The end of beautiful dreaming

Wednesday, 12. August 2009


Forgive me, but any ontology is inevitably at the borderline of how many fingers we can recognise and it always appears to be moving out of place through the haze of our own insight as it tries to hold on to what is actually in motion, as it seeks to make line drawings of complex, moving 3-D images that by the time you think you have them will have already moved on. That’s why people cling to simple systems, dichotomies, dialectics, attempts at reason, logic and evidence.

The paradox we are using here is a basic oversimplification into two steps that enables us to reveal and access Step 1, the dominance of mind and then move on to explore Step 2, the regeneration of feeling, initially through enhanced noticing, which is relatively easy to do and almost impossible to stay with before the mind cuts back in to offer some helpful quasi-certainty or interpretation which we grasp at to achieve the nice, safe feeling of knowing. The two forces never cease to pull against each other and of course Step 1 is utterly dominant so that any progress whatever into Step 2 will be very life enhancing.

I could do a Khalil Ghibran or Jonathan Livingston Seagull for you here, but it’s already been done and beautiful dreaming is not going to take us through the haze, nor is TS Eliot. Poetry tends to leave you floating and in order to take the next step towards human decency we need better than a private buzz that can so easily be unmade in a hostile world where every single system is intrinsically anti-life to some extent. The Step 1 world will always rip you out of whatever bubble you try to float away in and bring you crashing to earth with your tragedy to come.

Soon, probably in tomorrow’s episode, I will talk in greater detail about Step 1 in terms of why people don’t get it and why the wars of the memes go on forever, apparently sustaining us but only with junk wisdom that rarely nourishes the lost potential sensitivity of sensibility that we need to recover to move forward. After that, I must sell you the amazing benefits that I believe lay ahead in the largely unknown territory that Step 2 opens up: the huge increase in depth and intensity of feeling and communication and knowing that may be possible between mind and body and outer and inner world’s we inhabit… That part may wax poetical for a while!

But for now I just want to sow one single question, which is: how complex is reality? Is it as complex as that all the arts and sciences in all their beauty and invention cannot quite get there, or is it tangible, available and not so distant from where we are now?

What reality, some will rightly ask. What about the reality of dreams or the reality of hallucinogenic experiences or the way mood colours judgement. Surely reality is constantly changing and “my reality” is all that I can know. Surely it makes no sense whatsoever to even think of embracing anything so grand as “the reality”.

This question obviously does not have an answer. It is usually deployed to stall an argument the person saying it happens not to like very much. No one has any trouble defining reality totally and wrongly, from moment to moment, going through life, even the insane and people experiencing time melting over a rock face into a molten sea on the plant Zog. You have already, for all intents and purposes, defined reality by restricting it to what you know.

There will be a lot more to say about this perpetual theme but for now let me just observe that the word reality is best thought of like a placeholder in reason, the same way that truth, infinity and other non substantial, possibly non-existent things like God and love as well. We use these abstract concepts to carry on thinking when we have reached the edge of knowing and imagination and would otherwise have to stop and some of them are obviously very useful. But like “reality”, none of them actually refer to something you can put in a frame to hang on the wall. So I will go ahead, talking freely about reality, with no attempt whatsoever to define except to say that it is likely to be more than any of our philosophies dreamed of yet…

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