I'm not even sure how to write this, or whether I can write it, or whether I should try to write it...or supposing I can, who, exactly, I would be writing it to.
I am tired of the constraints of a general, and perhaps skeptical, audience. I want to fly free...and so today, if you are skeptical, go somewhere else. This isn't for you. I declare myself free from those contraints, at least for one entry.
Abby, my wife in the astral of almost seven years now, has been gently bringing something to my attention, as it seems, for some weeks. Normally I would present the things that brought it to mind as a sequence, by way of introduction, but I think I will spare the reader that formula. The issue is unspoken assumptions, which drag consciousness down into the accustomed world of intellect, sense and form. Reductionism--but what you might call "existential reductionism," or "experiential reductionism." It is so habitual, it has become automatic and unthinking; and hence, it has gained an artificial status as "natural and normal."
Abby is telling me, from her perspective, now, in the astral realm, it isn't. It is, rather, a modern "disease."
So, it is commonly believed that mathematics is found in nature. That is, really speaking, an erroneous, unexamined assumption, Abby tells me. It is backwards. Mathematics can be derived from nature.
What I am attempting now is not fully channeled communication; but it is assisted communication. So Abby says I can use my example. If a zen master is giving his disciple a koan, and the disciple happens to be a mathematical genius, suppose he comes back with a brilliant mathematical answer. What do you think would happen? The disciple will get yet another knot on his head--probably right next to a cluster of several such bumps! No, that's not it...and why isn't that it? Because (to risk getting a bump, myself), he used his mind. He extrapolated, intellectually from the direct Thing, Itself. He looked at the finger pointing to the moon, not directly at the moon.
If mathematics requires firing up the engine of the mind, but the Thing is there in-and-of itself before the mind is so-fired-up, what was there before the mind was fired up? That's the question. Is there, in fact, some reality before mathematics, which mathematics tries to capture in symbols? Is there, in other words, a living butterfly before the collector catches it in the net, and chloroforms it, sticks a pin in it and puts a label under it?
There is an old PBS show that airs here in South Carolina, called Nature Scene. The expert walks around and explains the why's and wherefore's of plants and animals. It's fascinating, and it makes you want to take your own walk and open your own eyes to Nature. But it is all didactic, all intellectual, all labels and categories and behaviors. It's fascinating in its own right, but it's not the real thing. The real thing is Direct Vision of the Principles, which are reflected through Nature. The thing before the mathematics.
Someone online has taken the geometry of a nautilus shell, and demonstrated that it does not, actually, reflect the mathematic principle commonly assigned to it. Not only that, each one is a little different from other shells, and within its own growth pattern. The mathematics is a derived mental construct, while Nature proceeds from the Mind of God, which is not rigid, but creative. If everything proceeds from God (Sri Ramakrishna, seeing directly, said "I see that it is God who has become all this"), and human qualities are part of that, then God is also personal and human. If there is humor here, reflected in our world, then God also has humor. If there is love here, then God also has Love. To create mental models and try to cram Nature, and humanity, into those abstract boxes, is a form of spiritual violence--and moreover, it is misleading.
Abby gently prompted me to take the following photograph on the beach a couple days ago. If you could enlarge it, you would see that it is quite sharp. Perhaps I will provide a download link for the original, if you would like to see it full size.
As I look at it, and zoom in on it, I am feeling insights from Abby that I can't express. I could try...God's order is far more rich and complex than man can ever capture in his mind. God's mind is both 100% whimsy and 100% intelligence at one and the same time. The shell is not the thing. The shell is the sign. The sign decays with time--but the Principles remain, pristine, even in the shards. Each thing, literally each grain of sand, glistens with the Principles. They cannot be reduced to models. They are self-existent.
That's just the first five or six thoughts. It goes deeper, and deeper, and deeper...
Man has an urge to simplify, to bring a thing down to his own level of understanding. To put it in a box--to "own" it--to bastardize it, if you will. Always guard against this tendency, this habit. Catch yourself doing it. God gives the most sublime union of a soul-mate couple, in love-making, as they invite another loved soul into the world to carefully rear and launch, to make his or her contribution. Men take that and turn it into pornography. Just as an example.
Just so, God gives the Principles, radiating out from each grain of sand, each little ripple and wave, and man tries to codify it into mathematics.
Now, each reflection here can also be a route, a path back. There are people who have taken mathematics to its ultimate reaches, and then used it as a jumping-off point to the Infinite--to perception beyond the mind. This is a totally legitimate Path. For them. I feel it is important to say this.
But I once read of a person on the other side, communicating through a visitation dream, the following scene. I wish I had made a note of it so I could quote it directly. But if memory serves, this man had been an intellectual, and an accomplished mathematician, or a philosopher, during his lifetime. In the visitation dream, however, the dreamer saw him at a chessboard. He was sweeping all the pieces off the board with his arm!
This is the best I can convey what I feel Abby wanted me to write. I'm written-out. This assumption that men have subsumed and conquered all of Nature with mathematics, is a pernicious error. They have done no such thing; any more than they have explained consciousness by a study of brain function.
This is what I was saying--expressing what I remembered of Abby's reaction to the lecture, once we had gotten home from it, that evening, when I was Mathew Franklin Whittier in the 19th century. Perhaps nobody got it--but two people saw fit to reprint it--psychic Andrew Jackson Davis, and William Lloyd Garrison. Consider yourself knocked on the head:
Hornby, Oct. 1855.
