Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Section 4: Layers of Life

Greetings my fair greetings!

Well the first part of the essay is nearly finished. Before talking about the strategies for the game, I further complicate what I mean by my particular game of life, the philosophical metaphors I use. I use a layer metaphor to structure my ideas – perhaps you have sensed it in my writing? In this essay, I present my use of the metaphor as a template for how to use metaphors in general for comprehending the Game.!


Take care, Caretakers!


Daniel Christopher June







3. The Layer Metaphor

            Every writing introduces personalities, living characters, people embodied in anecdotes, allusions, and quotations. A character is a center of consciousness, a mind. If I were writing an essay, any allusion, quotation, or anecdote would introduce some mind other than my own. A writing is thick when it has many minds giving perspectives on the same idea. Every mind has its unique means of processing reality, of realizing it, of experiencing the world, first of all, and second of all, building truth from that. “Every mind is a new classification.” Each person has a few metaphors he uses to structure his experience. My own preferred method, my standard figure for ordering facts and information, is the use of layers. I feel as if I am winning my philosophical game when I can structure my experiences within a layer metaphor.

            In this, life itself is a layer of games, many that we play simultaneously: the game of making money, the game of love, the game of childrearing. And every individual game holds layers as well: the lower ones support the higher ones, the higher ones transcend from the lower, as when we play the game of chess, we want to win, yes, but we want to experiment and try new things, we want to socialize, we want to show off, we want to be respectful. In the game of love, there is the layer of outsmarting others, the layer of building them up, the layer of sex, the layer of love-making: they are all being played simultaneously, all layers at once, and every word and every action advances us differently on each level. Life is lived in layers, and we see them all from the surface.

            Read a book. All we can read is surfaces. The ego is a skin, and a book’s soul is in its face. If you know how to read, you can look into a book like a tunnel, and see meanings as deep as clear across the room. You can read between the lines at deeper lines, and read between those lines again. Below the surface of a writing are layers of meaning, different forms, in all sizes, that can yet only be seen through the surface, a surface that is everything.

            Every thing in the world and in the mind is so thick with forms that to distill a pure form, as in geometry, requires long attention on and attenuation of ideas. Some ideas are not visible in any one book, but require reading a hundred books before they can be unconsciously accepted. To then bring them to conscious knowledge would take much intense work: most of those ideas are unconscious to us all. We have them, they are in there, but too deep to bring to the surface. They are a deep layer, they support the higher things, but they are not known by them.

            Memory too is layered. Experience is a kind of memory that is happening right now. It is situated above our regular experience of life, the stereotypical memories, and that is above our life myth, the basic story we take as template for our life. Above and below live experience is the network of recent memories and future expectations that associate experiences into episodes, and situate us into time and history. Trauma digs into our generic expectations of life, makes a pit, a kind of wound, something that may never heal, but becomes a well, perhaps a well of pain, but as that well is cleaned and reinforced, the trauma can fill with healing waters. Approaching memories analytically and philosophically beautifies experience and trauma.

            If philosophy is a language of clarity, if philosophy is essentially the art of defining, in opposition to poetry as the art of suggesting, then the basic philosophical error, the basic mistake in thinking itself, is to misplace the boundaries around an idea.  The greatest philosophical problem is in establishing the identify of a thing: what is a thing, and what is it not? How can a thing be itself if it changes? How much of it can change before it is something else? Can I replace every piece of my car and still have the same car? The greatest moments of enlightenment flash across our brow when we realize where to properly set the borders between “yours and mine,” between “mind and body,” when we realize all the possible types of opposition within dualism, how they harmonize and clash – and ultimately how all these things are necessary and fit together into the necessary whole of the All. The layer model allows a thing to be itself and also more than itself. I am more than a man: I am part of that greater being called Man, which is a single mind over all the globe, of which each of us is a part. I personally am all of my possessions, and another layer of me extends into all of my influence.

            Knowing what is mine and what is not, what is in my control and what is not, what is in my power and what is not, what I should hope for and what is impossible, would let me channel my emotions into the correct outlets. The way oppositions are set up – pride versus humility, love versus hate – don’t add up, don’t properly balance this versus that. It is imagined that the drug addict in prison found Jesus and was saved from his addict lifestyle, when in fact, his addictions took on the Jesus-face as the latest flavor of servility. The wretched life becomes the pious life without changing its substance: it is all one thing, it could not be otherwise. The same moods, the some emotions, are restructured into a different overall gross shape, but the substance is the same. We must be careful when we say a thing is different from the next. Things that seem grossly different may be essentially the same.

            Nor does it do good to say “everything is everything” and “all is one.” All is one, in one sense, and not one, in another sense. My body is one, in a sense, and yet it is filled with organs, in another sense. I am all man in one sense; yet in another sense, for ever human cell in my body and yours, there are nine nonhuman cells (bacteria, viruses, fungus, and so forth). Everything is true, but only if we know how it is true, in relation to everything else we know to be true. Omniscience is knowing everything you need to know, and this comes from studying all we do know.

