Both/And

SI ExifBlack Opal.  You see different colors when you look at it from different angles.

A reader asks, “For the Both/And, are you saying nothing is absolute?!”

It wasn’t even Stephen Levine, though it wouldn’t surprise me a bit if it’s part of his wisdom and I just never picked up on it in so many words.  But like many other things, Susun Weed was the one first taught me about Both/And, in her fabulous book Healing Wise (Wise Woman Healer).  That must have been thirty years or so ago, and I’m still working on it – the dualistic mind wants so to Judge and Reject.

Consider these things.

We have no evidence that this is the only place with Intelligent life (ignoring for the moment the rhetorical question of whether there is Intelligent life here).  We have no evidence that other Intelligent life elsewhere would be anything similar to our notion of Intelligent life.  Some of the most Intelligent people I know talk to Plants and listen to Rocks, even though it’d probably take you about seven seconds to find someone who doesn’t believe that Rocks have Consciousness.

Every culture, nation, tribe, religion, cult, and tradition has their own unique Creation Myth – Joseph Campbell’s Masks of God series – not forgetting Volume 4 – is the authoritative source on that.  Who are we to say whether Yahweh and Raven are mirrors for one another, or different critters altogether.  The point is, they both (all) have something to teach us.  Sure, choosing one for lifelong study will teach you a lot, but then, so will comparing several for their nuances and commonalities.

Hereabouts intellect usually works by building a scaffold of logic on top of a foundation of Assumptions.  When we talk to anyone, do they hand us a list of their Assumptions before they start talking?  Can we have a real interaction if they don’t?  Do we know what our own Assumptions are, or do we just assume that they must be Truth?

Where do we place Insight, Intuition, and Instinct, relative to Intellect?  Foresight?  Picking up on someone else’s Emotions?  Knowing who’s calling before the phone rings?  Do these things complement one another, or compete with each other in our Emotional-Intellectual constitution?

Do we believe Reality is Knowable?  I know folks who say they “only believe what they can see” – yet most of them use computers and telephones that run on invisible electricity and magnetism and things like radio waves.  I suppose they’d say when confronted that they can see the results of those things even if they can’t see them.  So how do they know it’s radio waves and not Magic?  Only because someone told them so.  If someone told us so and we believed them, it’s just a Trance.

Here’s a snapshot of part of the “electromagnetic spectrum”…

electromagnetic-spectrumThat’s a logarithmic scale; the visible spectrum is actually a tiny portion of the scale.  Some scientists believe we’ll eventually discover that gravity is part of the same spectrum, we just haven’t figured out how to measure it yet.  I don’t know of any theoretical smallest or largest possible wavelengths or frequencies.  The point is that we can see only the tiniest amount of the Energy that’s running around in the Universe.

Sound waves are near the wavelength of microwave and TV, but they’re pressure waves in the air.  Our ears don’t detect microwave and TV without a mechanical receiver.  Smells and taste are carried by molecules.  Our tactile sense depends on the width of a nerve ending or the like.  Our five “standard” senses cover a lot more than the visible spectrum, in other words, but even adding those we “see” only a tiny fraction of what is.

So to say “Based on what I know, it seems like…” makes sense.  But to say, “The Law of Thermodynamics requires that…” or “Buddha said…” or “The Prime Directive does not allow…” and believe that we’re speaking Universal Truth, that’s a bit of a stretch.  Not that there isn’t enormous utility in the Law of Thermodynamics and Buddha’s teachings and the Prime Directive, on this plane.

Modern science is discovering a great deal about what makes the Universe tick.  But it doesn’t even ask the question, “Uh, what’s beyond the edge, there?”  Or, “Umm, what about before the Big Bang?  What was going on then?”  Seems to me that science today is about where folks were just before Columbus didn’t sail off the edge of the known World.

When we study the philosophy of science we discover that two factors are used to select one theory over another – you choose the one that’s the most Useful, and if two theories are equally Useful then you pick the one that’s Simplest.  There is no illusion that Truth is being sought.  Utility and Parsimony.  Just because we do Both/And doesn’t mean we can’t prefer a screwdriver over a hammer in most circumstances.  We just keep a hammer in our back pocket for the few times when a screwdriver doesn’t work as well.

A Fundamentalist is someone who takes their metaphors literally.  Unfortunately, many scientists are Fundamentalist about their science.  Personally, I’ve seen enough Limiting Beliefs and mind-blowing things to know that the Bottom Line is ineffable, unknowable.  To the mind.

We could go on and on; the point is that lots of very intelligent people can and do disagree about many things, and sure, we love to choose sides, it’s what humans do.  It seems like we’re a lot better off collecting a lot of different Perspectives, and, moment to moment, choosing among them according to what furthers our goals.  Yes, it can be confusing, but remember, Confusion is the first stage of Growth.

Let’s look at it another way.  If we study a lot of different schools of thought, or study the folks who have studied a lot of different schools of thought, we discover what some call the “Perennial Wisdom” – the ideas that most folks who try to find the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything eventually come down to.  We can list a few of the core ideas…

  • We Are All One
  • Love Is All There Is
  • All There Is Is Now

What if we started from those ideas, and built our Worldview up from that.  We wouldn’t reject Perspectives that disagreed with these notions, we’d just recognize that these notions might be pretty fundamental, considering their pedigree.  Much of the time they might not even be practical.  But they’ll provide fresh information about just about any situation.

Hmmm.  We have to rethink our Identity if We Are All One.  The notion of Us Versus Them is pretty strong – and pretty handy when it feels like we’re being attacked.  If we think about it, we can easily see that Us Versus Them is the game that boys play, while We Are All One is more of a girly thing.  So maybe we should keep both – vive la difference.  We just have to teach males to listen, so they can learn how to negotiate win-win instead of destroying everything.

Well, it certainly doesn’t feel like Love Is All There Is, does it.  I mean, you don’t know what they did to me!  Lots of people have said that.  But other than John, who had better rhythm, nobody says that better than Paul.

And then, if All There Is Is Now, that puts a big hole in Cause and Effect, because Cause and Effect depends on Linear Time.  Try to imagine Life without Cause and Effect!  That’s a hard one, thinking outside of Linear Time.  We actually do it all the time – when we regress to the third grade or that Lifetime as a Nubian Slave, or rehearse for our big meeting next week, or PIAVA anything we’d like to Create.  The more the Veil thins, the more we’ll need this Perspective.

Here are a couple of other Perspectives that will be increasingly useful as the Veil thins…

  • Consciousness is Universal
  • Energy is Real, Matter is a Trance

Loss of the Veil (the Illusion of Separation) was embedded in the 1/1/2000 chart, the birth chart for the 21st Century (Neptune Conjunct South Node), as was the revelation of Magic (Chiron Conjunct Pluto).  Magic just means somebody knows how to do things we don’t know how to do, because they operate from more Perspectives than we do.  And remember, Uranus is Stationary Squaring Pluto as we speak.  What’s the essence of the Uranus-Pluto Cycle that we’re now being Challenged (Square) to Accept on Faith (Pluto)?  Magic – “An Ouija Board.”

There is of course another kind of Truth.  The mind may be dualistic, but the Heart, like the Universe, is Unitary and Multivarious.  The Heart knows Truth, but it is our personal Truth.  The Heart know what is True for us, and it’s okay with the Heart if your Truth is different from mine.  It’s Vesta that’s completing the T-Square with Pluto and Uranus in our weekly Portal.  Vesta symbolizes that which we personally hold Sacred.  If we can train the mind to do Both/And instead of the Either/Or it’s used to, then the mind can mirror the Heart.

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