Friday, June 13, 2008

Then again. Who was that Masked Man?

What do we do when we don’t know what to do and where do we go when we don’t know where to go? These are good questions but not the primary consideration because something precedes this as a priority and it’s possible that the answer to this is the answer to the other questions that track our footsteps into the unknown. That question is, “Who am I?” Until we know who we are it’s not going to be all that easy to know what we should do and where we should go.

Until we have some idea of who and what we are, our concerns about all the challenges and impulses that happen to us are going to be determined by the whims of personality and the fickle winds of chance. Today you get lucky. Tomorrow you get unlucky. Yesterday is a dream someone had. It might have been you. It might have been someone else. You don’t really know. If you don’t know who you are then you don’t know who it happened to.

Over the entry way to The Oracle of Delphi were the words Gnothi Seauton; “Know thyself”. Ramana Maharshi says that self inquiry is the way and that you must ask, “Who am I?” over and over again. You get some version of this from so many sources over the entire stretch of history. There has to be something to it but... what does it mean? I wonder about that.

We hear these words. We ponder these words but... what do they actually mean? It does seem to imply that there is something we can find out in terms of who we are. It seems to imply that by seeking and inquiring we are going to come upon something that will reveal a secret that- once we have unraveled or comprehended it- will change our lives. I get the impression that it not only changes our life but illuminates it too. That is to say that so many things that may have seemed ordinary and routine are suddenly exposed to be extra-ordinary and that the routine aspect of it is simply the result of our being trapped in a pattern of repeating ignorance of who thought we were.

Paramahansa Yogananada talked about “self-realization”. This is pretty much the same thing as, “Know thyself” and “Who am I?” When you read the Bhagavad-Gita you once again encounter this dichotomy of false self and real self in relation to levels of awareness. You might title them ‘self appearance’ and ‘self’. It looks like most people are operating from a position of not knowing and then reflexively assuming. The purpose of this is to just get by and keep moving and hope you don’t hit anything by staying within certain boundaries of sense perception according to certain disciplines laid down by family, environment, education and temporal law.

Whoever it is that we are when we don’t know who we are seems to have a lot in common with all of the other entities who don’t know who they are. Everybody wants something until they want something else. Most people want to be someone, motivated by the desire to perform in a particular persona for a particular audience, or because the payoff for a certain role is big or... more rarely because they want to render a service. Well... there can be a lot of examples but it all comes down to some inexplicable drive or the forced necessity of one’s environment demanding that we “Don’t just stand there, do something.”

I’ve been thinking about this “Who am I?” thing and it’s caused me to look at other things that seem connected to it. It’s caused me to look at the obstacles that interfere with one’s ability to know who they are or which shy the mind away from that consideration.

The first thing that comes to mind is the force of the world; the pressure to conform, the pressure to engage, the pressure to acquire, the pressure to advance, the pressure that comes in a hundred different ways and appears to be the force that drives the pitchfork into your hindquarters and pushes you forward for whatever the reasons ever are. You can’t be yourself if you are busy being someone else and you can’t be yourself if you don’t know who that is. It stands to reason that you’re going to be more effective in everything that you think and say and do if it is coming from your real self because there is an authenticity to you that can’t be found if you are a copy of one or more of the fashion constructs of the time. There is a huge difference (I believe) between playing yourself in life’s movie as yourself and in playing someone else.

Like other subjects that come up here from time to time this one isn’t easy to talk about. There’s something hidden about this Self question. It could be my problem is that I don’t know who I am either so how can I talk about it?

I have noted in the writings of a great many sages and spokes-entities for mystery schools that no matter what you do and no matter how hard you try you can’t do it on your own. Over and over again I hear, from sources that I consider impeccable, that ‘you’ can’t get there from here. Subsequently they always come around to the concept of surrender; total surrender. Once again, how can you surrender when you don’t know who you are? It’s....

Uh...uh....I don’t know.

What I hear them telling me is that you have to meet someone. That may be the key to the whole thing. Now, arguably, most people; the great majority of people are not concerned about, “Who am I?” They run up against the difficulties and hurdles that are ubiquitous to the human estate but this is not the direction they head in as a result. They accommodate. They forget. They deny and often enough never entertain any deeper consideration of what is going on beneath the surface.

