The eighth day

In the Old Testament’s Book of Wisdom (1:13-15) it is written: “For God made not death, neither hath he pleasure in the destruction of the living. For he created all things that they might be: and he made the nations of the earth for health: and there is no poison of destruction in them, nor kingdom of hell upon the earth. For justice is perpetual and immortal”. This is the reason why, according to Bible scholars, the passion for life and immortality is deeply rooted in our souls.

Who can deny, however, that we live in a world penetrated by death, which comes in sharp contrast with our passion for life? What then can this world possibly be? It is the world of the eighth day, the day after the seven days in which Creation was completed; the day in which deviation from the originally intended, lack of love and death are allowed. It is also the day of hope for beating death; the day we learn how to love from the beginning; the day that the Spirit touches the Earth bringing enlightenment to all of us.


The big questions of life

In not so many words, the only way that essence can manifest in this world is through the personality. One might think then, OK that's why I have to try and make my personality/character better, uproot the evils therein, promote the bright sides etc. Sorry to spoil it for you*, but this is barely how it works. This way of thinking only adds to the confusion. It is the essence manifesting (and fully embraced when it does) that will do the job, not you. I can of my own self do nothing, as written in the Bible (John 5:30). Personality cannot change itself; it is the essence that changes it.** We know that essence changes the personality, when inspiration shines forth and memory is at one with the moment, creating small marvelous eternities, as ersi wrote in a comment the other day.

In plain words: trying to control things is essentially not trusting that God can do it. It has underlying it the false belief that without you, God or the universe won't make it, which is self-flattering and egotistical.

This essentially leaves us with only one thing to do: leap empty-handed into the void of the unknown, in full trust or, rephrasing it, allow our heart to break. The bulk of the drama we experience in everyday life comes from our constant effort and agony to stop our heart from breaking. But it is just a habit; nothing more. Can we allow this habit to rest? Can we rely on radical trust instead? These are the big questions of life.

* Surprisingly when you come to think about it, most people (myself not excluded) find consolation, some even a sense of “personal mission” in taking up the role of the martyr or the victim or … or …
* In other words: don't try to change yourself. Simply, gently, let it be. The only thing that the self wants is to be accepted as it is. This creates peace inside. Psychological mechanisms (defense mechanisms in their most part) are put in motion when we try to change ourselves. The effort for the targeted change then occupies all the space within, leaving nothing for the essence to manifest. I know it sounds unorthodox, even paradoxical. But that's how it is. And after the how, the what. Do you know what it is? It is pure LOVE. So, this is the meaning of "to love myself" (= not trying to change myself).


The inevitable "I"

Based on my various readings from time to time, I have come to understand that most of us identify, in a more or less automatic way, with any experience we have in connection to the moment (a sentiment, a feeling, a thought, a fantasy etc.). This identification causes us to lose contact with our being or essence and to tie ourselves down to the cognitive level (i.e. our conscious mind, which gives rise to the sense of I).

This conscious mind, then, becomes the most powerful executive operation in us, creating a strong sense of who we believe we are ("I"). The more we identify with it, the longer we steer away from being, in a vicious circle. We then stop knowing who we really are and the sense of I that our conscious mind has created becomes dominant.

Full identification with the I (the personality) leads to the false belief that this I is the only reality there is, creating a narrow box we put ourselves in and the false certainty that there is nothing more to seek for or see. Thus, the most important part of life is missed out.

Now, this view is arguably true. But it doesn't in itself translate into a need to escape, degrade, disregard or kill our personality, as many modern "gurus" suggest.

Personality is built on two pillars: memory and imagination.** It can be likened to a software programme, intended not only to help us humans navigate through the world, as it is commonly supported, but to actually make the world what it is.

My previous two posts were intended to prove the inevitability of these two pillars and consequently of personality itself. This comes in straightforward contrast with popular views such as Bronte Baxter's* with whom I have argued in the past over the issue. Bronte maintains that extraterrestrial beings are after our Iness and that we surrender it to them when eg we hum mantras, etc.

Our personality, our Iness is a fact we can't escape, let alone surrender to someone or something else. Probings, as aforesaid, to escape, degrade, disregard or kill it are nothing but fallacies constructed by people who haven't bothered to think any deeper. The only achievable thing there is, is to create space inside.*** Life, essence or being (name it as you wish) will then flood in to cover the vacant space. The only valid choice we have is to unconditionally embrace and accept everything that arises within us, every single manifestation, weaving it in the tissue of our very personality. In this way nothing will be left unattended and all realities of Life will be able to unfold and reveal themselves with every step we take.

**This is not to say that the functions of memory and imagination are exhausted in personality. It's the other way round: personality uses these two functions to structure itself.
***This can only be achieved by seeing the box we have closed ourselves in from outside. I have proposed a way to do this: by being Space.


