Tuesday 11 August 2020

Experiencing the animated world - what, specifically, do we need to Do?

It is one thing to understand that this is a living, purposive and conscious ("animated") world we inhabit; but another and more difficult matter to experience it as such.

At least that has been my experience, and apparently the experience of many others: we find ourselves stuck, thinking in the materialistic fashion that innately imposes the usual alienated life in which everything is experienced as a 'thing' - and we find ourselves unable to relate the our environment.

Of course I have tried to experience the world as alive and conscious - but it seldom works. Indeed, the very act of trying is what seems to block the process. It is as if my willing forms a skin around my-self.

As so often - it seems I had things the wrong way around; I was trying to do the opposite of what was actually required. The clue came from reflecting upon a passage about Heart Thinking in a talk by Stanley Messenger that I have posted before.

I regard it as a primary insight that we need to make a conscious choice in order to move forward to the next and destined development of consciousness.  It won't just happen-to us: we must actively choose to make it happen: meet our destiny half-way...

I also regard it as necessary that we recognise the primacy of intuitive thinking - thinking which is based-upon direct contact between beings (not merely indirect communications, such as language)...

So that, in effect, we think each others thoughts, without perception or mediation; without need for language or any other symbolism.

At one point in that above-linked lecture entitled "Crop Circles: gateways to new worlds"; Stanley M comments that Beings (such as angels, or the so-called dead - or, implicitly, the manyfold Beings that surround us in our environment (sun, moon, stars, wind, mountains, trees, animals...) - cannot talk to us unless we first our-selves produce a language, more exactly a channel of contact, in which we can talk to them.

Now; SM actually meant 'talk', as the mode of contact - and he deployed 'channeled' conversations as his medium. However, I would regard such perceptual and 'hallucinatory' experiences as being pretty-much inaccessible-to, as well as mostly inappropriate-for, modern Men. But if I modified 'talking' to the kind of direct and intuitive knowing that I regard as primary and necessary; I found that my question was partly answered...

It became clear that what was needed was for me - consciously and by choice - to initiate direct intuitive contact with Beings, thereby to dicover from experience that they were alive.

And this was different from what I had been trying to do - which was to be receptive to the 'communications' from things around me. I had been trying to experience the world as I did when a young child - but this time consciously. I had been looking, listening and feeling; when what was actually required was for me to make an active approach...

That is what I tried to do. The problem was that It Never Worked. What never? Well, hardly-ever. 

My conclusion was that this is not sufficient, it was not specific enough, thus it didn't work.

The questions arose: what (from all the infinite environment) should I approach, and how should I make this approach for it to be effective?

One clue is that this must involve 'heart thinking'; a term which means the same as intuition - and thinking with the heart is distinguished from head-thinking/ reason/ logic on the one hand; and gut-thinking/ instinct/ spontaneous impulse on the other hand. In practice, heart thinking is happening when knowledge 'appears' in conscious thinking, knowledge that we know to be from another Being (not our-selves) inserts-itself into our stream-of-thought.

So, that tells me how to know when it has-happened (and it is characteristic of heart thinking that it is retrospective. We know that an intuition has-happened - but do Not know when it is-happening.

A further characteristic of heart-thinking is that it is self-validating; while it is happening, I am sure of it, I don't doubt it. It brings with it that faith which is the natural consequence of trust. And trust is the consequence of love.

So, we begin to see how all the necessary elements are fitting together... Still, the problem remains - how exactly to initiate this process of heart thinking, how to make contact, and with-what to make contact?

(Because there are plenty of ineffective recommendations knocking-around; notably the 'exercises' prescribed by Rudolf Steiner - despite that most of these ideas come (whether directly or indirectly) from Rudolf Steiner. Steiner suggested an essentially arbitrary method, by which some-arbitrary-thing is picked-out (e.g. a plant) and then a mental-concentration form of meditation is practiced; whereby (through practise) thoughts are compelled to remain focused on the object, and to follow certain prescribed themes. I mention this only as an example of something well-meaning that has proven itself solidly-ineffective over the course of a century, during which Anthroposphy has become ever-more Ahrimanic, passive and politicised - and nearly all Anthroposophists (who practice these exercises) have become psychologically-indistinguishable from the mass of mainstream, bureaucratized, totalitarian-minded leftists.)

