Here I the beginning of an essay about what ideas we have that hold our focus of awareness (what we think of all day) in place. It was hard to organize all the ideas together, so it needs work at subordination to make it less clumsy. Still, I feel a few new directions opening up in my ideas on awareness.
The ideas that fix our focus
People are only unhappy because they don’t know they are happy. Comfort, which is the pleasurable form of fear, makes life more livable than challenge. Emerson was right to say that life consists of what you think about all day: what we focus on is real to us, and how we focus on stubborn externals isn’t so stubborn and inflexible: two men could live inside one skull, the first happy, the second miserable, daily life being the same. A man is only unhappy because he wants to be, it is in tune with his view of the world, and so the architecture of the mind holds his focus in place, and the unconscious habits of thought called engines, thinking tools, use concepts such as infinity and nothingness – both impossible fantasies, to anchor his waking I of focus in place.
Negations don’t exist!
The external realizable positively is.
The internal realized stems from this.
Experience is the real, and persists.
Negations are the preposotional phrases of the inner world
They turn the chin and cause the eye to blink
If powertul, they make a thought impossible to think
And reveal the conceivable rightly absurd.
Therefore, impossible fantasies balance the pain of the ordinay. God, heaven, nirvana, Tao, can be loved because they are shaped by our love, and mirror our own desires, and do not resist us the way the external world does.
Eternity is a mere extension of the temporal. Our experience of eternity is really based on the sensation of increase alone, and is itself fully temporal and finite. All things are finite, even the infinite, or else the infinite would be all things, and therefore there would no things at all, just the thing.
Infinite objects are made of purified desire: they are intellectual idols. And so we learn that the immortal is made by the mortal, eternity is borne from time, the lesser is father to the greater, and the mother gives birth to her opposite.
Therefore, God and heaven pragmatically amount to ways of looking at the real things of this earth. And the stomach of unconscious processing uses many impossibilities such as these to muscle its lunch.
Processing is required to internalize and integrate a surprise. When we take a new thing and fantacize about all its possibilities, all its potential stories and deviations, we will have spun a web of expectations, and no longer fear the new. Processing is living through all conceivable alternatives, exhausting all anticipations. This is only conscious for the difficult ones, for the tried and true methods, thinking is so streamlined to require no care from focus. Thus a death in the family, a gained job, a lost job, a new house, a burned house, all take much processessing, perhaps best when the mind is distracted by daily work, and we seem to be not thinking of it at all.
The stones and gizzards of the unconscious use impossibilities to grind out possibilities. Suicide, murder, godhood, heaven, hell, dictatorship, and other hyperbolic dreams become the tough ideas, the absurd ideas, that bust down reality into usable forms.
The mind also develops a set of blinks. A blink is when the mind, and usually the literal eyes, blink, unfocus, look away, and immediately forget a train of thought. A madman I met once confessed to his psychologist:
“I noticed it first in the playing cards! The Jokers, we took them out of the deck, but we didn’t get them all. They were still in there, facing the wrong way even, but we couldn’t see them. They kept doing their magic trick of being invisible. That’s how the magic decides who wins the game. And they leave these joker card everywhere, in the hall, in our house. We don’t see them. We line them up. We put them on things we don’t see, we hide our faces with them, we hide our secrets. They circulate. And then there’s the guy who sees them and is entranced. They don’t want to be seen. But when the are, the hypnotize you to obsess. That guy, he lives alone and has piles of these things. All his neighbors are unhappy. And so they put this guy in here right now!”
To move from a psychotic fantasy to a poetical one, there is a circle of thrones in each of our hearts. Upon them sit the beloved persons of our inner circle: wife, child, father, master. Mine seats my immediate family, my wife, myself, Emerson, Nietzsche. I love them, yes, but I also love through them. The internalized image of them, the idea I have of them, is made out of my own energy, and so let’s me love myself and others as if I were them. I can only love my wife through the love she has of herself: the person who cannot love himself can also not be satisfactorily loved. Ditto his capacity for loving others: we are loved by the heart through which we love. Therefore, a man is more than his body, mind, spirit, and soul; he is also his possessions and his friends, both what he has taken from them and also what he has given to them. Poetically, the idea seems trite, but philosophically, it requires much unpacking.
For the poets lie. Poets, and religious founders, boldy state: X IS Y! They convince others by power of their own convictions. Yet they lack the intellectual conscious to turn their fervor against their very convictions, to fight with what they love, to kill beauty when she is too weak. For yes, weakness is loved, and beauty is weak. Women and children are more beautiful than men. Power is respected, but beauty is loved, and what a woman loves dearest in her husband is some part of him, preferably hidden from the public, that she can pity. That is how the female instinct works: they call it the maternal instinct—where the father protects, the mother nourishes. This is why love between men is violent, but not hateful. They struggle and jest. They assualt each other with wit.
The poets lie and are even sentimental, as beauty lies, and love lies, and pretty phrases get orgied together: Love = truth = grace = beauty = joy. Power makes distinctions, insists on categories and ranks.
For we need not only loving stability, but the power of growth, to be happy, yet challenged, at peace, yet improving, confident, yet learning. We need balance, but balance itself must balanced with imbalance. To imagine a happy life, let alone a great one, without episodes of personal failure and self doubt, is impossible. When the emotion cycles become too regular, a boredom builds and summons a trauma to upset the system.
Image is the shape of concepts, voice the shape of emotions. Man the eyes, women the ears. Our character is in our muscle shape, and our attitudes in our blood (blood is soul), that is, character is in the habits the muscles itch to do, and attitude is the feelings our chemisty is used to feeling.
All these aspects keep the focus in place. The mind is free, but free within limits. What we think of the infintie and the nothing holds the focus in place: for the philosophy of our assumptions determines what is thinkable to us, what is experiential. It is the allistic breath that says “everything is everything” and seeks the powerful metaphors to burst through the familiar ideas and free their energy for further use.