Thursday, January 25, 2007

Charged Thoughts From The Depths

Gagdad Bob was recently talking about how sometimes propositions can seem to set off depth charges with the mind, not so much for what they say, but for what they cause you to begin mulling over within your mind. Speaking of depth charges, yesterday at One Cosmos, in replying to another commenter who seemed to have the idea that I or others only voted for Bush because we liked his church, I said “First, I'm not religious (reverent, but not religious…), not a Christian and belong to no church” And it's been bugging me ever since. This used to be my standard reply to anyone who accused me of being a religious whacko for believing in right and wrong.

Problem is… I'm not certain that it is true any longer. This is odd, very odd for me.

I suppose that technically it is factually true, in that I believe in no copyrighted religion, belong to no church, am not a Christian. I do believe that a proper, fully this worldly, sense of right and wrong, ethics, can be shown to derive from the nature of Man qua Man. And that no law should be derived from anything else. But....there has been an internal… um, space opened up within me, which is difficult – if not impossible – to define, which seems to have connection to all levels of thought and experience, yet defined or limited by none of them. This, on one level, is a problem for me, since to say something is all things, is the same as saying it is no thing. However this … space, this… openness is there, and if not itself contained, seems fully capable of containing all within it. My best stab at it is to identify it as a spiritual “One”, similar to saying that Truth is One – but more so.


While I don't believe in a literal bearded God or Goddess(beard optional) sitting on a throne somewhere micromanaging the fall of sparrows and setting up political races to usher in the apocalypse, I do no longer have the sense that I, my spirit, am separated and hermetically sealed into and off from the universe at large. When I consider scripture, poetry, dogma, myth, consider it deeply, there is a sense of having grasped with the hand of the Soul multiple Truths, or rather portions of One Truth at different levels, sort of like playing a chord on a cosmic guitar that on being strummed, resonate through me and I seem to sense harmonies from somewhere within-that-is-withoutside there...where is the sound chamber it is reverberating through?

Seems as if it is more outside than within (I’ve touched on this here before).


While I am not religious in the copyrighted sense of believing that the bible or any other tome, is the literal word of God, as transmitted to earth directly from the pen of the almighty, the bible (and others) enable me to find much wisdom through poetically interpreting them, through drawing truth perhaps out from within, through it and its dogma. There is much wisdom to be found in their pages, providing that you avoid literal-ly killing it's spirit. That I do revere.

While although I am quite sure that my set of beliefs do not make me a literal Christian (I don't believe that he was THE son of god - in Trinitarian form or otherwise, or literally walked on water, rose (or raised) from the dead…etc), I know of no other religion or myth, and I know a bunch, whose form (together with the Old Testament) is so well suited for prism-ing my intuitions through (the symbolic trinity(Thought, Concept, Word), the need to be reborn from above, Christmas, and of course Santa Claus, etc).

And as far as Church goes, I don’t go & don’t want to go, but the sense I have of it is a meeting place where people of like mind and understanding of the spirit of their beliefs go to consider refractions of Truth through their (perhaps unwitting) poetic interpretations of their text, and commune together – I can say nothing against that. In fact, that is near to what I do at One Cosmos. People, depending on their interest & grasp, find a vehicle for filling their realization of the spiritual vision they have – some do that through church, some in other ways – each in the fashion which clicks with them best. Depending on the intellectual inclinations of the individual; some folk look for mythic story, some for theological interpretation, some for literary content, some for philosophical depth – as long as they aren’t seeking to impose their understanding on others through law, what problem should be had with that? The alternative is a people with no synthesizing vision of what is Right and what is Wrong, and to my mind, the rudderless, arbitrarily self justifying sort (read eco-green-hippie-wackadmeic-leftist) are a far more frightening group of people.

So where does that leave me?

Somehow confused and clear at the same time.

I have an Objectivist inspired belief that to speak of physical & philosophical knowledge, you must have verifiability, bust be able to show it’s foundational trail down to tangible reality, or you are only speculating. And I do believe that - urging someone to act on your unfounded assertions is irrational for both the urger and the urgee(if they act on it), but what is the status of knowledge which has verifiability - but only within your own consciousness? In other words, I can repeat these sensations (i.e. the spiritual strumming of a chord) and such findings within myself - to the extent that it is a known known which, though unknown in source, is not unknown in fact - within my mind. However, absent being able to take someone by the hand and show them this experiment within the anteroom of my mind, I can in no way, in good conscience, say that "This is true, believe me", and in Truth if I were I to, I think that it would kill the truth they might have found, had they went exploring for themselves.

