Monday, September 12, 2016

I didn't wait long enough for God

Dear Harry the Human Readers,

Once again, as Harry's editor and friend, I must step in and give his apologies.  He had a deep experience yesterday morning requiring a bit of down time for reflection. 

It seems that Harry has started to wonder why so many people have been "called" by God, and he hasn't.  Of course he also wonders if people who say they've been "called" are making it up, but then he's caught short by Julian Jaynes' theories in "The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind" (1976), a book that became un-famous too soon, which posits that human consciousness is only about 3,000 years old, and that it developed out of a previous, very different sort of consciousness, what we might call a religious consciousness, in which people spoke with the immediate world around them and with the universe.  Unlike today, when people who speak with the universe are considered crazy and are subject to public ridicule, such behavior, according to Jaynes, was once a normal part of human community.  Jaynes suggests that neolithic monuments stimulated voices in people's heads which were often taken as voices of gods.  Jaynes does not address the ultimate origin of the voices, though he speculates on physiological aspects, largely involving the corpus callosum, the tissue connecting the brain's right and left hemispheres.

Harry says he doesn't have a clue if Julian Jaynes' is right, but Jaynes' ideas engender a troubling doubt in Harry's agnostic soul, to the extent that he decided to make one more attempt to talk to God, to get "called" somehow.  Harry has a Christian friend in Pearblossom whom he meets sometimes to discuss philosophy, and she told him that God does not speak to him because his mind is closed.  Harry took this comment seriously and this morning set aside all self-indulgence and tried to open his mind to God.  He had purchased an old Camry and in pursuit of his goal set out for the western end of the Santa Monica Mountains, to Cold Creek Canyon in Calabasas, which he recalled from years past was a spot where someone with a bicameral (i.e. unified) mind might encounter God.  

Harry says the canyon was beautiful today, with the first cool weather in months (72 degrees!).  After hiking to a spot that looked as much like a vortex of forces as any other contender for the title, he tried out a slew of approaches, such as:

1. Asking God to speak to him now that his mind is open.

2. Asking God to speak to him to keep him from giving credence to his suspicions that:

     a. there is a God, but He is not omnipotent; He is struggling, just as His creations are struggling.

     b. the Judeo/Christian God is the God of fire worshipped through the ages by many cultures.  Harry thinks so because this God requires obedience rather than understanding, not because He wants ignorance, but because humans can't understand fire.  We think of it as war, killing and suffering, which God so often seems to want in His mysterious way.  What He really wants is his own and our dissolution into oneness, the melding together of life with itself, the orgy, the self-love of fire, as opposed to the controlled burn and separateness we call "life."

What are the ethics of this?  Is fire either good or bad?  Judging from what Harry experienced in his recent adventures with the Time Artists (see below), it doesn't seem there's any good or bad to it.  We all end in fire anyway (as defined above) shorn of our identities and memories, and possibly it's just the coolest thing ever, with everything becoming everything else followed by the biggest bang of them all.  Harry says God is good when fire is good.  Harry's argument is that we should recognize that we are devotees of a death cult and stop trying to prove that we're fixing anything.  Either that or- Harry and my preference- find gods that promote life on earth.  Is that evil?  Harry and I find that hard to argue too.

Anyway the upshot is that Harry did not encounter God in Cold Creek Canyon.  In all fairness to God, Harry, who lives in the desert anyway so should be accustomed to quiet spaces, could not tolerate the isolation, beauty and peace of the canyon for more than fifteen minutes, not an impressive amount of time maybe for such a weighty purpose, but Harry says the experience was vivid enough that he made a video and asked me to post it on YouTube, which I did (https://youtu.be/_LbvSEZa65g).

Harry also sends his apologies for missing Cheryl Lubin's radio show, "In Our Times," Tuesday, 9/13, 5:00pm.  I filled in for Harry; listen to the discussion at http://latalkradio.com/sites/default/files/audio/Cheryl-091316.mp3.

Harry is refreshed from his day of awakenings and promises to write again soon!

D. L.



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