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"Imagination is more important than knowledge" - A Einstein
SLIDE SHOW Below - Click 'Play'
Read Heal Grow Burst-Forth
READ. When we read, we do a great deal of filling up and filling in what we perceive is missing in the 'scene' before us. "News report: 'Yesterday, three men and a woman held up a bank in Carson City, Nevada.'" We cannot not try to 'see' the robbers. We cannot shut out our imaginative powers from our reading ...We even try to imagine what the bank looked like ...and where is Carson City, Nevada?
In my books I claim our imagination is our only innate power. All other power/powers are external. "I imagine, therefore I am." Most people who have ever lived on earth think the thoughts of others. "Reason has but one purpose," said Hume, "to serve the passions ...it can hold no other office."
About 700 years ago, the poet Rumi wrote a single line that contains three truths that influence everything we think about and do in our entire lives. "Today, like every other day, we get up empty, afraid, and alone." I first read that line about 30 years ago (I'm now 83) and never really got the meaning of the 'empty' part until many years later.
We get up empty. It's our long and short term memory that 'fills' us up each morning. Without memory, we would revert to non-being. We wouldn't recognize anyone, including ourselves. We would have no recall of anything that ever happened to us (Memento).
What makes this insight profound, is that we never put ourselves back together in exactly the same way each day. As we recompose ourselves, we make changes, perhaps slight, but also maybe not so slight, in our personas, our history, our aspirations.. We wake up afraid because of the 10,000 fears (a number I use to generalize the sheer quantity of fears we carry from infancy to our death) housed in our brain. Each of us is flumoxed by the fear of death. And finally, we wake up alone.
Maurice Nicoll in Living Time writes that humans are essentially invisible to one another, and mostly invisible to themselves. That the distance to the closest person we know is vast. "We can all see another person's body directly. We see the lips moving, the eyes opening and shutting, the lines of the mouth and face changing, and the body expressing itself as a whole in action. The person himself is invisible ...He does not see himself in action, and if he looks in a mirror he changes psychologically and beings to invent himself. "Now, all our thoughts, emotions, feelings, imaginations, reveries, dreams, fantasies, are invisible. All that belongs to our scheming, planning, secrets, ambitions, all our hopes, fears, doubts, perplexities, appetites, sensations, our likes, dislikes, aversions, attractions, loves and hates - all are themselves invisible. They constitute 'oneself.'"
In effect, we are alone inside ourselves for life. And when we try to reveal something of invisible, we alter it according to custom, habit, and 10,000 cultural and our own peculiar idiosyncratic influences. Every child is born without meaning or purpose. We become aware of our emptiness shortly after becoming self-conscious (usually between 5-7 years of age). The culture at large fills us with all of its peculiar elements and characteristics, and we will struggle our whole lives to alter much of it. We read to find out what is hidden within us. And we read to learn about what interests us and doesn't interest us. And we read to get ideas - wondering what is possible for us to achieve in the world. And and we read for sheer amusement.
HEAL. We are all damaged by mere existence in a mostly indifferent world. We are not consciously aware of the extent of the damage. In millions of people the damage is extensive and much of it irreparable. But I claim everyone can heal some of the damage by reading literature intended to help them do just that ...For one must make the effort to heal before one can grow.
'Healing' fakers crowd the entire landscape of history. I claim we alone must produce 'the healing effect' or there won't be any. If reading can help us heal some of the damage mere existence causes, then being highly selective about what one reads is critical. Our time to heal and then grow is limited, regardless of our age. Every so-called 'civilized society' has its physicians, psychologists, psychiatrists, soothsayers, clergy, etc. The tribes had/have their shamans. The physician does no healing. He/she prescribes a medicine that can only assist the natural healing - which is achieved by the body and brain of the ill individual. No psychiatrist or psychologist can help 'heal' a brain disorder (read RD Laing). Nor can the shaman perform his/her ritual practices rid the tribesman of his/her brain disorders.
The clergy can at best comfort and promise 'better days ahead.' Only by the individual directly facing his/her fear/s that produce the brain disorders can one hope to have the slightest effect at healing them, and then begin to grow. Each of us has many brain disorders. None of this is easy. Again, humans are essentially invisible, even to themselves. We function in fuzz and everything we engage in is murky. We struggle for every iota of clarity. Not a government or institution or corporation can help us heal from the woes of existence.
They're all indifferent to our plight (in spite of claiming they 'love' us). In most cases, we're known as a number, and in many cases, our individual existence is not known but by a few - "Hi dad/mom" - who themselves are in the exact same struggle. Fears produce must of man's deep dense insecurities. When scaled to a nearby mountain, a nit-size human simply disappears.
Humans are parasites existing off a host: the earth. Humans are fragile creatures easily attacked by everything from viruses to lions to cyber scams. Because of his innumerable fears, his deep dense insecurities, man builds his societies vertically. In this way he can ascend up to the top and declare his existence a 'success.' An illusory technique that has worked forever. That he must step on the one below to ascend is not troubling to him/her.
That his schools have him competing with his fellow as opposed to cooperating with him is also not troubling. Yet the human condition of 2018 finds the earth overpopulated, with massive unemployment, as industry automates, robotizes, dehumanizes in an effort to maximize production and profits. Humans find themselves becoming more and more irrelevant with each passing year.
Healing from this deluge of difficulties is not easy. Reading literature that forces us into 'self-assessment,' that makes us probe into the 'sore' and 'aching' areas of our being, is a first step.