(Alchemical Landscape – Laurel Price)
Tis the 5th of September and school is coming down the pike for many a kid….
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God As Consciousness Without An Object – John Lilly
Poetry: Lady Mary Wroth
Lady Mary Wroth, an exception in her time with the most exquisite of poesy…. This edition is dedicated to her, and her works…
GOD AS CONSCIOUSNESS-WITHOUT-AN-OBJECT
by John C. Lilly
Within the last two years I have come to know a man and his work who run counter to my own simulations and by whom I am influenced beyond previous influences. In 1936, Franklin Merrell-Wolff wrote a journal that was later published as Pathways Through to Space. In 1970 he wrote another book called The Philosophy 0f Consciousness-Without-an-Object.1 In studying his works, and the chronicle of his personal experience I arrived at some places new for me.
Wolff had been through the Vedanta training, through the philosophy of Shankara; he knew the philosophy of Kant and others of the Western world; and he spent twenty-five years working to achieve a state of Nirvana, Enlightenment, Samadhi, and so forth. In 1936 he succeeded in this transformation and with varying success maintained it over the subsequent years. He is an amazingly peaceful man now in his eighties. Meeting him, I felt the influence of his transformation, of his recognitions, of some sort of current flowing through me. I felt a peace which I have not felt in my own searchings; a certain peculiar kind of highly indifferent contentment took place, and yet the state was beyond contentment, beyond the usual human happiness, beyond bliss, beyond pleasure. This is the state that he calls the state of “High Indifference.” He experienced this at his third level of recognition, beyond Nirvana, beyond Bliss. His perceptions in this state are recounted in The Philosophy of Consciousness-Without-an-Object.
In his chapter “Aphorisms on Consciousness-With- out-an-Object” Merrell-Wolff expresses his discoveries in a series of sutra-like sentences, The first one is: “Consciousness-without-an-object is.” The culmination of the series is that Consciousness-without-an-object is SPACE. This is probably the most abstract and yet the most satifying way of looking at the universe which I have come across anywhere. If one pursues this type of thinking and feeling and gets into the introceptive spaces, the universe originates on a ground, a substrate of Consciousness-Without-an-Object: the basic fabric of the universe beyond space, beyond time, beyond topology, beyond matter, beyond energy, is Consciousness. Consciousness without any form, without any reification, without any realization.
In a sense, Merrell-Wolff is saying that the Star Maker is Consciousness-Without-an-Object. He does not give hints to how objects are created out of Consciousness-Without-an-Object. He does not give hints to how an individual consciousness is formed out of Consciousness-Without-an-Object. The details of these processes were not his primary interest. His primary interest apparently was in arriving at a basic set of assumptions upon which all else can be built. In this sense he is like Einstein, bringing the relativity factor into the universe out of Newton’s absolutes.
If we are a manifestation of Consciousness-Without-an-Object, and if, as Wolff says, we can go back into Consciousness-Without-an-Object, then my rather pessimistic view that we are merely noisy animals is wrong. If there is some way that we can work our origins out of the basic ground of the universe, bypassing our ideas that the evolutionary process generates us by generating our brains–if there is some contact, some connection between us and Consciousness-Without-an-Object and the Void, and if we can make that contact, that connection known to ourselves individually, as Wolff claims, then there is possible far more hope and optimism than I ever believed in the past. If what he says is true, we have potential far beyond that I have imagined we could possibly have. If what he says is true, we can be and realize our being as part of the Star Maker.
It may be that Wolff, like all the rest of us, is doing an over-valuation of his own abstractions. It may be that he is generating, i.e., seif-metaprogramming, states of his own mind and those of others in which the ideals of the race are reified as thought objects, as programs, as realities, as states of consciousness. It may be that this is all we can do. If this is all we can do, maybe we had better do it and see if there is anything beyond this by doing it.
If by getting into a state of High Indifference, of Nirvana, Samadhi, or Satori, then one can function as a teaching example to others and it may be that if a sufficiently large number of us share this particular set of metaprograms we may be able to survive our own alternative dichotomous spaces of righteous wrath. If righteous wrath must go as a non-surviving program for the human species, then it may be that High Indifference is a reasonable alternative.
Setting up a hierarchy of states of consciousness with High Indifference at the top, Nirvana next, Satori next, Samadhi next, and Ananda at the bottom is an interesting game, especially when one becomes capable of moving through all these spaces and staying a sufficient time in each to know it.
This may be a better game than killing our neighbors because they do not believe in our simulations of God. At least those who espouse these states claim that these states are above any other human aspiration; that once one has experienced them, he is almost unfit for wrath, for pride, for arrogance, for power over others, for group pressure exerted either upon oneself or upon others. One becomes fit only for teaching these states to those who are ready to learn them. The bodhisattva vow is no longer necessary for those who have had direct experience. One becomes the bodhisattva without the vow. One becomes Buddha without being Buddha.
