Saturday, May 15, 2010

Sleepers Awake

"Those who are awake have a common world, but each sleeping person returns to his individual world."

- Heraclitus

"And it is useless to speak, as we shall see, of men who are healthy and men who are not healthy. Apart from the fact that there is no normal standard of health, nobody has proved that man is necessarily cheerful by nature. And further, man, by the very fact of being man, of possessing consciousness, is, in comparison with the ass or crab, a diseased animal. Consciousness is a disease."

- Miguel De Unamuno

The desire to return to darkness, upon first awakening from dreams, that to me…is what life has become now. That is the strongest emotion I know. Even the worst nightmares carry a tone, the slightest hint, of possibility which this world can not afford the living. Possibility, freedom, life and death intermingling, flesh dissolving, matter transforming, images - again and again - positioning themselves in front of me, and then metamorphizing into other forms, shapes, repeating patterns, these are my dreams on the edge of waking, the last dreams of the day. How many times have I awoken to find the mandalas at the center of existence manifesting themselves in fluorescent patterns beneath my eyelids? A vision of a god, perhaps [just one deity out of many], beyond my reach, beyond the ability of words to confine or command it, but spinning - at speeds that made it seem like it was standing still and silent - at the center of all existence, all matter, all form, and throwing off ideas, patterns, energy so quickly and with such terrifying abundance that the world, which was ceaselessly changing, endlessly decaying and rebuilding itself, seemed to stand still as well. A god of sheer momentum, a velocity that changed one's conception entirely of movement and form, a series of forms that were both permanent and infinitely cycling through every single appearance in existence. This is what the world appears to be to me now, because of my dreams: an endless vertigo of repeating and falling frames of perception, like in an old silent movie, but sped up to the point where every single thing seems everlasting and yet…decays at its own rate, based on an internal rate of decomposition. Everything around me is decaying, slowly falling apart. I can not see it because I am moving through the world at the same rate of dissolution, and I decay as the world around me decays. What is my feeling of familiarity inside my environment except the instinctive knowledge that I am rotting at the same rate it is?

The path of the dark has so many drawbacks. It has so many limitations...and those like me who follow it because we have no other choice [we may wish not to, after all, but that's just hopeless in the end] feel, after not too long, that we are constantly coming up against the boundaries of its definitions. I look at the people who follow this path for reasons other than a natural inclination and I have to wonder why they put themselves through it. Why would people torture themselves if it wasn't for some profit in the end, or because it was a way towards a greater good? Vanity? Perversity? Ignorance? A refusal to look truth in the face? I have met so many other people on this same path into the dark, and the only ones I have respected were the ones who were reaching towards the light, as I always do, yet couldn't reach it. The ones with eyes looking downwards [or worse, all around them, to see who was watching] I honestly tried to avoid. It isn't difficult to attract attention when you're in a downward spiral! People love spectacles, and there are some people whose entire life is a bid to attract attention, through whatever means possible. We watch others who fall faster, not realizing we fall as well, just at a different rate. The ones who fall fastest see themselves as the fall in itself. As the years pass and their sensibilities are stretched to the breaking point, as they become ever more bored with their existence, their actions become more frantic, their eyes more desperate, the sensations of life ever more tenuous, the spectacle becomes ever more disturbing...but it's always based on what other people find disturbing, isn't it? What the "audience" finds disturbing? What the "collective we" find disorienting? How limiting! There are few things as utterly boring as the commonplace blasphemies, exaltations, struggles for transcendence, and transgressions of the "mass" of mankind - this mass is just an abstract concept, by the way, it of course does not exist. The same stale pleasure, the same stale sins, over and over again. Each generation is given this birthright of boredom. We impose boredom on ourselves...out of boredom? How long has mankind been bored with its own existence? Its own flesh? Its own urge for civilization, for peace, for war? How many people live just because they don't have the courage to kill themselves? How many people live just out of habit? How many people are just waiting to die?

It just might be this idea of the common world that is killing us, the world that we all seem to want to see. The world-in-itself, as delivered into being by the common wish of us all, and held over our own heads. An "ideality", a "higher" world, yet one that causes so much torment! Why listen to the outer world when all that really can matter to me is the inner world, the true world? The world I have built throughout my entire life? The world I was born into, born beneath and over, that I live inside everyday? That I wake up into and go to sleep inside? How can I listen to other whispering dimensions, prophets who speak of other universes, other realms inside themselves? I never will be able to reach those worlds. How many people will themselves to die because they want to reach another world, or this world-in-itself is killing them? What if one can not live in that common world, or what if we all can not live in that world? Are we imposing something from without, a collective "without" that is killing us? Why the oppression of this other world that no one can really ever truly reach? Why must we always be looking upwards instead of inwards, and so feel like we can never reach the "truth" of our existence? When I look upwards I don't see anything at all. I see everyone else looking upwards as well, and over their faces pass the signs of so many emotions, and yet beneath all of it I can't help but sense a certain desperation...maybe their eyes are blinded by gazing at the sun for too long? When their divinity reveals Himself, will they even be able to recognize Him? Maybe they know I am looking at them so they are putting on a performance. Maybe when they look at me I do exactly the same thing, without even noticing. Is there a part of me [that I can not even admit to myself unconsciously] who waits in the dark for Him? How many people pray that there isn't a God?

