Vikshepa Blog

Mental Distractions

04 Jul 2020


Up at sunrise again. Actually I was up twice in the night too, so my days and nights are similar periods of rest and wakefulness. I'm still reading "The Earth of the New Sun", and am enjoying Wolf's conception of a universe where space and time and creatures inhabiting these worlds are highly flexible, and tend to flow into each other. Genders, strange creatures, androids, all are in a fluid mix. I could well imagine a similar combining of time periods in our own world, where wisdom from past times augments the knowledge of the present, with intimations from the future. This is very much the universe of science fiction writers, an embracing of all that is possible, and a refusal to reject anything outright.

We are a little stuck in our conception of what constitutes reality, in our mainstream culture. reality is actually quite a free-for-all. I am maybe too tough on the people around me and myself. For example, when A. embarks on his fantasies, I tend to close off; but that is because, in his real life, he constrains himself ridgidly, and is unable to conceive of even minor adjustments to his reality. So his fantasies involve only a superabundance of what he already has; more possessions.

Freedom of imagination does not have to involve hankering after goods, experiences, but instead can involve the realignment of one's current reality, in ways that had not been previously conceived; just as small children do not relate to the rigid world and constraints fixed by grown-ups. A chair isn't just something to sit on, but is an object to be climbed over; they see many more interesting possibilities in their environment. An adult can become a wild animal or a monster; they lack the conviction that the world is a safe, reliable space and don't really know where the boundaries lie. Anything could happen.

In the world of adults, we are shocked when the stock market falls or a new pandemic changes everything we know.

In my life, I have been doing some things right; my journeys to India, my time spent alone; of course I'm still a fairly ridgid person, but not as much as many of those around me. I'm able to adapt to new realities without too many difficulties, and tend to accept the present moment. I dont' dwell much on the past. Perhaps it's just that the patterns of my life do not change much.

I should read more poetry, as poets, like science fiction writers, are capable of seeing our existing reality in alternative ways. Sri Aurobindo was amazingly skilled at this too, actually. Instead of turning up my nose at his ideas, I should actually be awed at his courage to transform reality through the power of his imagination. Why shouldn't there be a downpouring of divine energy that can transform the brain and the body, to the level of the cells? Who can say that our ordinary humdrum reality is not simply a mass illusion, constantly reinforced by the constraints we put upon it? Why not assume completely different interpretations of this reality? Religious people of all hues operate from a different set of assumptions to those that are prevalent in secular society.

I don't think the reality we witness is a mass delusion, but the interpretations we put upon it are. For example, the furniture upon which I am sitting may be seen as "elegant" by me, but ugly / outmoded / uncomfortable by others. A person with no cultural knowledge of chairs would probably see a chair in a completely different way. And if this is true of simple, solid, human-created objects, it is all the more true for more complex aspects of our reality. How would a person from a patriarchal society relate to a woman president? Or someone from a homophobic society relate to the gay rights movement? How would someone who knows only tribal villages relate to nations, courts, constitutions? Or someone from the future relate to these things? A whole lot of what we simply take for granted is normalized by our culture, and alternative understandings can be imposed upon it. In order to function properly within this reality, we have to be familiar with the conventions of seeing it. We have to learn how to relate to it, and how to behave.

Tags: thoughts
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