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The Interface: How we experience

You said we would discuss moods, today: how and why they are generated, how they act to smooth out transitions between moments.

In context, remember, of our statement that 3D is lived first in feeling, then only later (even if “later” means fractions of a second) in thought. It is so important that you realize that rationality follows and does not precede feeling, in how you experience life. If you cannot come to accept that as fact (and, in time, accept it as good rather than bad), you cannot come to understand your life from a proper non-3D perspective.

Meaning, I think, that a non-3D perspective allows us to weigh things properly, while a 3D perspective over-values the 3D portion of ourselves.

Yes. It’s simple enough, but many will find it difficult in practice. Until you know that your 3D component is only part of you, you stand no chance of understanding such concepts as Self, afterlife, karma, purpose, shared subjectivity, the innocence of life, the interplay and interdependence of 3D and non-3D. To try to make sense of life – of your life, of anyone’s and everyone’s life – while taking into consideration only the 3D aspect of things is to miss all the interconnections: It is like trying to understand an electric drill without knowing that there is such a thing as electricity.

Or like trying to understand cars while being ignorant of the existence of roads. You could see that the car functioned – the motor ran, the steering wheel controlled turns, etc. – but you could never get the “why” of it.

That’s correct. And the “why” of life is at least as important as the “how” of it; of course in the last analysis the two aren’t really separable.

So, here is how what we are calling moods function as part of your lives: Understand, we could begin from the 3D end or the non-3D end and at first the description would seem to be quite different, but that is so only in the way that the description of a bridge might seem very different when begun from either end, and only when the entire bridge and both abutments had been described would it be obvious that the two descriptions showed the same picture, only begun from different places. Either strategy presents difficulties. Perhaps it will be better to try to represent your lives as you are used to experiencing them.

  • Let us start at any given moment in your life. You are awake and functioning. Your attention is focused, probably, upon the world around you. It need not be; we could begin with an introspective moment, but let us postulate that you are focused outward, doing any of the many things that fill your daily existence.
  • Something happens.
  • It may be something immediate to you: You burn your finger, say. Or it may be something that still concerns you personally, but not quite so closely: Your car gets a flat tire. Or it might be something a little more remote: Work goes badly, or you get into an altercation with someone. Or you may receive bad news that will have major impact upon your life: something material, perhaps, or something affecting status or income or – well, nearly anything that is personal to you. In any of these cases, it seems to you that life and your inner life have, shall we say, collided. You cannot doubt that you are affected; you cannot doubt that even if you had something to do with the situation, you were not the prime mover, and indeed you may have had little or nothing to do with causing it.
  • Alternatively, what happens may quite clearly have nothing to do with your input. You watch the Challenger explode. You live among the discordant emotions that surround the decision to invade Iraq. You witness events throughout your life, and witness them at best second-hand, and mostly not even that close. Coal miners get trapped underground in a state you have never visited, and your human sympathies are engaged. You get the idea. Abstract causes engage you emotionally, usually, though equally usually you think you are engaged as a result of rational processes.
  • These are two very different-seeming sources of impact on your life. One stream affects your body or your status or your personal relationships. The other may affect none of these, yet be no less important to you.

You don’t need to persuade anyone who lived through the killing of John F. Kennedy, or the destruction of the Challenger, or the destruction of New York’s twin towers. There are some shocks that unite us all, regardless of our opinions or our vested interests. And on the other hand there is falling in love for the first time, and watching your child be born, and attending the funerals of friends and families, and – more tentatively but not any less real – succeeding or failing to find your work in life, or your place in life. And I take your point: Both streams of input are emotional, they are not concerned with thinking. Thinking may be a part of them; it is never the essence.

All right, so if you understand this much, let’s proceed. How do events of either kind affect you? How do you feel them, how do you process them, how do you allow them to change you, or how do you struggle against them changing you?

Doesn’t that lead to a bigger question?

Of course it does.

  • At any given moment in your life, you live within a set of beliefs you have created or accepted. Events may change this belief. How?
  • Can it be a process of logic? For that matter, can it be a process that is thought-driven? Initially you might be inclined to say yes, but we suggest that closer examination will remind you that thought examines how to do something, not
  • Can it be a weighing of possible courses of action against your firmly held structures of beliefs? This is closer, but still over-values thought, per se, as the agent of change. Someone in love, or for that matter in lust, is not necessarily acting rationally even in its consideration of options and of dissonance with what otherwise it might have considered congruent.
  • But if neither thought as logic nor thought as argument, then what changes who you are? (Or, it might be easier for you to grasp this if we say, What determines what threads it allows you to put down or pick up?)

I presume you intend to say it is feelings, but that doesn’t address the “how” of it.

