Aside: A compass
DeMarco, Frank. Rita's World: A View from the Non-Physical (Kindle Location's 4010). Rainbow Ridge Books. Kindle Edition
(Q) So - just a note on the process as I am experiencing it - there is the pull of the continuity of your narrative (you say, "next time we could begin here") and the pull of individual responses in the form of email and blog comments ("Rita said x and such, but it seems to me ...") and Charles' own requests for clarification from me, and then as I say the posing of alternative questions we could ask.
None of this bothers me, and I'm delighted that enough people are taking the material seriously enough to wrestle with it and respond to it. But I'm sure glad to have that naval soundings survey analogy to reassure me that in a sense, we can't really get lost. And I'm glad to have Charles' presence as a sheet anchor to windward. I can see that it would be easy to lose all sense of direction, exploring these things. In fact, I wonder if that isn't more or less what I have done all these years.
(A) In wondering that, you are showing yourself to be a child of the age you live in. So do many of your questioners. I mean by that, you are diregarding the continuing presence in your life of your nonphysical self. This is a bit of a diversion from the topic of suffering and good and evil, but it won't take long, perhaps, and pursuing the thread because it presented itself is an example of a way to live connected.
You have a compass.
What good is a compass to a navigator who doesn't know it exists, or doesn't consult it? None. But the compass is there, used or unused. Why should you or anybody fear getting lost? And if you don't consult it - tacitly or not, that is, doing it consciously or automatically, either one - how can you expect to follow any course?
(Q) Between us, we're in a nautical mood today, I see. I take it you mean what the church would call conscience, only in a wider sense than knowledge of whether an action or thought or projected action or thought is good and evil.
(A) The physical self forms what we loosely call an ego, and that ego is conscious of what the senses report to it, plus what its reactions to its environment report to it as emotions. As long as the ego's world remains bounded by such limits, you have a very small boat in a very big sea, terrified of storms, navigating at random, subject to course correction by emotional reaction to any stray circumstance. But when that ego realizes that it has a compass, everything changes, or can change, if the compass is intelligently used. The ego's higher self (call it) not only can read the compass, it can connect to GPS. It not only knows where the boat is, it knows how it got there, and why, and where it set out for. And - stretching the analogy quite a bit, but true to life - the higher self knows that it is the cause as well as the experiencer of the circumstances the little boat finds itself in. Or, not quite. Let's say, it recognizes that no storm or difficulty or anything that comes to be experienced is either random or purposeless.
But let's drop the analogy at that point. You see that I mean to say that if it were up to you (as it often seems to you) to shape your lives, you would be vastly overmatched.
So, in this particular instance, if it were up to Charles as his ego exists or you as your ego exists and neither of you were in connection with your "higher selves", your non-3D components that have never left you nor ever could leave you, then yes, you'd be lost in moments. But it is the very connection with the non-3D that renders this possible. Renders your lives possible.
(Q) And in the non-3D part of ourselves, we live and move and have our being.
(A) Well, isn't that a perfectly valid way to describe your situation?
(Q) It certainly seems so to me, and of course, I find it satisfying to have a way of understanding the 2,000-year-old Christian tradition without having to sign on to their contemporary understandings of it. I mean, all that knowledge and wisdom, couched in language that we find meaningful - I always knew it meant something, even if it didn't mean what it was explained to mean.
(A) And where do you think that knowing came from, if not your non-3D extension, or source? You tended to think of it as past-life knowledge, I think, but in that case, why can't you read Egyptian?
(Q) I'd like to know that myself. But as you always say, let's consider that at another time. The hour is half over and we haven't gotten to the question yet.
(A) I think you will find that we have, actually. It's all tied together. How can we discuss the question of good and evil, and of suffering, and of the question of the meaning of life, if we allow ourselves to disregard the fact that appearances are not accurate, that you are not boats afloat in an unknown sea, adrift, with no origin, no purpose, no projected port, no task, no larger purpose?
Suffering as by-product
DeMarco, Frank. Rita's World: A View from the Non-Physical (Kindle Location's 4055). Rainbow Ridge Books. Kindle Edition
(Q) ... what is the purpose of suffering in the world?
(A) Let me suggest a slightly different way of looking at the subject that my help some people. To say, "What is the purpose of -" is to isolate something that cannot be understood in isolation. If you were to try to say, "What is the purpose of a knee in the world?" you couldn't begin to answer the question even in the simplest of ways without referring to the thigh and the calf, and even if you left it at that, it wouldn't make any sense, not really. It might, for instance, be looked at as a weakness in the leg, because obviously such a complicated joint would look like a makeshift, compared to the relative simplicity of the bones it connects. And, of course, if you want to explain about the mobility it offers, you are going to wind up talking about hips and feet and the body in general, and gravity, and musculature, and blood circulation, and the ongoing repair of cells - and there's no end to the things a simple discussion of knees would entail. And every time you tried to put it into context, somebody would be saying, "But I want to know why there have to be knees in the world, and you're telling me all these irrelevant things!"
