Friday 14 April 2023

Where are 'other worlds' located? The 'mental block' of modern consciousness.

I've changed my mind on this topic several times, over the course of this blog. It is an important issue, and one where I think we probably need a coherent answer to avoid spirituality being sabotaged by corrosive doubt.  

The general question has many specific versions. One is to ask where exactly Heaven is located - especially considering that Christians believe in resurrection, so that the vagaries of spirits being everywhere (and nowhere) are denied us. 

Is Heaven (inhabited by the resurrected dead, walking-around...) up in the sky, outer space, a remote planet? All answers seem either evasive or absurd.

Another version is the Underworld (the Dwat), or the world after death (Sheol, Hades), the 'Inner World', the Collective Unconscious - or Collective Consciousness... people talk as if these are locations, or domains - but where? Why can't we detect them?

Then there is Faerie, Elfland - is that under a mound, in or through a forest, across the seas - or maybe on a different plane of existence through-which we must travel? 

It is easy to reduce answers to absurdity; in a modern world where we assume we have explored the whole planet, and that 'scientific instruments' allow us to detect anything that is real. 

I suggest here that, as so often when a question seem unanswerable - this is because we are asking the wrong question. We are assuming that The World is reality, and our knowing of that world is secondary (and optional) thing; an essentially passive matter of recognizing reality. 

In other words, we are assuming that our minds have no significant role in the existence of reality, except to fail to notice it or to distort it - we assume that real reality (Kant's das Ding an sich: the thing-in-itself) is out there and 'solidly real', even when unthought, unperceived, unknown. 

Yet this almost universal habit of thinking about reality is incoherent - therefore wrong (as demonstrated by, amongst others, Rudolf Steiner and Owen Barfeld). Instead, a coherent understanding of reality must include the consciousness of the knower.

(Without the knowing-consciousness of a being, there is only meaningless disorder - literal primordial chaos.)

This is Not to say that consciousness simply makes-up any reality it wants, a reality without any reference to anything out-there, because there is nothing out-there (ie. philosophical 'idealism') - it is instead to say there is no knowing, no knowable, without consciousness; so that consciousness and reality cannot be separated.

We may notice that this question "where are other worlds?" was Not regarded as a problem in much of the past in human history. The answer seemed obvious, or else an answer was not requested or required.

And the question was not a problem because people knew other worlds, people once perceived these other worlds for themselves - either on an everyday basis, or (later) in special states of consciousness induced by religious ritual, dreams, trances - or whatever. 

That which is perceived is not regarded as unanswerable. 

Therefore I conclude that the question is a product of changes in human consciousness. 

We ask where other worlds are located because Modern Man no longer spontaneously perceives other-worlds, and has mostly lost the ability to perceive other-worlds

In other words; Modern man cannot know the location of 'other worlds' because he has developed a mental block

The other-worlds are still 'there', where they always were, but Modern Man is blocked from perceiving them by a change in his consciousness*. 

Indeed, the other-worlds can still be perceived, but only in altered states of consciousness that, to some extent, undo the recent changes of consciousness - and diminish our level of consciousness. 

Inner-worlds no longer impose on Men, that is why they are not perceived. To know inner-worlds for has become for Modern Men a matter of knowing, not perceiving. 

A matter, that is, of direct-knowing.  

We should not strive to 'see through' the blocks, nor to dissolve them away - because they are there for good reasons; instead we can think over and around the blocks.

In other words: Final Participation.  

Then we will know where are other-worlds...

And the answer is: in this same world... 

Where they have always been

(*The reason for this change in consciousness is another matter, dealt with extensively elsewhere in this blog. In a nutshell, the mental block has the positive function of increasing freedom, agency; by removing us from the former state of automatic/ habitual, unavoidable and unconscious subjection to God's created reality. The mental block gives us the freedom positively to choose to align-ourselves with divine creation. In other words the block both imposes and gifts Modern Man's with personal responsibility for his spiritual affiliation.) 


No Longer Reading said...

That makes sense.

I think you're right that trying to model the location of other worlds in a geographic/geometric sense is something that came about with modern intellectual consciousness.

These spatial notions can still be useful as metaphors, but these worlds relate to ours in some other way (or ways) than just spatially.

Someone said...

If we take the world of Hogwarts and the world of The Lord of the Rings, they both exist in a larger world, but have no spatial relation to each other - no matter how far you go in one, you will never reach the other. In order to move from one to the other, you must exit into a larger or host world and then merge into another sub-world.

William Wright (WW) said...

