The Premises of Our Existence
While I’m still in a retrospective mood, perhaps I should once again recap some of the premises of The Chrysalis in light of my past personal experiences along with the benefit of new information, new meaning. Or, I should say, rather, befitting Mr. Holling’s adaptive cycle, that these are conclusions from an earlier course of development that have become premises for a new one.
And the first premise is, that we are not primarily “human” at all. We are energy beings — energy entities.
It is the testimony of my personal experience, also attested to by William Blake, Jill Bolte-Taylor, Carlos Castaneda, “Seth” and probably dozens of others I’m still not even aware of yet, that we aren’t primarily physical beings at all. We are, in the words of Seth, “energy personality essences” presently focussed within the “sea of Space & Time”, as Blake put it. This is the knowledge of the primary or “first attention”, as Jill Bolte-Taylor describes it. We are, in her words, energy beings connected through the first attention to the vast sea of energy and awareness around us, an integral aspect of “All That Is”, and implicitly inseparable from All That Is. We are, as she puts it, “the Life Force Power of the Universe” endowed with manual dexterity and two cognitive minds. But we are not primarily solid or physical beings at all. What we call “human” is a definition — and often a limiting and constrictive one — imposed by the second attention upon the greater awareness that we implicitly are. “Human” is a social construct — a limiting belief or self-understanding corresponding somewhat to the Freudian “Superego” (the authority figure or voice in the mind), which I’ve also referred to, following Castaneda’s usage, as “the foreign installation”.
Until I read McGilchrist’s work of neurodynamics, I previously referred to these two cognitive minds in terms of “attentional” and “intentional” aspects of consciousness, or as “awareness” and “consciousness”, and these somewhat corresponding to what Jung calls the “anima” and “animus” principles (and which, presumably, the yin and yang principles, or yoni and lingam principles in Hinduism). This polar aspect of awareness in terms of attentional and intentional moods is clearly associated with McGilchrist’s interpretation of the divided brain, and with the functions of the right and left-hemisphere’s modes of attention respectively. “Without contraries there is no progression” (Blake) and this polarity is the cause of the flux of energy. And at the human or physical level, this polarity of attention and intention manifests in physical terms as the acts of listening and speaking. “Dialectics” is simply a conceptual or mental abstraction of “dialogics”.
That which knows itself as being this “energy personality essence”, or is perceived as the “Light Body”, is also called “the core”. The “human”, at least as is presently understood, is the periphery or circumference of the core. And this is what we call “ego nature”, And it is what McGilchrist calls “the Emissary”. The core is called “the Master”. The human side or left-hemisphere, when it becomes aware of the “Master” and its root in the Master, calls this “Aristocrat” (Meister Eckhart) or “Oversoul” (Ralph Waldo Emerson) of the Dionysian consciousness (Nietzsche. The second attention is called “Apollonian consciousness”, and Blake calls this also “Satan”, or the fallen form of his Zoa Urizen).
What is called “the Fall of Man” was really the shift of identity from the core to the periphery and circumference of the energy being, and therewith the loss of the “vital centre” or the “Source”. But in fact, this “Fall” is repeated every day. So is Genesis repeated every day. What it means to be “human” is simply a belief system, a self-understanding, and mostly a very limited and limiting one at that. In some ways, “human” is a metaphor of and for the energy essence which we also call “soul” — a more or less faithful (and usually quite “low fidelity”) translation of its essence into perceptible form or physical terms. It can’t be otherwise, because the infinite cannot be fully contained within the finite.
As the infinite and eternal (the timeless) cannot be fully embodied within the finite (which is a mercy, actually) or within the physical matrix or “sea of Space & Time” (or the “Mundane Shell” in Blake’s optional terms) only a portion of itself becomes manifested in physical terms. When Jill Bolte-Taylor had her incapacitating stroke, she experienced herself as if she were a great “genie released from her bottle” or a “great whale gliding through a sea of silent euphoria”, and she expressed some anxiety about how she would ever “squeeze the enormity” of herself “back into the tiny little body”. But actually, she wasn’t released from her tiny little body. Her core was never fully embodied. The core is never actually “born”, and as such, neither can it “die”.
There is a wonderful Zen koan that speaks to this: “show me your face before you were born”. The “Prodigal Son” of parable is the human form or human mold — at least, as presently understood and interpreted by the second attention. Humans are only perplexed and bewildered about themselves because they’ve lost their awareness of their origins in the first attention. How to recover that awareness of primordial unity, to overcome “apartness”, is the human task.
We are primarily energy beings, and only secondarily physical or material.
The description of “God” as “a circle whose centre is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere” is principally not about “God” as it is about the core energy entity. What we call “empathy” is but the weak signal or echo in the mind of that primary underlying reality as already being identical with All That Is.
The energy being is too vast to fit inside a finite physical form. It is not, in those terms, fully embodied.
What we call “reality” or “physical reality” — the matrix of Space & Time and everything “inside” that matrix, which is a construct of the second attention — is a continuous translation of the essential energies of the essential entity into perceptible and discrete sense objects and events. This is the work of what Blake calls “Imagination”, who is the Zoa named “Los” or “Urthona”. As such, Blake held that everything in the cosmos was a metaphor or symbolic translation of the core. This is what is called intentionality or “intentionality of consciousness” on steroids. As such, everything is a “dharma“, everything is a “teaching”, the Logos is in all things, everything is a meaning. It just has to be perceived in the proper light.
The purpose of this objectification is learning. The “Itself” (Gebser’s term for the core) is learning about itself and its potentialities through its objectifications of itself, singly and in collaboration with others. This is called “creativity” and is the issue of Blake’s emphasis on “Imagination”.
We do not yet really understand the meaning of “human” in its full potentiality, therefore we have a distorted self-image and distorted self-understanding which is continuously reproduced from generation to generation. This is connected with what the Buddha called “the I am conceit” and is what Blake calls “the Spectre” or the spectral human. It is nothing. It is just self-image, and is called “Prodigal Son” or “Emissary”.
These are the days of miracle and wonder, as Paul Simon once put it in song. None of this should be as being too bizarre or too off-the-wall. There are already inklings of these matters in physics, in biology, in philosophy, and in art.
I’ll leave the last word to the great Rumi, here, even if Blake would have done just as well,
“It’s not always a blind man
who falls in a pit. Sometimes it’s one who can see,
A holy one does sometimes fall,
but by that tribulation, he or she ascends,
escapes many illusions, escapes
conventional religion, escapes
being so bound to phenomena.
Think of how PHENOMENA come trooping
out of the desert of non-existence
into this materiality….
This place of phenomena is a wide exchange
of highways, with everything going all sorts
of different ways.
We seem to be sitting still,
but we’re actually moving, and the fantasies
of phenomena are sliding through us
like ideas through curtains.
They go to the well
of deep love inside each of us.
They fill their jars there, and they leave.
There is a source they come from,
and a fountain inside here.
Be grateful. Confess when you’re not.
We can’t know
what the divine intelligence
has in mind!
Who am I,
standing in the midst of this