AshvinP wrote: ↑Fri Oct 01, 2021 12:43 am
For those who are still confused about this "reversal" Cleric writes of above, as I initially was, I want to comment two things:
1) In general, for modern intellect, "reversals" of all sorts are very difficult to comprehend. Even if we do comprehend it for a little while, we just as quickly forget it. That is intimately related to our experience of time as linear clock ticking forward and our inability to experience Time holistically. Cleric has written about that very nicely in his essay, "The Time-Consciousness Spectrum
", so there's really no point of me trying to rewrite it here. Suffice to say, the "reversal", "mirror image", "reflection", etc. concepts are extremely important for understanding the dynamic relation of spiritual to physical, higher cognition to lower [sensory] cognition, past to future, etc., and vice versa. But we should also be aware that they will remain mere abstract concepts for the intellect without higher cognition, so it is generally not possible to make them second nature thinking with only intellect - we must continually revisit them when we are trying to grasp those dynamics.
2) Specifically in the context of what is written above, it may be helpful to think of psychological concept of "projection". For most abstract psychological frameworks, especially those which presuppose materialism-dualism (nearly all of them), the actual meaning of this dyamic is inverted
and seen as a negative thing - someone is only "projecting" when they take their own unconscious negative qualities and put them onto someone or something else. For other more idealist-minded psychologists, like Jung, we are always
projecting the qualities of our collective subconscious onto the sensory world (including other souls). The only question is whether we are going to become conscious of that projection or not. "Unless you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it 'fate'
" (Jung). That is exactly what Cleric writes of in this post when speaking of us as "puppets on a string
". So developing higher cognition is not other
than making the subconscious conscious.
What you say is all important, yet I had something even more elementary in mind with this 'reversal'. Let me try to elaborate.
Let's turn our attention to the way we perceive perceptions together with meaning. Probably the best example is listening to someone talking. As long as the topic doesn't require any special knowledge and concentration, we don't need to exert any effort in order understand what we hear. It's like the sound of the words completely automatically evokes the corresponding meaning. We have something similar when we simply look around us. As our gaze scans our surroundings it is not necessary to exert some special effort. We have effortless understanding
of what we see - at least on a general level. It's like we experience the meaning that if verbalized could be expressed as "I see the stuff in my room."
This is the first kind of experience. Interestingly, for many people this is also the way they experience their thoughts most of the time. They simply go through a stream of innate chatter, not that different from the way we hear someone else's voice, except that we have the additional knowing that this is ours.
The second kind of experience, which I called 'reversed', requires us to feel actively responsible for the thoughts we hear. I called it thus because naturally, when we think scientifically about perceptions, it appears that the sound stimuli come first and the meaning (supposedly after some processing) evokes the experience of meaning. I called the second kind 'reversed' because when we think actively we live in meaning and the verbal thoughts are only symbolic perceptions of it. So we have one direction from perception to meaning and the reversed - from meaning to perception.
The latter it seems is quite unnoticed for most people. One way to notice it is if we remember how sometimes we struggle to find a word. If such moments are observed we would notice how for a brief moment we live in some kind of meaning, yet we can't translate it into a word. Another way to point attention to this is if we think about a concept that we know words for in different languages - Love, Amore, Любовь, etc. We can experiment thinking the concept in different words and try to feel the common meaning
that is independent of the words themselves.
Another useful experiment is trying to think something which doesn't easily fit in our existing habits. For example, we can try pronouncing in our mind sounds. It's most effective to hold the sound for longer time (for ex. 10sec). Sounds like 'aaaaaaa', 'eeeeeee', 'oooooo'. I suppose this is not something that many people do regularly so it will feel new
. This is the valuable thing - while it's still new, there aren't yet already built cognitive habits
so we have to exercise more focused activity.
