One root metaphor in the social sciences, awareness, represents an entire universe of talk. Not simply awareness of an I, of You, of You and I here and there, but awareness of what You and I, what we can call the We, create in between ourselves…that which previously had no existence and that which may or may not have any shadow in the future. Sometimes we pretend and say nothing more than what we allow inside the hollow of such pretense. You feel one way, I feel another way, but we say we feel an entirely different way and allow that feeling to encase us, this fictional We that further separates itself from You…from I. Our pretending can work in that it might make You or I feel less strange for the moment…but only for the moment…as our awareness goes much deeper than whatever we can create. Some deeper, naked truth hovers over the so-called pleasant fictions we create. The truth haunts us and we squirm inside that which we pretended, something at first so seemingly elastic that has hardened.
So the snake sheds its skin and You struggle to free what’s called the Self from the crystallized web of affectation. I enact my own parallel struggle and we remain side-by-side, seeing the same things, but as you say, unable to experience the same things we do see in the very same way, regardless of claims to allegiance. That We could become useful to You and to I, but only if we transcend logical conclusions, at least what Other has taught You and I to regard as logical. Your balloons that you hold could be tears on the cosmos or they could be filled with opposition, ready to drift away once you let go. They may anchor You and I to the world we have pretended. Or, they may simply fill your hands to remind You of your grip.
We enter a cave. You taught me, an exaggerated I, that the cave marks the end of one psychological orientation, one paradigm of thought, and the beginning of sight. Suddenly, all that which marks the walls on the cave reverse us and make us tumble through dead pronouns and now liquid versions of former crystallized being. You are no longer the You, once so familiar, and there no longer exists an I that my body, as I knew it, clinged. All is separate now, in this cave, amid ancient drawings that at one time would appear as clues, but now simply bring forward vision.
At such a moment, in the world away from what seemed so stunning, so materialistic, one or two together can feel overtaken. No, I have yet to kneel when I walk, but some moments seem to stand out so clearly to me…when, as I have written before, the day trades places with the night and the air’s molecules scatter, turning the sky into variegated waves and of a sudden, I, or what would pass as I in ordinary circumstances, cease to exist as simply an ordinary being who pays his bills on time and collects paychecks and poses as one who knows…the whatever has occurred or remains in motion overtakes me, but it always allows for a hole through which I, the recognizable I, can move…as if Alice suddenly reversed her fall and tumbled toward the ground, thinking of herself as the very same person before she came upon the hole…
But, what might happen if I, or that person possessed of something called I, remain overtaken? Could another, You, or that which We had previously agreed to call You, then see exactly what I see? Could we not simply exist in a world of possibilities, but now enjoin all the possibilities into an entirely new vision and call it God, or god, or something greater? As a physicist might ask, could a new We emerge, allowing Us to communicate without a signal?
I talk to myself and say that whoever I conjure up in self-talk cannot exist outside of my head at that moment, or perhaps, at any moment. I will hear voices of those who died and imagine that I talk to them–I imagine they answer, but they do not answer, I tell myself; I provide an answer in the guise of their voice. They have died and cannot converse as I think of conversation, which consists of surprises. I miss the surprises; I can only bring them back to me through a script that I enact inside my head. But all of my assumptions exist in a paradigm that we label, in this case, we can label it quantum physics. Possibilities emerge and in so doing, other outcomes, processes, events, become impossible. I create possibilities by deciding to move in one direction and then make all experiences in another direction impossible, But what if such a paradigm, so obdurate and full of force, cannot sustain the power of a new consciousness, one that could allow for a world without the things you mention–the gardens, the balloons, the teeth? What if the invention in my head has invented Me, or that which calls itself an I?
One day, August 1st, 2011, I walked into the maw of a heat wave. Three o’clock at 103 degrees and climbing, or so a computer screen indicated. No one else walked on my path. No cars passed me on the road. I suddenly became aware of an utter solitude, as if “the thing bomb” (or neutron bomb) exploded and made all humans disappear, leaving all that which humans created remain still. I could only hear the music that came from my IPod, an old jazz song from the 1950s by John Coltrane. I thought of the “Twilight Zone” and saw myself as the only person left, somehow saved from disappearance, maybe as a thing instead of a human. The song, from 1959, brought me back to my childhood, remembering the music that my mom would play on the “Hi-Fi” in the afternoons. If I, or this particular thing called I, represented the “last person” what would I do?
But then another thought entered…perhaps, this I had crossed a time line and walked into the very time of the song’s release. I appeared the same age as in 2011 but now, in 1959, I had nowhere to go. Or maybe I could go somewhere…I could somehow get to Chicago and visit my mom. I realized that on this day, I carried my wallet with me and I imagined myself at my mom’s old house in suburban Chicago. I, a 60 year old man, tried to convince my mom, a thirty-something housewife, that the You she saw, the I of my presentation, actually made some sense. I showed her my driver’s license…I asked her to suspend disbelief…she asked me if I wanted coffee. We actually talked. It seemed less scripted. I had lost control of my carefully crafted conversational sequences and my fantasy free fell upward toward the hole. Subjects came up and finally She asked if all of her children remained alive in 2011. I said yes and that two of them, her daughters, just had birthdays in July…we thought about their age, this being August 1st, 2011…August 1st 2011…August 1st, 2011…
Then, I realized that I had walked over three quarters of a mile, including up the steep hill on Ranch View Drive. I had no awareness of such a traverse…odd in that I am always aware of walking up such a hill as its steepness creates such resistance…but I had gone past it, all the time conversing with my mom, without my usual script…and August 1st kept repeating itself…first as recognizable voices, then as cavernous echoes, then as sounds of thunder in the horizon…and I remembered that my mom died on August 1st, 1996…
One could easily explain all that which occurred with the concepts we have created via our quantum physics paradigm…I did not experience any observable breakthrough and simply entered into a fugue state, probably emerging from the possible combinations of heat, music, subconscious memory, on and on…but could another type of consciousness emerged, one that could easily be trivialized as a bad Twilight Zone script? Or, maybe, could the experience have had an effect that would leave me open to imagining a world in which previous barriers disappear, and yet we feel safe and blissful?
Could it be the beginning of a genuflection?