Friday, April 18, 2014

Mungo-psychology, part one

Vexing problem of the day: In a dream, you conceive the construction of a two-person transparent starship whose energy source is the Universal Quiddity, which can carry you a billion-billion times the speed of light, or any possible speed you desire, to every place in the cosmos.  Awakening from the dream, you build the craft, have breakfast, then take off.  Even at the highest speed you dare imagine, it takes you five years to find a planet where sentient and abstract intelligence is embodied in a motile form that you can recognize.  You arrive quietly, surreptitiously, with a good heart, and search for a lone Being with whom you can commune.  You traipse the purple hills, the forests, and finally come upon a hiker or vagabond who, like you, casts off fear and opens itself to the all good of this once-in-eternity experience.  You walk together, learn each other’s language, and share existence.

Some questions:

In your assessment of this situation – Is this wonderful, or is it depressing, or both?  How much do you say?  After some time, do you decide to stay, resume your cosmic travels alone, or with the new friend?  And, with this one objective corroboration, or synthesis, of the nature of mind and the universe at hand, do you and It co-author the definitive philosophy of everything?

Another question: Rather than take a ride yourself, should you have given your starship to a great physicist, historian, or (as Ellie suggested in the movie Contact) poet?  You are none of these things, just a person with an accidental dream.

My own perspective (which of course reveals some of my psychology) is that this experience would be both glorious and depressing.  Another consciousness, even at one of the infinite outposts of the universe, seems to me to accentuate our essential aloneness, not dispel it.  “Well, here we are in this lonely endlessness.”  Consciousness is more a mirror than a window: Looking into someone else’s soul is eventually to be two mirrors staring at each other, it is eventually to just see oneself.

Even if I knew all of human history – origins, progression and decline of civilizations, evolution, wars, science, art, belief – I would find myself telling my star-friend a few details then mostly summaries and principles: “Such is human nature.  There is a germ or a sensitivity that we have always picked up along the timeline that causes us pain, then violence.  Why jealousy and murder rather than benevolence and healing, I don’t know.”  I would want to listen to Its history, too, but probably in the same way: representative jewels then the broad sweep.  Mostly, I’d want to know the philosophy, the feelings, the sense of purpose.

Sometimes I fear that knowing is what gets in the way of our living the “full catastrophe.”*  Since everything about consciousness and genius reduces to one atom “looking” at another, basically our being a reflective-absorptive particle of existence, and all knowledge is just “deeper” layers of appearance dressed up with thought and logic (A = A), isn’t the appreciation of appearance the most human and astounding we, and life, can be?  The reason, I suspect, that the mystery of existence can’t be solved is that there is no one to solve it.  There is no knowledge, that is, only the appearance of it, in the same illusory way that our mind feels free to will.

I might invite my friend to join me in the transparent starship, flip a coin at every corner and go in which direction it says.  This would be a great partnership: No vaporous conjecture for us, just the crazy ignorant joy of seeing one Unexplainable after the other and going: What!?  What!?  What!?**

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* Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, Full Catastrophe Living, 1990, Bantam Dell, p. 5.

** One person I would never donate my ship to would be Jon Kabat-Zinn, master of mindfulness, a practice that I see as imprisonment in the brain.  I prefer imprisonment in the universe. 

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Comments are welcome, but I'd suggest you first read "Feeling-centered therapy" and "Ocean and boat" for a basic introduction to my kind of theory and therapy.