(Installment 4 of the series Body, Soul and Spirit: #1, #2, #3)
Leaving the perspective of Oneness behind I’m embarking on a journey into a pluralistic, polytheistic, polycentric inner/outer reality. And as the contours of this reality come into focus I take another look at monotheism, oneness, big bang, verticality, all-pervading consciousness, philosophia perennis etc. It seems that all of these ‘memes‘ are – in many ways – playing to dominate how we make sense, how we live a spiritual, sound life. It’s as if I take down the bandages and discover an unbound face…
(As with all the posts in this series I’ll just follow a meandering path and really, do not want to?prove anything. Proof belongs to the empirical fantasy that, as efficient as it is in creating technological and scientific gadgets and theories, seems to be a major influence in creating a catastrophic ecological predicament.)
I want to start this post by saying “Thank you!” to Michel Bauwens who invited me to gather my thoughts into an article, after reading a tweet of mine that asked, “What if there is no unity connecting all and everyone but “polithy”? What if it’s not Wholeness but Manifoldness? What if fantasy is more fundamental than reality? What if we aren’t here to grow but to bloom? What if we’re not here to learn but to deepen?” You can read what followed from this tweet here. (Original material and some more here and here)
And I want to thank all my friends who, by challenging me and commenting on those different threads, have greatly contributed to the unfolding of the following images and views, aka perspectives.
Even though many matters have not been touched upon in that conversation I feel it has helped to find my bearings much better in this unfolding polyverse…
So embarking on todays exploration, the first in this very young 2010, I’ll take it for granted that the polycentric and polytheistic imagination of the outer and inner world are much more fitting with what is real than the dominant monocausal (Big Bang &/or Cosmic Consciousness, Non-Duality etc.) idea of reality. Also on my map are the images that have formed by the Living Field, images I have been looking at from different angles for many years and published about a couple of times in the latter half of 2009 (regarding participatory design & what I call ‘collaboration ecology’ here; how the living field is connected to the art of living here, and on resonance and the living field here).
My thoughts and feelings are, another disclosure, also formed by the metaphors coming from the psychology of C.G. Jung and J. Hillman on archetypes. Here “every psychic process is an image and an ‘imagining’…” (C.G. Jung) Image, as I’m using it, is very close to the original meaning of Â ‘idea’ (Old GreekÂ eidos, eidolon), which unites in one term what one sees and the means by which one sees bringing together picture/image, perspective and the seeing itself. So when I think about archetypes then I regard them as ‘being’ as much in the act of seeing as in the object seen, they express as the person, situation, pattern as much as they reside in the way I perceive them. And if I listen closely they’ll even help me interpret them…
We van also think of an archetype as a ‘plantanimal’, an animal with some plantlike characteristics. Like a plant archetypes are deeply rooted in our shared and personal inscape (the word I prefer over mind, inner realm, psyche, etc.) and nourished by forever invisible depths, and like an animal every archetype has its own will, perception, consciousness, motives, movements and being; sometimes it is tame and sweet, and at other times it threatens to devour us. Moreover I envision archetypes very much like Rupert Sheldrake imagines morphogenetic fields. These “form generating” fields attract what is akin to them through morphic resonance. So a morphogenetic “rose-field” would, for instance, help to form every rose on the planet properly (working together with the genes). You might say that the morphic field puts rosiness into roses…
An image incarnates in a form; a rose is rosy by grace of its form to which I also count the scent and everything else that invades our senses. Form reveals meaning…
So “rose” is more than a flower that you can smell and see, rose has over- and undertones that resonate with it, many layers of meaning. All of this creates the ‘morphic resonance’ of a rose. (Obviously I’m taking this way beyond Rupert Sheldrake’s ideas, as he expresses them in public, nevertheless I think they’re resonating with him very much.) Morphic fields and archetypes Â constellate reality, the reality of a rose and what it evokes, and when this resonates with us, we ‘get’ what ‘it’ means.
Morphic resonance is very much like analogy, like when in our inscape we hold two or more images next to each and ‘see’ their close relationship, or resonance, our sound connection. And when we do this we are not a blank slate or a clear mirror – even if we’re in the most spacious and unattached form – we are already moved by a form, a morphic field, an archetype, a set of memes, a certain constellation of the living field that we are being at any moment, a (sub-)personality.
Taking this one step further, maybe, we could regard an archetype as an ’embedding field’, an accommodating space, a hosting ecology that forms and is formed by the participating presences. If, psychologically speaking, we look deep into whatever happens, we will eventually uncover archetypal images unfolding dynamically like a river, a stream. Our very act of discerning these archetypes is following archetypal pathways and uncovers them as we go. Uncovering your tracks as you are leaving them, being able to stay with that ecstatic pattern or ‘order,’ feels to be very valuable and nourishing. Archetypes generate values and life-styles.
You might notice that I’m using ‘morphogenetic field’, archetype and (sub-)personality almost interchangeably; that is because they seem to be different gateways to a very similar “arche“, a very basic ‘image’, an “Urbild” in German. To use a popular archetype as an example, the “inner child”: When the inner child is being me, clothed with my character, in my particular ‘colors’, the inner child in you will immediately resonate — as in morphic resonance or because it touches a similar (sub-)personality. Obviously, if your inner child is being repressed by “the bully” or maybe the “critic” or “protector”, that particular archetype, morphic field, (sub-)personality will then try to repress or control me. There’s nothing really personal about this happening, unless an ego is involved; otherwise it is just two archetypes, two archetypal ‘inscape images‘ encountering each other…
Whatever we see (in the many ways you can interpret this word) is a form (morphe) in our inscape, and whether we like it or not, our inscape is closely linked and in many respects the same as our imagination. And here I’m not talking about what derogatorily is called “fantasy” by those under the influence of the scientific hero on his quest to find the Theory to explain Everything: I’m talking about the living field of images that continually and dynamically constellate the Common Inscape we call reality.