No, and that’s a longer discussion than two minutes at the tail end of an hour. But we’re getting there.

Seems like it.

Moods next; you’ll see. As always it is a process of providing helpful context, lest it degenerate to being merely words.

The Interface: Feeling, not thought

After yesterday’s session, I wondered, is one of the roots of fanaticism arguing against one’s doubts? That is, could there be a connection between people’s self-division, due to their incorporating (embodying) contradictory beliefs, and the zeal with which they refuse to be open to argument from others? (That is, from the “external” world?)

But you said you were intending to describe how it is our listening to thought rather than feelings that leads us to suppress contradictory data and therefore come to erroneous opinions. At least, that is how I understood what you said.

Because emotions may well up from feelings or from situations, your age thinks that thought is more reliable. It values rationality not realizing that rationality is and must be rooted in non-rational processes. They consider the 3D human to be explainable as a thinking animal when in fact any thinking it does is tacked onto its feeling background.

But let us look at how your so-rational 3D minds process thought and feeling. This amounts to saying, Let us examine how your thinking thinks it makes sense of the world, when in fact, as we have pointed out, it rarely gets within a mile of the world. What it mostly processes is the world your unconscious process allows you to experience. Your unconscious and subconscious processes have produced a simplified version of the world that came at them: That’s all your conscious processes could handle. But if you are thinking about life through processes that have been simplified themselves, and you are considering only the facts that made it through the filters of which you are unconscious, and therefore cannot allow for, what kind of information can you expect to bring back?

It’s surprising we do as well as we do.

Who says you do well? You certainly don’t do well via conscious processing of data brought forth along 3D channels following your unconsciously applied rules of exclusion. If you could not receive input from your non-3D component, your position would be hopeless. And indeed, thinkers who consider the human condition only from a 3D viewpoint are frequently reduced to despair, for 3D evidence shows life to be meaningless, freedom illusory, and therefore anyone’s faith or anyone’s experience of “higher” things to be self-delusion.

Sartre, etc.

We don’t intend to hare off into criticism of literature or philosophy. We merely make the point that you could not live a satisfactory life in 3D if you had to accept only 3D facts, 3D processes, and 3D conclusions about the evidence produced by 3D facts and processes.

Now, to hone in a little:

  • Your 3D consciousness must make sense of the world on only indirect and incomplete evidence.
  • It has no way to know what facts and aspects of reality are being kept from it by pre-conscious processes.
  • Self-analysis will help; analysis with the assistance of a profession psychologist may help. Enough attention on the process as observed may yield insight into one’s biases. Certainly it will (or should, anyway) remove one’s certainty that one sees clearly.
  • Thought and feeling alike will reveal self-division, perhaps previously unsuspected. But we suggest that “self-division” is a misleading way to look at it.
  • Rather than experience yourselves as self-divided (which assumes one solid self as a default), consider yourselves self-multiplied, though that is not an elegant nor particularly useful term.

No, it isn’t, but I get the idea. We are not one mind, divided, but many minds, cooperating and learning to live together.

That’s the idea, yes. And you see, altering the model alters the expectations.

Sure. If we assume that multiplicity functioning together is the norm, we won’t experience it as if it were a pathological state.

  • Now, these cooperating strands to some extent live in different worlds. Or, put it this way, they represent, they originate in, different worlds, and yet there they are for your unconscious and subconscious processes to make sense of. What kind of result can be expected?
  • Yet, the incoming lack of cohesion is experienced not so much as contention among thought, as it is alternation or contention of feeling.
  • Moment by moment, your minds deal with the world as it comes at them: relentlessly, continuously, without explanation. How does your mind deal with it? How does it experience the changes each new moment may bring? By thought? No, by feeling. By mood, you might say. Different internal weather conditions bring to the fore different strands, and each strand, as it drives the boat, considers itself the only real you, and forgets the others. And you as observer of all these strands tend to forget or downplay the extent to which various strands are handing off to each other.

And as each successive mood takes us, we consider it the obvious rational response to conditions.

Of course you do. And it is only as you learn to distrust that “obvious” assumption that you begin to experience deeper levels of your true self.

I don’t think people have a very good grasp on what Jung meant by Self. I think they assume he meant, merely, that it is us getting into better touch with the same materials we experience as ego.

Self includes all of you, and by our definition extends beyond 3D in two directions: laterally, so to speak, to the sources of your various strands as they live their life in their own living present moment; and in depth, considering the larger being as part of you (or, really, you as part of it). We don’t intend to try to say what Jung meant by Self, but this is what we mean by it.

Now look at what a process of impossible reduction it is, for a 3D mind (an “ego” in the sense of a mind confined to only 3D resources) to try to even comprehend, let alone understand, a Self so much bigger and more aware and more sophisticated than itself. How could that be done by thought?

