Saturday, March 10, 2018
7:45 a.m. I wish I could absorb the material’s underlying logic, so that when I am about to start a day’s conversation I would know what we are going to be talking about, so I felt more confident that I wouldn’t be skipping something, or wandering. But I suppose you keep your own bookmarks.
In the first place, yes we do. In the second, no we don’t, and it isn’t necessary.
Very clear. Glad you cleared that up for me.
Well, look at it this way. If it were under your control, you would know where you were going, or you wouldn’t. If you did, how would you know? What part of you would be holding the place, setting the syllabus? If you did not, where would your next foray come from? Even if you could imagine it being random, what does that mean in practice? Where would the content of “random” come from?
From the great mystery of that which is outside the little circle we are aware of.
Precisely. Even if you envision yourself as blindfolded, reaching into a pool to fish out an unknown something, it amounts to the same thing. You – conscious 3D you – always function by means and in ways that are beyond your knowledge, understanding, or direct experience. At best, you make up ideas about what is probably happening. “I got an idea,” “I had an inspiration,” “A thought came to me.” Active or passive, it’s all metaphor. “I dreamed this up,” “I got it from The Guys Upstairs,” “I channeled Velasquez, or Julius Caesar, or Martha Washington’s chambermaid.” Attributed to “your own” non-3D mind, or other non-3D minds, or past life minds, it’s all metaphor. The fact is, you do not know and can not know what really goes on, and neither can we (assuming, for the moment, with a smile, that we exist and are not being made up moment by moment by you or Martha Washington’s chambermaid). What you know is phenomena – that is, surface appearances – and no more. What things really are is unknown and unknowable, and what they appear to be depends upon the observing half of the equation.
Interesting phrase, that I almost stumbled over and crossed out, till it occurred to me – or you nudged me, or whatever happens – that it was a key.
What a thing appears to be depends partly on what it is, partly on what the observer is.
You mean, how it appears depends on the two together.
Yes, but your sentence does not correct ours, it merely restates it, for, as we say, appearances are all you ever have to work with. And it is no different for us or for Albert Einstein.
Taking that as given, what is the point of trying to learn how things really are?
You know the answer to that, if you look for it, only do not expect to come to ultimates.
Yes, understood. So, after this lengthy prologue –
You think of it as an aside, but it is as important to the exposition as anything else. Consistently we have intermixed observations on the process with those on the subject being discussed. It is a deliberate strategy, extending from the beginning of your conversation – really, from the beginning of your particular life.
Yes, I see that, and of course I have been told that before, but it’s like we speak of sunrise while still knowing that it is the earth that is turning relative to the sun, or speak of “the other side” in referring to the non-3D. Habit, and not particularly harmful, as far as I know.
Of course, but once in a while you remind yourself that “the other side” distorts the way to see it that preserves new understandings, and once in a while we remind you that we know what we’re doing, and it is only the question of “which you” that blurs certainties.
I feel myself mentally smiling, even as I don’t quite see the joke. Curious feeling.
Well, the point under consideration is the relation of your lives to the vast impersonal forces that sweep through your lives. And this we can go into at another time. You are tired though it is still early in the day, and you are due for a day off anyway, so let this be it.
I am both disappointed and relieved.
A sure sign, then, no?
Possibly so. Very well, till next time.
To understand about Bleeding Kansas, you need to know about the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, and to understand that, you have to see the connection between the results of the Mexican War, on the one hand, and the Missouri Compromise, on the other. This is why history is usually related past-forward-to-future, rather than future-back-to-past!
First, we must jump way back to 1820 and the Missouri Compromise. We’ll look at it in a little more detail later, but for now it is enough to remember that it did two things: It established the precedent of admitting one free state and one slave state simultaneously, so that the South, already outnumbered in the House of Representatives, would not find itself also outnumbered in the Senate. It also established a latitude (parallel 36°30′ north), above which slavery would be forever forbidden, except in the newly admitted state of Missouri.
