Wednesday, October 2, 2013

When Reality is Imaginary

I explained in the last entry this transition period, following the "dark night" (i.e. passive night of spirit).

Now of course everyone is unique, so I would never consider offering my own particular experience as a template for others.

However my key point is that despite all the variations of individual experience, that universal features can indeed be identified with respect to human - indeed all - development (and its many stages).

Furthermore - and most importantly for our purposes - these possess a coherent holistic mathematical structure.

So in my own case my earliest realisation of the neglected qualitative aspect of mathematical understanding came from this attempted scientific mapping of human development.

Going back to my personal story, though this transitional period enabled me to readapt again to the world, with the consequent lifting of accumulated depression, I began to realise that this was no "normal" reality that I was now experiencing.

So the very problems of disillusionment with temporal phenomena and the consequent search for a deeper meaning began to surface once more in a very keen manner.


So briefly what had happened was this.

During the "dark night" a very significant erosion of conscious experience had indeed taken place both with respect to the concrete phenomena of everyday life and also the deeper conceptual structures underlying customary experience.

So having peeled away the conscious layers of experience so extensively, this now enabled the unconscious to project (without much resistance) into what remained of conscious life.

Initially this was perceived as of a very beneficial nature.

As I stated my own interpretation of the pathological element of repression accompanying the "dark night" is that it directly arose due to the continual (unintended) repression of "lower" primitive instincts through the ardent pursuit of a transcendent spiritual goal.

So therefore with the switch in direction in an immanent following the "dark night" crisis, the unconscious was now given a licence as it were to project these repressed desires into what remained of conscious experience.

And I the beginning, I thereby as I became slowly aware of all the natural instincts that has been suppressed I was able to take action to deal with the situations in the pursuit of necessary relationships and activities that had been placed on indefinite hold.

I remember at the time following my developing interest in physical black holes, I began to be fascinated with Stephen Hawking's views on black hole radiation, once again seeing a fascinating parallel with my emerging psychological experience.

Basically Hawking maintained that black holes in radiating could ultimately become transformed as energy. And I had already come to see (physical) gravity as representing a hidden internal source of such energy.

Hawking explained this radiation through the emission of virtual particles. Now virtual particles occur in matter/anti-matter pairs and tend to be extremely short-lived as they come into contact with each other. However Hawking postulated that it would be possible for the matter particle to be separated from the anti-matter particle thus escaping the event horizon of the black hole . So the radiation would occur from the emission of such virtual matter particles into the outside environment.

I began to look at the recovery - certainly my recovery - from the "dark night" in a complementary psychological fashion.

The word "virtual" has very close connections with the important notion of "imaginary" in holistic mathematical terms.

So the indirect expression of the unconscious takes place in an imaginary (i.e. virtual) fashion.

Now with conscious understanding opposite poles of experience (such as external and internal) are clearly separated.

However with unconscious understanding they are highly complementary (and ultimately identical).

So when the unconscious attempts to speak for itself as it were it does so in this imaginary fashion (where external and internal are closely connected).

However what typically happens is that in order to engage with conscious experience, these poles become separated. In this way the holistic (imaginary) unconscious projects itself involuntarily into experience (whereby it becomes misleadingly identified with specific conscious phenomena).


In fact this is a huge issue, which I felt had not been properly addressed by St. John of the Cross (or indeed any of the contemplative spiritual writers of my knowledge).

In other words in speaking about attachments there really are two distinct types

So we have conscious attachments both of an active (linear) and passive (circular) kind.

Now the transcendent aspect of spiritually (i.e. the "higher" ascent) is properly geared to the overcoming of such conscious attachments.

However we also have unconscious attachments again both of an active (linear) and passive (circular) kind. This arises when the unconscious in expressing its own needs freely projects (in an involuntary manner) into consciousness.

The immanent aspect of spirituality (i.e. the "lower" descent) is properly geared to the erosion of such involuntary unconscious attachment.

So properly understood there is a "top down" transcendent and "bottom-up" immanent aspect to spirituality both of which are necessary for true integration.

Thus in a more nuanced approach to contemplative development, we typically emphasise the transcendent initially (as attachments will be then readily identifiable in conscious terms).

However having cleared away to a considerable extent rigid conscious experience, the emphasis should now switch in an immanent direction so as to come to terms with involuntary attachments (emanating directly from the unconscious).

In my own case as the unconscious initially started to project more freely, this served to reduce the rigid congestion of repressed instincts that had accumulated (thus reducing the element of pathological depression).

Also by projecting its needs on to conscious phenomena, this enabled me to become more active in addressing such needs.

As I say this was all very desirable in terms of readapting successfully to the world.

However eventually the negative aspect started to break through in that it was helping to create a whole new set of attachments (of an involuntary imaginary nature).

In other words I became gradually programmed to seeking satisfaction from very fleeting phenomena (which could not satisfy my deeper desire for meaning).


However in many ways this was a very valuable learning process.

So I began to gradually interpret my new adaption to the world in holistic mathematical terms as linear activity of an imaginary nature. This was in contrast to such activity before the spiritual journey commenced which represented linear activity of a real nature.

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