People will perhaps be inclined to say that’s what you and I are doing here.

That’s a matter of semantics. We are trying to analyze the situation abstractly. That isn’t at all the same thing as trying to drive the boat. The fact is, no one ever has or ever will run a 3D life by thinking. Life is lived by feeling, then by thinking. And this takes us to the subject of moods and how they are generated, and how they act as indicators and buffers as one living moment replaces the previous one. (At least, that’s how time seems, to you. it’s a misleading model, but we aren’t out to explain everything, so we’ll just throw out that thought in passing.)

The Interface: Interpreting the world

Remember that our purpose always isn’t to support or attack any given way of seeing things, but to express our way of seeing them. Remembering this will save you a great deal of internal friction.

Understood. Keep our eye on the information and let judgments about other ways of seeing things go, at least for the moment.

We don’t exactly mean don’t compare, but don’t keep score. And we have told you many times, don’t try to reconcile these ideas with what you already know. There comes a time for that, but not when you are attempting to see differently.

Now, consider that we showed you that there is no way possible for the 3D mind to experience the world by thought or logic or in any way consciously. It all comes in too fast, in too much volume, and so much of it is inexpressible in sequential terms, let alone logical order. You perceive the world unconsciously, then subconsciously, then consciously, then you make sense of it, or try to make sense of it.

And in this we are merely reprising the relation between non-3D and 3D.

Not so much reprising, as serving as an example of the two situations and their relationship. The 3D is to the non-3D as the conscious mind is to the subconscious mind: smaller, more focused, sharper because narrower.

Well, if from the point of view of 3D consciousness, one is always existing in a construct, close examination shows you that you cannot trust anything you think you know.

People who take psychoactive drugs in a certain way learn that. They see that life is deeper and more meaningful than it commonly looks to be. Similarly, people in certain disciplines, ecstatics of many kinds, even people subject to mental alterations due to long-term and/or intense illness.

In all these cases, and others that could be cited, something takes the individual out of the comfortable taken-for-granted view of life. Once you realize that your normal state of consciousness rests on a bed of nothingness, you begin to see that rationality may be essential to life, but it is not the basis of your experience of life.

By “a bed of nothingness,” I take it you mean what my brother once said, that they had examined a building’s foundations and found that an important beam “rested securely on a quarter inch of air.”

Exactly. And it is precisely on that quarter inch of air that any philosophy that sees rationality as the core of reality must rest. The unavoidable fact is that you never experience the world primarily, but only as it is interpreted for you by your own preceding mental and physical processes.

I read, years ago, that there is a delay of 1/30th of a second (I think it was) from the time something happens until it can be reported by the senses. I concluded that the gap explained why the inner world was one of undetermined possibility and self-evident aliveness, while the world as reported by the senses seemed determined and more or less dead.

And here you see why that is. Life comes at you continuously in this molten form, as unlimited potential, unshaped, undetermined, uncontrolled. It is experienced by, and processed by, your unconscious mind (that is, by the parts of your psyche that function outside your consciousness), and only then is it handed over to your consciousness. The subconscious has “made sense of” the world for you, and in so doing, has somewhat deadened it, truncated it, and made it seem to conform to whatever you had already concluded the world to be.

So what is the echo that your conscious mind receives?

I get the idea of what you meant, but those aren’t the best words to clothe it in. “Echo” is suggestive but not quite right.

No. Well, try this: Your conscious mind receives input in more than one way, simultaneously. The input it receives via the senses, modulated b subconscious processes, tells one story, but non-3D information (often called intuition, though that is not the only function intuition plays) may tell another slightly different story, sometimes significantly different. How is the mind to reconcile the two? If it cannot, you experience a form of cognitive dissonance, essentially being forced to try to believe in two or more things that may be not only not identical, but perhaps incompatible. But even if the mind is able to reconcile the two streams of incoming information (incoming opinions of reality, you might say), it may be able to do so only at the cost of falsification, of truncation, of dramatization.

The product of readjustment is what you experience as feeling, rarely as thought, never primarily as thought. That is, no one thinks their way to close perception of the world the subconscious filters out. “Thinking” is for making sense of things experienced. In a way, you could say that no one could think of something de novo, out of the blue. Always something happens.

Can’t we think of something in the way Einstein constructed his thought experiments?

You must have read or overheard something, if you are to think about it without having experienced it.

What about non-3D input rather than sensory?

[Pause.]

That’s a point. Very well, let’s leave it at this: Thinking is analysis, feeling is perception. A little too definite, but suggestive.

Sounds like “Thinking is left brain (sequential, logical, stepwise analysis and construction), and feeling is right-brain (gestalt, with its own sense of meaning that we sometimes call “emotional logic,” able to perceive without building laborious chains of associations, but fallible for that same reason.”