Both provisions kept the Union together for a crucial thirty years. The first was abandoned in 1850, when California was admitted as a free state (see below). Four years later, the Kansas-Nebraska Act (again, see below) abandoned the second principle: Henceforth territories would be admitted as free states or slave states not depending on whether they were above or below the compromise line, but according to the wishes of each territory’s inhabitants at the time of admission. This “popular sovereignty” idea may have seemed sensible and democratic. In practice, it was disastrous.
Of the two territories being considered for admission to the Union, Nebraska was universally recognized as lying too far north for slavery. All the more reason, according to certain Southern hot-heads, why Kansas must be admitted as a slave state. California had already upset the balance. To add two more free states, rather than one free and one slave, would worsen the South’s already outnumbered position. More immediately, pro-slavery men in neighboring Missouri, already bordered by the free states of Illinois and Iowa, were alarmed at the idea of yet another free state to the west. They determined to avoid this by hook or by crook, especially crook.
Slavery advocates organized immigration to Kansas Territory from slave states, and established pro-slavery settlements near the Missouri border, at Leavenworth and Atchison. Then anti-slavery organizations in the North organized and funded Free-State immigration, traveling through Iowa and Nebraska when Missouri proved hostile, establishing Free-State settlements farther west in Topeka, Manhattan, and Lawrence, and pretty quickly establishing an anti-slavery majority in the state. But in November, 1854, thousands of armed pro-slavery men from Missouri (“Border Ruffians“) entered the state, posed as residents, and voted in the election to Congress of the territorial delegate allotted to Kansas. Given this rather extra-legal assistance (6,000 men voted, out of a total of 1,500 registered voters, not all of whom voted) pro-slavery forces won the election. The following March, the Border Ruffians did it again, packing the ballot boxes in favor of pro-slavery delegates to the first territorial legislature.
But by the summer of 1855, approximately 1,200 New Englanders had traveled to Kansas, armed and ready to resist coercion in or from Missouri. When the pro-slavery territorial legislature began to pass laws to institutionalize slavery in Kansas Territory, Free-Soilers drafted their own constitution and formed their own government. The stage was set for a pocket-sized preview of the Civil War. In October 1855, John Brown and some of his sons came to Kansas Territory.
In November and December, 1855, the first violent clashes occurred. In January, 1856, in Washington, D.C., President Franklin Pierce declared the Free-State Topeka government to be illegitimate! In May, Border Ruffians attacked Lawrence, burned the Free State Hotel, destroyed two newspaper offices and their printing presses, and ransacked homes and stores. Now events began to run out of hand, sped by telegraphed accounts of events hundreds of miles from each other.
The day after the Border Ruffian raid on Lawrence, South Carolina Representative Preston Brooks attacked Massachusetts Free Soil Senator Charles Sumner in the Senate chambers with his thick cane. He hit him and continued to hit him until he was unconscious, while another gallant Southern representative, holding a pistol, refused to let anyone help Sumner. (It was another three years before Sumner was able to return to his Senate duties.)
Physical violence on the Senate floor! In response, John Brown led an attack on a pro-slavery settlement at Pottawatomie Creek which dragged five pro-slavery men from their homes and hacked them to death with broadswords. On June 2, at the Battle of Black Jack, he took two dozen pro-slavery soldiers prisoner. On July 4, the president sent federal troops to prevent the shadow government in Topeka from meeting. In August, thousands of proslavery men formed into armies and marched into Kansas. Hostilities continued until Brown departed and a new territorial governor, John W. Geary, managed to secure a fragile peace.
