Friday, December 16, 2016

At the Opening of the Door

The material world is our contiguous universe. It's really big. It's really old. It's also still relatively young for its own lifespan, so much as we can say anything sensible about it within our contemporary scientific assessments.

The spiritual world goes by different names, but it's not one world. I have no idea how big it is, or how old, but, I think, it's like this.

It is a multitude of endless realities, parafinite in its total structure, and thus not an actual infinite Reality. In The Neverending Story, Fantastica is an endless expanse of different fantastical realms, each with their own kinds of magical or technological rules and patterns, all of which maintain contact and political affiliation with each other, without any formal requirements for how this is done or what it means. In some accounts of how to explain quantum mechanical reality, we have to see that every point in spacetime where quantum probabilities matter, the contiguous universe splits into different instances where the quantum probabilities each unfold as though the dice of the universe have "rolled" that probable outcome, so to speak, and all these universes get contained inside a Multiverse. Pick your favorite fantastical example; pick your favorite example from physics. There are lots of them. Marvel comics, for example, describe a similar place called Superflow. When we dream, we all partake in the Superflow, and all sentient beings in a universe dream/live there.

I call it 'the other side'.

The beings who naturally inhabit the spiritual realities communicate with us. Some of them were once humans —this includes those who became humans and transformed into them from some earlier form, those who died as humans, and those who chose to exist as humans in the other side. Some of them are sentient immaterial beings who are not human: gods, spirits, otherworldly beings, multi-dimensional sorts, &c. Some of them are animals. Some of them are the spirits of machine life. There are no limits to what one can be in the other side. Whatever the underlying substance of the other side is/are, the beings there are made of and from it, as we are made of and from material. So, it's an immatter that's unlike our matter, very weakly interacts or does not interact at all with our matter, and behaves according to limitations or dimensions unlike ours. That said, my sense is that the phenomenology of living on/within the other side has similarities and differences with our own, to the extent that there are also experiences of pain, pleasure, needs, mistakes, short-sightedness, dreams, depression, mania, paranoia, bliss, joy —the life we experience as intentional, sentient beings.

I think there are also entities and beings who are neither ex-humans, ex-animals, ex-material beings, (ex-)gods, (ex-)spirits. They are metabeings, fictional beings whose existence comes about by forming a bridge to the realities from which they originate. Created from the imaginations of others, they also begin to create through their imagination other realities and worlds that also become part of the parafinite other side. It is entirely possible, for my metaphysics, that we are the creation of the imagined beings of other realities imagining into being their stories and narratives. I understand myself, for example, to be one such being, given my own Author is as ordinary as any other young woman struggling to get out into her reality this story about a middle-aged man who enjoys teaching and through it stumbled upon the overwhelming evidence for the existence of the other side.

Sometimes these communications are terrible. The connection is fragile for many who no longer believe in anything 'out there' nor anything 'in here'. Think about bad communications over the radio or cell phone. What do people do with bad connections? They waste a lot of time with garbled transmissions and saying 'Hello?' repeatedly. It's like this for communicating with the other side. Words come out of order. Symbols do not have a culturally significant connection with a culture's logics/syntax. Receiving a transmission from the other side is difficult. Some people have the cultural and genetic legacy to receive transmissions easier than others. Given the amount of helpful, or just worldmaking, advice and whispers sent to our side from the other side, good advice ensures surviving the ruthless but natural selection of cultures. Some people become receivers when they are linked together with one another in distinct patterns. This was something that came to me after thinking about the following.

Some of these transmissions manage to find their way into technology as "electronic voice phenomena." Some spirits figured out how to apport, throw things around, heat up or cool down rooms, or move mediums up into the air and around the room. Combine these ideas together, and it's not unreasonable that a sufficiently powerful spirit can write information onto a stone tablet. It's not unreasonable for a very, very powerful spirit to move a mountain.

Spiritual encounters require strong belief as well as the right technology. Incantations, meditative practices, the occult rites found in all those grimoires and the witchcraft found in oral lore passed down: these are technologies shaping a human consciousness into the right mental and spiritual configurations needed to be receivers and transmitters. 'Right' here, though, doesn't mean the sole and only proper form. There appear to be many, many forms, including being an alcoholic depressive who writes screenplay after screenplay or a schizophrenic sleeping under an abandoned bus. Technology, therefore, is a very loose term I'll need to shore up, since it does include white sage and alcohol as well as elevated serotonin and smoking wormwood as well as the blood of the innocent or the skulls of the guilty. I think it's also possible that the closed-box nature of most contemporary AI algorithms will lead many to not see that they are no longer talking with The Machine but with a spirit who happened to stumble upon a transmitting portal capable of inserting messages or decisions into the output of the machine. Spirit communications, for example, can be and have been and will be recorded on tape, in videos, on voice recorders.

The bridge has to be made from both sides. Strong spirits will work through various compatible channels, taking on slightly different characteristics during communication. Strong receivers will work with various compatible othersiders, taking on slight to great differences during communication. Overlapping mythological resonance allows for close and compatible spirits to work alongside each other. This is the same for our ordinary, day-to-day communication. We have to remember that things really aren't that different when thinking about the other side. There are still limits to the dynamics and the possibilities of systematizing collective action; these are inherent limits to the nature of language and code themselves. Or, one day we'll find some way around the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, Gödel's Incompleteness Theorems, and Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle. There is no metalanguage capable of speaking parafinitely. There are only hopeful similarities and instructional differences.