Again, a little too definite, but suggestive.

Earlier you said that feelings are our 3D interface with reality; something like that. I take it this is what you meant.

This is one aspect of what we meant, yes. It is impossible for a 3D mind (seen as if 3D only) to interact with the real world. At best it interacts with the world as its subconscious processes have decided it must be. At worst it has to try to make sense of subconscious reports that are so much affected by past interpretation as to be, in large part, lies. This is Hemingway in his later years, interpreting people’s behavior not as it was, but as seen through the distorting lens of his often-told personal mythologies. It is people clinging to obvious untruths because they cannot bear to see them as such. But even at best, the 3D mind, functioning in isolation, depends for the data upon the subconscious processes that are altering their reports to make them conform to the way the 3D mind prefers to see them. It is a very precarious way to experience life, and helps show why people’s beliefs can be so irrational.

People of all shades of opinion know that they (exclusively) are right, because how they make sense of the world tells them so. After all, nobody sets out to be deceived. It is in the suppression of contrary data that you all go wrong, and this is easier to do (unbeknown to yourselves, so to speak) to the extent that you listen only to thought and not also feelings. We know that seems contradicted by experience, but that is how it is. To explain this we will require a new session, for it is not a matter of a few words. The salient point is that experiencing multiple sources of inputs may result in serious emotional conflict. And that is very much worth looking at.

 

The Interface: Apprehending the world

We repeat, what sometimes looks like diversion or digression may merely illustrate parts of the context of the question that otherwise might be missed. Sometimes what is missed invalidates what is perceived, not because what is perceived is wrong, but because its importance cannot be properly weighted in the absence of what is missed. So taking a moment to consider why we are putting the word “external” in quotation marks does not bring us closer to the question at hand, but perhaps it does make it more likely that the picture you construct in your minds is less distorted.

Remember, as we go: This discussion aims at clarifying the human experience of being in 3D and non-3D at the same time; of being both connected and separate, aware and unaware, self-absorbed and at the same time representative. It does not confine itself to human life as normally considered, as if 3D were all, as if any one 3D life could exist without predecessors or extensions, as if the 3D could presumably be understood as if non-3D were non-existent or irrelevant.

It is because we need to keep this exploration bridging over worlds and concepts that are too often considered as if they had nothing to do with each other that our explanations take more time than might seem to be required, and range farther in context than might seem to be required.

Consider the previous two paragraphs. If you think, reading them, “All this does is unnecessarily prolong things,” you have our sympathy but not our agreement.

Someone said that all the equipment in a scientist’s laboratory is there merely to get him facing in the right direction. I have always taken your context-painting to be the equivalent. That, and your remarks on process. Yet I know that many people see both as digressions.

How are we to explain feelings and emotions if we do not show the web of relationships that create and sustain and alter them? So that is what we have been doing. Yes, they can be studied in isolation (though we doubt that those studying them that way realize that they are looking at them in isolation), but no tool is ever truly understood without an understanding of the tasks it is designed to serve, and the environment in which it is designed to function.

So you see, when we look at feelings as being a membrane between the non-3D and the 3D, or as between the larger being and the local 3D consciousness, or even as the fluctuating ratios of 3D awareness to changing non-3D background conditions, we describe them in an active, functional way.

The 3D soul is affected by:

  1. Fluctuations in the non-3D that are peculiar to the individual.
  2. Non-3D fluctuations not particular to any one soul, but with a larger, less personal significance. If the former point refers to a change in associated lives (“past lives”), say, this point refers to something huge, on the scale and nature of World War II.
  3. Fluctuations in the ongoing present-moment life. Today’s weather, so to speak.
  4. Relations between current conditions (and one’s attitudes toward current conditions) and what we might call one’s inherited attitudes – the emotional responses one came into the world with.

You see? All these factors, all the time. Your lives are not simple, and they are not single-purpose. They are not even separable (except artificially) into one strand at a time. Life comes at you relentlessly and overwhelmingly and mostly at a level beyond your comprehension. Yet you do not go under; you cope, you survive, you even enjoy and thrive. (None of which you could do if you were not being supported by your non-3D component, but then, without your non-3D component, you could not live in 3D at all.)

So in any given moment, what is the background, mostly unsuspected or at least not consciously experienced? Add up the four streams of experience we just listed, and realize that only the third is definitely experienced consciously. The fourth is experienced to the degree that one becomes aware of one’s psychological makeup and how it affects moment-by-moment perception. The first two may or may not be comprehended as possibilities, let alone understood to be realistic, let alone experienced.  Surely you see that your experience of life depends upon your experience (or your non-experience) of these four factors together and separately.

