Friday, April 9, 2010

Is There A Way Out? Part Seven

Before going back to Stanislav Grof and other people and things I would like to post some more of Ken Wilber's thoughts from No Boundary: Eastern and Western Approaches to Personal Growth: "So successful was the mapping of nature that, to this day, our lives are largely spent in drawing boundaries. Every decision we make, our every action, our every word is based on the construction concious or unconscious, of boundaries. I am not now referring to just a self: identity boundary-important as that certainly is-but to all boundaries in the broadest sense. To makea decision means to draw a boundary line between pleasurable and painful things and then move toward the former.

The simple fact is that we live in a world of conflict and opposites because we live in a world of boundaries. Since every boundary line is also a battle line, here is the human predicament: the firmer one's boundaries, the more entrenched are one's battles. The more I hold onto pleasure, the more I necessarily fear pain. The more I pursue goodness, the more I am obsessed with evil. The more I seek success, the more I dread failure. The harder I cling to life, the more terrifying death becomes. The more I value anything the more obsessed I become with its loss. Most of our problems, in other words, are problems of boundaries and the opposites they create.

Thus we suppose that life would be perfectly enjoyable if we could only eradicate all the negative and unwanted poles of the pairs of opposites. If we could vanquish pain, evil, death, suffering, sickness, so that life, joy, and health would abound-that, indeed, would be the good life and in fact, that is precisely many peoples' idea of Heaven. Heaven has come to mean, not a transcendence of all opposites, but the place where the positive halves of the pairs of opposites are accumulated, while Hell is the place where are massed all the negative halves: pain, suffering, torment, anxiety, sickness...

Progress, after all, is simply progress toward the positive and away from the negative. Yet despite the obvious comforts of medicine and agriculture, there is not the least bit of evidence to suggest that, after centuries of accentuating positives and trying to eliminate negatives, humanity is any happier, more content, or at peace with itself. In fact, the available evidence suggests just the contrary: today is the "age of anxiety," of "future shock," of epidemic frustration and alienation, of boredom in the midst of wealth and meaninglessness in the midst of plenty...

For in seeking to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative, we have forgotten entirely that the positive is defined only in terms of the negative...In just the same way, all of the opposites share an implicit indentity. That is, however vividly the differences between these opposites may strike us, they nevertheless remain completely inseparable and mutually interdependent, and for the simple reason that the one could not exist without the other.

The inner unity of opposites is hardly an idea confined to mystics, Eastern or Western. If we look to modern day physics, the field in which the Western intellect has made is greatest advances, what we find is another version of reality as a union of opposites. In relativity theory, for example, the old opposites of rest vs. motion have become totally indistinguishable, that is, "each is both." An object which appears at rest for one observer is, at the same time, in motion for a different observer. Likewise, the split between wave and particle vanishes unto "wavicle," and the contrast of structure vs. function evaporates. Even the age-old separation of mass from energy has fallen to Einstein's E=mc^2, and these ancient "opposites" are now viewed as merely two aspects of one reality, a reality to which Hiroshima so violently bore witness.

It is for all these reasons that Alfred North Whitehead, one of the most influential philosophers of this century, set forth his philosophy of "organism" and "vibratory existence," which suggests that all the "ultimate elements are in their essence vibratory." That is, all things and events we usually consider are irreconcilable, such as cause and effect, past and future, subject and object, are actually just 'like' the crest and trough of a single wave, a single vibration."

Thanks for all of your thoughtful and intelligent comments! I hope everyone stopping by has a wonderful weekend and week ahead!

5 comments:

Michael said...

Hi Devin, this is another cool series of yours, I'm getting caught up. I hope you are beginning to feel better? I know AZ is heating up now, which sounds nice to me because we had a frozen bird bath this morning in the backyard!

All the best, Michael

Anadæ Effro said...

hey lil' broddah, hey. Hallucinogens, or psychedelics, or entheogens, or psychotomimetics ( don'tcha jus' love THAT appellate? LOL!) transpose dream life over waking life, hence their ageless appeal. In this new blog, Mythulinity, we find a Naga, a serpent person. I wuzz visitted by just such a mythological personage on a semi-regular basis as a boy, in my dreams, that is. He frequently call'd to me & wannid me to join him in his lair far, far underground. Never did I, though. The last I saw of him? He shed his skin & I held it out to show a little brunette girl in a flower print dress who had been afraid of him to console her.

Please, Devin, do become a follower there? It's lonely bee-Ing the only two there, just Slippery Eel & me. LOL! You rock, my friend, you just plain rock ~ (•8-D

Devin said...

Michael and Anadae thanks for the great comments!!!!!!!!!
sorry I am so late posting them - I have been having low energy again - and allergy stuff to go with it - so haven't been feeling my best- I will follow of course Anadae and I will keep trying to get caught up at Gosporn- again sorry about the delay in answering your comments!!!!!!!!!!
all the best to the both of you!!!!!!

X. Dell said...

(laughs at self) I really have no comments, here. So I won't bore you with any.

Devin said...

Xdell - you are one of if not the best commenter and your comments never ever bore me so never worry about that !!!!!!!!
thanks again for stopping by!!!!