In 1857, a Kansas constitutional convention drafted the pro-slavery “Lecompton Constitution,” and it was ratified when anti-slavery forces boycotted an election that offered no way to vote against slavery. President James Buchanan accepted the vote, but Congress disagreed and ordered another election. In the second election the pro-slavery forces boycotted the process, the anti-slavery forces won, and the Lecompton Constitution was dead. Violence flickered on and off until, by 1859, the death toll had reached 56. In mid-year, residents voted 2-to-1 for the anti-slavery Wyandotte Constitution. A year and a half later, on January 29, 1861, Kansas entered the Union as a free state. By that time, South Carolina had already declared itself out of the union, and other slave states (though not all of them) were on their way. Bleeding Kansas had done its bit to bring on a war that would kill or wound more than 10,000 men for every one of the 56 who died on that frontier.
Sunday, March 11, 2018
[A session that came in sort of sideways, and then went on far longer than usual.]
5:10 a.m. EDT. A dream. He is at his desk. His superior comes by. He realizes he can’t do his job any more, at least he’s afraid that’s true, and is pretty sure it is. He tells her he is getting things ready in his mind, because he doesn’t want to jump in prematurely, as he used to do when younger. She accepts that – at least apparently, but maybe really, too – and leaves him alone. But he is in white-hot panic.
Preview of coming attractions? Flashback to earlier days? Analogy to Hemingway’s last years? All of the above?
I never had the confidence I would have needed, to accomplish what I was nonetheless impelled to attempt. And then I not only didn’t have the confidence, but was discouraged by the feedback as well, and did not have the confidence I would have needed to press on regardless. I needed John Nelson’s brashness, or Michael Langevin’s, or Bob Friedman’s calmly implacable purpose, and instead I had – what? A perpetual feeling for what might be the way?
[Unexpectedly, for basically I had been writing to myself:] Don’t be so hard on yourself.
And within I had a traitor as well, someone always saying, “You can’t, you shouldn’t, you shouldn’t have, you don’t deserve it, you aren’t worthy.”
Maybe everyone has such angels, and maybe everyone has to decide whether to listen to them.
Maybe so. It didn’t make my life any easier, nor any more productive, to not know what to do.
Maybe nobody knows.
That isn’t how it looks.
Look at how some people look at your life. To them it appears a miracle of good fortune, natural gifts, luck possibly unmerited. Just as you have thought of the lives of others.
So, what? It’s just a trick of perspective, how I’m feeling?
It is a feeling, one that may be overcome by doing the work you can do, while you can do it, rather than being overwhelmed with sorrow that you did not do what maybe you could have done and maybe you could not have done.
Which leaves you happier, doing what you can, or lamenting what you cannot?
Am I supposed to put this out in public, as well?
Nobody can force you to do so.
That isn’t what I asked.
Everybody has his own path, or non-path, and breaks trail in his own way, shaping his life in the process. But it’s more about breaking the trail than about getting to the destination, for there is no destination, ultimately, only traveling.
I’ll think about it. Meanwhile, shall we continue?
That is just what we have been doing here. If we are going to produce something of use to people, it can only be something that takes all the high-flying speculation and marries it to the slogging through the mud that is, so often, a human life. Conflicts, emotional overwhelms, depression, despair, hatred – all the expression within a life of forces beyond control – it is real, is it not? It is to be explained. It is to be placed into context. You don’t want – we don’t want! – one more representation of human life as if you were calculating machines (homo economicus) or reasoning beings, or ideologically determined ones, or pawns in the hands of God or the devil. Neither [descriptive] extreme is helpful. Only both extremes of any range, all extremes of all ranges, if it could be done, will help anybody face and transmute his own private despair.
Is everyone in despair, then?
It is not a question of everyone, nor of all the time. It is a question of helping those who can be helped, when they need the help.
Of course, I see that. And I read years ago that greatness consists not of being at one extreme or its opposite, but of touching both extremes at once.
Isn’t that what your heroes have in common? Hemingway particularly?
I have had many heroes over the years, and I notice that they have changed. That is, the qualities I value most – as embodied in individual lives – have changed within me, so that the heroes of one time become merely estimable men.
Hero-worship is a useful and a limiting tool, both.
Would it be worthwhile for me to read Carlyle on hero-worship?
You aren’t likely to get as much out of it as you might have gotten if you were reading it 150 years ago.