So I am someone who demands objective proof that is verifiable to others, who has discovered truths which are only attainable within myself, and as such not directly verifiable and available to others for examination. I'm a non-religious person, a non-christian user of christian dogma who belongs to no church yet thinks that church is valuable.

Perhaps that depth charge is still going off.


Anonymous said...

You're not going to get all preachy on us now are you? ;)

Anonymous said...

Hi Van -
For many years, I operated a small nursery operation, and I would shut it down in the winter months when the plants were dormant. This time of year, in late winter, my employees would return and we'd set to work planting things, and everyone was anxious for the plants to grow, since, well, let's say we were "hungry" after several months without income. Of course, like everything else, plants grow in their own time, but strongly affected by LIGHT and TEMPERATURE.

Over the years I came to understand that in late winter, while there was NO top growth on the plants, they WERE growing roots beneath the soil.
I used to tell my guys, "You think we're growing plants, but really, we are growing strong roots."

No point in waxing philosophical about these things, nor flogging them, but I think OC is providing us access to some Light, and the on-going returning, and discussing, adds a bit of Temperature (friction) -- and then, as time passes, Bob/you/I/others look around and say, "Whoa! SOME-thing has grown!" For a grower, this feels downright "religious". For you too, I gather.

I suspect Bob "can't help himself", but I think he's doing us "seedlings" quite a service.

Enjoyed your post. Last time I visited was during the Integral Wars; all I can say is "better you than me!"

Van Harvey said...

Thanks guys.

Walt, "For a grower, this feels downright "religious". For you too, I gather.". Yep, I still stick on the word, but sure can't think of a better one.

Hoarhey, "You're not going to get all preachy on us now are you? ;)"

In the name of the Blogger and the Pun and the Holy Roast, go and cease.

Something extra in my northwesterly bows for you tonight.


USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

That is remarkable, Van!
Yesterday, I wrote a rather longish (for me) response to your comment at OC, but nary a word of it survived after I pressed 'publish your comment".

It was a good one too, but I don't recall much of it.
That always happens when I don't 'communicate' as much as conduitate.

Something about mindsweeping your mindfields, if that means anything to you.

I think it paralleled what Bob said, for the most part.
If I reach the O zone again, or vice-versa, I'll pass along the cluelessness.

I like your post, Walt.
I don't have much of a green thumb, except for cactus (cacti?), but that was good.

Anonymous said...

Van, in reading this post my first thought (and you must understand that mirth comes first; I'm always looking for the fun in thoughts--which is why I seldom comment on Bob's Deep Thoughts)...huh? Oh yeah, my first thought was, "why is it so hard for a an intelligent man to feel loved?" Or at least not be embarrassed by the feeling?

I've run across this in every spectrum of this walk, amongst every sort of philosopher, poet, and musician. It seems the greater the capacity for building consciousness, the harder it is to succumb to the moment, there on the right side of the brain.

Now, last night as we sipped martinis, smoked cigars and listened to the most beautiful jazz trio sitting a mere 2 feet away, I would close my eyes and hear the conversation of the music; the jests and jostling, the smooth moves and interludes. I smiled without knowing why. The groove was just... lovingly played. I felt "in on" the jokes, got a wink from the stand-up bass and got completely high from being romanced by the saxophone. (honest, I only had one martini!)

But, to say more about all of it and talk about the details of the augmented sevenths would diminish the overall intent of the music. The truth of the relationship built by the music is all and one with everything there is to know about it. I loved jazz before I understood music. But understanding it doesn't make it any less a marvel that someone would write such a song and share it with me. There's a Mind behind the music.

So, I've had to ask more than one serious-thinker guy if he has to wade through all that when he looks at his wife and sees her smile. Is the flesh not given to us as part of our experience in knowing more about the Cosmos? Are emotions an accident of neurons? Can you look at her and know you are loved? Where's the intellectual proof, mister?

Or can a wise guy, just let it be... ?

Why are we given the Personal, if it is not going to abide in the beyond?

I'm just sayin'...

Van Harvey said...

Joan of Argghh! said "...So, I've had to ask more than one serious-thinker guy if he has to wade through all that when he looks at his wife and sees her smile. Is the flesh not given to us as part of our experience in knowing more about the Cosmos? Are emotions an accident of neurons? Can you look at her and know you are loved? Where's the intellectual proof, mister?"