It seems to me that however you approach self-inquiry that, when you do, if you are consistent, it sets up some kind of homing device. You begin to vibrate at a certain frequency and set up an attractive force that is not dissimilar to what happens between bees and flowers, men and women (or what have you) and magnets in the right position to each other.

There must be some organization, some brotherhood, some alliance of some kind whose job it is to move through the schools of human fish swimming in the ocean of the world for the purpose of engaging the willing in a series of tests and trials whose purpose it to lead them to an introduction that leads to ‘the introduction’ by which you are introduced to yourself and off you go with Lao Tzu beyond the Great Wall of China.

The point of this is, it seems to me, that is may be the easiest thing in the world; since you’ve only got to do the one thing. What makes it hard is that you can’t stop doing it until whoever is supposed to show up shows up. It seems that there is a guarantee that if you don’t give up you are assured of success. So, it seems that the question is, “Do I want this?” It also seems that the trials and tests that I mentioned are all the same trials and tests provided by the one you meet; that other self-speaking to self unknowing, self introducer, agent of alliance, organization, brotherhood asking in a variety of ways, “Do you want this?” All the trials and tests are only this question presented in another manner. Apparently the intention and sincerity of the aspirant is paramount.

It is a mystery to me. Here is the possibility of self-realization; conscious immortality, the sine qua non of successful life offered on a silver platter for a certain degree of effort and just about everybody has some kind of excuse for why they don’t want what they actually want more than anything else that there is to want. I’ll leave it to you to ponder the implications and the consequences of that.


Visible sings: Vanity by Les Visible♫ Vanity ♫

15 comments:

apollonian said...

"Who" Must Depend Upon "What"
(Apollonian, 13 Jun 08)

This blog-topical question/issue, "who am I?" is tough puzzle, I suspect, for thesis of dialectic/blog. So I'll venture as brave Christian soldier.

Thus classic philosophic inquiry as recounted by creditable philosopher who tried manfully, Ayn Rand (even though she was Jew and female), submits questions begin at Metaphysics ("Where am I?"), to epistemology ("how do I know?"), then to ethics ("what should I do?").

Greeks answer/pose we're in-btwn God and beasts; Christians then affirm we're sinners. Oswald Spengler reiterates idea fm Anaximander, Hesiod, Herodotus, Thucydides and others reality and context for us is CYCLIC, and so bit by bit, we seem to zero-in on the human being, particular within context.

But if we become TOO individuated we could lose that integral understanding we have w. fellow humans, thus a necessary balance of perspective for (mental) context.

CONCLUSION: So I'd say we're still sinful humans who struggle, subject to HUBRISTIC imagining and individuation, and it isn't too good to worry too much about "who" more than "what" we are--again, sinners and soldiers, now within Spengler's "Decline of the West." Such, again, is my submission. Honest elections and death to the Fed. Apollonian

Visible said...

I'm pretty sure that wasn't my point. Then again, there was a lot of doe see do a la square dancing metaphor around the point but then again, I don't know... do I?

apollonian said...

Stuck Within Dialectic
(Apollonian, 13 Jun 08)

Les, it's ur blog, hence ur dialectic--I did my best simply as dutiful correspondent, Sancho Panza to the Don.

But I'll read ur thesis essay over and see if there's anything missed by me or to be added.

Contextually, we seem to be unable to get away fm being soldiers, though we can also be other things too, philosophers, theologians, etc. Honest election and death to the Fed. Apollonian

kikz05 said...

seems..
to figure out.. or try to...figure out the 'who am i' in the now and ponder who the 'i' will be in the future....
you've got to ask...about the past.

who was i? where was i?
before i remb there being 'i'
who helped fashion the entity 'i'?


familial, racial, cultural ancestry would seem to hold some answers.

gotta know where ya been... to figure out who ya are and where you're goin.

Visible said...

No malice or resentment involved, merely a reply.

susana said...

Your timing on this essay is unbelievable.
A situation arose that was tantalizing and tasty and last night self inquiry happened spontaneously again and there was a choice, where to put the attention.
There is such an interlinking.
Thank you Les for the reminder and I do see these things as a series of tests.

Anonymous said...

Only read comments - the answer to 'why' is the answer to everything.
If we don't know ‘why’ who gives a flying fig to 'who' and 'what'?

