Dreams, Evolution, Value Fulfillment: Session 917
Remember that these units of consciousness of which I have been speaking are not neutral, mathematical, or mechanistic.
They are the smallest imaginable “packages” of consciousness that you can imagine, and despite any ideas to the contrary, basically consciousness has nothing to do with size. If that were the case, it would take more than a world-sized globe to contain the consciousness of simply one cell.
So, your physical life is the result of a spectacular spontaneous order – the order of the body spontaneously formed by the units of consciousness. Your experience of the world is largely determined by your imaginations and your reasoning abilities. These did not develop through time, as per usual evolutionary beliefs. Both imagination and reason belonged to the species from the beginning, but the species has used these qualities in different ways throughout what you think of as historic time. There is great leeway in that direction, so that the two can be combined in many many alternate fashions, each particular combination giving you its own unique picture of reality, and determining your experience in the world.
Your many civilizations, historically speaking, each with its own fields of activity, its own sciences, religions, politics and art – these all represent various ways that man has used imagination and reason to form a framework through which a more or less cohesive reality is experienced.
Man, then, has sometimes stressed the power of imagination and let its great dramatic light illuminate physical events about him, so that they were largely seen through its cast. Exterior events in those circumstances become magnets attracting the dramatic force of the imagination. Inner events are stressed over exterior ones. The objects of the world then become important not only for what they are but because of their standing in an inner world of meaning. In such cases, of course, it becomes quite possible to go so far in that direction that the events of nature almost seem to disappear amid the weight of their symbolic content.
In recent times the trend has been in the opposite direction, so that the abilities of the imagination were considered highly suspect, while exterior events were considered the only aspects of reality. You ended up with a true-or-false kind of world, in which it seemed that the answers to the deepest questions about life could be answered quite correctly and adequately by some multiple-choice test. Man’s imagination seemed then to be allied with falsehood, unless its products could be turned to advantage in the materialistic existence. In that context, the imagination was tolerated at all only because it sometimes offered new technological inventions.
I have taken two contrasting examples of the many ways in which the powers of the imagination and those of reasoning abilities can be used. There are endless varieties, however – each subjectively and genetically possible, and many, of course, that you have not yet developed as a species.
Ruburt today received a letter from a man who would certainly be labeled a schizophrenic. Ruburt was distressed – not only by the individual’s situation, but by the philosophical implications. Why on earth, he thought, should someone form such a reality?
Now on the question of “mental disorders”, it is highly important that individual integrity be stressed, rather than the blanket definitions that are usually accorded to any group of symptoms. In many such circumstances, however, such individuals are combining the imagination and the reasoning abilities in ways that are not in keeping with their historic periods. It would not be entirely out of keeping, though somewhat exaggerated a statement, to claim that men who stockpile nuclear weapons in order to preserve peace are insane. In your society, such activities are, in a way that completely escapes me, somehow under the label of humanitarianism!
Such plans are not considered insane ones – though in the deepest meaning of that word, they are indeed. There are many reasons for such actions, but an overemphasis upon what you think of as the reasoning abilities, as opposed to what you think of as the imaginative abilities, is at least partially to blame.
In the case of the man who wrote Ruburt, we have a mixture of those characteristics in which interior events – the events of the imagination – cast too strong a light upon physical events as far as the socially accepted blend is concerned. Again, I am not speaking about all cases of mental disorder here. I do, however, want to make the point that your prized psychological norm as a species means that you must also be allowed a great leeway in the use of the imagination and the intellect. Otherwise, you could become locked into a rigid conscious stance, one in which both the imagination and the intellect could advance no further. It is vitally important that you realize the great psychological diversity that is present within your psychological behavior – and those varieties of psychological experience are necessary. They give you vital psychological feedback, and they exercise the reaches of your abilities in ways that are overall most advantageous.
The man who wrote wants to live largely in his own world. He hurts no one. He supports himself a good deal of the time. His view of reality is eccentric from most viewpoints. He adds a flavor to the world that would be missing otherwise, and through his very eccentricity, to some extent he shows other people that their rigid views of reality may indeed have chinks in them here and there.
I do not mean to idealize him either, or others of his kind, but to point out that you can use your imaginations and intellects in other fashions than you do. In fact, such fashions are not only genetically possible, but genetically probable – a matter I will discuss later in the book. The imagination, of course, deals with the implied universe, those vast areas of reality that are not physically manifest, while reason usually deals with the evidence of the world that is before it. That statement is generally true, but specifically, of course, any act of the imagination involves reasoning, and any [act] of reason involves imagination.