My friends Michael Langevin and Sofia Axelsson filmed an interview with me last week, concentrating primarily on Awakening from the 3D World. You can find it on this site, at the top of the page marked Interviews, which also includes other filmed and taped interviews including (ancient history, now) a stint on Coast to Coast.
Nineteenth century (1900 back to 1800)
Claude Bowers’ book about Reconstruction, The Tragic Era, is considered to be discredited by historical authorities because of its racism and its assumption of the necessary inequality of the races. But, of course, one might be a racist and make arguments that were not, or might not be a racist and make arguments that were. His book was published in 1929, at the height of an intolerant era – but that speaks more to why it could be published than why it was published. That is not the same thing as saying that he wrote it hoping for the approval of the Ku Klux Klan.
To speak of race always requires thought and care, lest prejudice or self-righteousness mislead us. Bowers was a liberal in his day, an appointee of Franklin Roosevelt, an opponent of fascism. He was not a racist in the sense of believing that blacks (or any other race) were genetically inferior to whites. And it is minimal fairness to assume that he was as sincere, as interested in truth, as sickened by corruption, as we are – at least until evidence proves otherwise.
So when he said that black slaves a year out of slavery were not ready for the ballot, can we label the statement as racist and dismiss it? Consider the reality of the situation. Do you suppose that slavery is good for one’s character? And do you think that a culture deliberately inculcating enforced ignorance, dependence, servility, fosters the makings of good citizenship? Obviously not. But then, do these wronged people, once freed by an outside force, necessarily immediately possess the wherewithal to be good citizens? Do they know how to work and support themselves? Do they know how to vote intelligently? Can they even read? After generations in which they have been treated as property – often bred like animals, literally – years in which marriage and kinship ties were utterly disregarded by those who owned them, are they now by some magical wand to be instantly transformed into people with the morals and habits and inherited tendencies of the descendants of Europeans? It is impossible!
Lincoln knew that, and he knew it was going to be a thorny problem to deal with.
In 1865 it was evident that there was no going back to slavery. Perhaps, mixed in with the anguish of defeat and the total loss of what they had had, southerners did sometimes breathe a sigh of relief that at least that incubus had been removed, however badly. And there must have been many who silently cried out against the folly of the slave-owners who had resisted all schemes of compensated emancipation and had thereby brought the whole region to ruin. But repentant or unrepentant, resigned or intractable, in mid-1865 there was not a man, woman or child on the face of the earth who thought that slavery as it had been would ever be reestablished in the American republic. Slavery was dead. So was colonization. Lincoln had thought of colonization, too – sending the former slaves elsewhere – hoping that it was the answer to the problem. But who was going to pay to transport four million black men, women and children overseas, and where were they to go, and who was to force them to do so, when they clearly did not want to go?
And yet – there they were. The slaves had been freed, and now in some or another way whites and the newly freed blacks had to live together. The white society had no feeling of equality with a people who were ignorant and had no traditions in common with them. This had less to do with racism than with other things as well, that are rarely expressed.
1) The white southerners heard the northerners talk of equality and took that to mean that they were to be reduced to the level of freed slaves – for they saw that they themselves were not in charge of their own destiny, and they noticed that the white northerners were not welcoming the freed slaves to come live with them in the north.
2) Most slaves had no education, no means of support, no accumulated capital, no profession, and relatively few skills. Now, this certainly was not the fault of the people who had been deprived of all this – but it was their condition, and that condition was not to be talked away, any more than we can talk away the condition of the homeless on our city streets.
3) Neither former slaves nor former owners nor white inhabitants who were not former slave owners (by far the greatest number), had any model of a society in which whites and blacks lived together on terms of equality. We did not achieve it in 100 years. How could it have been achieved overnight in 1865?
Reconciliation and readjustment might have had a better chance if the real difficulties had been expressed and addressed, in a spirit of conciliation and thoughtful goodwill rather than revenge and malignity. And this of course is why they killed Lincoln, to prevent him from using his immense prestige to accomplish reconciliation as best he could. He had no magical wand either, but he had thought upon the problem, and that put him far ahead of those whose idea of thought was actually a mere venting and stoking and execution of hatred.
[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.]
The process of talking to the other side progressed in increments. At least, that’s how it happened for me. First came guidance, then came “past lives” whenever they are really, then came this close connection with Joseph. And I suppose on my life’s calendar on the other side, February 9, 2006 is marked in red. That’s the day it moved up a step as you will see not in this post, but in the next one. But you need to have read this one (which is a continuation of this same session) to be prepared for that one.