I got the clue for this next and final step from another comment Stanley Messenger made in the 'crop  circles' talk, from about 1h 22mins before the end; which was (in my slightly edited transcription):

The huge evolutionary step that has been taken over thousands of years in Man's history is that a conscious being now exists in the universe which can arrogate to its own consciousness the freedom to decide what is true - to create universes. 

And this is a perilous and devilish capacity; and is at the same time a capacity that can raise mankind to the level of the gods.

What is the difference between those two possibilities? The difference is whether, in this growth of self-awareness, mankind will come to the realisation that the perceptions of the heart are more fundamental than the perceptions of the brain. The realisation that our capacity to know through the heart reaches a more profound and truth-filled level than can be reached by perception, hypothesis and analysis.

The difference between this new freedom on the one hand to deny and destroy the reality of the cosmos; and the opposite capacity that it can create new universes of its own; depends, in the end, entirely on whether there is love in the heart - or not.

If there is no love in the heart, then this advance to a freedom of knowledge is the most Satanic thing that could possibly have happened to Mankind.

In the first place, this distinction is a stunning clarification of the catastrophes of 2020. We are ruled by those who have-not love in the heart, and the masses have allowed/ chosen that love should leach from their hearts in all world-relations excepting some of the human. Hence we have embarked upon the perilous, demonic, Satanic pathway - which is the terrible consequence of Man's choice to misuse his new freedom to create new universes.

The 'reality' that that is being created - before our eyes - is literally a Satanic hell; in which people's capacity to choose what they believe, is being used to believe the inversion of those true values that derive from God and creation.

We have created, and are developing, a 'universe' where lies are truth, the ugly and disgusting is celebrated as beautiful, evil plans are celebrated as idealistic visions; and where all representations of God, the Good and Creation are being subverted, mocked, destroyed, vilified and punished. Then all this is being locked-in by a global totalitarianism based on fear, resentment and despair. 

But most vitally this 'love in the heart' requirement is the final clue to how to experience our living in an animated world; a world of Beings.  How do we come to know these Beings, how do we begin to have a relationship with these Beings?

Firstly, we focus on those Beings we love.

Only by love can there be heart thinking. So anything and every-thing we love - but nothing else - is suitable for us to address. As well as people alive and around us we may love someone we have never met, perhaps one who has died; or an author, composer or artist from the past. We may love a pet, or other animal. And we may love any environmental 'thing' - a particular plant or tree in our garden, a landscape or hill, the crescent moon or the constellation of Orion.

We may love something 'made' like a house, a church building, a picture, an old car, a much-used tool...

But love is not arbitrary. The point is that we must truly, spontaneously, already love the Being we address.

Love is not an aspiration, but a necessity: an absolute requirement.

Start with what we actually love: that is vital.

Secondly, we ourselves actively, by conscious choice, express our love: and so we open the channel of communication.

A mistake is to try and manipulate, or get-something-from, that which we address. Animistic thinking is magical - but it is not magic. (Magic is an attempt at manipulating reality.)

What is needed is analogous to the difference between telephoning your mother, and making a sales call; the difference between patting a dog, and using a carrier pigeon to send a message; between a real fan-letter expressing gratitude and delight, and asking for an autograph.

Love is - in the proper sense - disinterested.

Being based in Love; we might rightly express such emotions as gratitude, appreciation, respect, admiration, even adoration.

Putting all this together:

If we want to experience the whole of reality as living and conscious - experience the animated universe - be in relation-with the world; then we begin by knowing this is true, selecting that which we actually love; and then opening the channel for direct contact by expressing that love in positive, generous, affirmative and appreciating ways.

