A shot for all seasons-or is it?
NOTE: these introductory thoughts are just a draft and will be edited. I just did not want the site to stay unpublished for long.
What is this world?
I was in a light opera company for a while. In one of our performances I was in costume behind a painted scrim, At a certain point several of us characters “emerged” from behind the presumed reality represented by the scrims. It was a good effect. All that had changed was that the direction of the light changed. We characters both existed and did not exist at one time in the same place. The appearance of our emerging triggered caught breaths and expressions of both a little fright and a lot of delight. We are not used to thinking that we can both be and not be at the same time in the same place;
My Dad, God rest his soul, used to say something like: believe 50% of what you see and nothing of what you hear — or was it the other way around? It always sounded so severe. 50 plus years after he died of a heart attack on an airplane that could not make an emergency landing to help him, that swims energetically in the currents of my thinking.
Why might we not trust what we see and hear? That raises, for my ADHD mind, a number of other questions:
Is “reality” not a fixed, external state but a dynamic one that is being created by our attending to it?
Are we characters in something like a movie that we collectively are creating, at least in part?
Despite the evidence of our senses, are we no more substantial than light images on a screen?
It makes one wonder: can two people have the same experience of pme reality. assuming that one reality actually exists? If not, then:
- If realities are relative to the perceiver, then how do we tell each other our experiences of reality?
- what is history: without pictures and recordings, the telling of a story by elders and wise people was the way knowledge of a past was told. Today we have recordings, so that at least we have some common, fixed evidence that there was one past.
- Or is that an illusion too? If attending alters the attended, then how do we know that the thing behind the word we use for that thing is the same in each persons mind?.
Forget about metaphysics for a bit. Think about how complex our processing of output and intake information is. Consider how that complexity reduces the chances of common perception.
In a simple model, we all have three or factorsin our mental and behavioral being:
- personality and preferences,
- skills and behaviors.
- I can do without it, but think it is valid to add in James Hillman’s Acorn notion
That is a four part, dynamic structure: all factors have internal parts which are interacting and allfour factors interact with each other. It all shapes perception. And it is easy to show that no two people perceive the same stimulus the same way.
Imagine something that I’ve done in new groups hundreds of times. (Lots of others too.) I ask them, right after they have first sat down at the U shaped conference table, to participate in a different way of introducing themselves. We all get bored by name, job title, home town. Who cares? So I tell them to take the next minute to think of what is unique about themselves. I then tell them at the end of that minute, I’m going to call at random on anyone wearing a shade of blue or brown (which almost always is everyone) to come up in front and share what they have thought of. then l give them a minute.
Nobody ever gets asked to come up and do that, although some really want to. And when we ask them what was going on with them physically, mentally, emotionally during that one minute, the reactions range from survival level fight or flee to wow, this is great fun – but most are variations of angst. You can count on new reactions every time. Our thinking shapes and colors what individuals perceive as unique: every time, every one, no two the same.
Might not the almost infinite possibilities of those interactions create endless, shifting perceptions of the same thing? Does not that make a common experience hard to believe in? After all each of those million points of light is a separate light.
To be and not to be at the same time: is that the question?
Or are rather the relating of what we experience with each other and the reaching across to the other the things that count?
Is our collective reality a moving morality mosaic of billions of stories, to which we are too close to see in perspective?
Why would we even ask all these arcane questions?
- Goethe and the flame within us
- Quantum physics and the power of the observer at the most fundamental level of being.
- The life of the hydrogen atom.
What is this mystery of ‘reality’ and life anyway, when we age but Einstein shows that time is a delusion? What is this life then when it can deal out some very painful blows and pleasurable comforts, but yet be impossible to stop and examine?
Who are we and why are we here?
The featured picture on this page of the Blue Ridge through suggests mystery to me. It also is one of the more well known examples of facades in nature. From afar, it looks blue. But go to that place which was blue from afar, and you will be hard pressed to get some of that blue on film, on your hand, or into your pocket. It exist but it is also a facade.
To see what’s behind the blue, you have to go through some sort of entry, some sort of pane. And without the pane, stories develop about the why and wherefor of that facade. Take for example one of my best friends, my departed friend Butch.. At first glance this Marine gunny sergeant, Viet Nam forward artillery spotter with a vocabulary that make the Devil blush, seemed rough and even off-putting. If you stopped at that facade and did not peek behind it, you might not want to come closer. And many had stories about who this was, based only on that facade. Behind it, however, there drummed a heart of pure gold, a soul of generosity that I’ve not seen matched in many others. If you peeked theough some pane, you would have had a totally different story.
So that’s the main aim of this site: peeking through a pane into the tale.
The sometime magical rewards of taking the pane into the tale.
Once in a great while, some word, a verbal pane, releases … no, it is much better to let the great German poet say it:
Schläft ein Lied in allen Dingen, / There sleeps a song in all of being
Die da träumen fort und fort / which slumbers, dreaming, nothing heard,
Und die Welt hebt an zu singen / And then will the world rise up in singing,
Triffst du nur das Zauberwort. / If you but touch the magic word.
(by Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff / Baron of Eichendorff, the quintessential German Romantic Poet; my translation )
Peering through panes into tales is worth the try. We do not live only for our reality, but for the songs we might raise by sharing our magic words. We do not live for the tale; we live for the telling.
Want to give feedback?
OK, shoot – but I”d like to know more than just a glib liked it, did not like it.. What works for you here? Why? What I should change? Why I should make any change?
Actionable, targeted, specific feedback is the breakfast of champions
As for the occasional personal lambasting and verbal drawing and quartering that substitutes for civil feedback these days, I like Rhett Butler’s retort: frankly, (fill in name) I don’t give a d—.