become more free flowing and perhaps generally antisocial.

We’d hardly say “instead of.” It is true, what you just said, but it is at least equally true that politics is failing to do these things; hence the rising anger and the inability to compromise or even listen. The fear has risen to smothering proportions, drowning out reason or faith. Thus you see people developing seeming split personalities. In their personal lives they are reasonable and able to love. In their impersonal lives – when they are being driven by fear and cartoons – they are unreasonable, implacable and unable to love or even tolerate. If you cannot see that this is people under the influence of first one then another set of strands, we’ve wasted a lot of your ink!

No, I do see it. Is there a cure?

Fewer real things to fear, fewer chimerical things to fear, fewer elements of life that seem isolated, fewer causes for substituting someone else’s judgment for one’s own. Or – or – conscious decision to live in love.

Which isn’t going to come from politics.

No, but which could transform (and diffuse) politics.

Where is it going to come from?

For black communities in the South 40 years ago, it came from the churches. Can you see any equivalent today?

White churches seem to be centers of reaction and fear.

Or hotbeds of rest. So where are you going to look besides within?

I don’t know.

It can only come from people physically associating as people, the way churchgoers do. If you don’t have that, you don’t have anything. Nothing coalesces without some central gravitational pull.

Well, I just can’t imagine what it would be. We don’t do anything communally since that damned television was invented.

Then a new means of people coming together – and we don’t mean virtually – will have to develop. The need will manifest it.