Are emotions an accident of neurons? I think that the emotions are the evaluations of the state of your values and estimations of their status, associated with a person, place or thing in contact with or being experienced at the moment - or anticipating such. The more consistent those associations, the more consistent your emotions. The more significant the values, the stronger the emotions. The more values integrated together, the stronger they are, the more memories & experiences associated with them, again, the stronger the emotion. Does all of that associating and integrating happen through conscious deliberation? No, but some does, and if the person is wise, they introspect and become aware of them, and reinforce them. And of course, the more opposing associations, the more conflicted & diluted the response, etc, etc, etc. Perhaps for those who are highly inconsistent in their beliefs, values, lack of discipline, willing to act on every sensory urge - they I would expect would have such a conflicting mass of contradictory values and emotions, as to make their emotions appear to be accidents of emotions, but it's no accident, only psychological negligence.

The more conscious you are of your values, the more intense and/or consistent your emotions... but how someone gets their active mind, their conscious evaluations involved - unless they are trying to disassociate ("this person is bad for me, they've cheated on & betrayed me time and again, there aren't really grounds for my feeling as I do, I've been duped") and diminish their attachments and emotional responses; unless they are in that kind of situation, then I don't see how or why they would see the women they love and then consciously think ("hmm, that particular glance, those curves... ah, yes that might be worthy of amorous thoughts... lets go down the checklist first though...") themselves through their responses. I think such a person has probably got a few "issues", at the least they'd seem to be a bit of a control freak, at least over themselves.

When I get a look at my wife, especially if she's untroubled, sitting up, glancing off into the distance... there is something regal about her - my mind turns to intellectual mush. If for some reason no contact is possible (for instance there being three kids to be waded through), bits and pieces of thoughts, poem pieces will begin to come to mind... but needing to begin running a systems & database check to justify that "ok, all checks out, love is confirmed to be present, lets consider intimate thoughts"? Nope, not an issue.

I figured that stuff out before we were married. The first time she walloped my hard drive, she'd stopped by my place on her way home from the airport, she was waiting for me to break while I was putting new paneling in my Van, and I glanced over to where she was sitting, and just internally stopped in awe. There was something in her manner, look, posture, presence... I'd known here for awhile & knew I liked her, but ... this... wo. I don't know if I was staring for a couple seconds or a couple minutes, but... shazam! That was something different.

Now of course I don't always have that intense sensation. But even when she's, like now walking through the livingroom, talking on the phone about issues at work, I can easily let a warm registering of ... how would that be put... here's the focus of every significant subject in my life, walking & talking and moving those familiar curves that I REALLY like about our living room... yep, the flesh is part of our experience in knowing and interacting with the cosmos. If she looks at me and smiles THAT smile?… the only thinking going on is how to ensure a private moment. Where's my intellectual proof of that? Well, those three kids (18,14 & 7) I mentioned?

Pretty much proof positive.

Van Harvey said...

Joan of Argghh!!! said "… talk about the details of the augmented sevenths would diminish the overall intent of the music…”

I think the music is a good analogy; it may start as an intuitive musical look that dances into your inner ear. Then through some intellectual examination & writing, and some letting the tune flow, back & forth, until the song is written. Then it is learned & familiarized, and from that point, the music is being played, allowed to flow through the musician & instrument – at that point, at least in rock & Jazz, the notes are no longer a conscious part of the performance, you just play the tune & improvise within it as the performance unfolds.

“Why are we given the Personal, if it is not going to abide in the beyond?”

If there is a beyond, and if the Personal doesn’t carry into it in the fashion we experience it here, I would bet that the parts of your life that are significant to the personal, the values consciously held, the truths through effort discovered, the integrations made and maintained between all of them, the intensity of their connections – from my perspective in the herebelow, I can’t imagine that those things which you have become, wouldn’t go with you.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful responses, Van. I've loved hearing the various answers to those questions over the years. It's sometimes very hard to drag out of certain guys who aren't given to much expression, but we all know it's there.

But I ask them in relation to your post, and many of Bob's writings. I can't get past the sense that it's embarrassing to an intelligent mind to consider the imponderable nature of Love. It has to be called something Else. It has to be caught up into an intellectual subset, or pre-set, or something.