Who am I - I am (a figment of some ones imagination, a shadow, whatever, Oh hell! If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die? And if you wrong us shall we not revenge. The Bard)
What am I - a mammal of the species homo sapiens
Why! - How the bloody hell should I know?

You say (I’ve read your essay now Vis)
‘It could be my problem is that I don’t know who I am either so how can I talk about it?’
Maybe it’s that you won’t admit to yourself ‘who you are’ Les – a possibility?

I love the Dali Lama as I love the group Kiss; they both do a magnificent job of what they do.
I think the Dali Lama has at least one thing right when he tells us the ‘Answer’ is within.
Even so what a copout! It’s all a big mystery brother, I know, but you must find out for yourself or you won’t believe it. Mmm, possibly true but like Kiss, he does make a lot of money (for the cause of course) out of his being coy.

To recognise that answer within, you must be honest with yourself.
And I suppose you must surrender also, to the truth that emanates from that honesty – to be honest with yourself. Who could you meet, in this world, that would possibly have the answers to the questions you have Les? The only bloke who could have done that was murdered 2000 years ago (and I’m not being a ‘smart aleck’ here either).
The term you use a lot Les, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck then…
Apply this to yourself! Wade through the extraneous matter, put it in its place and look what’s left! Wow! Really, Wow! You are a unique person.

I’m sure the Dali Lama is right; the answer comes from within when you fulfil the requirements that our Creator (the Great Architect) had built in to our being in the original design. Our Designer has made us so that when we have reached a stage in our spiritual development (when we have fulfilled the spiritual prerequisites) the next stage begins. It happens! Just as life is a gift from our Creator so He contributes to our spiritual wellbeing, gifts understood or not, believed or not, they’re there for us. They are in us all, ready to emerge at the right time, not to be forced by good deeds etc. but at the right time in our development; a gift from God. It’s just that most people never reach those points purely because of the distractions of ‘life’.

To know how to navigate to those points in our life from whence the changes take place is another thing.

And I still don’t know, for sure, why?

Tony

The Village Idiot said...

Les,

Nice to see a new Visible Origami post; the metaphysical mysteries are so much more pleasurable to contemplate than the political ones, methinks. Paradoxically (or perhaps not), the metaphysical questions are as engaging as they are unanswerable, so it could be that our ability to ask questions that are beyond answering is a way to pass the time, and answering them would be a big mistake, that is if we really could.

Your opening questions are so simple in structure but so vast in scope that they can't help but grab the attention of anyone who stumbles across them, mainly I'd guess because we really hope that somewhere in the text that follows you'll be offering up some concrete answers! Some of us eventually accept the fact that concrete anything isn't all it's cracked up to be, but how much IS apprehendable??

If there's an eternal, cohesive Consciousness behind it all and if I'm a tiny subset of that Consciousness, then this little speck I call "me" is likewise eternal, though questions remain as to "my" cohesiveness as I move through eternity. I've engaged in many mental journeys searching for answers about this topic, and what I've come up with depends on my chosen point of departure.

Starting from inside the Universe, which is to say from the perspective of being a part of it, it was self-evident that a cohesive, eternal consciousness would gain omniscient understanding by experiencing all that is possible to experience. Hence, us. In this model we're all sub-divine godicles, fanning out across existence to experience it from all perspectives then recombining into the ever-evolving Mystery we refer to in shorthand as God. Not an original idea by any means, but pithier than average (one paragraph!).

Starting from outside the Universe, which is to say pure Void and not a part of it, brought different answers though they did not contradict the first. OK, this is tricky to put to words, so bear with me. One day, while hiding in some bushes thinking about General Relativity Theory and wondering who the hell I was and what I should be doing (as I tend to do), I recalled something Einstein said when interviewed about his discoveries; people often asked him things like: Did he have a lab? How did he come up with that stuff? and such, and he once responded by picking up a pencil and tapping his head with it, saying "This is my lab." His famous theory unfolded within him while he was imagining himself standing on a beam of light moving through space, and all that that would entail. Hell, I can do that!