Without imagination

The world would seem flat and colourless. Repetition would be the only reality and everything would translate into an algorithm: always the same steps leading to identical results, in an effectual sequence. Language would stop taking leaps, everything intended to make our lives beautiful (music, dance, literature, painting, poetry, sculpture to list a few) would cease to exist. Figures of speech, like simile or metaphor, that make understanding easier and add depth to thinking would only be perceivable literally, losing their meaning. Life could never be an "as if", in Hans Veihinger's* sense, and thus would seem always unknown and frightful. Abstract meanings and ideas would have no framework to manifest in and would exist no more. (…)

* Hans Veihinger, philosopher, is the author of "Die Philosophie des Als Ob". In his view, man is made to act; his mind was bestowed to him not in order to seek the truth, but to act. In this task of his, distortions and fallacies serve him better than certainties. Mind, Veihinger tells us, most of the time works on (semi-)conscious fallacies. In his work, Veihinger uses plenty of examples to show the immense methodological importance of fallacy in a number of disciplines (mathematics, mechanics, physics, chemistry, etc).


Without memory

How would the world look like and we in it? Without memory, we wouldn't know who we are, we wouldn't know what we like and dislike, what we love and hate. We wouldn't know which country is ours, what religion we believe in, we would understand nothing about the customs and institutions that profoundly determine our lives. We would have no recollection of how one can eat with fork and knife nor a clue about what these are; what a wheel is and why it is of any use; what letters and numbers are. We wouldn't remember names, categories, types. We wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the effect and the cause, we wouldn't understand the concept of time. Present would be sum up to the response of our system to external and internal stimuli, which once done, would cease to exist, as if it was never there. Nothing could have meaning - and if it did, it would only be instant. (…)


A matter of perception

Suppose you accidentally knock a glass of water off the table, make it fall on the floor and smash. What would you say? “I broke the glass” or something similar. But was it really you that broke the glass? Let's see. What you actually did was make the glass enter the field of a force that existed prior to your action (your knocking the glass off the table), i.e. the force of gravity. Caught up in the field of this force and because of the very nature of its matter, the glass then smashed on the floor.

Every moment of our lives it is not us causing things to happen; rather, it is us who go either along or against the forces that make the world balance. When we go along these forces, silence is produced: nothing extraordinary, nothing visible happens. When we go against them, the balance is disturbed and noise and chaos arise. It's like in a peaceful day - everything going smoothly - when suddenly you cut your hand. All of your attention, all of your consciousness, your entire focus turns to the cut. The sense of peacefulness fades away and suddenly the only thing you can be aware of, is the blood running from the cut and your pain.

This is more or less why (and how) we perceive of the world as falling apart around us, how it seems that evil prevails. In reality, it is balance that prevails, but balance produces only silence and does not catch our attention.

Which brings us to another self-illusion: all of us want to do something great, we want to “make noise”. Wanting to do something great is not a bad thing. It is just that greatness is achieved by people who keep it small and simple, without having it in mind. Life is vast on its own and only when we keep it small and simple can we gain access to its greatness.

Of course, we always have to do it through conventions and compromises. We have to go about life, “as if” we knew what is all about. We have to operate in it, “as if” we could grasp its meaning, “as if” we knew the truth, otherwise we will not be able to make decisions and without a decision-making process, we would die. There is no other road to survival than our very subjectivity. This is not to say, nonetheless, that one mustn't be at all times aware of the conventions he makes in order for existence and co-existence to be possible and this includes the system of fears and threats he has put in place in order to guard these conventions.

The awareness of our subjectivity is the tool that will eventually guide us to mirror wisdom and from there to the conclusion that “everyone's right”, that everyone reflects the level of truth they understand and that all levels are crucial to the world. And then, suddenly, through this understanding, and while we were looking for a theory that would explain everything, we may see that we are just a step away from the sense of unity with everything there is.


Love and fear

When I love, I belong. When I belong, I feel the need to produce. I produce objects, meanings, life. I grow.

I love and at the same time I fear. I fear who I am. I fear that others will reject me for who I am so I fear to be as I really want to. I stop growing.

I have to protect myself. I have to hide myself. And I hide so efficiently that in the end I lose myself. I don't know who I am any more.

My fear for others protects me from my deepest fear, the fear for me, the stranger. I choose to fear others so that I don't have to fear myself. Fear is nothing less than a necessity

If our personality could speak to us, these are the words it would utter.


The point of no return

"My work is an attempt to make room in the Kosmos for all of the dimensions, levels, domains, waves, memes, modes, individuals, cultures, and so on ad infinitum. I have one major rule: Everybody is right. More specifically, everybody — including me — has some important pieces of truth, and all of those pieces need to be honored, cherished, and included in a more gracious, spacious, and compassionate embrace."


"We move from part to whole and back again, and in that dance of comprehension, in that amazing circle of understanding, we come alive to meaning, to value, and to vision: the very circle of understanding guides our way, weaving together the pieces, healing the fractures, mending the torn and tortured fragments, lighting the way ahead — this extraordinary movement from part to whole and back again, with healing the hallmark of each and every step, and grace the tender reward."