After which we may expect to become aware of our heart thinking - so that the responses to our consciously-chosen initiation of contact becomes consciously known by us, as having appeared in our own consciousness.

We will know that we have-been in direct communication; and will intrinsically (at the time it happens) know the validity of this process.


Anonymous said...

'Love they neighbour as thyself' - love the natural world - the beings in it - connect - tell them you love them from your heart no matter if they are animal, vegetable or mineral, this or the other side of death - love it all.


Bruce Charlton said...

@Barry - I think you are saying that we *should* love all these things. If so, that is a different point from what I am saying above! I am saying that, when aiming to experience The Universe as alive, purposive, conscious - we need to focus on the things we *already* love.

And don't become confused by the things we feel we *ought* to love - which are innumerable. Those things we actually, already, love may be very few - but however few, that is where we should start.

Probably it doesn't matter all that much how many things of the world we love - so long as we really do love. It is that which is crucial to (and suffices for) salvation.

It is the people that do not love who are the problem (for everybody else).

Jacob Gittes said...

Amazing post, and very timely for me.
I've been in a strange place - my son leaving me for a good while, but we had a good time together. I do love him.
I love my dog, and he seems to literally read my mind, and vice versa.
Nature has become a bigger part of my life, living more rural. The lake, the waves, the wind. I love those things. I'd like to live more rustically.
New friends in the congregation I've chosen - I have a sense of real connection to some of them. I was leery of calling that love, but now I realize (due to your post) that I was being timid. Why? Fear of loss? Fear of connection?
I'm going to reread this one, and listen to the mentioned lecture.

I am realizing that one of the big issues I've been dealing with is trying to do too much. Being overwhelmed by inputs. Is that part of the subtle plan of evil to keep us from spiritual development? The crushing notion that we must do too much, learn too much, be involved in too much, try to figure out too much?

Bruce Charlton said...

@Jacob - I acknowledge my debts to Stanley Messenger, and his scattered brilliant insights so lucidly expressed; but - as an Anthroposophist, albeit somewhat heretical - he does have some extremely different assumptions and ideas from mine.

Sean G. said...

"What is needed is analogous to the difference between telephoning your mother, and making a sales call; the difference between patting a dog, and using a carrier pigeon to send a message; between a real fan-letter expressing gratitude and delight, and asking for an autograph."

Beautifully put! How wonderful of you to put into words what I've been blindly grasping at. I feel like I've cheated somehow.

Joseph A. said...

This evening, I did a powder sugar treatment on my honey bee hive (a mild, anti-varroa method). My neighbors were relaxing on their back patio and seemed curious. As I got busy, I forgot about the neighbors and focused on the task at hand. As I was working, I realized that I was talking to the bees and became self-conscious, thinking how odd the neighbors might find me. Of course, I talk to the girls each time that I visit them, as I talk with many things, and normally it's natural. It became unnatural when I considered the neighbors. I continued to do it, unwilling to change my behavior for such a silly reason, but the world collapsed in some way. I wondered what they (the neighbors) might be thinking and what I would say if they asked if the bees understood English. I thought that I should answer that I speak in English because that is my language and that I'm not really sure what or how they understand, but I do think that they understand somehow.

