Bob and Christopher's Excellent Adventure
Once again we're back at the crossroads of the Kantian bifurcation of mind and world, between the knowable phenomena and the supposedly unknowable noumenon, whatever that is. Alexander's whole project involves undoing or transcending this bifurcation, because it leads to intellectual and aesthetic chaos and arbitrariness -- from the antihuman misosophies of the left to the ugly buildings of our cities, and everything in between.
Alexander endeavors to resolve this split by positing a metaphysic in which "objective reality 'out there' and our personal reality 'in here' are thoroughly connected." I couldn't agree more, and as a matter of fact, my very first published paper in 1991 was on just this subject.
Really, Bob? Yes, I think so. But it's been 22 years. Better verify that claim.
Let's see. Each moment -- both objectively and subjectively -- is "a translation, or unfolding, of a primordial and multidimensional reality into the more familiar three-dimensions-plus-time modality." Looked at this way, the world is a sort perpetual movement from infinite to finite, or, as we prefer to say, from O to (n).
David Bohm -- whose work in physics links Alexander's to mine -- would say that each moment of time is a projection from the total nonlocal implicate order into a local explicate order, so that "any describable event, object, entity, etc., is an abstraction from an unknown and undefinable totality of flowing movement" (Bohm).
Yeah, I still think that, only more so. For Bohm, "the explicate order of the world of experience unfolds and displays the implicate." The latter "can be thought of as a ground beyond time, a totality out of which each moment is projected into the explicate order."
But it is a circular movement, one I have symbolized (↓↑). Of course, I'm talking about the spiritual world while Bohm is talking about the physical world, but the important point is that it's the same pattern:
"For every moment of time that is projected out into the explicate order there would be another movement in which that moment would be injected or 'introjected' back into the implicate order" (Bohm).
"This whole process -- forms ceaselessly emerging and then being reabsorbed -- accounts for the influence of past forms on present ones, and also allows for the emergence of new creative forms" (ibid.).
In other words, reality is not a linear machine, but again, a kind of perpetual flow of the implicate ground into familiar reality, and then back (and this is strikingly similar to Eckhart's description of the Ground; you could say that we're all -- Bohm, Eckhart, Alexander, and I -- in the same Attractor, just describing it from our own vantage points).
Some human beings, for a variety of reasons, have a compromised ability to "read out" O, the implicate order. This makes them very boring and very predictable. Lifeless. No spark. But good accountants.
Others have no stable explicate order. They can be live wires: charismatic. Life o' the party. Good actors. Just don't rely on them. And whatever you do, don't get involved in an intimate relationship with one of them. It will be fun while the fun lasts, but then hell while the hell lasts. I still have the occasional nightmare...
Alexander is at pains to point out that, in order to understand his approach, one must allow oneself to engage in a totally different kind of thinking in which we are directly connected to the world, in an unmediated way.
The world is constantly speaking to us, most especially in aesthetic terms. All day long we see a constant stream of things that evoke various feelings that are a reliable indicator of the degree of "life" or wholeness present.
Here is what I wrote about that mode back in 1991. But before getting to that, the main idea is that, instead of (k) --> O -- in which we simply project our own preconceptions onto the world -- we must enter a state of O --> (n), in which we constantly listen to subtle messages of the world.
Anyway, here's what I wrote: "Just as the physical universe of stars and galaxies is but a mere 'ripple' on the surface of the holomovement, conventional 'thought' or 'intellect' [read: (k)] is a static, constricted, and limited form of consciousness." It is "basically mechanical in its order of operation, dealing as it does with the already known."
In contrast, the O --> (n) mode is analogous to "the continuous and dynamic unfolding of the implicate order," giving access to the "freshly minted moment" (Bohm) and the "ever-moving and self-renewing present" (ibid.). Children are there most of the time, which is why it is so refleshing to be around them.
This is not to suggest that (k) doesn't have its uses. Of course it does. However, "unless there are also profoundly experiential transformations in O, evolution will only occur in (k)," fostering "a sterile evolution of the intellect bearing no relationship to the deeper self." You know. Infertile eggheads. Ideologues. Tenure.
You might say that the circle of (k) can never contain the sphere of O. Which is why, to paraphrase Ted, strange things are always afoot at the Circle K, if only you pay attention to the weirdness...
Well, I got a late start and now I'm due back in the explicate order. To be continued, pending the slightest expression of interest.