"With science we touch the True, the "It" of Spirit. With morals we touch the Good, the "We" of Spirit. What, then, would an integral approach have to say about the Beautiful, the "I" of Spirit itself? What is the Beauty that is in the eye of the Beholder? When we are in the eye of Spirit, the I of Spirit, what do we finally see?"

Ken Wilber

Mirror wisdom and other kinds

Let's pay attention to the internal process that leads to the adoptation of the green meme or the discarding of the myth of one and only truth. We'll do it through a well-known symbol: the mirror.

To begin with, one could say: "the mirror is vacant". True, the mirror is vacant, it includes nothing of its own, yet it is always full, because it cannot not reflect the parts of the world that our point of view defines. No matter what my point of view is, I will always see things of the world inside the mirror. And if I stand straight in front of it, I will see myself.

Even though the mirror is vacant, I cannot ascertain its vacancy with my senses. I cannot put my hand inside it as I could do with an empty box. If I try, my hand will stumble on its surface. To my senses (to my touch and vision), the mirror is full. Since its vacancy cannot be perceived with my senses, it is metaphysical.

This vacancy, which seems infinite, does not determine or restrict. It shows things of the outside world, but it does not make comparisons. It doesn't compare these things with one another or with itself. It has no agenda, it does not reject. It accepts everything, just as it is. This sums up what the mirror wisdom is about.

And from the mirror wisdom flows another: the wisdom of equality. It is gained the moment we let things enter us without preference or rejection. It is the moment we understand that they are of equal value. Water, steel, air, minerals, human beings, irrespective of their individual characteristics, all are equally useful and co-operate equally significantly for the evolution of the cosmos. Everything is of vital importance to the universe. If one bit is missed, the world cannot function properly.

When we adopt such a stance, at first we get confused. The world appears flat. It is exactly the point at which the third wisdom emerges: the wisdom of distinction. The privilege of distinguishing correctly comes only after I have acquired the mirror wisdom and I can allow everything enter me just as it is. I gain the privilege to distinguish correctly, only after I have earned the wisdom of equality and understood that everything is essential to the world. Because only then am I free from making judgments. Only then can I distinguish without discriminating, without killing or getting killed in the process.

Which leads us to…

The "green meme"

In his version of Spiral Dynamics, Ken Wilber takes up the notion of meme, which was first introduced by Richard Dawkins. Memes, in his context, correspond to levels of consciousness and every level builds on the adoptations of previous ones. Therefore, each level transcends its predecessors, encompassing or including them at the same time, in much the same way as cells include the atoms they consist of etc. Each and every level, then, is fundamental to all levels that come after it and should be acknowledged with compassion.

The green meme is the last of first-tier memes and forerunner to second-tier ones, which involve a refocusing on the being or essence. Thus, it serves as an epilogue to, say, the scientific materialism of the orange meme, the mythic fundamentalism of the blue meme and the magic-animism of the purple meme.

Through the exact same processes with which evolution manifests, differentiation and integration (e.g. one cell splits into two, then four, sixteen etc.; at the same time differentiated cells integrate to form tissues, organs, etc.), the green meme differentiates the essence of its preceding memes and integrates the result into a tapestry of multiple frameworks, each comprising pluralistic views and individualised parts, thus paving the way towards a truly integral world. What the green meme says is this: "sacrifice self interest in order to gain acceptance and group harmony".

No man is an island, nor should he behave as one.

The myth of one and only truth

The more one thinks about it, the more difficult it becomes to believe in the existence of one and only truth. From an early age, however, we learn that there is an all-elusive transcendental truth, to which we have no access. Only, this is a myth.

I think that this myth was created by the various clergies who, eager to perpetuate their "authenticity", ended up dividing the world into initiates, experts, awakened (or whatever) and not.

Since we were taught the myth of one truth from childhood, it is hard to accept as adults that each and every person keeps and expresses parts of the truth equally – especially if we don't agree with theirs. This is the case, though: each one of us reflects the way in which the world looks from the level s/he is able to perceive and ALL levels are crucial ingredients of the world. There is no such thing as a "one and only" level of reality, with which every other level is to be compared and found naïve or inaccurate. By contrast, every level, every version is the precise expression of a higher or lower, in any event essentially significant, level of reality. What's more important, we cannot understand ourselves or the world without any of these levels.

Rupert Sheldrake has put it in different words, conveying the same meaning nonetheless: "I think that self-awareness comes about through mutual awareness. I don't think self-awareness arises within a kind of solipsistic world of navel gazing. "Consciousness" means, literally, con scire, to know with, or to know together. I think that the reason that we are conscious is because we are interconscious in relationship to other people. Consciousness is shared, and I don't think an individual human being, without language and without relationship with other people or any other thing, would be conscious. I think that consciousness has to be understood in relationship, not as a kind of isolated thing. […] And I think that if a galaxy is conscious, then its consciousness would depend on its relationship to the stars and solar systems within it, and also, probably, its relationship with other galaxies. There'd be a kind of intersubjectivity of galaxies, a communion or community of galaxies."

Fascinating, isn't it?