This topic has probably been at the top of my mind for quite some time now. I also haven't come up with any satisfactory answers, and I am unsure whether what you have outlined here hurts or helps my cause in coming to any resolution.

At the risk of another more tie between Mormonism and Tolkien, both Joseph Smith and Tolkien described 3 unique worlds that were attached to each other somehow while remaining very distinct. For Tolkien, these existed together at the end of the 1st age up into the 3rd age as Aman, Numenor, and Middle-earth. Joseph Smith described these worlds as the the Celestial, Terrestrial, and Telestial Kingdoms. Mormons (at least all of the ones I know) assume that these worlds only exist in some future state, but I believe that both a past state and a future state were being described, with the past state being the story that Tolkien recorded in the Akallabeth.

I think these worlds come together again - almost like a redo of what was intended at the end of the 1st age, but with the critical difference that because of the resurrection of Jesus both death and the marring of the world will have been overcome (along with the judgment and dismissal of some bad actors who caused havoc the first time around).

I do believe that resurrected beings, including Jesus, currently live in Heaven/ Aman, and that it actually is a physical place, but where that would be exactly, and in what manner that world would be reunited with this one leads me to some of the same absurdities you have alluded to, Bruce. The hypothesis that I come back to most often is a simple diagram of distinct planets linked together in some fashion, but really hard to see or imagine how physically that comes about.

Maybe a removal of some barrier to reveal that things have always been where they are (rather than a physical relocation of these worlds) would address this, but it is also hard to get my head around that.

Epimetheus said...

When you die, you wake up in a big warm bed next to a crackling fireplace. Life was all a dream. Your family and ancestors are having supper in the next room. You can hear them eating, laughing, and singing. You go out and join them.

agraves said...

We are participating in a grand scheme of development on our earth. Souls are acting out their inherited roles on the surface but are generally unaware of who they are. No sense of being other than what they are observing outside of them or even inside of them. No sense of their soul life really being involved in a large evolutionary tale involving all life with many futures to come. This can take the sting out of the folly of our current condition.

William Wright (WW) said...

I keep thinking on this a bit, and so a couple other points to add to or maybe take my earlier comment in a different direction.

First, I can think of a couple examples in Middle-earth that would seem to support your argument, Bruce, that there is something about awareness and consciousness in locating or accessing other worlds: Doriath and Gondolin. Both seemed to exist on the same physical plane as the rest of ME, in that beings who lived there or were welcomed/ invited could move between these places and the rest of ME freely and through physical means. But they were inaccessible and unfindable to all who were not welcome - Men, evil beings, etc. Even to those who had been there and wanted to return, there seemed to be an awareness or consciousness issue in that the lands remained where they had always been, but the seeker was now unable to find them if the inhabitants wanted this to be so ... Hurin being the most tragic example of this.

And the fact that Beren, Hurin, Huor, and Tuor proved the exception and as Men eventually entered these places might also suggest a reason why a barrier or ban exists until today for Men visiting enchanted lands. For both Doriath and Gondolin, Men finding these lands directly and indirectly led to their fall, and so their inhabitants might not be blamed for keeping in place a barrier that would prevent a similar fate for wherever they live now. And this doesn't even take into account what happened to Eressea at the hands of Men. So, a ban for their protection, but also maybe for ours as well

My second point is around what would be required to visit these worlds, were such an invitation even extended. It seems that something with Men's bodies keeps them in this state of unawareness, and I think that is why, at least in 'scriptural' accounts we read of some manner of bodily transfiguration that must also accompany a heavenly visit The resurrection of Jesus is the most permanent solution to this, as after his resurrection it seemed Jesus could move freely between Heaven and Earth, whereas before this was apparently not so. But there are also examples of beings prior to resurrection 'visiting' Heaven... both Moses' and Jesus' accounts on mountains I take as alluding to heavenly visits, and when Jesus visited those at Bountiful in the Book of Mormon, he changed the bodies of 3 individuals which then enabled them to visit heaven. After thinking on your post more, perhaps one reason for the bodily change is to increase the capacity for awareness and consciousness needed to visit these places.

So, to summarize, in our current bodies it should not be hoped to directly see or visit these places no matter what we do (although one can commune with them, be aware of their general existence and influence, etc.). The Resurrection is likely the means in which Jesus made for Men to be able to perceive and live in Heaven - Men's new bodies now making this possible. However, in some limited cases and for specific reasons, one may not have to wait until the resurrection to perceive these worlds directly, but even in these cases a temporary change on one's body is required, perhaps causing an increased capacity to be aware of these places.

How that all works in practice, however, I am not sure, and I still find myself going back to the need to have also a physical 'somewhere else' that these places must be.