[Thursday, February 9, 2006]
(12:50 p.m.) Joseph, you know that I am very interested in the Civil War material, but I feel others looking over our shoulder, and I know you know it. What is your aim in telling me all this, or would you rather not say?
It will emerge. It has been emerging, in fact. Some things are better seen than described. You don’t want the advertising to overwhelm the product.
All right, well I’m interested regardless of any ulterior motives. You know that. More, today?
Want to talk about Andersonville? [infamous Georgia prison in which many captured Union men died of starvation and abuse]
If you wish. Where did that come from? Did you visit the place?
It visited us. We saw a few of the boys who escaped there. You think of your concentration camp survivors, all skeletons and skin and not an ounce of fat on ‘em, and you’ll see the boys we saw. And how they got from Andersonville to the north of Georgia I’ll never know.
I’m surprised you didn’t send a detachment down to rescue the prisoners.
That would make a good war movie, where you do the impossible six times, but we couldn’t do it. You don’t just take a part of your army in hostile territory and send it off to be maybe overwhelmed by something you don’t know is there. While we all stuck together, nothing was going to come too near us, but if we’d have started to split off units, at some point we might have paid dearly for it, even that late in the game. Those boys was as far beyond our help as if they’d been in Texas. But don’t think it made our tempers any sweeter when we came to tearing up the place as we went by. Another thing, you know, the sooner we could end the war, the sooner we would free the boys that were still alive down there.
They hanged the commandant, I guess you know, the summer after the war. They didn’t hang Jeff Davis or any of his fighting men but they did hang that German for killing so many of our men, prisoners. Our war was a foretaste of your war – well, not quite yours, World War II – in so many ways, it’s funny really. I don’t mean humorous.
Concentration camps, you mean.
Well, what you used to call “modern war” in general, except your world seems to have got by that now and is in a different place. I don’t mean better, just different. But we had the first taste of stuff you got in both world wars. Machine guns, accurate cannon fire, aerial observation, fortifications that could take anything and everything that could be thrown at them, concentration camps, economic mobilization, technology as warfare – meaning railroads, steam ships, ironclads, torpedoes – not the kind you mean when you say torpedoes, more like mines – and we had huge, massive casualties, and a battle between two ways of life, and we had so much else that you got used to later.
I have thought it strange and touching that Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain died of his wounds [incurred in 1864] just a few days before World War I started. His time on the Petersburg front seemed to me like the trenches of World War I.
The trenches, and the suicidal attempts to storm fortifications when the rifles had so outstripped any defense from them.
So – Andersonville.
That’s pretty nearly all we need to say about it. It occurred to me, people ought to realize that sometimes the only way you can end the killing and the dying is to win, or lose, and not have it drag on and on. I count the responsibility of Jeff Davis and others very high in continuing the war after December ’64. They couldn’t bring themselves to face the facts, and a lot of boys died needlessly because the war went on into 1865. By December ’64 the confederacy was a few units west of the Mississippi, and Lee’s army huddled behind fortifications, and Joe Johnston waiting for Sherman’s army coming to beat it into the ground. There wasn’t any hope for foreign intervention, Lincoln had got re-elected – there wasn’t one hope for what was left except if God almighty had come down and taken over their armies, and if Lee couldn’t do it, God sure was smart enough not to try it. I suppose that is impious, but you see. They had no hope, realistic or unrealistic, and it was their duty to get the best peace they could. Instead, they sat and glowered, and they ran away, and they was damn lucky it was Lincoln and Grant dictating terms and not, say, Sumner and Butler. And then of course Lincoln goes and gets killed and the whole barrel was stove in. But it didn’t have to be that way! The rebs had tried it, and it didn’t come off, but they’d given it a hell of a try, and there isn’t disgrace in quitting when it is hopeless. But their slave-owner pride wouldn’t let them do the right thing for their people – because they didn’t care about their people! Just about their own class, and they were ruined anyway so who cared what else got pulled down.
You think that is harsh? Then you just do one of your thought experiments. Suppose Lee had been the head of the government instead of Davis. He’d have fought and scrapped like all get out, but when it was over, don’t you suppose he’d have admitted it was over?
That’s what he did do! By the time he laid down his arms at Appomattox he had more moral authority than the rest of that so-called government put together, and it was him that decided it, surrender instead of guerrilla warfare.
You know full well he went to see Grant in his dress uniform because he expected he was going to be a prisoner. The fact that he met generosity and goodwill don’t mean he had a right to expect it. I mean by that, it wouldn’t have been sensible to expect things to work out as well as they did – but he did the right thing anyway. He was willing to sacrifice himself to save his men any further “needless effusion of blood,” as Grant put it.