So, rather than asking, "What is the purpose of suffering in the world?" I suggest it would be better to ask, "What is it in the nature of the world that produces suffering as a by-product?" That may sound like the same statement, but it is not. It is like explaining about exercise and how the deliberate exhaustion of the muscle's cells produce pain but also produces new growth. If you were to decree that nothing should ever produce pain, because you decided that pain is bad, then what have you just done to life? How many doors have you closed off? How many activities of greater interest and with greater rewards have you just foreclosed?
(Q) I agree, of course, though I don't know how it will look after I disengage and our joint mind is not shaping my perceptions! - but I predict that some will look at this as merely an apology for evil.
(A) No doubt. But you can learn from a lesson or you can reject it - you can't really do both.
Pain as feedback
DeMarco, Frank. Rita's World: A View from the Non-Physical (Kindle Location's 4104). Rainbow Ridge Books. Kindle Edition
(A) I suggested that suffering is better seen as a by-product than as a desired result, and I could continue in different directions by continuing to use physical pain as the metaphor. Thus, pain as a signal to the body that something is wrong. Pain as a signaling system, in other words. That is one very useful attribute of pain that is easily overlooked. Pain as feedback looks very different than pain as something introduced into the world for the entertainment of the non-3D.
Unsuspected background influences
DeMarco, Frank. Rita's World: A View from the Non-Physical (Kindle Location's 4123). Rainbow Ridge Books. Kindle Edition
(Q) I think today I'll leave it up to you where we begin, and I'll try it in the journal, the old way. Something didn't work out yesterday, and I'm wondering if it is too many variables.
(A) Or could it be that things beyond your ability to observe them make some times propitious and others not, and some times extremely auspicious and other times particularly unsuitable. It is a mistake to underrate the powerful influence of the background influences in your lives. You aren't immune to them, and how should you expect to be? You are a part of the great beating heart of the world, or a part of the great clockwork, if that more mechanical analogy appeals to you - part of a vast undivided eco-system that extends throughout all of 3D (because, of course, there cannot be any absolute divisions) and extends throughout all non-3D, as well, which is going to be a different thought to you, and therefore an important one.
When in 3D - I remember it well - there is a tendency to think that the nonphysical world is unchanging, somehow static. But how could it be, given that the 3D world is part of it, and reflects it, and provides part of the background for it, as the non-3D provides part of the background for 3D? It is all in one's viewpoint, one's place to stand, which is the background and which the foreground?
The non-3D world has its tides and its seasons, and they are reflected in the mental and psychic background of life in 3D. And I'm going to leave this for now - think of it as a teaser for coming attractions - and return more directly to the question of good and evil, and of suffering, and of justice or injustice, the compassion or indifference, of life and the factors that make life. I will talk and you will respond, internally or externally, and I will continue to talk following any sense of the lack of comprehension and the nature of the mental or emotional obstacles to understanding as we go along.
The real nature of tragedy
DeMarco, Frank. Rita's World: A View from the Non-Physical (Kindle Location's 4146). Rainbow Ridge Books. Kindle Edition
(A) Now, about good and evil. Remember that anyone reading these sessions in a fixed form - a book, a printout, a collection of emails, anything - is going to receive a lot of information in a time much more compressed than what it took to express initially. So, things that are already ancient history to you - said two weeks ago, and half forgotten - will come [to the reader] within minutes of this session, perhaps. So will anything remembered through the process of random rereading, which, by the way, is a process I recommend for making new connections.
So, concepts that took some time to establish will be accepted easier not only because initial readers broke the trail for them, but because the sheer weight of material will lend authority, as for instance in the case of Seth's material.
One such concept is that the world is just. Any given piece of it, seen in isolation, will seem unjust or unnecessary or even downright arbitrary, but this is because it is being seen divorced from context. The ugliest fact is nonetheless part of a seamless whole and has its place. Wolves kill baby deer, if they get the chance and are hungry. Cruel? Well, how about the world if any one species has no natural predators to keep it in check? A herd of deer half-starved because they have outstripped [the carrying capacity of] the environment they live in is not a pretty sight either.
But this is not a lecture on ecology beyond this one statement. Tragedy is not what it appears to be. And if you will walk with me a bit, I can prove it to you.