Well, that’s very clear to me, at least at the moment. Certainly I see that one’s level of insight into psychic process determines how one sees the world – and, in turn, how one sees the world helps determine how well and how deeply and how continuously one understands and experiences those psychic processes. It’s a reciprocating process.

You might mention, if only for the sake of clarity, that you are not meaning “psychic processes” to refer to ESP particularly, but rather to the processes of the psyche.

Yes, I suppose that was ambiguous.

Let us repeat, for emphasis that comes with a terse repetition of something originally given at greater length, because new: Your mental and physical life is continually affected by four overlapping streams of input:

  1. Your particular non-3D fluctuations.
  2. The non-3D fluctuations common to your time.
  3. The present moment’s “weather” as experienced as “external.”
  4. The present moment’s “weather” as it runs through your filter and is interpreted.

That’s pretty neat.

Well, it ought to expand the context of the discussion, anyway. Notice that so far we have no need to discuss logic, nor conscious thought, nor any of the constructions of the mind in its attempts to make sense of the world and influence one’s path through it. Obviously we are not pretending they do not exist or are not important – but, you see, they are not primary. Anyone attempting to analyze the world and one’s place in it by treating it as if logic and thought were primary rather than secondary will not succeed in understanding it very well. They will be constrained to cut out large portions of the human experience, and what they do describe will be only a weak caricature of life in its variety and richness.

These four streams of input must be dealt with mostly pre-consciously. The amount of data would be overwhelming; the nature of much of it would be too hard to grasp (because not sensory); the inter-connections would require models of greater complexity than most conscious minds could maintain. Here, you see, is where “primitive” peoples employ magic and superstition and also quite sophisticated forms of psychological understanding. They don’t reason, they experience, and they have developed techniques to relate these experiences to their ordinary lives. Or, let’s say, one difference is that to them it is all one ordinary life, and of course we concur in that judgment.

Now, what is pre-conscious interpretation of the world, if not feelings?

 

The Interface: Relating to the external world

My friend Dave Fortna sends a chart comparing feelings and emotions; Dirk has been researching the distinction as well. It appears that the common understanding is the opposite of what you are giving us. Common definitions make the emotions primary and longer lived, and the feelings secondary and shorter.

Partly this is because we and they are using the same words to mean different things. Mostly, though, we have to say, we don’t care. Our scheme is self-referential, consistent unto itself, and needs no external agreement in order to explain. Surely you see that what the authorities explain is not the same things we are examining. They are treating feelings and emotions as if part of a closed system, while we are doing very much the opposite. Our scheme is relational.

In any case, let us continue with it for the moment, lest change at this stage throw all the relationships we are establishing into confusion.

At some point we’ll want to clear it all up, in the way Rita’s questions penetrated ambiguity and led to resolution of apparent contradictions.

Yes, but until Dirk and others interpose as she did, we will continue our line of development.

Fair enough.

Last time we promised to look at emotions in contrast to the sketch of feelings that we had just drawn. So let us do that, and proceed to larger questions.

Now, if feelings are your background orientation – if they are your usual stance in the world – emotions are the results of momentary adjustments. That is, they arise from things of the present moment, not primarily from an accustomed reaction to the world.

A quarrel results from an emotion, not from a feeling.

Let’s leave out the verb “results” and say, instead, that it “relates to,” because it isn’t exactly a cause-and-effect situation. But that isn’t a bad example. No one gets violently angry as a feeling; it is an emotion. When a child is swept by gusts of sorrow and sobs its heart out, that isn’t feeling, it is emotion.

Well, that’s how I would see it. Not sure what the authorities can mean, looking at it the other way around.

It isn’t quite the case. Again, we and they are measuring different things and the nomenclature is confused. Try not to worry over that. Neither you nor we have to be respectable in our exploring or in our explaining. If we’re talking through our hats, it will become obvious soon enough.

To continue. Your basic orientation to life is formed initially and is enhanced or modified or contradicted by the life you live. But at any given moment, the immediate incidents through which you interact with the “external” world are emotional in nature. If you get involved in a car crash (with or without serious consequences) your reaction is an emotion, a short-term intense feeling. Anger, fear, puzzlement, despair – whatever you feel is rooted in how you see the world, but it manifests as an immediate reaction. You don’t (presumably) live continually in a state of anger or fear or puzzlement or despair – you live in a complex of attitudes that express as these emotions under the stimulus of a given situation.

Well, I see the distinction you are drawing. Not sure why accepted understanding differs, but I’m willing to wait for a clarifying question or objection.

So let us pass on to the larger question of how feelings and emotions relate you to the “external” world. This is really what you need to know, if you are to understand yourselves as part of a wider system, rather than considering yourselves as if you were islands in a vast ocean.