It's too bad, really, that the way of the dark sets, as a prerequisite, a sort of starting conclusion that those on its path can not communicate with their "peers". I'm supposing that I can look over at one of my "brothers" as he is sliding downwards with me and try to speak to him, try to learn from him. I have tried this at certain seems impossible. The sound of the fall is too loud. And in any case, one has to wonder: even if I did learn all that there was to learn in the world [and outside of it] would it "help" in any way? Exactly how am I supposed to "help" myself? I suppose I could make my stay on this earth a little less painful, but I really don't see the point. Why deny myself one more sensation if sensation is all I have, experience the only thing I can truly gather as I progress? Beneath the veil of memory even the worst pain can carry tones of regret, assurance, a sort of gray, muted pleasure. Remembrance in itself is pleasurable because it drowns the immediate for seconds at a time. Those with a true talent for memory and the way it interacts with the present can remember in the midst of current tragedies, and know that everything they are experiencing will soon be turned into a pale shadow of itself. This is the secret of those who can smile enigmatically when caught inside a whirlwind: they know that just minutes before the pain did not exist and minutes afterwards it will already have passed into memory, into the shadow world. The present itself is...what? A brief moment of light [for some, darkness for others] between the shadows and forgetfulness. Imagine a life without memory! Imagine a life without the constant desire of others to try to communicate what is ineffable and should be left as sacred...that is: dead. I can't communicate what is most meaningful to these others who are falling beside me, I can't even whisper my name to them. What does my name even mean? It points to a world they've never even seen.


The second triad in full blossom here
in this spring of eternity whose buds
no nightly frost of Aries can despoil,
warbling "Hosanna!" sempiternally,
sing winter out in threefold melody,
that sounds through triple ranks of trinity.

Dante, Paradiso, Canto XXVIII, ll. 115-120

I imagine a world where I can see the dreams of others, and in those dreams all the meaning that they experience comes home to me, internally, time and time again, the way they experience it...permeating me, filling every atom of my being so that there isn't an I or a them anymore, a self or other...but we share the same existence...and yet we somehow retain a consciousness of our individual selves. As selves that overlap at points and yet remain integral, independent entities, with the ability to bleed memories into each other. How else can I make others understand every moment, every second of my existence if every statement and memory is not transferred with an entire lifetime of experience? What is communication in this world but the forcing of individual experience into the stale standards and tasteless realities of communal experience? How can I make an experience transferable other than by killing it? There is always this strong desire, almost a biological drive, to be "understood", that is: to be taken up into the group consciousness but to still retain independent sovereignty, an independent will. A drive for a paradox that will resolve itself at some later point by a "higher" consciousness, a resolution of the self-to-group dialectic. I can see myself being called before a jury of the group consciousness [and so forced to judge myself, in part] and urging that my misanthropy, so destructive [on the surface] to the group will was only a desire for a community of higher wills, higher souls, higher lives, other worlds...and the only return is silence. "It will raise us all to a higher consciousness!" I scream. Silence. In the end, though, what does not serve the group will, the entire range and direction of a society - even misanthropy? The smallest child will have my misanthropy pointed out to it as an example, and so learn how to live [or not to live] because of my sacrifice in hating it. If a world of pain is not meant for the child, it learns to live in love because of my hate, that is: I love it by hating it.

At times, then, the earnest [and heart-achingly "deep"] desire for dreams and the world-mind [an eternity spent in contemplation of the mandala at the center of existence, with yet - if it pleases God - the ability to exist outside of time and enter into any form the mandala throws out of itself, any dream from any mind, any existence out of all possible existences, an infinite number of lives] honestly stares back at me from the mirror as a wish for death. The hunger and passion for death seems to fill my body with a lead weight that ties it to existence, to this world if only in order to transcend it through time. Even though death might be only emptiness, decay, formlessness, there is a resolution in that finality that I believe all human minds desire. We symbolize it by the term "rest" even though, for all we know as mortal consciousnesses [and we truly know nothing at all when it comes to death] the body, the flesh, may repose in dissolution while the internal/eternal consciousness stares at the mirror of existence for eternity. These are, at times, the only things worth thinking about. Especially on the edge of sleep and dreams, when the world-in-itself has not forced my eyes open, and the sounds of one world bleed into another, when dreams become life and life is taken piece by piece into the world of dreams. Surely my most satisfying emotions have come from dreaming! There are emotions that only exist in dreams. The most profound, earthshaking, deepest yearning I have ever felt for another human being took place in a dream. It haunts me in the waking world. My worst fears appear in dreams, all the little fears that hold up my personality and guide me through my life, all those old and new fears that determine who I am - fears from ten years ago, twenty years, all the way back to childhood. They step out of doors in dreams as if they were born yesterday, and my dreaming mind says "Of course, there you are, I never forgot you after all, you're never going to go away." In dreams I can experience the most terrible tragic circumstances without even flinching, without feeling an iota of sadness, without feeling a tiny black drop of emotion at all, and then there are other dreams where the universe seems to pivot around a point of neverending horror. I have dreams where I sit silent and stare at the mandala at the Center Of All and feel, deeply within myself, that this is the secret, the key to all existence, and that it is neither bad nor good, it just Is [and that is more than enough], and any value I place on it is just a remnant of an animal existence that I can't seem to leave behind. The flesh holds me to the Earth even in dreams. The sadness is of my own making. In other dreams I sit and stare at the mandala and I weep endlessly because all of existence is condemned to act in this way, and the Divinity itself is chained in servitude, forced to exist and create worlds after worlds when it hungers for the nothingness of death. Paradise becomes purgatory through a loss of self...or does it? Which is the truth? Or rather...what is the truth, the single truth among the infinite untruths? Is there even one truth? Are there an infinite number of truths and an infinite number of falsehoods? An infinite number of existences? An infinite number of ways of looking at those existences? Is the horror self-created?

Is consciousness a disease?

U. Amtey
27 July 2003
23:27 EST