February 22, 2014

Channeling Lucretius


If he could speak I might not appreciate what he has to say about the way in which we see life without much clarity, not to say, in morbid disarray, since pureness remains an enthralling concept, where we place our hopes there so that we can rise above the mundane. The disarray I mentioned is a state of mind that separates two worlds, namely his and mine.
You see, his mind works quite differently from yours or mine, dwelling in a labyrinth quietly framed in courtyards of impressions, never litigious, unable to remove themselves from their ensconce, no less joyful or willing, but simply kept within the membrane of their isolation.
When we smile there are many ways to apprehend the relationship between thought and feeling; as schism or collusion, petrified union or the robust shaking of a schoolyard bully, seeing what change drops from our pockets.  But for all the incomprehensibility of his perception, he is the word. He is the feeling. There is no preceding thought of it, no ‘this will be now, in a moment’s time.” 'Now' does not advance, neither retreat.

While we have memory to embroil us, how much can he be aware that there is, a priori an active thought process? When we think, ‘The sky is beautiful’, we are simply categorizing. Name tags stored to remind us of our experiences. We think that in giving this name tag value is secured to our experience, which in turn has origins in the schematics of past experience, so that when we are due our next, ‘beautiful sky’ moment we have a frame of reference by which to measure. Even adding a measure of worth in the present experience because the tagged memory brings itself to bear.
But without an actual sense of before, the now and future, each experience carries its own unique ‘now’. So there is no precedential fear but also no expectation of joy or disappointment. No warbling anticipation to have flourished in our endocrine system. There is only the moment itself.
And many would rightly say, this smacks of a lack of conscious investment, as though that is a bad thing.  In just being, there is no recourse to action, no understanding the context. What a fearsome state!  The voices rise in indignation: “This is what separates us from the beasts!”  Well, while we love to point out how different we are, in essence how superior, the subject of how we are very similar to them is rarely given perfunctory recognition.
Part of this is due to the proportion of importance given to conscious intent. When conscious intent is motivated by the ability to distinguish the value of an object in context of a desired action or outcome, we have a manifestation of Will. We have personhood as some would have it. Without this ability to value one thing over another in order to achieve a particular result we have effect, but not affect.
No need to reduce this discussion to that of who is a person and who is not, simply because there are no grounds for it. For the non-communicating individual has not been heard. The deaf-mute who has not learned to sign was considered a brute, a throwaway of little value, certainly not one who had attained the stature of person.  Lest we remember the ignorance of our yesterday, we are inclined to think ourselves wise today.


  1. "There is only the moment itself". Funny how the great spiritual masters always talk about how we must learn to "live in the moment" and drop all remnants of the past and expectations of the future, and our children, who live this every day, are deprived of their status as "persons".

  2. We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.

    Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1955) The Phenomenon of Man

    Strange that I would reference a Jesuit paleontologist...our disabled children are the pinnacle of humanity...they are our teachers and we learn more from them than we could learn on our own or from the mere words of others. Only a select few are given such a priceless opportunity.