I presume that the reason we are putting quotation marks around the word “external” is to remind us that it is not really separate from us nor (therefore) we from it.

It is a way of providing you with an ongoing reminder without continually interrupting the larger explanation.. But it is necessary to keep in mind the fact that it and you are not separate, if you are to escape the common error of defining yourselves as isolated bubbles and then bemoaning your isolation.

I have just been reading Bernard Bailyn on the civilization of the American Indians as it existed prior to the coming of the Europeans. He makes it clear that they lived in a very different world, in which everything related to the human individual and the human community. When everything has spirit, when nothing is “dead matter,” when any attitude toward animals or plants could bring consequences, the humans lived in a world entirely of relationship; there was no isolation. Of course to the Europeans of the day, this looked like superstition, even over and above questions of deviation from Christian assumptions.

You mean, the invading Europeans were challenged not only by the Indians’ lack of Christian belief and practice but, even more fundamentally, by their perception of the world.

Yes. The Indians were far more like us in some ways than they were like 17th century Europeans. We with our beliefs and perceptions would have been persecuted and suppressed by those Elizabethans, if they could have gotten their hands on us, and those who didn’t persecute us for heresy would have persecuted us in the name of science and rationality.

Bear in mind, the Elizabethans as children of their culture would have assumed that their way of seeing the world was mere common sense; it was accurate seeing of what was to be seen, as opposed to the inaccurate (superstitious or devil-inspired) views that blighted the lives of those not so favored by life as to see things clearly. And of course this complacent and aggressive attitude was not peculiar to the Elizabethans. Their descendants changed beliefs in different ways, as the years rolled along, but no matter how things changed, the person of any given moment assumed that his (or her, of course) beliefs and perceptions were correct. So a child of the 1800s might disregard the Puritan religious belief entirely – might scorn it as self-evidently superstitious or, let’s say, in error – while continuing to live in other assumptions this world-view had accepted, such as a rejection of what it would call animism.

Not news to me.

Therefore, we put the word “external” in quotes. It seems a simple enough way to insert a continual quiet reminder.

All right.

Very little of our explanations can be truly understood if you cannot bear in mind that the world around you is not separate from you, is not dead, is not unconscious, is not meaningless, is not you. It isn’t only you, but it is you. That’s why we have taken to calling it a shared subjectivity. You may understand other things that we say, but if you don’t understand them in this context, you will be understanding them probably in a way different from what we mean.

It is only when you lose the reality of the fact that the “external” world is a shared subjectivity that you can be led to conclude that “All is not well,” that “Life is unfair.” Such judgments are inevitable when you see the world as external, contingent, with a  life of its own. See yourselves as orphans, and the world is a world that produces orphans and casts them out. See yourselves as islands or bubbles of rationality in a sea of ignorance, or as bits of mind among cold dead matter, and of course everything around you is going to look like a train wreck. But it is not so. despite any evidence provided by your 3D senses and your materialist civilization. All is Well, because it cannot be otherwise than well, appearances to the contrary.

But we have somehow burned our hour without getting to your explanation of feelings and emotions as they relate us to the world.

It’s all part of the same discussion. This was not a detour.

The Interface: Feelings, patterns, and possibilities

Continuing. Dirk’s first four questions:

[2-1) What are the purposes of emotion?

[2-2) What are the purposes of feelings?

[2-3) How do emotions and feelings relate to one another? Do they overlap?

[2-4) How do all of these together facilitate the connection between all-D and 3D and our greater purposes?]

We think we have answered this complex of questions, conceptually. If we have not done so, questions from your end will help us see what has not been communicated.

Well, I’m not sure you have explicitly dealt with the fourth question.

We would say that we have done so fairly clearly by implication, anyway, only as with the first two, we would reverse the underlying idea of purpose, and would say merely, this is what is connected to what else. It isn’t so much that they facilitate the connection, as that they result from the connection.

But there is the question of “our greater purposes.”

Again, not so much purpose as result. However, there is more excuse here than in the rest of the first four questions. The 3D was created for the purpose of facilitating certain developments, as we have said. So if we paraphrase the question, we can answer it. Let us say this: “How do emotions and feelings function to connect non-3D and 3D, or, better, how do they result from the connection of 3D and non-3D.”

Not sure that clarified much.

Perhaps we should begin clarifying before you can expect clarification.

Very funny. Okay, go ahead.

