Sun 28 Aug 2005
Sun 28 Aug 2005
I’m sure you’ve heard people refer to someone as an “old soul.” After all, those who somehow manage to maintain composure while all hell is breaking loose around them often seem to have been around the block a few times. Of course, this brings up the question of which block and what exactly entails one circumnavigation of said block. Inevitably, we consider past lives.
I know it’s a question of semantics, but I prefer to think of them as alternate or parallel lives, as I believe we are living each of them, past, present and future, simultaneously. Decisions, thoughts, beliefs and actions in one life affect all others. The interesting thing is that if you trace the connections on “upward” you get to the point where you find assemblage points of what appear to be larger organisms of which we are mere parts. Even these “oversouls” out which all of we individuated ego-constructs form are mere divisions of yet larger pools of consciousness. Continue on up the chain and you reach the inevitable point where all is one. At least as far as we are capable of perceiving.
My take on “old souls” and “new souls” is that its a question of complexity rather than age. Each of us, in our earthborn forms, is a unique combination of traits. We are endowed with gifts and laden with burdens, which are actually gifts in disguise, though it may be hard to view them as such while you’re lugging them around. A brash, “young” soul may lack the sophisication and foresight of an “older” soul but it is also free of the liablities associated with a more complex system, such as fearfulness and rigidity, and will most likely posses far fewer neuroses. Where one might look down upon the simpletons who go about satisfying their carnal whims and fanices without ever giving thought to life’s mysteries, one also, no doubt, envies them their freedom to do so.
We are individuals. That fact alone is truly remarkable. But, just the fact that there are 400 channels on your TV doesn’t make them all watchable. In fact, many of them are quite boring. Except, perhaps, to the people who can relate. One man’s boring documentary is another’s riveting saga of heroism and adventure. Such are our lives.
Now, if you are going to fracture a large entity, namely an oversoul, or Oversoul, if you prefer, into many small entities in order to experience what it is like to be god* from every possible angle, any one of these viewpoints will likely make a god feel trapped in a frightfully limited form. Some roles are going to appear, on the surface, to have decided advantages over the others and others will appear to have all the cards stacked against them. We are all living the drama that is our lives. Who can say that any one life is less valuable input toward the totality of human experience? You obviously need it all or there would be no whole. Ordinary people are capable of the most extraordinary things. Even the people you detest most for their abominable behavior are just another you and are doing their best to live as gods in their tiny, limited worlds.
Yet, what of those “old souls?” How is that they seem to have found the answers this time around? I believe the balance lies in all of the horrific lives that have been led in our “past”, are currently being led and will, I pray to a lesser extent, be led in the future. Mind you, this is only my view and there are plenty of people who believe in a single soul which incarnates over and over again in a linear fashion. I don’t think my view is really that different except that it eliminates time, which I feel is an illusory construct of the physical universe, or rather a fundamental component without which the physical universe could not exist in its present state.
I think the problem is that it is very hard to avoid linear thinking when using a human brain to think with. It’s easy to look at the “bottom” of the scale and the “top.” In fact, we enjoy doing this so much, our lives are replete with dualities. Our tendency is to line things up, create scales and then measure where we lie along the axis. The way experience time is a marvelous example of our gravititaion toward such behavior. If you remove the limitation that all events must be played out in a linear fashion, however, you can appreciate how perfectly everything fits together to form the whole. You experience the totality of your existence, not merely the little lo res video clip you are currently viewing. From that perspective, it’s hard to think in terms of evolution, because everything just simply is. All of the gaps must be filled with something, however, and there is no space unoccupied. Now, zoom in on any single point and keep zoomimg. Keep zooming. Ah! There you are!
*My god is not your God, so don’t expect him/her/it/them/us to comform to your expectations.
Sat 27 Aug 2005
After spending some significant time on a social networking site, Tribe, I began to weigh the pros and cons in terms of expansion and entropy and what a network taps from an individual as opposed to what it has to offer. I find the social network to be an egregore. Just what an “egregore” is the subject of debate. For this purpose, I use it to describe a group or collective “mind” that arises when two or more people combine their wills, thoughts and intent. This definition presupposes that we exist beyond our meat but the principal is still sound even if you are operating from a purely materialistic point of view if you think in psychological and/or sociological terms.
The benefits of the network might arise due to the innate harmony or stability of a network rather than from the mere sum of individual parts/talents/minds. Opposing or disruptive forces, such as those that arise from a lack of harmony/instability, can negate those benefits. The effectiveness of a group effort or the strength of the egregore is thus determined. Quite like we humans on an individual basis. The greater harmony one achieves with all of the various “selves” that make up the illusory construct that considers itself to be “I” the more effective one is as a human. Inharmonious people are labeled as schizophrenic and convinced to go on drugs by their loved ones. Anyway, I began to feel I was feeding the entity that was Tribe more than it was nourishing me and decided to take a break.
On a personal level, we all participate in innumerable egregores such as our family, groups of friends, clubs, workgroup, religious group, sporting teams, neighborhood, city, country, world, solar system, galaxy, universe and multiverse. Freeing oneself from the effects of these is not simple but begins with the realization that many of your ideas and much that you think of as “you” is merely the collected wisdom of these egregores played out in your mind. Finding “you” among all the programming and indoctrination is one of life’s greatest challenges.
A good example is your daily participation in the egregore of the country you live in. I have spent the greater portion of my adult life outside the US. I’ve found that as a foreigner, particularly in Asia, societal rules and expectations don’t apply as much, as they expect that you couldn’t possibly understand, and I’ve pretty much had carte blanche to do as I see fit. (Much more so in Japan than China, though, I must say. Chinese are more like Americans in thinking that if you come here you should do things their way and if you don’t know what that is, that’s your problem.) Not that I avoided petty bureaucracy and socially awkward situations, but I have felt the freedom to be ME. Of course, in my early twenties in Japan it seemed that my true purpose was to party non-stop and attempt to undo all of the indoctrination of my childhood by breaking every rule!
I recently spent about 7 years back in the states and I must say I had a harder time fitting into expected norms there, after 9 years in Japan. Frankly, I didn’t, in many ways. I found that people were always asking how come I didn’t know this TV show or that famous person. As tiresome as it can be explaining yourself again and again in a foreign country, to the tune of the same old questions, imagine having to do that in your own country!
Of course, defying expectations is one of my favorite hobbies! As is smashing stereotypes. Most people have no idea how many limits are placed on them by society. Of course, anyone kooky enough to practice reality manipulation (a.k.a. magic[k]) can certainly relate to being a star-shaped peg in a land of square holes.
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