“No vale la pena.” [Not worth the effort.] Probably not, but how hard would it be to get it out of Alderman [library] and look?
Only, as we say, probably not worth your time. To return to the point: Examination of your life (one’s own life, we mean) may be done at any of several levels, and the more levels, and the more in relation one to another, the more productive the insights. Only, no one can understand one’s own life without feeling it.
And as it said in the movie [Ordinary People], feelings don’t always tickle.
No indeed. But feelings alone, examination of events and motivations alone, treating your life as if it were lived in isolation – as one usually does – produces a curious weightless distortion, leaving the picture floating in air.
I’d better go start the coffee. I get the sense that although we’ve been going more than half an hour, the most important part is about to begin.
Not more important than what has preceded. Instead, an important amplification that may, true, benefit from your own particular kind of chemical assistance, coffee.
Fortunately, only a matter of pressing a button, today. I don’t always have it ready to go from the night before, but I did this time.
Observe, though, how your mood lightened as you had the prospect of productive work. It is meaninglessness and drift that make people’s lives torment, and isn’t that precisely what we have been trying to help you dispel [in others]? And by the way it is very important that you not let them put you on a pedestal (thus creating a very convenient gap which they can use to excuse themselves from making their own efforts) if only by omission.
I understand that. Nonetheless, not everything is anyone else’s business, let alone everyone’s.
No, but the fact that dirty laundry exists is all that’s needed. Everybody will have their own secrets, their own shortcomings, regrets, shames, embarrassments to conceal. They’ll understand very well, and, you’re right, the specific contents of anyone else’s skeletons in the closet is nobody else’s business.
And we are 45 minutes in, but on the other hand the coffee is at hand. So, we may proceed for some time if you need to.
I do. I don’t know why I don’t spend all my time creating, either this way or another.
But you no longer have the energy you did when you were young. It is an inevitable process, so it becomes a matter of using what you have, in the light of your experiences, to do so more efficiently. The results may be more or less the same, for quite a while.
“Old age and treachery can defeat youth and skill,” they say in tennis.
A better analogy would not involve competition with others, nor even with oneself, but would express how the compensating knowledge and wisdom of age may keep up with, and often outdo, the sheer energy and impetus of youth.
As we were saying, your lives may be examined as if in a vacuum, and, indeed, often are. Or they may be examined in the light of the times they were lived in – a “life and times of” book of someone famous. Or, they may be examined from inside – autobiography – or from outside – biography—or, very rarely, from a spiritual perspective. Even the words “spiritual perspective” scarcely mean anything to your time.
No, it sounds like The Lives of the Saints.
Now, this is a slight digression, but a relevant one, perhaps. Tell of Adomnan’s life of Columba.
Yes, I had that in mind during that last paragraph. I bought it when I was on Iona, 15 years ago, and I like it very much, but it struck me how different it is to the way any biography would be written today, or even, almost could be written today. The things that scholars value so much as facts don’t interest Adomnan at all. When Columba was born, where, the name of his dentist (so to speak), the family tree, the record of his life chronology – none of that interests Adomnan. What does interest him is to show why Columba was held in such high regard; what qualities he possessed and how they manifested. The physical facts that enter the narrative are wholly subsumed in that purpose. And what we are left with, I recognized very well. It was a straight recounting of what might, I see, be called “the spiritual facts,” if the phrase be properly understood.
You should say a little more.
My own experiences, and those of my friends, especially those centering around our Monroe Institute experiences, if only because those combine community with specific group and individual endeavors understood within a common context. What specifically happens is often less important than what it indicates, what it illustrates or hints at or provides feedback to or encouragement for. And I think that’s what I find so simpatico in the viewpoint I read into the life Adomnan wrote. He sees the way I do, although his is firmly Christian in a seventh-century way that is not available 14 centuries later.
All right. Now, take a moment to gather your strength, and center, and we’ll see how far we got.