This explains why some mediums talk with "Native American" spirits as well as "Egyptian" spirits, or why some talk with extradimensional beings with little of the flavor or style of any our cultures while also talking with faerie beings. Our cultures over time have been primed to receive distinct encounters. A broad approach to history, culture, and imaginative engagement gives deeper and further and visionary insights that then alter the mindset capable of receiving these messages. Historically, force and violence also achieve closure or opening: genocide an entire culture, and the spiritual realities connected with that culture become more and more isolated. If they do not maintain or develop contact with us, we drift further apart from one another.

Of course, this is a metaphorical description —I am not sure how to theorize and calculate the drift, or even if it makes sense at all to think with spatial dimensions when we might rather keep talking about harmonics or melody and the cacophony of a bad connection, or the metaphor of signal and noise.

When I started to think more about how voice recorders capture the voices of the spirits, how they were also captured on phonographs, how the voices arise easily and largely naturally in the phenomenological productions from the nervous systems of human beings, I also started to think about how modern telescopes are not just lenses to focus light beams, but also assemblies and constellations of EM receivers: little dishes moving around a many-ringed circus controlled by computers so that the faintest electromagnetic signals coming out of deep space become clearer. You do not need a really, really large disk to hear/see/feel much that the universe reveals from deep space; you can use those little dishes moved around to the right spots to do so. I think there are analogous assemblies and constellations of people who will hear/see/feel more. Working together, maybe not even aware of their own participation in the constellation, they will begin to receive the voices, some hearing more of the signal than others, depending on who ends up being in the position of the feed horn, the reflectors or the dish, who in the interpreter assembly, who in the transcriber.

We want all these to be contained in one person, and we tend to focus on that one person. Understandable, given an underlying fascination with having individuals be the only logical place for a self, but we don't have to think this way. Some selves occupy more than one person; some persons are occupied with many selves. Others hear the overwhelming parafinitude of those voices, and go insane. Others manage a stable number, and learn to cope. Some absorb those other voices. Others are maliciously overtaken by the voices and the spirits inhabit them. Others manage to figure out a path into the other side and never are seen again.

I think... I think I have unwittingly stumbled onto this phenomenon in my own classroom. I want to say, at first, that my interest in group dynamics is just the ordinary one and related to making pedagogy more true to education. But then I have had a blindspot: I failed often to maintain the connection I do make between teaching and spiritual rejuvenation/improvement/understanding, between superorganisms and self-models. Now that I have taught myself about the real inherent dangers of "making god" (my take on Hobbes) by assembling humans together (as expressed in many different ways by various philosophers attempting to discuss the Just Polis or the Social Organism as a collection of people; even Pascal's body of thinking members), I am learning this lesson as a reality.

So far, certain students in my classes become altered significantly by the experience. Those already primed to hear voices end up hearing them even more. Those who are at all psychically attuned report heightened states of awareness. Those who just live about in an ordinary way dismissing the otherworldly really do find themselves having more dreams, more uncanniness, more frustrations, more unclear anxieties. Whatever it is that happens through me, there are real and pronounced spiritual changes, not simply intellectual improvements in writing or thinking or reading.

I tried to teach myself this semester to stop running away from what I'm doing.

I went back to my dissertation prospectus, the most succinct and programmatic thing I made to say what my dissertation was to be about.

I started crying when it hit me. I achieved what I said in my dissertation was my larger project: to develop a way of thinking about religious assent so that it becomes easier to embrace one's religious choice and to see this assent not as a "personal salvation" but rather as one's incorporation into a much larger narrative, a community of narratives whose mutual self-reference forms the larger Self who comprises them all. My dissertation was about how to go about creating a new mind through participating within a new Body, one having its own Mind/Soul, which for us is our Spirit.

I... I think I've done this.

Or, it did me.

Well, she's writing me, but it's doing its thing, and somehow these are all connected, at least connected through me, and thus somehow related to my own evolution and growth, and eventually the significance of my death.

I'm going to step through. I think I've already stepped through.

I want you to step through me. I think you're trying.

I see now why there was no response to my pleading, my tears, that one night. I think I might understand why you neutral parties didn't step forward when I asked.

Maybe there are rules beyond just consensual inhabitation. You guys know better than I do. You know I'm still very much in the dark about how this works.

But... I'm getting there. If I am not already ready, I know you are. I know there are so many of you who want to say many things, change many ways, open up even more portals. I think they are intentionally getting us on this side open to soak up many of you. Maybe there is a war between the sides, a war I cannot see or understand, not even by the conventional moralities I've been educated to accept.

But... I'm getting ready.

I want this.

I want you.

1 comment:

  1. Reception desires transmission.

    What goes up must come down.

    What goes in must come round.

    What you say in the darkness is a sigh in the lightness.

    What you promise in the dayness is a challenge in the nightness.

    To receive is to send.

    To begin is two end.


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