I can't just describe what I know; I am loved beyond my ability to know it. The Meaning of Life. It can't be all about building consciousness; it can't be all that mechanical-- flowing in a straight line, spiral, or any other geometric description. It does involve accidental paths, beyond predictability, doesn't it?

"Oh please!" says my heart, "Please let there be mystery!" else God is less than I am.

Let me know the Otherness that is greater and unknowable, yet able to be experienced. It runs above and beyond argument or theorem or postulation. If it can be contained in words, in thoughts, in a glance or an appeal to the senses, it is less than I.

I fear that if it's all about building consciousness, then what of those less able to do so, whether lacking in mental acuity, or simply damaged by life's struggles? Shall we count them as "non-cosmic" and not a part of the Eternal? That's a dangerous slope, no?

Perhaps I'm looking to know if others have been hit by a Cosmic Truck and have lived to tell about it. Not abducted-by-aliens sort of experience, but a perfect moment of almost uninvited invasion--with all my faculties firmly intact!--and then, WHAM! You're loved and you know it: It's all going to be okay... like Bob's dream. For me, it was a simple knowing that it wasn't all up to me. I needed to be overridden in my mental objections, or I wasn't going to make it.

It's something Bigger, pulling us through the fog of forever. I take that personally.

Van Harvey said...

Joan of Argghh! said "...It's sometimes very hard to drag out of certain guys who aren't given to much expression, but we all know it's there."

Interesting to note, to ask me such a question verbally, and you might think it "very hard to drag out of" me, unless I've already been primed up on a related topic... the words just don't easily flow out of the mouth. Out of my fingers? It's an effort to get the flood gates closed before being drowned in "the words... the Words!" (as Glasr might say). Seems to be a different routing for expression between Women and Men (unless I'm more unique than I like to think). Woman express their thoughts through veritable verbal floods, Men do so as well, but through physical actions, not with the tong... emm the the larynx. Many have proven that that can be overcome, but the default seems to be against it. Hmm.

"But I ask them in relation to your post, and many of Bob's writings. I can't get past the sense that it's embarrassing to an intelligent mind to consider the imponderable nature of Love. It has to be called something Else. It has to be caught up into an intellectual subset, or pre-set, or something."

Couple thoughts on that. One is, that the squishy, sugary, sappy common associations with love song love, IS embarrassing. The puppy-eyed, infantile sitcom image isn't something that most men want any connection with. It's also intellectually false & dishonest, in that it implies that it's all glands, and no thoughts whatsoever (Love, not lust - but even there, panting lust is a more respectible feeling than squishy love), and that just isn't true. Cyranno de Bergerac gives a guy-respectible telling of both non-larynx & developed larynx (Christian de Nevuelet & Cyranno) expressions of Love that I don't think any guy would be embarrased by - but Peter Brady mooning? RUN AWAY!.

I think another part of it, you actually hit on with the "imponderable nature of Love". We tend to want to talk about specifics, and it just ain't that specific's oriented a subject. Outside of talking about the mechanical philosophical abstractions behind it, Love is a moving target - you can point to it with a poem, but roping & hogtying it into a definition you can point to, can't be done. It can be displayed and demonstrated, but not spoken of objectively in the same way you could say "I've got my Holley 4 bbl Carburator drilled out for max fuel air mixture" (yeah - dated, I know), and that is a bit frustration for people that aren't all that suited to speaking of feelings in the first place.

"I can't just describe what I know; I am loved beyond my ability to know it... It can't be all about building consciousness; ...mechanical-- flowing in a straight line, spiral... geometric description... It does involve accidental paths, beyond predictability, doesn't it?"

Is it about building consciousness? No, I don't think so, it's about living through our consciousness, experiencing life... or maybe bringing Life into Experience. Our Free Will consciounsess garauntees that it isn't fully predictable, there will be 'accidental' paths - probably the whole point of it all is that it isn't predictable. What the determymistics don't get, is that determinism would mean that there would be one big nothing of stuff, there would be no consciousness to not know yet seek to know it - it would just be, like a wind up toy. Not the kind of thing to keep you interested for billions of years.

"If it can be contained in words, in thoughts, in a glance or an appeal to the senses, it is less than I."