If we observe ourselves we'll see that most of our speech (and verbal thoughts) are completely automatic. We surf through the meaning of what we want to express, and the mental and physical habits that we've developed through the years do the rest. And this is big part of the problem in our times - on one hand we have very dim consciousness of meaning as something existing apart from words, it's very difficult for modern man to have clear grasp of meaning without the words. On the other hand the habits which translate the meaning into words have become completely automatic. This places man in the peculiar situation that his "I"-activity remains very shadowy. Whether we're conscious of it or not, we're constantly groping in the dark, through the invisible landscape of meaning. This activity is so dim that it practically resembles a kind of dreamy slumber. Then this barely conscious groping in the dark is translated into consciously perceptible thoughts by quite habitual patterns, deeply ingrained in our organism. So man hears the automatically pronounced thoughts but he's barely conscious of his shadowy groping through the invisible landscape of meaning.
Exercise as the above takes advantage of the fact that we can perform some type of mental activity which has not yet become completely habitual and in this way it's easier to narrow the gap and livingly experience how through our own effort, ideas/meaning are being spoken into thoughts. In the exercise the sounds themselves do not correspond to some concrete ideas but still, the act of pronouncing them is full of meaning because they exist within meaningful context. If someone could hear our thoughts he might ask "Dude, what are you doing?" Seen from the side, we're just pronouncing simple sounds. Even though the sounds themselves do not encode special ideas, from our perspective they are expressions of quite comprehensive ideas about the whole exercise. Just think how many different things are interrelated - habits, the gradient of consciousness-subconsciousness, activity, perception, sound, meaning, duration and so on. We live in densely packed meaning and the sound is only the end result of deeply motivated activity.
If we grasp the idea of all above, it should be clear that it is possible to feel more and more intimately how meaning precipitates in thought-perceptions through our activity. I guess everyone is familiar with the acoustic phenomenon that when one of two identical tuning forks sounds, the air vibrations bring the second one in motion too (because it is attuned to the same resonant frequency). Imagine the forms of language as tiny tuning forks, forming hierarchical structures. These musical structures have been deeply ingrained in our organism. When we're groping in the darkness of meaning we're not conscious of it but we can imagine this dim meaning as a kind of music. Here more harmonious, there much more dissonant, almost noise-like. As we move through this music made of knowing/meaning/idea, barely conscious of it, the sound of it rings in resonance with particular harmonic language structures, which activates trains of patterned reflexes. The more we have done this, the more stable these resonant trains are and the more effortlessly they are triggered. This is pretty much how modern man operates - he pushes blindly through meaning and habitual patterns of language resonate with it wherever possible.
This places us in the bifurcated situation where on one side we're groping barely conscious in invisible meaning, on the other we're conscious but only of completely mechanically activated thought trains.
Through exercises as the above (of course on the condition that we're doing them fully consciously) we can feel afresh what it means to move through meaning which doesn't yet have corresponding deeply ingrained cascades of tuning forks. If we observe closely, we can see how much more free we feel, even somewhat clumsy and uncertain in this new situation (similar to the way when we learn to write for the first time). For example, when we pronounce 'aaaaa' we may experiment modulating the pitch, as a vibrato effect. When we think our prosaic daily thoughts, how many times have we thought about experimenting with fine grained modulation of the intonation of our inner voice? Probably never. We're too busy groping barely consciously in the dim prosaic meaning and leave the well trodden patterns to verbalize it for ourselves.
If we're able to do that exercise with the needed focus, we can't fail but feel that in a way we feel much more alive
. We have shortened the distance between the dimly explored meaning and its projection into perceptible thoughts. As long as the gap between the two is large, it's like there's only a limited number of slots of ingrained patterns that can capture meaning. For example, if in the darkness of meaning we pass through region with specific frequencies but we don't have any pattern slots resonantly attuned to such wavelengths, we simply can't be conscious of this meaning - we don't have words for it! We pass through the invisible meaning, as EM waves pass through antenna designed for different wavelengths.
When we experience active thinking, the back and forth oscillation between meaning and the closely willed thought activity allows us to reflect novel and much finer degrees of meaning.
If this line of reasoning is continued we'll soon arrive, even completely through ordinary logic, to the idea of a higher form of cognition, that we here call Imaginative. Our thinking activity becomes so mobile, flexible, sensitive that we begin to express in whole images the meaningful dynamics through which we live with our "I". It's like the rigid slots of verbal patterns begin to multiply and refine such that they can capture finer and finer dynamics.
