As we enter the world we are infinite. We have no boundary. We are also zero. At three months, or so, we begin to distinguish that there is an “other” – the breast as part object. By 6 months old the boundary between us and the other (usually mother) is clear; and often frightening. Warmth, food, security and affection can be withdrawn as well as present. Our world is strait, though we do not know it. As we age and explore we push the boundary back; and back. If we are fortunate, and conquer our fear, we realise once more that there is no boundary. We are existence and all of existence is us. Death is an illusion. When we leave the world we can then fade to white and lose the loneliness and fear that haunts life, to experience all that is directly once more.
Come live with me and be my love?
We’ve lived with them and been their love
And we did all their pleasures prove
Their hills and valleys, dales and fields
One with our craggy mountains weald
But live with me and me alone
And we will wish all cares begone
That London sews and Brussels sprouts
From Irish, Welsh and English clouts
If we would steer around the rocks
Of wars and economic shocks
To shallow rivers by whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals
We’d own alone our beds of roses
And lie amongst our fragrant posies
Our tartan bonnets and kilted plaid
Proof against a world gone mad
If all the world and love were young
And truth in every politicians tongue
Thy pretty pleasures might me move
To be with thee, alone thy love
But time drives wealth from sea to shore
Where rivers rage and rocks grow raw
And later, you becometh dumb
And then complain of cares to come
Thy flowers fade to spindrift fields
Which wayward winter reckoning yields
Thy siren’s tongue, but heart of gall
A salmon’s spring, but sorrows fall
The roses are not thine to tend
No nation they, to all a friend
And lonely pleasures lonely prove
So stay I shall and be all’s love
Let us go gentle into that good light,
Old age should turn to brave the close of day;
Courage guag’d against the flighting of its wight.
I hear that as many images have been captured in the past 3 months, as have been taken in the history of humanity to-date (paintings, drawings, films, photos etc).
There are also increasing numbers of people missing whole longed-for events because they are bound up with capturing them on their mobile phones. Unlike our grandparents we have a constant record of our past. It is re-presented to us on Facebook and by friends and family alike.
What effect is the fixing of our image having on our psyche and soul?
(It’s not a rhetorical question).
What was the life of our senses like maybe 100 years ago, and indeed for all of the development of our species until that point?
Our world would have been smelly. We each have our pheromones and scent, which are now covered, deodorised and washed away. Then, there would have been a rich scent-scape. Smell is a sense that is strongly associated with emotion. The nerves in the nose are a direct extension of the brain and feed in to the limbic system, our emotional brain. That’s why particular smells evoke such vivid memories and sensations. We now live in a relatively odour-free environment (a non-scence world?) and what smell there is from bottles rather than bodies. What difference does that make to our development?
Our world would also have been full of natural noise, and probably less of it. Birdsong, people arguing, the clip clop of horses in the street, the sound of wind in trees. (Oh yes, and sounds of pain and anguish from the diseased and dying).
Then of course, we lived hugger-mugger and would (I think?) have been constantly in- touching – literally rather than “by phone, “by text” etc…
..and our visual sense would have been present and alive rather than past and fixed. We would, I think, have perceived ourselves through the eyes of others rather than through mirrors and photos. Yes, we aged, but without the constant record and reminder of it.
A many We would, in short have been much more fully present. Here, now, alive, available to each other human to human. We would not have been waiting for the e-mail, the text, and the call. We would not have had some part of our mind in another place or another time.
We’re increasingly going backward into the future, with our eyes fixed on the rear view mirror, rather than on the road ahead or with the passengers in the car with us.
Which fixes us as materialists. The material, physical world is always in the past. Literally (see Whitehead, Process and Reality). It does not exists in the present, but is crystallised out by our free will from the stuff and limitless potential that is the future. As quantum physicists have shown again and again – everything is potential until observed. It is the act of observation that crystallises out the particular phsyical world – and by then its already in the past. As our ancestors put it, we are the sisters of Wyrd, spinning fate at the foot of the Tree Ygrdrassl.
The past, the material, is dead and done. Let’s live in the present, with each other, and look to the future.
It is politically (but not scientifically) correct to assume a materialistic existence built on a series of microscopic random events unfolding in intransitive time. In other words we focus, like Thomas, on what we see. We do that at least partially because we fear there is no meaning below or beyond what our sensory organs are capable of registering.
Surely one of the great lessons of exploration of the mind started by Sigmund Freud is that the more you avoid a fear, or abyss, the unhealthier you become. All of the mechanisms of dealing with unconscious pain (projection, avoidance, repression etc) simply lead at best to neurosis, at worst to psychosis.
It seems to me that the fundamental issue that haunts each of us is – insecurity. How, then, to deal with that? And it’s worth addressing. In my experience the more secure a person is, then more listening, creative, compassionate, generous, talented and capable of joy they are. (And happiness is life lived in the expectation of joy). Conversely when we feel insecure we experience withdrawal. We become self-centred with attendant unhappiness and disconnection. Our horizons contract to world as prison.
What breeds security? There is abundant evidence that this is determined very early in life by carers – of course normally parents – creating a predictable loving and connected environment in which the child can develop. (Oliver James points out one parent should normally be present full-time for babies and toddlers).
The connection to good and evil? In fact are these useful constructors, or simply perceived positive and outcomes of random events?
Indeed we do need to deal with these concepts before tackling any personification or accretion of these into God and Devil.
For me, what resonates is;
Firstly science is uncovering deep meaning at the most fundamental level. Experiments on matter at the most microscopic levels shows that existence is an infinite series of possibilities, potential – until observed. It is the act of observation that, in effect, crystallises out this particular existence from the cloud of possibilities. That raises the issue of observation. Surely there must be an “observer” to create this particular reality. Sure enough, our species are the most efficient engines of observation, whether through science or the arts. We each of us spend our life in observation (or as some would call it – witness, some knowledge). Interestingly our gathering of knowledge is escalating in a geometric progression. (Are we approaching Teilhard de Chardin’s “Omega Point”?)
It appears to me that at least one of our purposes as humans is to be just this – engines of observation crystallising out existence. That puts the onus on us collectively. WE – life.
Does that not change a world view? Good and evil is created as we create existence. Accept that good and evil do exist, as outcomes of our collective path through life. Accept that is is our joint task to work for good effect around us, and do we not at least connect to purpose – rather than trying to live with our eyes tight closed against the fear that we float on a sea of random meaninglessness.
So if good and evil