            Whenever there is an impasse between the natural two, a third appears, in the place of the supernatural. You want this, I want that, the third thing must come from above to justify each to each. The original nature, to get what it desires, must become the miraculous third, something to look down on itself. We will always need the fantastic to normalize the normal, so we can tell what is regular things and to be expected. We need fantasy, miracle, and mysticism – even though they are false categories! – to set the normal and regular into place. Some authority is needed, either an official authority or a fantastic authority The impossible allows the possible. From the surface layer, things appear coincidental. Axially, they are both coincidental and fatal. A man may be superstitious or otherwise pious, and yet do well at life. The monk is just as holy, if not more so, for the lack of a real external God, than if there were such a being.

            The ego is a skin. The body is the circumference of its influence. The full being of a man is the outer edge of the universe. I am a thin thread through her, and yet I stretch to the full extent she does. She contains me, as I don’t contain her, yet I am my own universe as well.

            Our possessions are, another layer, which must circulate and exercise like the blood and muscles. The inner layer of assumed concepts is my heavenly possession, in which nothing feels pained, but only joyed with certainty. Sophia Lux is heaven: language is bliss. Language is the true holy spirit, sentience and wise, broke into many forms, unified beneath them. I am in all I possess, in all my things and ideas, my spirit animates all of them. The language I breathed in during my infancy I keep for all eternity.

            Slip into the myth of it: The innermost of a man is the divine name of his personal needs. But that is not his name in the world. The name that stands for me, that let’s others summon my image and history with a mere breath, that is what survives me on this earth after I die, by which my spirit may be summoned. Or to escape the metaphysical language, my name is my social self, the speakable layer of my being.

            In the same way, an essay is held into place by its title. If only we were in the habit of naming vacations or weeks or favorite places, the way magical items are named in the Eddas, such as Odin’s spear of penetration, Gungnir. The title of a work is the highest surface, perhaps even higher than the author’s name. Below the surface are the layers of meaning, seen only by unfolding the thickness of the surface. The surface is everything.

            The present is everything. The past fully exists in the stuff of the present – in living records and physical traces. The future only exists in the womb of the present, the past in her stomach. The present is the center of existence the way you yourself are the center of the universe. We by no means experience a “pure present,” which would be of no use, but experience life contextually, as embedded in time, as coming after that and preceding this. We experience the present in many ways at many levels. We fantasize at every living moment, but it is beneath the skin, in a part of the brain where our ancestors lived their waking world as if in a dream. The extraordinary balances the ordinary, is the glimmer of the ordinary; the supernatural is the circumference of the natural. The supernatural therefore is the ego again, and the miraculous is that bit of nature which surprises the ego.  There is no fantastic except as ornament of the ordinary. Children have no patience for the ordinary, they prefer extremes. Christmas is about flying reindeer, not about meeting up with grandma. Adults also delight in the extraordinary, to reinforce the ordinary, as in breaking up the week by watching a cinema thriller. We prefer ordinary things.

            The layers support and challenge each other. We play many games at once, as life comes in layers. When there is a deadlock in one game, we escape to another. The solution to this problem at work may come from a poem. Nor do I always know when the answer has come. Perhaps I have answered a riddle but won’t know it for years. Life is layers. Translating energy between layers completes the circles. Some days in life are completely transfigured, and we realize that heaven is on earth, and that earth too is layered and rich.

            With layers, a thing may be organized, opposites may be unified, we may achieve Allism. With all religions balancing and correcting each other, as they already and always do, but now reflecting back on that interdependence, Allism is the crown of religions, the philosophy of philosophies, which does not reject anything, but threads all into all. It says ‘no’ to say ‘yes,’ it pushes down to raise up.

            The mirror is sacred to Allism, the reflection of all against all; it is the language that haloes the head of World Man. Let’s go back to Descartes. When he says “I think, therefore I am,” can we not also wonder, “Would you have equal existence if you never knew that you had existence?” The self-reflective thinking on his thinking may be his true being, but not the original thinking itself. “I think that I think that I am, therefore, I really am,” In other words, he came into existence when he thought about his thinking, but not when he thought about anything else. For there are orders of thinking. “Do I really exist?” is one order. “does the question ‘Do I exist?’ exist on own?” is another. Perhaps thinking may exist without a self, but self-reflexive thinking cannot exist without a self. Indeed, Epictetus regarded reason as “the best and most efficacious gift of the gods” because it was a faculty which could evaluate all others, and also unlike the others, it could analyze itself. And as Aristotle said, “only autonomy can be great,” for self-sufficiency is to round the circle of the self, to have no weak dependence on others. In this, reason and the self that uses the reason’s mind, make it the most laudable and beloved of man’s faculties. It is amazing that love, which is not autonomous at all, should also be praised as highly.

            With the layer model I win my game of comprehension, I am expanding by my standard, I am subsuming my experience. Other man and women would prefer each their own pet metaphor. What matters is that we each subordinate our life into truth, in accordance with a few controlling ideas. In this, not only do we understand reality, but we also comprehend it.











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