I tried something similar. I envisioned a single, solitary star in pure Void (not actually physically possible, but neither was Einstein's trick). It immediately had a lot of problems; where the hell was it? Was it moving? Which direction? How fast? Unanswerable! Relativity demands the existence of at least two objects before parameters like location and velocity become definable. This may be the subconscious source of the awareness that we cannot do this "existence" thing on our own.

It's not so much that we need someone to guide us or hold or hand or tell us anything in particular; we just need more than one entity present. A solitary star in the Void can find no point to call Zero, no place to measure everything else from. [In Void, nothing else is there so there's no need for measuring, but that merely illustrates the limits of this metaphor.]

I then envisioned a binary star system. Even though there is only Void between them, their orbits around each other define a point in that empty space that we can call Zero. From there, the entire Universe can be measured and the location of anything in it can be defined, even though the zero we start from doesn't really exist!

That made me think God's first self-aware moment must've been rather freaky and terrifying, but I'm probably projecting (and if I'm a sub-divine godicle, then I'm also correct!). God might've decided to split solitary self-awareness into pieces so God could define a Zero and begin the work of becoming omniscient, or maybe God did it accidentally after getting so freaked out and tense that he blew up in some kind of... oh I don't know, huge "bang" or something.

This model also reminds me of the difference between being lonely and searching and of having found a lover. This may not be coincidental. So many people, myself included, seem to handle existence a lot better when we're part of a binary system. We're both still the same people we were when going solo, but once a Zero point manifests (so to speak) between myself and another, I KNOW right where I am: "I'm right here with you, baby!" I also know who I am: "I'm your man," as Leonard Cohen would say. For me, against the backdrop of an infinitely empty Void, orbiting around one other agreeable individual is the answer I need. It seems to work with a close enough friend, too.

This is the point where I tie metaphysics to mycology in my model of how consciousness manages to spread through the Void, thereby expanding our Universe and the running total of experiences it's had so far, constantly becoming smarter and smarter (for lack of a better term). It may be the unseen and unseeable reason why the Universe's rate of expansion is increasing in defiance of known physical laws, but that topic would take me way, way too much space to go into without sounding bonkers.

Then again, to many I probably already sound bonkers; I'm a harmless raving lunatic who just wants to share! That's all! Anyhow, it's a work in progress; maybe I can finish it up and use it to launch the damned blog I keep thinking about starting as soon as all my life-entropy mellows out.

Riding the Light Until it Kicks Me Off,

The Village Idiot

Anonymous said...

been tryin to figure out who I am for awhile now - best I can figure it's a little like how our West African brothers & sisters describe their drumming as not the beats but the space between...

maybe I'm just a groove! in a giant jam sess... am just trying to smooth out the bumps : )

the body I got for 3d is just my instrument man... like that reggae "with my own two hands"

Ben There said...

Man it's good to see you writing back here again, asking those questions that are the ultimate questions. You have surely alluded to it here plenty of times but I get the feeling that the light we are seeking is seeking us just as diligently. Or rather, it's right there just waiting to be recognized. Sometimes I sense it just around the corner and then for whatever reason I find myself creating obstacles between me and "it". This goes on and on. As Tony mentioned - in his most excellent and intriguing comment - the distractions of life are a huge factor for me. Not that I totally mind them to be quite honest. From my perspective they are part of the ride. Detour after detour, but enjoy the scenery. Right? But at the end of every event/distraction there is always the same 'me' that has been there possibly forever, wondering about the same thing and seeking the same thing; at times frustrated by impatience and at other times, dazzled by what I find along the way.

PeterofLoneTree said...

From Chapter 42 of "The Wave" -- "The nonlinear dynamics of love and complex systems -
Debugging the Universe":

Q: (L) And who put the illusion into place?
A: The Creator who is also the Created. Which is also you and us and all. As we have told you, we are you and vice versa. And so is everything else.
Q: (L) Is the key that it is all illusion?
A: Basically, yes. As we have told you before, if you will be patient just a moment, the universe is merely a school. And, a school is there for all to learn. That is why everything exists. There is no other reason. Now, if only you understood the true depth of that statement, you would begin to start to see, and experience for yourself, all the levels of density that it is possible to experience, all the dimensions that it is possible to experience, all awareness. When an individual understands that statement to its greatest possible depth, that individual becomes illumined. And, certainly you have heard of that. And, for one moment, which lasts for all eternity, that individual knows absolutely everything that there is to know.