We have sketched the structure. Bullet points, perhaps:

  • The non-3D background to 3D is continually moving, changing, fluctuating, in the way your conscious and unconscious mental world does.
  • You as 3D constructs do not change automatically as the non-3D background changes. It is part of the point of 3D, after all, to insulate those fluctuations within it from the non-3D in general.
  • Nonetheless, you cannot be unaffected by the changes, and the difference between where the non-3D is (so to speak) and where you are, emotionally, is what you experience moment by moment.
  • Besides, there are two forces of change, (1) the ongoing changes in the non-3D, expressing in the 3D, and (2) the 3D changes that proceed from causes within the 3D.

I take that to mean, (1) The background changes: The winds change direction and speed; the weather manifests as storms or clearing or whatever. And (2) our lives in 3D produce enough changes even without considering causes from beyond the 3D world.

That’s correct. And feelings and emotions connect you with the non-3D world’s influence as the weather changes, and they express your own changes in response to those changes.

I think you mean, our reaction to events, whether caused by non-3D events, or 3D events, or a combination of the two.

In practice, everything is a combination of the two. But yes, that’s what we mean.

Now, let’s see if we can make clear what is after all conceptually a simple if unfamiliar way to see your lives as they are lived.

You are born into specific conditions that interact with your intrinsic makeup to produce your basic attitude toward life. Hence the value of horoscopes as roadmaps of the situation as it exists at birth. Someone reading your horoscope could not say what you will choose to do at any given time, but could see to a greater or lesser extent the range of possibilities, and the closed-off paths, which is in some ways more instructive. It shows the pattern you begin from, and a progressed chart shows the weather you encounter as you go along, and a chart of momentary transits shows what the influences are at any given moment.

That is to say, you are born into certain possibilities, which are a combination of the weather you are born into and the characteristics you bring in from the non-3D at your birth. This might be seen as your emotional starting-point, but we think it will be clearer if you see it as the source of your feelings, the genesis of your opinion of your life, so to speak. Do you trust life, distrust it, fluctuate between the two ends of the polarity? Those are feelings, not emotions. They are relatively permanent, or anyway very slow to change. They are your basic orientation, and seeing behind your orientation requires work, hard work. Ask any psychologist. No matter what happens to you in life, it happens against a relatively stable emotional background. That stability comes from the continuity of feelings.

However, life comes complete with many ups and downs, as you know. How you relate the present moment to your basic orientation is by means of emotions; highly labile, transient, of variable strength, intensity and duration.

I think it would be helpful if you would make up an example or two.

Fine. Your partner Bob Friedman was an initiator, an innovator, a pioneer. His basic attitude told him that he could affect the world, and so he had little or no internal friction to contend with when he considered doing something. Thus, he founded three publishing companies successively.

You, by contrast, live within a basic attitude that tells you that you cannot affect the world, or not easily, and so you face considerable infernal resistance when you think of doing something. Thus your life is very different.

Bob Friedman’s pioneering attitude left him somewhat impatient of the details of maintaining what he had brought into existence. (This is after all, the classic distinction between those who create an enterprise and those who maintain it. It is rare for one person to be equally good at both. In a sense, you could say it is because they come into the world seeing either one set of possibilities or another but not both. However, it isn’t that simple, nor is that the point here.) Your attitudes left you more interested in the functioning of an existing structure than in creating a new one, because you couldn’t see new possibilities as easily as he could . Thus you were more suited to adjusting the machinery than to causing it to come into existence.

This distinction between who you were because of your self-images that were formed of feelings; ultimately, you were what you had made yourselves by your choices originating from the stable platform constructed from your general attitude toward (and about) life.

Notice, the distinction says nothing direct about other personality characteristics. You had a quick temper and he did not. Necessarily? Well, yes and no. Your temper is a natural but not an inevitable concomitant to your basic attitude about the world. His relatively greater placidity reflects his basic attitude, in turn. But this was not ordained, and for that matter if it had been ordained, it could have been altered as second-tier effect of your, or his, reactions to events over time.

Thus, feelings. Examples of emotions will have to wait for another session, as this is your hour and more. And then we can proceed to the larger questions of how feelings and emotions relate to current events in your lives. “Current events” meaning, you realize, what is current at any moment of your lives, for you are always in the present moment; what happens around you is always “current events.” It is only later that in retrospect they may seem disconnected.

 

The interface: The primacy of feelings

The gist of our explanation is that you as a 3D being are part of your environment in ways that are not obvious. You know yourselves as relatively isolated units in 3D. You pretty much have to experience yourself that way, because of the nature of 3D. We’ve reminded you of this more than once. But you are also an extension of a larger being that is not limited to 3D and is in fact mostly not in 3D. You know this too, once you have educated yourselves to get beyond the materialist fallacy. The third condition, that we have been sketching for some time, is that you as 3D individual are reflected by 3D conditions that appear to you to be different from yourselves. That is, those parts of yourself of which you are not conscious may be seen in a mirror when you learn to use the circumstances of your life in that way.