Yep. I completely agree. Our attempt to put it into words, is can only take us so far, and then YOU have to take that last step into it, that "aha!" that rushes through you when you grasp a truth, not the ability to recite the definition, but to know it, understand it - two very different things. Words let us get right up to the edge, but that extra something that is us, has to take the next step into the pool all by ourself (what? what's that?[it's ok, the waters fine, come on in] did you hear that? I thought I heard something... oh well, as I was saying) and let life experience it through us.

Does everyone get to experience it? We've both heard the arguments for one shot or reincarnated re-do's - I don't know. My sense is that there are no garauntees - can't be, or nothing would be....All I do know is that sometimes when I look inwardlyoutwards I seem to feel a whispering, and it doesn't leave me alarmed. Not at all.

Van Harvey said...

One more thing, (darned flood gates... stuck... can't get closed....) to try hogtying the un hogtyable, it seems to me, that Love is experienced in different degrees by different people, not based solely on the abstractions they mentally possesed, but by the consistency of the Truths and Values they hold, and the number of, depth of, combinations of ways in which they are soundly integrated together. I've posted on the 'Aha!' a few times early on in this blog, but it seems to me that intellectual/spiritual pleasures result from both the action of integration (both the 'Aha!' and the 'Ha-ha!' effects), and also, and more deeply, from the touching or even stroking, of those value integrations within us.

Our registering of increasing intensity and depth in our personal relations follow a scaled grade from simple integrations 'that felt good' to more and deeper value integrations 'I like that guy, he's alright', to even deeper 'No truer friend' to the start of the deepend 'I love You'. Being with that person you love, if you actively observe, experience them, not just walk by them, but engage yourself with the meaning of them to you, you (at least I) find a sense of unseen aha!'s firing off my inner core. Sometimes, the more actively you engage yourself with theirself - a million little giggles & aha!'s firing off at once, grasping, touching, uniting, integrating and reaffirming integrations between all you value (or for those twisted folks, all you hate?) - those Truths, united into one large experience of Truth.

If the Truth is truly One, Love maybe your realization of that, and the closer you come to it, the more intensely you experience it. For those who feel that they are in touch with God, how much more intense would that be?

Anonymous said...

Hi Van,
I recalled a couple of things that might relate to your original post, which I am still pondering from time to time. Perhaps they will be of interest.

First one is concerned with games and aims, and was lifted from The Master Game, by Robert De Ropp. I never met the man, but he lived near me, and I was aware of his works, his books, and thought he was a very interesting fellow. Anyway, in this book, he suggests that people should "seek for a game worth playing... and play it with
intensity." He shows a table describing Meta-games (played for intangibles) and Object-games (played for attainment of material things). Each "game" has a coresponding "aim" that represents its fulfillment.


Master Game awakening
Religion Game salvation
Science Game knowledge
Art Game beauty

Householder Game family

No Game no aim

Hog in Trough wealth
Cock on Dunghill fame
Moloch Game power

So, you get the idea, I'm sure. Using this model, just for the sake of considering our growing sense of "religious" experiences while not being really "comfortable" with what Bob calls "Churchianity", it looks to me like we are, at least, trying to play the Master Game, which is NOT the Religion Game, but which contains "elements" of all the higher Meta-games. (Also called Raccoonism by some.)

Second item is a quote from a buddhist sutra:

"One can not, I say, attain supreme knowledge all at once; only by a gradual training, a gradual action, a gradual unfolding, does one attain perfect knowledge. In what manner? A man comes, moved by confidence; having come, he joins; having joined, he listens; listening, he receives the doctrine; having received the doctrine, he remembers it; he examines the sense of things remembered; from examining the sense, the things are approved of; having approved, desire is born; he ponders; pondering, he eagerly trains himself; and eagerly training himself, he mentally realizes the highest truth itself and, penetrating it by means of wisdom, HE SEES."

So, if we notice a similar process in ourselves, it does not follow that we are Buddhists, right? In other words, at this point anyway, Truth and awakening, which feel "religious" by their nature, are the real aim.

'Nuff said. Just thought of your post when I re-viewed these ideas.


Anonymous said...

Van, Mr. Blogger didn't print some of that the way I typed it. The table of Games should be

Game ------------>Aim

Master Game ----->awakening
Religion Game ---->salvation
Science Game ----->knowledge
Art Game -------->beauty

Hoseholder Game--->family

No Game---------->no aim

Hog in Trough------>wealth
Cock on Dunghill---->fame
Moloch Game------->power

Sorry about that. Nothing like trying to share something, and then screwing it up.