I imagine the Common Inscape to be an ecology of influences, where “persuasion” or Eros is one direction and “necessity” or Ananke another, maybe like “up” and “down” in 3D space. Â These two poles of Common Inscape give a directionality to what becomes, is, and was present in the collective unconsious, the Living Field of resonances and analogies, the manifold streams and interweavings of meaning-making. This weaves the web that constitutes the presences of reality. Not all, of course, as there is always unresolvable Mystery in being present, or presencing, a mystery that incarnates in the celebration of “I’m here!” – wherever and whatever this may be.
Our Common Inscape is the hosting space in which also “physical reality” unfolds according to very strict habits, habits which we call natural law. But obviously this particular niche of the Common Inscape is just a certain region within the larger ecology. The Common Inscape — or world-soul if you like — doesn’t have an outside, so maybe the proper name should be Common Scape, but given the dominant memes I keep using inscape, andÂ common inscape for the ecology that every personal inscape participates in and shapes to a certain degree. From deeply unattached, enlightened presences to very lush, extremely involved presences living by “The only way out is through.” From people who absolutely surrender to “the way things are”, worshippers of necessity, Ananke, to persuaders and seducers who attract by the power of the images they evoke in our inscape, our personal garden in the Common Inscape.
Our guiding images: the archetypes that live through us in our inscape, appearing in imagination, the home of the images by which we see, collaborating with the images we do see as objects and the Unknown. The images, the presences and archetypes constellate along the lines of the meanings we uncover. I say uncover — or reveal — because it seems that the meaning comes from the constellation, the imago that I see, and I receive it, the meaning oozes out of the deep form of the ‘situation’ or ‘being’, from the presence. We might uncover this deep form by asking, “What is the archetypal pattern along the lines of which the present moment unfolds? What is the archetypal melody that is arranging the shape of the unfolding moment?”
And, taking this as cue, I ask myself right now “So what is the archetypal pattern of the present situation? Â What unfolds right now and who is thus embodied, worshipped, calling for attention?” (Writing this post and contemplating it while I edit.)
There is the pattern of my learning: In writing this post I learn what I think by turning it into something I can tell you, reading this posting. Obviously I also hope that some of you feel like adding something to the comment section to expand my horizon on what I think I wrote by writing about what you think I wrote.
This part of the pattern I can feel like a reaching out from, physically, the larger heart-area of my body. It also feels like I can sense your presence right now; a presence that might travel in time from your present, as you’re reading it, into your past and my presence, as I’m writing this right now and when I’ll be editing it before publishing. This illustrates that our Common Inscape has a different connection to time, except of course in the scientific niche where time flows mechanically and uniform, and where one second has the same length as the former and the next; but the length of a second in the the rest of the Common Inscape can be the eternity of looking in your lovers eyes or the eternity you spend on the edge of the 30 feet high tower before you jump into the water down there for the first time. Two eternal seconds of different length; two situations where seconds don’t count at all. And two seconds of falling…
Reading again the last paragraph I see another pattern of my inscape, something like inflation; like I’m blowing up balloons with different colors of the basic story I want to tell. The story is about the underlying ecology, the ecology of patterns of influence. This ecology is polycentric in every respect, meaning there is not one privileged center or meta-center (a center that is everywhere). Of course a particular ecological niche in the Common Inscape can be monocentric. There are quite a few of those. Nevertheless all are embedded in the entire ecology emerging. In the ecology of the Common Inscape there is place for monotheistic and polythesitic, for pantheistic and panentheistic, and metadox, and heterodox, and paradox views…
These views are, as has been said, already patterned by and seen with archetypically informed eyes.
So then, “What about the self?” Is the self an archetype? And what then would “Be thyself!” mean? To begin with it would certainly be the cris du coer, the heart cry of the self-archetype in constellation, ordering the presences according to its particular pattern, where Â there is aÂ self in the center seeing ‘everything and everyone else’ around itself, the center.
Those of you who have experienced Hellinger’s or similar constellation work (systemic constellations, for instance) can, I’m sure feel what I mean when I speak of archetypes constellating presences. So imagine the self-archetype to be represented by a person in a ‘physical’ constellation. We would then explore the relationship between the self and the different other archetypes present in the constellation, and we would get to hear and see the representatives of these archetypes in their dynamics. Whatever this constellation will look like, it will be a Pantheon with some top influencers and some lesser influencers, different kinds of gods. If we ask and bring in more archetypes that belong to the larger ensemble expressing in, as the entirety of a person, we get an image of the soul. Soul, the most profound term for what we’ve been calling inscape so far. (The Common Inscape being the world-soul.)
The ecology of the inscape, of the soul is my main concern in this series of loosely connected blog-postings. And soul is everywhere – soul is not located, but associated by ‘strong analogy’ and resonance with our whereabouts. The soul is so much like you and so strongly resonates with you, that you might as well call it your soul; and also, we don’t have a soul, but soul has us, we are soul’s humans. What we take to be ourselves is more precisely a particular garden in soulscape, in Common Inscape. You and I, we all are soul’s unique per-sona (Old Greek, “sound through”), its coordinates and coordinators in the dynamic constellation of the living field’s ecology.
This shows, I guess, that body and spirit that are embedded in soul, in Common Inscape. We are, body, mind and spirit, inhabitants of Common Inscape, participating in a polyverse ecology whose ‘regions’ are the archetypes that influence everything within their sphere including us when passing through.