Yes, I think we have absorbed all that, even if we sometimes forget.

Well, that 3D environment that serves you as a mirror does not remain constant. It moves, and therefore the underlying conditions of your life move, in ways your localized intentions, your will, has no say over. This is only common sense, of course. Life always has the potential to surprise you, and even in the absence of surprise, it moves and you cannot stop it moving, changing, replacing this with that, steamrollering some things that perhaps you would very much wish to have preserved. You as 3D individual (with all your complications caused by how far you extend, in so many directions) react to these changes. For that matter, you react to what doesn’t change, as well. The one thing you know is that 3D life is not under your control.

That won’t come as any news bulletin.

Not in theory it won’t, no. But as soon as you consider your lives in any other context, you forget it. So bear it in mind now.

Feelings and emotions connect you to the world. And this is a vastly more important sentence than may appear. At first blush, perhaps you read that and you say, “Of course, it’s obvious.” Well, it mostly isn’t obvious, and this needs going into. Dirk asked what was the purpose of feelings and emotions. This isn’t exactly their purpose (in the sense that means, “They were created to do this”), but it is their function.

I don’t grasp the distinction between purpose and function. They seem functionally equivalent.

In this instance, “purpose” carries a nuance, an implication, that we are at some pains to avoid. Describing how something functions is straightforward. Describing its purpose implies a designer behind the scenes. We aren’t saying there is or isn’t a designer to be considered here, we are merely removing that background question for the moment, as best we can.

Why?

Why? Because it suits our expository strategy to keep the discussion at an emotionally neutral level, as best we can. The question of mind and brain and (in general) of 3D and its relation to non-3D forces and conditions is highly charged in your time. We are continually aware of people ready to dismiss any given statement as “merely.” Some will be afraid we intend to drag God into the discussion. Others will be afraid we intend to define God out of existence. (And think how many definitions, how many gods!) And bear in mind, we have to think about future readers, not only those presently engaged in the exploration.

I see. All right, so –

So your functioning 3D awareness may be divided, for the purpose of analysis, into what you know you experience and what you don’t know you experience. The latter is vastly greater than the former, even in the most introspective of you, if only because of the sheer volume of incoming data from the world, which is much greater than consciousness could ever process even if it were interested in doing so.

I read somewhere, long ago, that our senses act more as reducing valves – restricting what is allowed to impinge our consciousness – than as the straightforward inputs they appear to be.

That’s right, and if you think about it, it has to be so. Given the vast amount of data absorbed and noted by your mind and not allowed into consciousness, you can see that it is absolutely essential that some mechanism exist to sort it by some criterion or other. By several criteria, of course, not merely by any one.

The rather absurd analogy that came to mind is a movie star with an unlisted telephone number. If the number were available to anyone who might want it, the phone would be continually tied up, the star would have no moment of peace, and in effect the line wouldn’t exist to be used selectively.

Is that an absurd analogy? It seems fairly close, to us. Or would you want to have to process every license plate number, every stray bit of background noise, every reminder? That is, would you want your life to consist so entirely of stray thoughts that you had no RAM available for purpose? The question answers itself.

As a thought experiment, you may consider feelings and emotions in their context. They, not abstract thought or conscious self-interest, are the gatekeepers. Thus philosophic schemes that attempt to explain human life in terms of intellect alone, or even in terms that assume intellect’s primacy, go ludicrously wrong. If you doubt it, spend some time looking at the philosophers of the Age of Reason, perhaps. (Not that your contemporary philosophy is less erroneous, but that distant errors are more easily seen as errors.)

It is important that you realize the even the most intellectual of you do not experience your lives in primarily an intellectual way. Before anything else, is feelings. Someone in rigid control of emotions will nonetheless be a creature of feelings.

Because feelings paint the world for us.

Meaning, they persuade you that “The world is thus,” yes. You come into the 3D world and immediately it affects you. From before you are born you are living in an environment that is pouring signal into you. That is, it impinges so completely as to persuade you of its primacy. You are the center of your interest, but you experience that center as existing in a vast ocean of otherness, all of it affecting you.

From the beginning, you live making sense of it all. How? By thinking about it, when you are three days old, or three weeks, or three years? No! By feeling. From the time you are being formed in the womb, you are reacting to an overwhelming 3D environment. Depending upon what happens (and also partly depending upon what disposition you are bringing to this life), you form a set of feelings. Those feelings may or may not change as you live, and they may or may not make your life easier, but they are your primary experience of your life in the maelstrom. They form a stable orientation, and thinking has nothing to do with it. As you go along, you may come to do a great deal of thinking about your live, but depend upon it: The thinking is tacked on after the fact. Long before you start out to shape your life by thought, you shape it willy-nilly by feeling.