Mister Editer.—Perhaps in a litterery pint of view aour taoun haint bin so forrerd as she orter. While Polly-ticks an the milingtary interest has bin cared furder perhaps than in any other place on airth, yet, exceptin my own case, litteratoor hasn’t gone beyend coarse hand writing an the single rule of three. Ferlosofy has bin quoted in this market below pork, Sience hasn’t compared with Syder, string beans was ginerally sot higher than stronomy, tetters led trigernometry an punkins was ahead of poetry. Naow, haowsever, the tables is turned bottom side under. Sience is ris!
We’ve got a Lie-see um! The ery of Lutters is begun, the tree of nollidge has spraouted, interlect biles over matter—that ere interlect wich has bin dormouse is naow raoused like a sleepy lion gittin away from Jordan.
The fust lecter of the season was gin last night by Jemes Peabody who’s bin one quarter to an academary.
I haint time to gin you more’n a digestive or factsimelar of the lecter—
Jemes begun by obsarvin that ef anybody supposed that the stars want a heap bigger than they looked to be, they was almightely behind hand. Why, says he, there’s that ar leetle shiner called Satan, says he, don’t look bigger than a tetter, and yet accordin to Herkylis—who knows the heavingly bodies jist as easy as I know father—tis summat larger than the hull county of Oxford! An the leetlest star you can pick aout, is as big as a cart-wheel. At this pint Dea. Elderberry ris and said this was goin too fur, ‘twas reglar blastfeeme, contrary to scripter and agin common sense. Then he tuck his hat an cleared, fust spittin aout his terbacker cud as a testimony agin the doctrine.
After speakin of the milky-way—wich he said was longer than the Cumberland or Oxford Canawl—and the moon wich the on-larned considered to be a green cheese, but wich sience demonstrated to be a jackerlantern on a large scale, the lecterer proceeded to the pertickeler part of his subjeck.—
Comics or Blazin Stars.
Comics say Jemes—says he—ar of two kinds, the Tame and the Wild. The fust is peaceable—tother haint. The fust one is made of old moons as aint fit for sarvice, and is called by the oneddikated shootin stars, but we of the schools call em metres. This difference led the speaker to remark that larnin is everythin.
The wild kind, says Jemes, is a different crittur, bein composed of knebelous matter, hyfulution gass, oxside of cast iron an salts of harmonia makes it highly salvage and onsartin. They fust appeared about Deuteronomy or perhaps a little later in the year six, and was diskivered spontaneously from Portland obsarvatory an Pompey’s pillow in Rooshy. They ar pesky things, says he, ollers gittin up wars, hurrykanes, and airthquakes. Oneasy and restless, travelin abaout faster than a rale-rode but never reachin any wheres in pertickelar. Kinder loominated Peter Ruggs. Mighty onsartain they ar, cant be depended on. Father Miller engaged one to do a pertickeler job in ‘43 but it probably got better tarms somers else an that ere job remains ondone to this day.
But naow, says James, we comes to consider their tails. Them—says he—is raal numers. Talk about the moon’s “wondrous tale!” Why the tails of all the planics in the ciderall hevings wouldn’t make one for a fust rate wild comic! Longer than the wire of the magnetic paragraph, an wider than Sebago pond, they stretches aout over the universal kanerpy in the onlimited pugnacity of ether, naow sweepin down among the elongated concavities of dirunal convexities, and agin, sorein uperds till lost in the great hyperion!
James was so used up by this peroaration that he had to be cared home on a cheer. This mornin, haowever, he was as well as could be expected, an ef convalessence don’t set in, he’ll be about in a day or two. We’ve got three lecters engaged. The fust by Daniel Pratt of Boston—the “Great American Traveller” an editor of the “Gridiron.”
Subjeck—Will Salt Peter Burn?
The next will be by the editor of “The Genius.”
The third will be gin by me.
Lecter nights, onsartin, keerds of admission nine cents. Ministers Doctors, Lawyers an the town poor free.
The vote of Hornby in the late election was lost, stolen or mislaid, an want caounted in to the gineral result, wich aour taoun clerk says makes the hull state election invalede. Some says the selickmen burnt the hull grist cos they found a federal vote in the box.
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
*The closing, included in its original publication in the Portland "Transcript," was omitted from all the reprints I've seen (while "heavingly bodies" was edited to "heavenly bodies"). Daniel Pratt was a lecturer on college campuses who either was insane, or pretended to be, while superficially appearing to be erudite. Baby shows--sponsored by P.T. Barnum, and perhaps others--were just what they sound like, public displays of babies, including babies with deformities. According to Mathew, who describes them in another piece, the children, as one might expect, would typically be crying while they were being gawked at. "Orfice Seeking" is, of course, a scatalogical play on words, referring to the practice of politicians doling out government jobs as favors once elected. Mathew lampooned the practice, but was forced, because of shunning, to take one in later life. He was "outed" as the author of "Ethan Spike" in 1857, though I see no sign that anyone ever caught on to the fact that the name "Ethan" means "firm, or hard." "Ethan Spike" was imitated by several authors who became famous thereby, including James Russell Lowell, Charles Farrar Browne and David Ross Locke. At one point, Samuel Clemens had intended to imitate him in "Huckleberry Finn." The "federal vote," in the closing, means a liberal vote--the fictional town of Hornby was arch-conservative.
Music opening this page: "Arithmetic" by Eric Johnson, from the album, "Up Close"
Someone to hold to
Love never to erase
One you belong to
Without, there is not a trace
Of meaning to this metaphor
It's right behind that door
You're my arithmetic
You make my sun shine
You're the road I pick
You're that friend of mine