Why couldn’t Jeff Davis do that, who had the responsibility to do it? I’d say because Lee cared deeply about his men and Davis cared about an abstraction, or maybe a couple of abstractions – slavery and secession.
Wednesday, January 10, 2018
5:45 a.m. I made a note in the middle of the night to ask for an outline of the precis that might serve as an intro to this new way of seeing the world. But perhaps you have other plans?
We can give you general orienting ideas, but the specifics must be done on your end, if they are to be done at all. You are not Jane Roberts and we are not Seth, and our communication is of a different order than theirs.
Understood. It took me several days’ work to outline the existing contents of the book of Nathaniel, as I have been thinking of it, or Only Somewhat Real, as I may call it. And that is merely putting a structure of chapter headings and subheads in an existing transcript. It wasn’t shaped from my end.
Still, you can do this. The resulting structure will resemble Muddy Tracks or Imagine Yourself Well more than your books of transcripts.
Okay, so –
It is no more than what you thought of 20 years ago and were calling The Copernican Shift, only your understanding of it has broadened and revolutionized several times since then. So, hold to the intent but use a different technique.
There are at least two ways you could do it, each with its own virtues and disadvantages. You could try to tell it as it happened – in other words, relate the succession of mental revolutions – or you could present the picture as you currently understand it.
Another interim report.
Everything is necessarily an interim report. Nobody writes anything else – only, some think it’s a final report because for them, that’s as far as they’re going. But nobody ever has the final word on anything, except by arbitrarily calling it that.
So the advantages of a trip summary are that it begins from the familiar and delivers the goods in a series of steps that may help the reader to stay oriented. The disadvantages are that it may be longer, more episodic, more
Well, the real substantial disadvantage is that you can’t count on the reader getting what is only implicit.
I thought you said words are sparks, not signposts.
You – anybody writing anything – need every bit of clarity and precision you can bring to the job, not because your A students can’t follow you, but because you want your B students and if possible your C students to benefit as well. So, what is enough of a hint for one may say nothing at all to another, and what is overkill for one may be just barely enough for another. Mix it up.
The way Thoreau wrote, you mean.
Well, look at the difference between his impact and Emerson’s.
We’re going to have to spell it out, I guess. They’re getting a bit far away from the present moment, let alone the days to come. I remember reading Thoreau and there would be two sentences, one following the next, that at first seemed to have nothing to do with each other. I would have to think, or maybe I should say pause and intuit, before I could see the thing he had said between the lines. Emerson is more straightforward – that is, his strategy is – but sometimes his underlying thought is more obscure because he doesn’t help you tease it out the way Thoreau does. And of course Emerson’s prose is half a generation older than Thoreau’s, and so strikes us as more English, more stilted, although it did not seem so to his contemporaries.
So where does this leave us?
You need to write it as plainly as you can – as both of them did, realize – as concisely and invitingly as you can.
But that isn’t any help, really. I know it’s true, but I already knew it.
Had you made the comparison to Thoreau and Emerson? It is in such comparisons of style and technique and writing strategy that you can intuit what cannot be plainly said. And certainly you will have as much need of any such technique as they did, for your world to reveal is as strange to your contemporaries as theirs was to theirs.
That’s fine, but it isn’t specific.
The specifics you already know. The way to sort them out in your mind is to list them and juggle them until they sort out into the order most easily comprehended by the reader.
I’m going to have to think of the reader more than ever before. Always difficult.
You don’t need to be able to envision their starting point, nor their mental processes, nor imagine the path that leads them to you. All you need to do is keep firmly in mind that your accustomed world is strange to them, and explain. What explanation one doesn’t need, another may, and nothing wasted in providing it.
So, here are some geese to juggle:
- 3D conditions – separation in time and in place, delayed consequences, one ever-moving present-moment.
- The things these conditions allow (and require).
- The non-3D, by contrast.
- The fact that 3D and non-3D are not separate realms but are separately conceived of, but interpenetrate, being indivisible.
- So, the All-D
- Non-locality in time as well as space, and its consequences, namely, it’s-all-one-thing, even though (deliberately) not perceived that way commonly in 3D.
- As above, so below as an organizing principle.
- Community, seen one way; individual, seen another way.
- A consequently different way to see “past lives.”
- The world is constructed of consciousness.
- Sam as creator, as opposed to the unknowable God with its unknowable attributes.
- Scripture in different forms – scripture, poetry, channeling, aspiration, intense visualization.