Okay. We have over ten pages – and our 65 minutes – already. But I take it that you have something specific in mind. [Pause.]
To examine what is called the spiritual heritage of mankind is not without its value, and may be done in any of various moods and methods. In-depth examination of any one religion’s scripts and traditions will lead in one direction. Comparative reading and study among many will lead in a different direction. Skimming or deep immersion, in either case, will, similarly, lead in different directions. Learning in any of these ways, and then actively relating them to one or more philosophies or disciplines, similarly, will lead in various directions. Will Durant leads one way, Carl Jung another, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche and Emerson each in his own direction.
Of course, nothing worth doing is ever done in the spirit of imitation. Of emulation, yes, but not of imitation. You see the distinction?
Yes. Imitation tries to be someone else. Emulation tries to live up to the best in someone else.
Yes, I’m a little surprised myself. I didn’t know that until I said it. You’d think I was in contact with somebody smart.
Probably you’re just making it up.
Clearly. So –
So in your day (well, actually in the days to come that you will not live long to see, but you have to begin somewhere, sometime) you will need to emulate, not be forever imitating. Thus, new ways of seeing will produce a new [type of] history, a new biography, a new spiritual memoir, that will not have existed because they could not have been created out of the conscious vision of the world that is passing away. Only, don’t expect the Age of Aquarius to manifest in full bloom in the next 20 minutes.
We are not here talking about a project for you nor your friends; we are talking about how you may reshape the boundaries and possibilities of your lives by absorbing this material and transmuting it into whatever it is that you, yourself, living where and when and how you do, produce when you incorporate your own being into it.
That will sound a little backwards, inserting ourselves into the understanding.
Seem, perhaps, but not be. It is said correctly, and the work needed to rearrange your minds to absorb it is work that will make it yours.
Now. There is a problem. Over 25 years, you have been led from the more commonly accepted view of things (even though your view may have been unusual, it was well within the common stream) into something actually new even though seemingly an echo of other things that have been said here, there, elsewhere. It is too much to expect others to retrace that path, set out in how many books?
I don’t know. Muddy Tracks, Chasing Smallwood, Sphere and Hologram, Rita’s World, A Place to Stand, Awakening from the 3D World – six or seven, anyway.
Nobody is going to go about living your life again, so it would be as well to produce another precis.
And that can’t be done this way? Is that what I get?
We’ve been telling you right alone. But here is what we’re adding now: To write a book is to fix your understanding in time, and so the objective becomes to render each previous book obsolete or anyway out of date; otherwise you only imitate yourself. The previous books remain as stepping stones, but perhaps ultimately they will be of little importance except – big “except,” however! – to show others a way that the pathless path may be walked, in hope of encouraging them to do their own journeying in their own manner.
So now that you are aware that we intend to weave your lives-stories [i.e. life story, but plural, as it applies to all of us, not just one of us] into the larger story of life lives among the vast impersonal forces of the universe, you see two things perhaps. One, you must be willing to give up an unpredictable part of what you believe and understand and think you know; two, you must live your lives as bridges from what you were to what you are becoming, even while realizing that you are what you are; you express what you express, which is a very different thing.
And after an hour and a half, that is enough for the moment.
And almost 15 pages to transcribe. I hope the steno pool is available.
Well, you have coffee, don’t you.
Smiling. Next time, then. Thanks for a very helpful session.
Monday, March 12, 2018
6:40 a.m. EDT. We can continue, if you wish.
We do wish. The fact that you do not know how to connect dots going forward is not the same as our being unable to connect them, only we have the advantage in addition that we could place dots nearly anywhere and then connect them in a pattern that would make sense.
Sometimes I feel like this is a Rorschach test.
Not a bad description of the 3D portion of a life, that.