A few months ago, Professor Smith wrote a post at the Orthosphere where he pondered about the alienation between him and the natural world. I understand the idea in the abstract, but I don't understand it intimately. Perhaps, there is a diversity of human constitutions, and people experience fundamental reality differently. That seems obvious enough when you listen to others talk about such matters. Education and upbringing probably play a role. Modern scientific formation, I suspect, instills a mechanical understanding of the world. I don't know how we might better teach students what we know sub specie causae efficiendi without also severing them from their natural relationship with the world. Liberal study doesn't seem to be the problem, but intensive scientific training appears to require this reduction . . . Descarte's mastery, Bacon's torturing nature to yield its answer, and, to use a brilliant literary example, Saruman's change of colors (from white to the rainbow) as he turned from a friend of the forest to having a mind of metal and wheels. Perhaps, a complementary approach is not obvious because losing such a path -- or willfully obscuring it -- is a defining mark of our age. I'd like to believe that we can keep the secrets (of Newton's laws, of subatomic behavior, etc.) that we have discovered without blinding ourselves to other (true) perspectives of the world. Contra Kuhn, I want to sublate these shifting horizons, greedy as I am! But that hasn't yet been the case in our modern world. Perhaps, your Romantics desired the same. Perhaps, some even succeeded. The effort failed, however, to change the dominant way in society at large. Where is our Merlin today?

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

The synchronicity fairies saw to it that I read this post just after reading a 1963 account of a crop circle (or “saucer nest” as they were then called) in Charlton, Wiltshire.

Brad said...

The LOVE of money is the root of all evil...

Everything you wrote about truly brings that scripture to life!

lgude said...

What a helpful post Bruce. I recognise the constant trying that I know is somehow futile in itself, but also part of making the effort to meet the transcendent half way. I felt it tonight during contemplative prayer, but didn't recognize the clear difference between brain and heart thinking. My heart overflowed because I experienced something I already loved directly. Narrow is the gate. Straight is the way.But there is a way and indeed it starts and ends with love. Thank you.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Brad - "The LOVE of money is the root of all evil..." Do you really believe that? I don't. I'd say that love of power, lust, or the craving for esteem/ status/ fame/ admiration are at least as common causes of evil as monetary greed.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Igude - Thanks. We shall see how hepful these new ideas turn out to be in the long run; but I was not getting far with my previous line of action.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Wm - I feel about the subject of crop circles somewhat as I feel about astrology; I think there is 'something in it', something 'going on' - but I don't feel interested enough to do anything like actually go and look at one.

Partly because most of them seem to be in the southern regions - especially Wiltshire and the chalk downland - that I seldom travel through or near - and then only en route to somewhere else.

But when I was in those parts a few years ago, we spent our time looking at Avebury, Stonehenge, West Kennet, Wayland's Smithy, the White Horse, the Ridgeway and other similar prehistoric 'monuments'.

Also, I don't find the crop circles designs to be attractive or appealing - not like the White Horse, for instance. Also, you can't see them properly from the ground.

a_probst said...

"...are being subverted, mocked, destroyed, vilified and punished. Then all this is being locked-in by a global totalitarianism based on fear, resentment and despair."

In other words, kind of like living in some of Dennis Potter's teleplays.

Anonymous said...

"I think you are saying that we *should* love all these things."

I was clumsy - I didn't mean 'ought' - but whatever we love we should do it from the heart. But I do think that if we can learn to love more widely, and more deeply, then I do believe that is a good thing. Love seems to me to be a power/fuel/creative energy, and the more of it that is created/generated, the heavier the weight down on to evil. (Who doesn't want to see Screwtape groan?) And also, the more love we feel and generate, the more livingly aware, and theotically enhanced we become - I think. That was intuitional and just came to me now. But it feels properly true. But, of course, we must start with things we already love - we've no choice anyway - we either love something, or we don't.


Anonymous said...

Further to my last comment, I wonder, is it possible that heart thinking love to another is reciprocated. For example, If I was walking through a field, and loving nature all around me, would nature answer back? It seems that way to me whenever I get those in tune with creation moments - I feel really 'there' in the moment, a sort of concentrated self-awareness, and I am certain that my surroundings notice me, and are loving me back. It makes me think of the Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah song and scene from Disney's Song of the South. Some might say I trivialise, and may be I do, but fairy stories like that do approximate to the in tune with creation connection that happens all too rarely for me. Those animators knew a thing or two and created a piece of art that aimed to demonstrate a reality.

And if you want a lift, here it is -