Near-death experiencers have reported what they went through on their way out of life, and you will notice that in every case, as soon as they were free of the 3D-only perspective, they not only were okay with it, usually they were glad of it, and often enough were extremely reluctant to be returned to life. So much for death as a tragedy in and of itself.
Similarly, such accounts - and accounts by scientific naturalists - notice that the animating intelligence often leaves the body before the actual trauma that ends the life.
When there is no need for pain, why experience it? So much for horrible traumatic deaths.
Furthermore, various reports - from NDEers, psychics, etc. - show you that sometimes people see behind the curtain and see the inter-weavings of various free wills that produce apparently random events. It cannot be proven to anyone determined not to be convinced, but then, what can? Nevertheless, it is a fact that nothing happens to people without their consent. And, since that flies in the face of so much experience, let's look at it.
(Q) I can hear the howls of outrage.
(A) Yes, outrage that I am about to say that all is well. Why? Is there an emotional payoff to believing in what you call the victims-and-villains scenario? Clearly there is, or there would be no outrage at hearing good news. However, that reaction is not to be confounded with incredulity, which is a very reasonable reaction.
That is, it is one thing to think "you're going to have to convince me, on this one!" and it is something very different to think "life is unfair and only those of a lower morality can doubt it; I am not going to be seduced". For those whose self-definition is closely tied to a belief that they are more moral, more sensitive, than the creators and maintainers of the world around them, I have nothing helpful to say other than "know thyself". For those willing to be convinced - no matter how high their standards of proof - the following:
Is it fair that cells in a body sacrifice themselves for the sake of the body as a whole? Is that even a fair description of the process, given that the cell's life and death is as it was planned for cells in general?
Is it possible for a cell to have a purpose separate from the body of which it is a part? I don't mean, can it have separate (or relatively separate) awareness; I mean, can it not be part of what it is part of?
Is it unfair that some cells become part of a fingernail and share whatever happens to that fingernail while others get to be part of "something more important" like heart muscle? Is it unfair that various cells are sloughed off or sacrificed while others are not?
Of course it is unfair, or at least discriminatory - if you look at it from the point of view that pretends the cell is a valid frame of reference rather than a close-up of one part of an interacting organism. But if you look at the larger picture, the cell's importance and its proper place in the scheme of things changes. Not that it is insignificant, for it is not a question of number, but that it is by nature a part of a whole and cannot be understood in isolation.
But 3D life tempts you - all but coerces you - into seeing 3D lives in isolation, and of course life is going to be seen as unfair, chaotic, undirected, painful, meaningless. Is that the fault of the structure of life, or of a constricted point of view?
What is it for?
DeMarco, Frank. Rita's World: A View from the Non-Physical (Kindle Location's 4192). Rainbow Ridge Books. Kindle Edition
(A) So, trauma, injustice, apparently pointless suffering, and all the results of the seven deadly sins - are they only illusion?
No, not illusion. To explain something is not the same thing as explaining it away. But they are not what they seem to be, any more than your lives in general are what they seem to be when looked at from a too-constricted perspective.
Life can hurt. You know it; everybody knows it. The question is, though, what does it all mean: what is it all for? If the millions who die in concentration camps are not victims, what are they? If people suffering because of other people's indifference or cruelty are not victims of injustice, what are they? Do they "deserve" to suffer? If children, or adults for that matter, spend lifetimes in constricted circumstances because of physical illness, or as a result of accidents or deliberate maimings, are they victims? Do they deserve to suffer? Are they paying for past (or future) sins?
None of these questions can be resolved meaningfully without considering the widest context of life. Any smaller context is going to look like injustice. Context is everything in understanding life.
DeMarco, Frank. Rita's World: A View from the Non-Physical (Kindle Location's 4215). Rainbow Ridge Books. Kindle Edition
(A) The point should be evident. Nothing seen out of context is going to make sense, and why should anyone expect it to? Logically it amounts to a tautology: Things only make sense when seen in a way that lets them make sense. If for some reason you were to have a vested interest in "proving" that life is unfair, you could do so easily, unanswerably, merely by narrowing your focus and selecting your data. But "proving" that is not unfair, though it involves widening your focus and broadening your selection criteria, is not as easy as that, which is why so many theological and philosophical efforts to do so are so unsatisfactory and, often enough, forced and unconvincing.
The fact is, the context that is critical is not selection of data in time and space - historical examples - but specifically the broadening of the process to move beyond time and space, to move deeper than time and space, because it is specifically in assuming that life is what it appears that the underlying errors of interpretation sneak in and lead to outrage and despair.