Okay, so to resume. You can see, perhaps, that in earlier clarifications we dealt with the human experience as if it existed in a vacuum. First we portrayed the human existence (the 3D experience, in other words) in a way to relate it to the non-3D. Then we treated of your functioning, day to day and life to life, as part of the All-D being. Then we began to describe the 3D life from another perspective, with emphasis on human struggles – passions, troubles, all the things one is likely to forget to factor in when considering human life and its purpose. We had to detour somewhat – at least, in some ways it could be considered a detour, because it is off the direct line of what we wish to demonstrate, but it was necessary so as not to leave an unconquered fortress behind our rear lines – to touch on the scriptures, on sin, on the sins, the virtues, the contemporaneously disregarded “spiritual” heritage of your civilization that provides one way to make sense of the world beyond the senses.
I hate it when you do that and are not deliberately punning.
[I meant, repeating a word – “sense,” in this case – with a different meaning. It jars on me, stylistically, and sometimes I find myself doing it in these conversations, which is even more annoying.]
You are not responsible, so don’t let it molest you. The point is that up to that point [and here they did it again!], we considered your lives as if in a bubble, or a hermetically sealed chamber. But now we are opening the windows, breaking the seals, reminding you that outside – and inside! – is weather to be considered. Your lives are what they are partly due to manifestations in 3D of what you are, and partly as the result of the interaction of what you are with the weather that prevails while you are being you. this is only a common-sense view of life after all, seen from an unfamiliar viewpoint.
And this is the job you want me to attempt after we finish these transmissions, or between times, I suppose: summarizing things so that it is more easily seen.
Yes, and of course the work will benefit you as well as those others who profit by it: Work always is its own reward, in that you have invested your 3D-present-tense into it. That is, as you do, so you become. As you are, so you have the resources to enter into the doing.
Everything you have done in your life – this is addressed to everybody and anybody, of course, not to only one person – everything until the present moment (whenever that present moment is being experienced) has been preparation. That doesn’t mean, exactly, only preparation, as if all that living was dress rehearsal. It means your best day is now. Your possibilities are now. Your moment of decision as to what you wish to be is now. How else could it be? Do you think you make a decision and the rest of your life is coasting (or skidding, depending)?
Consider this carefully. The external 3D consequences of your prior life are both determinative and merely indicative. That is, one way of looking at it would say, your life was determined by what you did with it, including all achievement and failure, all missed opportunities and errors, all wrong turnings (assuming you can tell a wrong from an undesired turning), all of it, that seems good or bad from your viewpoint. But from another point of view, all of that mattered only in that it produced you as you are now; it produced you as possibility, as potential new improved you.
I think it depends on whether we look at – oh, it’s first-tier versus second-tier again, isn’t it.
Let’s say that is a way to organize it, only it would be second-tier and third. Your life, looked at as the concrete situation as it emerged from a series of events that played out in 3D, will appear primarily as something fixed, thus primarily as something limited. If you were in Santa Fe, you couldn’t at the same time be in Singapore. If you did this, you couldn’t at the same time do that. The 3D is, after all, if it is anything, an experience of limitation. That’s how it is designed to function. So, first-tier experience is the 3D moment itself, second-tier is the effect on you of that moment, which is not the same thing. And then there is the question of what you do with what you have become, which is another remove from the simple actual experience.
So one level is, “This is what my life has been; this is what it made me,” (or, with greater insight, “This is what I decided, moment to moment, to be). The other level is, “This is where I am now, so that I may judge it and decide what I wish to retain, what I wish to change, what I wish to build upon but convert.”
I take it you aren’t meaning, going back and rewriting the life.
No, in this case we’re meaning, using it as springboard, as a firm place to push off from.
Now, all of this is true, but consider how much more complicated it is in practice when you begin to factor in the existence of what we might call the cosmic weather. No two moments of time are identical in properties, so some are more propitious for this, some for that. If it rains, that isn’t the end of the world, it’s merely a good time to wear a raincoat. But you won’t be going on picnics in the rain, usually, so it isn’t as if the weather doesn’t affect what to you seem rational decisions.
That’s a little sloppy. May I?
