Total vegetative nonsentience for all I knew could produce the same visual effect as transcendence of maya’s veil.
— Norman Spinrad in Child of Fortune
(This responds to a piece Phil Polizatto wrote. From here on down, the fancily-formatted quotations are from his “The Last Saturday in July.)
A few elderly people were sitting on the porch rocking in their chairs, taking it slow. At least that’s what one might think watching them as they swayed forward and backward, seemingly staring into space, removed from the headlines, the hammering news of the world. Maybe they’re not taking it slow. Maybe it just seems that way to us…
Your words bring to mind one of the zillion science fiction stories I read as a young teenager (and long before the advent of entheogenic drugs.) It described a farmer striding through his field, looking grim and forbidding. But his eyes were seeing a wondrous dazzling landscape like fractal animations, or that Kurosawa film where the world looks like a Van Gogh painting.
I used to have a decorative wall poster with sayings by Vernon Howard. I forget how it went exactly, but he admonished us to not be intimidated by the look on someone’s face, even if it seems to be angry and hostile. Just relate as if the person looked neutral or pleasant. There’s an expression now, RBF, which means “resting bitch face.” Some people just can’t help how their face looks in repose. Or even in action. In other words, whatever thoughts you have or deductions you make about a person’s facial expression, might bear no relation to her or his actual inner state. So the old guy on the porch…
He is having his own kind of acid trip, his own kind of suspended animation. His mind is filled with galaxies. He is experiencing both inner and outer space simultaneously.
In a story, I gave a character this line:
“I don’t care how I look to the world, as long as the world looks okay to me.”
Maybe that’s how the folks on the porch feel about it.
Time and its passing
For a reminder of time passing, women have a built-in advantage. Every 28 days or so, comes the biological signal that another month has gone by, “…and what have I accomplished besides getting a month older?”
I adore the full moon, it’s creative prime time, and now it’s the marker of time. What worries me is how quickly it comes around, reminding me each time of a piece of writing whose completion was going to be my full moon project more than a year ago, and every full moon since. The velocity with which time progresses is really appalling.
Entheogens and eternity
You were part of everything. You were everything! And everything was beautiful.
Time stopped. The Eternal Now.
Know what’s amazing? It’s astonishing how just an instant, a few seconds, of a certain kind of experience can be enough to fuel a whole lifetime’s peace of mind.
You expressed interest in my theories about the afterlife. Okay, think of the best Space Porn website you ever saw, but even better. Three-dimensional, and each vision more mind-blowing than the previous. I think, after vacating a meat body, you get to float around looking at the wonders of creation for a while. It’s a vacation. When it’s time to sign up again, maybe you have the option to be reincarnated as a mollusc, just for the experience. Or something fun, like a bonobo.
Sooner or later though, you have to come back as a human on earth, or another planet’s human-like equivalent. The point being, to have a conscience and karma and a sense of humor and other distinctive attributes that molluscs may not possess. Also, I think you get to pick the circumstances you will be born back into. Sometimes it’s like taking a class where there is no other way to get the credits. It might not be fun, but you know you gotta do it. Until graduation or promotion or Bodhisattva time or whatever.
I think something you and I both did right was to publish a book about our experiences this time around. It’s like a message in a bottle, that you cast adrift in the remote hope that a future self might stumble across it. Imagine another incarnation of you, discovering that book and being seized with the conviction that you had lived that life, and it triggers a major spiritual awakening in your life…
Pat, Have you read Life After Life by Kate Atkinson? Gets quite boggy in the middle – she could have edited out 100 pages – but still, it’s interesting. Good writing. I don’t believe you have to come back over and over until you “get it right” and I’m not convinced of reincarnation, but I sure would like to float around a bit and/or learn the answers to a few mysteries. (Kennedy, Monroe, Roswell, etc.) Also, if there is an afterlife, I would really like all the people who think I’ve wronged them to know the truth, because 99% of the time it was not like they thought at all. I don’t mean to imply I have many enemies, but I do meet so many people who misunderstand. (Simple example: a guy came in the bookstore and wanted cash for his books. I couldn’t pay cash for books that would probably never sell. He donated them in an angry huff, muttering I was ripping him off and making beaucoup bucks on his discards. I am not making a killing on selling books. In truth, the bookstore is killing ME. I haven’t made a penny in years…just keep on trying like a fool ’cause I like books.