In any case, the point is, the "modern" way of seeing the world led to several dead-ends because they seemed logically incontestable but morally repugnant and practically without a way forward:
1. Life begins at birth (or conception; choose one) and ends at death, and that's the end of it.
2. There is no "supernatural" world to relate to. No God, no angels, certainly no humans-become-dwellers-in-heaven (i.e., saints). We are alone on Earth, and that's the end of that.
3. We are alone in a pretty meaningless universe, and any attempt to see meaning - any teleology - is self-deluding weak-mindedness.
4. Most of our surroundings are dead. We living (who, remember, are here by accident) are a few exceptions to an overwhelmingly dead universe.
5. Because of the foregoing predicaments, you must put your hope (if you insist on having hope) in the future, in science, in social evolution, in what does not exist, because it does not exist.
6. By reaction against this, some move to want to destroy the entire intellectual, social, economic edifice that left them stranded, and so they become glorifiers of anything primitive, even while continuing to remain dependent upon the same infrastructure derived from the worldview they reject.
7. Similarly, others (sometimes the same people at different times, confusingly enough to themselves and to others) accept the description of the world but reject its consequences. They accept the premise but hope to reform the effects.
(Q) Wanting to build "a better world".
(A) No reason to mock the impulse. I felt it myself, especially before Bob Monroe turned what I thought I knew upside down! But it is true, you can't build a better world merely by wanting to. you need to know the roots of what's wrong with it.
Now look at those few underpinnings of the dead-end view of the world. Remove them and what do you have?
Eternal life. Perpetual interaction with the other dimensions, the rest of life. Inherent meaning. A living universe. And there is no need to invest your hope in social movements, or the inevitable "progress" that time will no doubt provide, nor some sort of mental split that will allow you to have your materialist cake and eat your nonmaterialist values, too.
(Q) That metaphor kind of fell down, there.
(A) So it did, but the point should be clear. By considering the universe - by re-considering it - you have already half escaped the mental/spiritual trap set by your times. But of course it isn't possible to remain in the doorway forever. Either you will move out into freedom or the trap will close around you again. In short, you will let this and other material change your life, or you won't. You can't both change and non-change, not ultimately. You can waver for a while, but sooner or later that will amount to deciding by default.
Choice and free will
DeMarco, Frank. Rita's World: A View from the Non-Physical (Kindle Location's 4266). Rainbow Ridge Books. Kindle Edition
(Q) I don't know if this is the time - I assume it is, since it came to mind - but somebody asked how "all is well" can square with free will. I didn't understand the question, but I imagine you will.
[Judy McElroy's question: "If all is well, and all is always well, does this not preclude free will? I easily see that each of us has predator threads and prey threads; it would seem if all is well, it does not matter which we focus on and exhibit. If I can't screw things up, do I really have free will? As below ... one of my cells can screw up the system by becoming cancerous. As above ...?"]
(A) The logical confusion lies in thinking that free will is somehow dependent upon the result of the choice, rather than in the nature of the choice as affirming a set of values in the person choosing.
It is true that each version of reality stems from choices made. But -
Hmm, maybe a longer subject than it appears at first, so let's go into it a bit.
Every possible choice exists, and creates its own universe, so to speak. This is sort of true, though not in the way physicists think, because they are conceiving of things as proceeding in time as they imagine it, things coming into existence decision by decision.
It would be more accurate to say that all these possible universes, the fruits of infinite numbers of choices by infinite numbers of people, inhere in the universe and, therefore, of course, always have. That's what inherent means. You make a choice, you don't create a world, you walk a certain world. You choose and your choice provides you the next step on your path.
Doesn't that make more sense to you just intuitively? Does it feel right that your every choice should create a version of the answer? Or is it not more intuitively right to say your every choice is a choice among worlds already existing?
Not that I knew any of this in life. I remember being pretty thoroughly confused when the guys tried to explain it.
Well, if it is clear that life in 3D is merely a long (or short) walk in the hall of mirrors, or labyrinth or however you wish to see it, then it should be clear that life in 3D is not about creating a better world (or a worse one, either); it is about creating you. It is about using 3D and 3D's conditions of existence to carefully forge a mind - a soul - that will thereafter function in non-3D as a unique mirror, or touchstone, among the others already existing.
So now come back to your accustomed view of reality, whichever it is, and attempt to see the world through both, alternately, or through both in stereo view, if you can do that. From the everyday view, pain and suffering, good and evil, still exist. We haven't defined them away. But the context for life being different, how can the meaning and the very experience of good and evil, and of suffering, not be seen differently?
So that is what I mean by context, and that's enough for the moment. You and Charles may consult and see where you wish to go next, or if you ask the right open-ended question, I'll go off on my own hook.