I am hearing the old “predestination v. free will” argument again, and thinking this may be a key to reconciling the two extremes. It is because we don’t remember to factor in the vast impersonal forces as an independent factor that we get caught in a logical trap. But the free will aspect is what we are, in that we can choose at any time. The predestination aspect is that we exist among greater impersonal forces that affect us.
We wouldn’t say that is a great advance in clarity.
No, I agree. I thought it would be clearer than I was able to make it.
You are trying to skip forward, we would say. Let’s plod a little longer.
Some moments are going to produce some temptations – some kinds of temptations, we should say – and others, others. This is what you could consider as objective fact of any given moment. There is only one April 14, 1989, and although everyone may experience the day differently, the external basis of that experience will be the same and the internal will differ by person.
So we’re back to seeing life as internal and external, not the external as only the visible manifestation of the internal?
We are moving up a level, let’s say. Refocusing the microscope, so that what was previously differentiated now blurs together somewhat, so that we may better differentiate a different level of being. What was necessary in order to bring you to the point is not necessary now that you are here. So, as usual, it is a matter of reinterpretation. Now that you know in your selves (as opposed to merely having been told) that your internal unconscious tendencies manifest externally, we can take all that for granted and – treating as a unit what until now we considered internal and external – contrast all of that, seen together, with the weather they live in.
Yes, I understand that.
And that’s enough for the moment.
Less than an hour, but more than eight pages. Went quickly. Okay, thanks.
Tuesday, March 13, 2018
5:15 a.m. This is the first morning it went like this: I was awakened, couldn’t go back to sleep but wanted to, had the sense of the guys wanting me to get up, still didn’t want to, said “If you want me to get up, just say so,” and all but heard, “We want you to get up,” and still didn’t want to get up. I hope this is worthwhile. What is so important that it couldn’t wait an hour or so?
Some things have their own intersection time, and if the meeting is missed, it is missed.
You mean, I guess, that if I am to intersect a given idea, I need to be at position in time and space X. somehow, I tend to doubt it. And I’m a little stiff-necked about being overruled in my own life.
And there is a good example, in the flesh, of life lived among true externals (as opposed to what only seem to be externals but are really exteriorized internal aspects of oneself). It should be clear from experience that no one’s life is lived as merely a dramatization of what s/he already is. Life is conflict of forces, and if the conflict were only exteriorization of what is there already from the past – well, how did it get there in the past? Again, this is just common sense, but common sense applied in an area often subject to absence of common sense due to the prevalence of speculations, logical conclusions from inadequate premises and data, and unrecognized prejudices and preferences. You have been on a very long guided tour of a way of seeing life that emphasized life as a working-out of existing problems, possibilities, tendencies, etc. We are merely allowing the pendulum to swing to the other extreme, that of the world as you do not exemplify it or animate it.
I can see the polarity, though I can’t say I gave it any thought.
As we say, we were busy rearranging your view of yourselves in the sense of you being your own universe, so to speak. If we now move to discuss your position vis a vis the rest of reality, we beg you not to immediately forget every insight you have learned about yourselves. Instead, fold it all together.
I got an image there of island universes, vast swirling clouds of stars existing in relative isolation, yet – via a change in scale, seen to be part of a vaster whole in which each played a part.
Yes, I feel that. Not yet clear enough. Very well, a minute –
Trying again. We have been described as individuals who are yet communities. We have been told that this is true at every level: “as above, so below.” Thus the collection of strands that is an individual is, in effect, a community learning to function as an individual. That individual, in turn, is part of a larger community, both in terms of being a strand in a later individual and in terms of being only a small part of its Sam. And now you intend to concentrate less on our internal constitution and more on our external interrelation.
Isn’t that a better description of the very clear visual you were given?
It is. Always a continual reminder, to make haste slowly.
So now you see the beginning of the connection of our discussion of the vast impersonal forces that range through the universe, and our previous correction of various ideas about your lives in and out of the 3D world. With so many definitions – mostly not conscious ones, hence not easily corrected – how can anyone expect such understandings to be conveyed by means of a simple logical exposition?