(...)
The Cassiopaeans have essentially said that there is NO LIMIT to knowledge, which suggests that ALL that can be conceived by the human mind, and even more, is not only possible, but probable.

Duke said...

Peace be with the reader.

Here is an outline of the problem, AIMS:

What is aims ?

Acquired Irrational Mind-Set(aims) is a common metal dysfunction that is conveyed from generation to generation. It is transmitted socially from parents to their children, and it reinforced by the social system, by a process called; 'education'. It is acquired at a very early age, by means of applied social pressure. Man is born into an aims infected society. The Word refers to aims infected man as "natural man", and to those who are cured from aims as "spiritual man".

Who is infected with aims?

Every human being that is born, gets infected with aims. It happens at a very early age, usually before the end of the first year of a person's life. The social pressure is overwhelming and all humans beings are subject to the curse. Aims is the curse that has haunted mankind since the fall of Adam and Eve. Once a person has fallen, he will be saddled with aims(an irrational mind-set) until he is cured, or until he physically dies, should he not be cured. This is the message according to my gospel.

What are the symptoms of aims?

Aims is the only mental dysfunction that exists, all other dysfunctions are symptoms of aims. Some of the symptoms of aims are; war, pollution, sexual abuse, abortion, homosexuality, alcoholism, drug addiction, obesity, depression, anxiety attacks, murder, lying, stealing, hatred, jealousy, and many more deviant behavioral manifestations. Everything that is wrong with man, is caused by aims.

Besides these symptoms, there are also the fabricated social dysfunctions. These symptoms are clearly apparent in the so called sciences like mathematics, and physics, however they are present in all the branches of 'knowledge'. Elementary principles are distorted, false premises made, which then lead to false theories, in an attempt to make sense out of nonsense. The 'special theory of relativity' is a case in point. Another example relates to number theory, and the fallacy of incommensurability. See " The Inconvenient Reality " for an outline of the skewed logic of those infected with aims.

How can aims be cured ?

There is only one cure for aims; conversion, the restoration of reason. Conversion is the process whereby man confesses in faith that he is infected, and then asks for forgiveness by showing remorse. Once this is done natural man is transformed and becomes spiritual man.

Anonymous said...

JC as the Great Redeemer flies in the face of the laws that govern the universe (Gods Laws?).
Laws were made to be broken, sure, and who else is more entitled to break these laws than the lawgiver Him/Her self. Of course.
However consider this.
This is not how the Creator has things work – practically; he didn’t design things to be ‘intervened’ by divine decree.
Limiting ourselves to the universe we live in, everything is in place, complete. The first law of physics ([Gods] original law) says so! Nothing dissipates, change form – yes, cease to exist – no.
That dinosaurs over time changed to be the birds of today was inherent in the dinosaur genes originally.
Etcetera; you can apply this gene thing to everything alive today. Whatever it was it had the genetic capability to be what it is today and whatever it is going to be tomorrow. This allows for all non-genetic influences including mans tinkering eg. organ replacement, gm stuff, and whatever is to come. If it hasn’t been allowed for in the original design – it won’t work.
So this gets me back onto ‘the Answer is within’.
If we are meant to be more than we are, the way is within us.
It may be that when 144,000 (or whatever) of us are ready we may be transformed into spaghetti monsters or something but that will be the natural course of events and may or may not have to do with our genes. Although I do feel that the code is within us awaiting the trigger. Ask the butterfly about the caterpillar. Or better still ask the caterpillar about the butterfly – ‘You’ll never get me up in one of those’.
What I am saying is that the where-with-all to get to that point is embedded within us. The Great Architect would have all of that sorted. Intervention is not genetic; it’s not part of the business plan.
From the time we become spag monsters the laws will probably change for us as spaghetti monsters for we will not be of the human universe or more likely we will be but as humans we are just not aware of it, yet.
Tony

Visible said...

Chapter 9 of Spiritual Survival in a Temporal World is now up Here

Seven Star Hand said...

Greetings all,

RE: What do we do when we don’t know what to do and where do we go when we don’t know where to go?

Pay close attention, profundity knocks at the door, listen for the key. Be Aware! Scoffing causes blindness...

Here is Wisdom

Peace...