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 Warmth, food, security and affection can be withdrawn as well as present.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.
Humans are fundamentally creative; it is in our nature to originate.This requires us to live close to boundaries.That’s hard, painful because edges are unsafe. They are the source of the unknown – not just because of what lies beyond the boundary – but mostly because of what new forces are stirred up at the tidal line where systems interact.
There is a condition known by psychoanalyists as claustroagrophobia. This is a type of psychosis when a person lives on the shoulder of many societies. Claustrophobic if immersed at the centre of a group, agrophobic if excluded. It seems to me that many great thinkers may have expressed this as a quality, rather than a problem – oscillating between sociability and introversion, living even in this way at the boundary between the external and internal world.
The reward for this stressful unsafe existence? Certainly not money or security. It is the glistening fish of a truly new idea – hooked and netted out of the maelstrom and whirlpool of the meeting of many worlds.
When we create something unique and original – whether written, composed, painted, or thought – it is hard work. Analagous to giving birth.
“This is the eternal source of art: a man is faced by a form whihc desires to be made through him into a work. This form is no offspring of his soul, but is an appearance which steps up to it and demands of it the effective power. The man is concerned iwth an act of his being. If he carries it through, if he speaks the primary word out of his being to the form which appears, then the effective power streams out, and the work arises. The act includes a sacrifice and a risk. This is the sacrifice; the endless possibility that is offered up on the alter FJLof form. For everything which just this moment in play ran through the perspective must be obliterated; nothin of that may penetrate the work. The exclusiveness of what is facing it demands that it be so. This is the risk: the primary word can only be spoken with the whole being. He who gives himself to it may withhold nothing of himself. The work does not suffer me.. to turn aside and relax in the world of It; but it commands. If I do not serve JLit aright it is broken, or it breaks me.”
Martin Buber Ich und Du
As we enter the world we are infinite. We have no boundary. We are 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.
All that is appears to us divided
There is me and you or rather
so it seems.
But I, I alone, am dead, for what enlivens
is the fullness of the space between
Vibrating with knowl – edge
It is our boundaries that hum as they connect
Ours alone self-centred on neglect,
The reason we are apart, you and I is
That we can see each other and thus – us
wholly, wholly, wholly. Whole.
Lord God Trimegistus. Ich und Du. Wir Danke.
Consciousness arises from integration, which.
Is possible only with separation
Clouds we be, a boundless sea
Aswirl – a world unchained and free
Seek not the edge, that harbour bar
For dissolvēd we resolvēd are
Wordsworth wrote of wandering “lonely as a cloud”. I wonder if the ego is an artificial construct, which keeps us separate and boundaried. Clouds have inchoate edges and are constantly changing, intermingling with surrounding cooler and warmer air. Since constantly in touch and part of the rest of nature I suspect they wouldn’t “feel” alone – in the way that we as a species can and do with our locked in syndrome.
The problem of evil is often cited as an argument against a loving creator. But surely…
Boundary is necessary for our experience. We understand “loud” by contrast to “soft” and so on. Some of the greatest writers and thinkers express existence itself in this context. Jung sets up contrasts and enjoins us to struggle toward their integration. Buber’s existentialist view is expressed as a “two-fold entity” Ich-Du (or the alternative Ich-Es which allows evil). I read an article recently (teilharddechardin) which eloquently stated religious insight as “relational”. Experience is relative and depends on “the other”. Martin Buber as a catholic? (Indeed he writes that Jesus Christ is the epitome of the jewish ideal).
And surely experience is what creates existence. That is at the core of quantum mechanics – it is observation that crystallises out this particular reality from the infinity of potential. I think of our role here as “observation engine” creating reality. At the heart of observation, again there is separation – a boundary between the observer and that which is observed.
It seems to me that evil is something we create, tolerate and live with. It is the particular reality we choose. It is we who crystallised out the holocaust, not the loving creator. As a result we experience good, by contrast and in relation. We know something is good by reference to all of the evil in the world.
But what is this evil and good that we create? Jung would enjoin us to attempt their integration. What then? Perhaps – joy?
The world is right now saluting the passing of that great spirit – Nelson Mandela. He was, apparently angry and violent as a young man. Yet he transcended this and became something else entirely. His will almost alone seems to have delivered reconciliation and integration out of an almost certain bloodbath.
Perhaps, a thought only, the charity of the loving creator is of a wholly different order from what we think of as the good and evil which we create. In that case, is the path back to our spiritual home (the loving creator) – the integration to which Jung refers? The living in the duality Ich-Du rather than the chimera of Ich-Es?
It appears that the physical world is governed by fields. Mass and energy depend upon them.
Electricity and magnetism, and therefore the cinema, facebook, light, our e-mail traffic and our clean clothes, are underpinned by the electro-magnetic field (James Clerk Maxwell).
Gravity, and therefore mass itself – structure, form, atoms, molecules and things, result from the gravitational field (Newton, Einstein).
Time results in our sense of experience. Without it nothing is. We sense and experience anything and everything NOW (Alfred North Whitehead). It isn’t the past or future – the “late and soon” of Wordsworth’s poem – where we build existence, it is here and now – the present. The experience of NOW is though only possible because of time. I am not a mathematician, but it seems logical to me to think of time as a field which makes possible NOW. In the same way that the gravitational field makes possible MASS, matter.
I am deeply convinced of our joyful and interconnected existence beyond space and time. We are part of “the Word existing beyond time”. I have a sense that we are droplets here, in this material world. We are boundaried as water is within a droplet as opposed to infinitely inter-connected as within an ocean. Boundary brings loneliness (if we let it), but is essential for experience.
Perhaps time is the field within which this transmutation occurs. Gravity has been described as a “field like treacle that sticks down energy as mass”. Is time the equivalent – a field like treacle that allows spirit to be stuck down as experience? As being.