In other words, what we normally grope in the dark becomes much more clearly reflected in comprehensive images. Even more important than the finer resolution is the fact that meaning expands temporally too. We're able to cognize temporal rhythms which present to us otherwise disconnected perceptions, into perfectly clear holistic relations - they dance on the same waves. In our intellectual state the verbal slots are too crude, they capture way too aliased picture of this invisible meaning, and we simply can't grasp the disparate elements in their unity. We can only speculate about their interrelationships and mechanically patch them together through intellectual assertions.
These images are not magnificent visions that we flatly confront with the crude slots of our intellect. They are our own thought-reflection that has expanded and transformed from mere sound or word into a dynamic, living image of what we experience as meaning. Think of the word 'dog'. It's just a simple sound to which we experience the idea of the animal. Now imagine that we turn that word into a symbol and begin to concentrate on it. Gradually it begins to fill our entire field of consciousness and becomes more and more manifold, similarly to the animation above. This increase in details is not some perceptual effect but reflects the increase of resolution of meaning that we experience. In this expanded panorama we begin to sense as a meaningful complex everything we know about dogs - threads of interrelations between ideas are being spun in all directions and connect with the focus of our meditation. I repeat - it's not that we see these things in the image and interpret them from there. No, the image is secondary, what gives intensity of the experience is the brilliant, expanded and mobile meaning. In the same way, when we think 'dog' the verbal sound is secondary, it's only a testimony for the meaning that we live in. The panoramic image becomes important only when we want to translate this higher experience into concrete sensory-like elements. This is how, for example, something as the aliasing metaphor comes into being. It's experience of the living high resolution dynamics of meaning in the Imaginative state. From there we can zoom back into the slots of the ordinary verbal intellect. When we do that, the whole panorama dims down and we're left with verbal thoughts. When we do this back and forth, we can describe the experience in quite literal sense as the aliasing presented in the metaphor.
It's very important to understand that these multiplying and manifold slots are produced by our patient and determined work. We must create ourselves
the palette capable of capturing the subtle shapes and dynamics of Cosmic meaning. It's like learning a new language where we create more and more refined vocabulary which becomes so manifold that practically turns into a continuum and is able to reflect spiritual dynamics and dimensionality unimaginable through linear combinations of intellectual slots. This from one more angle shows why the psychedelic state is not
the Imaginative cognition described here. The psychedelic state truly thrusts us into the expanded Imaginative element but we can only alias the meaning of this experience through our crude intellectual slots that we happen to posses from everyday life. When this is no longer possible in the face of the extreme dynamics, the intellect collapses (the celebrated 'ego death') and everything is captured in a big singular slot having the meaning of approximately 'amazing experience out of this world'. This is how radically diametrical the two states are. In the one we have a single word
spreading and capturing the whole Imaginative panorama as nebulous meaning of general oneness. In the other we have fully consciously developed vocabulary becoming fluid and infinitely detailed, able to capture patterns and temporal dynamics of higher meaning, that simply don't exist for the 'singular nebulous word' of the psychedelic (or the no-thought) state and the crude slots of the intellect.
Within this expanded meaning and reflection we also begin to cognize processes which are too subtle to be captured by the slots of the ordinary intellect. Within these processes we begin to recognize the living forces through which we move, which resist or resonate with us while we're transforming through the meaningful landscape. We're not some static observer at the periphery, which witnesses external to itself meaningful processes in front of it. Such an idea is only one of the very
rigid slots which completely formats and limits what is possible to experience. The idea itself
is a form of meaning that restricts us in a certain slot. When this rigid slot shatters, the whole reality becomes metamorphosis of meaning/knowing, reflected in the living Imaginative 'substance'.
(Note that all above is limited to Imaginative cognition. We're not speaking of the higher Inspirative (nor Intuitive), which we can enter when we learn to live within meaning to such an extent that we no longer even need the reflective Imaginative substance for support (thus we can be fully conscious in the realm of deep dreamless sleep). In that Spiritual realm we find even more subtle dynamics, which can no longer be experienced through reflection in the Imaginative substance but can only be known entirely from within
their meaning, as willed by spiritual beings)