- Miracles and impossibilities that have been reported and are inexplicable in conventional terms but look different when seen differently.
- ESP in all its forms in light of the world being constructed of consciousness rather than lumps of stuff separated by emptiness but affecting each other at a distance.
- Healing, panaceas, miracle cures, faith, etc. in light of this view.
All right, I begin to get it. Maybe two parts? One setting it out, the second setting out consequences?
Way too early to being structuring, but consider an initial chapter setting out some of the conundrums of the world as commonly seen. Maybe a fast survey of some of the proposed answers that don’t do the job. In other words, set out the problem. Then the reader knows what you want to accomplish.
But what you did in Muddy Tracks was to let the reader accompany you through certain transformative experiences and then present your interim report. What you did in Imagine Yourself Well was far less of a trip report, far more of a distilled here’s-what-I-know,-here’s-what-I-think-you-may-be-able-to-do. Very different strategies, very different result.
Well, I knew more by the time I came to write the latter book. I was living in a different mental space.
Precisely the point. You will be writing from a new place; remember to help readers take the step that will allow them to overcome the difference from wherever they are to where you are. This is no longer a matter of saying, “I know where you are because that’s where I started” (although that should come into play here and there), but of “Look at the world this way, and see if it doesn’t work better for you.” Big difference.
Getting me out of the way.
Well – that depends on how you want to look at it. In a way Thoreau was much more evident in his writings than was Emerson. The reader cannot forget his assertive presence, and it adds punch to his statements. But in a way it is true that he and his life were there merely as illustrative background. You had to intuit Emerson’s presence more; his writing was more like overhearing a man thinking, while his friend Henry’s was like watching a man living in the world. So – stay in the picture, but yes, obviously if you are in the picture it is as a body-and-flesh [I think they meant flesh-and-blood] illustration more than as, God forbid, role model or idol to be venerated. You are just setting out what you have learned, nothing more.
And maybe afterward it will be time to disappear and get out of the way.
There’s no way for you to know that, unless you can predict all the ways your life could go.
Nor will I try to. All right, more?
What we give you is not units of information but access to more whenever you need it and remember to put yourself into a position to receive it.
And I know that statement is meant for everybody, not just for me. So now it is on the record.
Your temptation is always to rest on your oars after bringing in information. This will require a different kind of response, more active, more proactive. But it isn’t like you haven’t written novels; all the construction had to be done at your end, so you have the experience under your belt.
Friday, January 10, 2018
5:15 a.m. All right, friends. I have been busy editing the book I’m thinking of as Only Somewhat Real, comprising our conversations from September through November. But in so doing, I have lost the thread of any current conversations. I’ll glance back, but I hope you have something in mind.
You don’t need to continually entertain your friends, nor we you. So don’t take on that kind of pressure.
Well, we’re always interested in learning more, and I can’t imagine you running out of things to tell us.
No, but there is a difference between idle curiosity and what we might call directed curiosity. It is one thing to tune into your computers and view things at random, another to have a purpose in mind.
I have been assuming you wouldn’t run short of purpose!
Yes, but that is confusing roles! Your specialty is focus, ours is access.
That doesn’t seem to square with experience.
Sure it does. You just aren’t recognizing it. Sometimes, in 3D, your purpose is seen in what you’re open to, what you’re interested in. So, you might not have a specific question or even a specific area of questions, and yet your life orients you to a certain form of questioning. We are always happy to oblige, but it is up to you to pose the subject of inquiry. Only, as usual –
Correct. And it should scarcely be necessary to add that this is not a problem or condition peculiar to any one individual, but to 3D focuses-of-awareness in general.
It seems a little circular – except, as I begin to write this, I get one of those “!” moments.
No reason your whole life can’t be a string of aha moments, if you choose it to be. It’s up to you.
A decision, on our part?
A choice of attitudes, let’s say. You can choose to be perpetually interested, perpetually astonished or let’s say suddenly better understanding of something previously seen.
Sounds like my friend Dirk.
Only it need not be connected to science, or metaphysics, or for that matter religion or art or genetics or carpentry – to carry the illustration to an extreme. It is in how you choose the world to be for you, or – same thing – how you choose to encounter the world.
Sounds like our theme for the morning.
It can be, let’s see. It depends more on your sustained interest than on our available information, obviously.
Well, you say “obviously,” but until you did, it wasn’t necessarily obvious. But sure, I can see that now. We on the 3D end aren’t likely to exhaust your knowledge on a given subject, but we can easily hare off in some other direction.
As can we, and it will not necessarily be obvious which end of the barbell fell first, ours or yours.