In other words, that’s why understandings of the world are carried by myths rather than textbooks.
Correct. But for those to whom myth is evidence of ignorance and superstition, a lengthy explanation will be necessary, or nothing can be done. But after the explanation, you will find it easier and more productive to remember it in terms of myth.
I am beginning to see it. Myth is a dense collection of symbolic representations, each very dense in itself. Myth holds relations between qualities.
Only, don’t limit your idea of myths to those of the ancient Romans, or the Egyptians, or to the Christian religion. Human intelligence connects via myth; myth expresses and also shapes your reality. So don’t imagine that you are not living by, and amid, myth. It’s only that the myth when still living is so all-encompassing that it is invisible as myth, and appears to be straightforward description of reality. Obvious, evident, description. But only myth, for all that.
What John Anthony West called the Church of Progress, for one.
Well, more what the Church of Progress took – takes – for reality.
I thought maybe we were going to list a few of the contemporary invisible myths, but we aren’t, are we.
No, and it is not myths plural, but myth singular. To make an economic and ideological analogy, capitalism and communism are not separate myths but part of one myth, each choosing different parts to emphasize and exemplify. Both believe in the primacy of economic and material facts and are blind to the larger reality beyond. But taken together, the myth they share is only part of a larger myth outside of which neither could exist, and inside of which both become apparent as alternate choices.
And once a myth loses its quality of appearing self-evident, it loses all power.
That is sort of reversing cause and effect, or rather is seeing only one part of a reciprocating process, but yes.
And I come back to what Carl Jung said: The gods never reinhabit the temples they have once abandoned.
Perhaps now you can see why this must be so. Once a myth has lost its ability to enchant, for whatever reason, it cannot be re-adopted by an act of will. It is gone.
“Whither is fled the visionary gleam? Where is it now, the glory and the dream?”
That’s one context. Another, closer to home, would be your own experience of the Catholic church.
Yes. As a boy I experienced it almost in a medieval sense, alive, undoubted, somehow not contradicting the reality around me. Then came a sort of halfway position (the tipoff to it being a halfway position is rebelliousness, I suspect. One doesn’t fight against what one no longer needs to fight against, only that which has one still struggling in its toils). Then, and now, I am entirely outside the myth and could not “recover the gift of faith,” as the good sisters would say, even if I wanted to. What is dead to me is dead to me. Some it will serve nonetheless, perhaps for decades or – who knows? – centuries into the future, as no doubt some families continued the Roman worship well into the Christian era. But when an individual emerges from within the myth, there is no going back.
No, and of course that is a good thing, only there is no need to forget or repudiate the truths told by the discarded myth merely because you are now living in the light of common day, so to speak. Only, you will then consciously or, more probably, unconsciously walk into a new myth to order your life, for no one can life without a myth, even – as [it was for] Sartre – a myth of meaninglessness.
So we proceed to create our own myth.
It cannot be consciously created – constructed, assembled as a sort of do-it-yourself project. It can be only intuited, or, better said, lived into existence. And nobody has more than a small part in something so large and significant. One planet – one moon! – does not a solar system make, much less a galaxy or an island universe. Still, it is not a matter of size or weight but of – color, let’s say, or taste. In other words, one’s contribution to the myth is more a matter of quality than any quantity.
I get that. Columba’s life on Iona helped shape not the central Christian myth, perhaps, but the part of the myth that refers to a human living in it.
That is a serviceable shorthand. We do not pursue it more carefully only because that would be a side-trail, though one of interest. Only, this is enough for now. As a last word, lest we leave a mistaken impression: We are not talking about deliberately creating a new myth for the world. No one could do that. But what is possible is to help others see as clearly as possible, and in the process, the myth will emerge on its own or perhaps we should say will capture us, and free us to be more ourselves.
A little cryptic, but all right. Thanks as always, and hasta el proximo.