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Genesis of a Historical Novel

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Every individual creates for himself a synthetically constructed view of the world.

Thus Erich Neumann on page 357 of The Origins and History of Consciousness. He says this in a section called "The Synthetic Function of the Ego". In his theory, ego-consciousness, born from the womb of the unconscious and powered by libido, psychic energy, from that unconscious, grows gradually stronger, and uses its growing strength to analyze the world--break the continuum of experience into assimilable morsels. In this way it carries the aggressive action of slaying the dragon of the regressive unconscious into the world. One of the symbols of analytical action is the sword.

But after this analytical, cutting stage, there is a creative, synthetic stage, in which ego-consciousness puts the pieces back together, so to say: it forms its own image of the world from the pieces it has analyzed it into. Each of us has a "picture of the world" we carry within and use in our dealings with it.

In the last day or so I came to a realization: my picture of the world is incomplete. I think this expresses my philosophical problem in a nutshell. I lack a unified vision of the world. I seek one, and have been seeking one, I think, since probably at least 1979, maybe 1978. I've done lots of analysis, but the synthesis is not there yet.

I tried to explain this to Kimmie this morning as we had breakfast at the Corner Cafe.

"Everyone has a view of the world they use," I said.

"Most people don't even think about that," said Kimmie. "They don't think about the world. They don't know what happens when you die, or whether there's God or whatever. They just focus on real life."

"That's it!" I said. "Perfect! Real life--that's the perfect phrase. What people call 'real life' is their view of the world. It's what they think is real and true. Even if it's just, how will I get a raise and how am I going to pay for my vacation."

"But they don't think about these things seriously the way you do--they don't know all the things you do."

"Because to me those other things--what happens after death--is real life. That is real life."

And later, when we were driving in traffic up 3rd Street toward Michael's Crafts to look for a cake-pan for Kimmie, she surprised me by bringing up the subject again.

"What about her?" said Kimmie, pointing to a woman driver who was zipping past us on the right. She was a heavy blonde woman driving a small blue coupe. Her elbow hung out the window and she was talking on a cellphone. "You think she's thinking about what is real?"

"We're speculating," I said. "But yeah, the whole talking-on-a-cellphone-while-driving thing suggests a fear of boredom. Your attention is divided so many ways. Ken McLeod says the path of spiritual awakening is the path of attention--so that distracted style is the antithesis of that."

"It's all instant gratification," said Kimmie, disgusted.

Yes, it seems my world-picture jigsaw puzzle has many thousands of pieces, and I still don't know whether I've got all the pieces yet. Islands of sense are forming from the pieces I do have--"there's the parasol, there's the chaise longue!"--but the whole has not clicked together.

What do I believe?

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  • And yet we all act as though we have a coherent view of the world, which means that unconscious parameters are what really hold it all together. Hence the necessity for the unconscious in this realm.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at May 23, 2006 11:14 PM  

  • You might benefit from reading David R Hawkins, also, if you haven't already. See: http://www.veritaspub.com/

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at May 24, 2006 4:15 PM  

  • And another thing.....

    As you know, the nature of thinking, qua thinking, is to particularise, not synthesize. Small wonder then that when you ponder on the absence of synthesis it eludes you. Indeed, synthesis is only an issue for thinking, by virtue of ist particularising, not for awareness, qua awareness.

    My favourite koan (one I devised for myself) is: "What lies beyond consciousness?" Pondering that, you see that first words and then consciousness itself structure is-ness. Indeed, consciousness completes is-ness. (Is-ness is not possible without consciousness - at a metaphysical level and not just at a conceptual one.) But, what lies beyond both consciousness and is-ness? The fact that I can pose that question means that there is an arrow of evolution, a vector, that points transcendentally beyond consciousness itself - beyond even enlightenment.

    Regards to Kimmie.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at May 24, 2006 9:42 PM  

  • And another thing.....

    Kierkegaard should have married Regine. He would have completed the infinite approximation "process" to love had he done so. You, at least, are with Kimmie - and it is good that you are. Synthesis, as I am sure you realise, is in being. It is not even necessary to be aware of that for that to be true, as the lady on the cell phone not-knows.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at May 24, 2006 9:55 PM  

  • "Ken McLeod says the path of spiritual awakening is the path of attention--so that distracted style is the antithesis of that."

    I think most people live their lives in a distracted style, and they aren't even aware of it. It's just, as Kimmie said, "real life."

    I, for one, believe in paying attention--as Macleod suggests. Once again, Paul, you've sparked a thought-provoking perspective on living and daily life.

    Hey...and it's nice to be on your link list. Thanks, d:)

    By Blogger Debra Young, at May 26, 2006 10:48 AM  

  • And one last thing – just to integrate my earlier points (I promise I’ll shut up after this):

    To paraphrase Einstein: “The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of consciousness we were at when we created them."

    This codifies the essential problem facing any level of consciousness: that a tension exists within that level of consciousness forcing one to resolve the tension (it can hardly be lived with) and so lever to a deeper more integrating level of consciousness. For intellectual/aesthetic forms of consciousness, such as yours, the tension is the search for “synthesis”. The “islands of sense” you are finding seem to me to be essentially aesthetic in origin but the main tension you experience is on the intellectual (philosopher) side of your nature. Intellect as the main driver of consciousness; aesthetics as the integrating component.

    The Danish Christian philosopher, Kierkegaard, represents an extreme of that (former) form of consciousness in that he was lead into “infinitely approximating” being – and so missed the opportunity to marry Regine – to BE with her, which is what he desired to do. He could only go to Regine - and to his Christian faith – through a “leap”, a discontinuous movement from the level of consciousness he had reached.

    The main intellectual question for you is: if you do indeed have “islands of sense”, what confers “sense” on them? What confers a boundary? Logically, the answer to those questions should give you a paradigm for synthesis and hence completeness in your world view. Inevitably, those questions, as with the tension around “synthesis” itself, will drive you back onto the epistemological issues. The problem will become epistemological – that is while the form of consciousness is dominated by reason. Kierkegaard stands by your left shoulder to advise you here.

    And yet, I sense that what coherence you find in the world and in your view of it – your world view - has aesthetic origins. (From a rational point of view, those origins are unconscious and need to be brought into consciousness by thinking.) Your aesthetic appreciation is as keen as your intellectual one. If you accept this, your philosopher side will immediately want you to “synthesize” the aesthete and philosopher in you. It will cause you to think rationally about your nature and so maintain the separation. In contrast (at least initially) you could appreciate your nature and thereby find coherence. Who is right? (What do you believe?)

    How, then, to resolve the tension? The koan I cited previously was one way I found that lead out of my own experience of that tension although I know that there are a myriad of worm-holes (leaps – à la Kierkegaard - and yet continuous) that lead out of any level/form of consciousness to others. As with all koans, I thought about it and soon began to see how first language and then consciousness itself structures things, structures perception. I discovered aspects of “imagination” that to me signalled (encoded) a way “forward”. My use of reason as an engine house for consciousness became relativised. I began to feel what I call “raw sensations of consciousness” – raw structure - that conferred a more resounding sense of being. Being, itself, or my is-ness, was/is also relativised. But, I seem strangely content with that relativity.

    To quote Einstein directly this time: “Truth is what stands the test of experience.” And we are completely free in how we structure our experiences – if we care to see that. For that reason, neither Kimmie, nor you, nor Debra are in the right place in “judging” the lady on the cell-phone – as being in fear, in instant gratification or in distractedness. In fact, she was the teacher of us all – myself included. It doesn’t matter that she may not have been aware of that.

    All the best! (Over and out.)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at May 28, 2006 4:54 PM  

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