Glad you didn’t say dumbbell, which I suppose is sometimes closer to the truth.
In any case, the insight you had –
Let’s see if I can remember what it was.
Just start, even if you have to repeat a sentence to prime the pump.
You said it was up to us to choose what to ask about, only as usual, that begged the question “which you” of us, meaning, A1, A2, A3? And I said it seemed a little circular, thinking that we extend from 3D into non-3D, so we’re asking ourselves. And maybe that was the “aha,” or more like an “of course.” We are always on both sides of the equation. In a sense (perhaps I should write it “in essence,” just as accurately) we are always talking to ourselves.
It does clarify some things, does it not?
You know what it clarifies chiefly? All the perplexities one goes through, or may go through, as to whether “I’m just making this up.”
Of course. And like every “aha,” once stated it looks more like a routine statement of fact than an earth-shaking revelation. That’s how you know you have absorbed it.
Interesting way to think about the process.
Well, if you are still in awe of a thought – and your life can give you examples of when you have been in awe of a thought – it’s a sign that it’s still “other” to you.
So – I guess this shouldn’t be any big deal, but it certainly took me long enough to get here. All the perplexities of learning to deal with The Big Computer In The Sky (so to speak) are because of our society’s way of thinking about things, rather than anything intrinsic in the way the world is set up.
You knew that, in other compartments of your mind. What happened in your “aha” moment is that you established or recognized a link between two sets of ideas that hadn’t functioned together before that.
I’ve even taught people how to connect, but even though I have said we’re all one thing, in practice I have taught it as if it were a matter of clearing our reception and of recognizing our ability to engage in two-way radio traffic. Implied, but mostly only implied, is the fact that we’re on both ends of the conversation. When people experience that fact, they tend to assume it means that they aren’t yet doing it right!
You will continue to find that the simplest things keep coming back to reveal unsuspected ramifications. If you let them.
Okay, so then, where did the impetus and steering of any of the conversations that have become our books come from? If I experience Rita as coming forth day by day for six months, and again later for another period of several weeks, isn’t it Rita? Is it me pretending to myself to be Rita?
Are you pretending to yourself to be the people reading and responding to these conversations, including those you haven’t met?
Hmm. Good answer. Okay, so –
So don’t forget one end of a polarity because you’re concentrating on the other end. Yes, you’re on both sides of the conversation; no, you aren’t the only one on the line.
Another way to think of the temporary joint mind!
Yes. You might say your mind and Rita’s ran together, and leave it at that. Beyond a certain point, definitions may decrease understanding, by decreasing fluidity.
Abraham Lincoln’s stepmother said that her mind “what there was of it” and his seemed to naturally run together. Same sense of it, I take it.
A continuing theme with us – which is another way of saying, with you – is that this is your experience of everyday life, reconceptualized. There is nothing “woo woo,” as you say, in seeing the world straight, and any given “aha” moment ought to line up with your own everyday experience. In fact, we might almost say that is a definition of an “aha”: a recognition that an abstract relationship has been experienced in other contexts.
Going back over this – a few pages ago you said we could choose our attitude toward the world. But that still begs the question of “which you.”
And every question will. How can you avoid it? The way forward isn’t to worry the question but to be aware of it. And of course the more willing you are to express the full “you” – the fullest “you” you can access in a given moment – the less the question will matter. After all, if you decide to travel to China, will it matter in practice how you came to the decision? How much of the impetus came from 3D-you, how much from non-3D you? And if you begin examining even more closely, how much from this strand, how much from that? From this “past life,” from that one? How much because vast impersonal forces blew through the pan-pipe just at that moment, coinciding with impulses let loose by astrologically influenced alignments? You can get lost in such investigation. (And, if that’s what you choose to do, who’s to say you shouldn’t? Maybe it is your path or part of your path to pursue such speculations. Only, know that this too is a choice.)
Really, I’m getting somewhat like you-all. Every spot leads off in many tempting directions, and it’s a job to keep to any one train of thought.
That’s the inherent structure of your habit-patterns (your preferred mode of operation): It is why you are an INTP or INFP and not an INTJ or INFJ. [Myers-Briggs categories: P for perception, J for judging.] You leave things open. Not so good a trait for an executive, but a very useful trait for a pioneer, a wanderer.
I tacked on “a wanderer” lest pioneer seem inflated. I did catch myself doing that.
Which “you” did that?
Very funny. Anything else at the moment?
No, that’s your hour. A good place to pause, recognizing that all life is merely places to pause, places to resume.
Thanks for all of this.