One becomes content with the minimum necessities for survival on the planetside trip; one cuts back on his use of unnecessary articles-machines, gadgets, and devices. He no longer needs motion pictures, television, dishwashers, or other luxuries. One no longer needs much of what most people value above all else. One no longer needs the excitement of war. One no longer needs to be a slave to destructive thoughts or deeds. One no longer needs to organize.
Krishnamurti’s story of the Devil is pertinent here. Laura Huxley furnished me with a copy of it. The Devil was walking down the street with a friend, and they saw a man pick something up, look at it carefully and put it in his pocket. The friend said to the Devil, “What’s that?” The Devil said, “He has found a bit of the truth.” The friend said, “Isn’t that bad for your business?” The Devil said, “No, I am going to arrange to have him organize it.”
So it behooves us not to organize either the methods or the states which Wolff describes so well. It is better not to try to devise groups, techniques, churches, places, or other forms of human organization to encourage, foster, or force upon others these states. If these states are going to do anything with humanity, they must “creep by contagion,” as it were, from one individual to the next.
God as Consciousness-Without-an-Object, if real, will be apperceived and introcepted by more and more of us as we turn toward the inner realities within each of us. If God as Consciousness-Without-an-Object inhabits each of us, we eventually will see this. We will become universally aware. We will realize consciousness as being everywhere and eternal. We will realize that Consciousness-Without-an-Object in each of us is prejudiced and biased because it has linked up with a human brain.
1. Merrell-Wolif, Franklin, Pathways Through to Space, and The Philosophy of Consciousness- Without-an-Object, both New York: Julian-Press, 1973.
Dr. John C. Lilly, M.D., Simulations of God
Poetry: Lady Mary Wroth
Fie tedious Hope, why doe you still rebell?
Fie tedious Hope, why doe you still rebell?
Is it not yet enough you flatter’d me,
But cunningly you seeke to use a Spell
How to betray; must these your Trophees bee?
I look’d from you farre sweeter fruite to see,
But blasted were your blossomes when they fell:
And those delights expected from hands free,
Wither’d and dead, and what seemd blisse proves hell.
No Towne was won by a more plotted slight,
Then I by you, who may my fortune write,
In embers of that fire which ruin’d me:
Thus Hope your falshood calls you to be tryde,
You’r loth, I see, the tryall to abide;
Prove true at last, and gaine your liberty.
Flye hence, O Joy, no longer heere abide
Flye hence, O Joy, no longer heere abide,
Too great thy pleasures are for my despaire
To looke on, losses now must prove my fare;
Who not long since on better foode relide.
But foole, how oft had I Heav’ns changing spi’de
Before of mine owne fate I could have care:
Yet now past time I can too late beware,
When nothings left but sorrowes faster ty’de.
While I enjoyd that Sunne, whose sight did lend
Me joy, I thought that day could have no end:
But soone a night came cloath’d in absence darke;
Absence more sad, more bitter then is gall,
Or death, when on true Lovers it doth fall;
Whose fires of love, disdaine reasts poorer sparke
You blessed shades, which give me silent rest
You blessed shades, which give me silent rest,
Witnes but this when death hath clos’d mine eyes,
And separated me from earthly tyes;
Being from hence to higher place adrest.
How oft in you I have laine heere opprest?
And have my miseries in wofull cryes
Deliver’d forth, mounting up to the Skyes?
Yet helplesse, backe return’d to wound my brest.
Which wounds did but strive how to breed more harm
To me, who can be cur’d by no one charme
But that of Love, which yet may me releeve;
If not, let Death my former paines redeeme,
My trusty friends, my faith untouch’d, esteeme,
And witnesse I could love, who so could grieve.
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How fast thou fliest, O Time, on Loves swift wings
How fast thou fliest, O Time, on Loves swift wings,
To hopes of joy, that flatters our desire:
Which to a Lover still contentment brings;
Yet when we should injoy, thou dost retire.
Thou stay’st thy pace (false Time) from our desire
When to our ill thou hast’st with Eagles wings:
Slow only to make us see thy retire
Was for Despaire, and harme, which sorrow brings.
O slake thy pace, and milder passe to Love,
Be like the Bee, whose wings she doth but use
To bring home profit; masters good to prove,
Laden, and weary, yet againe pursues.
So lade thy selfe with hony of sweet joy,
And do not me the Hive of Love destroy.
Lady Mary Wroth
Lady Mary Wroth was born Mary Sidney, on October 18, 1587, into a family connected to the royal courts of Elizabeth I and James I. She was the daughter of Sir Robert Sidney, later Earl of Leicester, and Lady Barbara Gamage. She is best known as the first English woman to write a full-length prose romance and a sonnet sequence, departing from traditional “women’s” genres such as epitaph and translation. Her work helped to open up the English literary world to women, and allowed female writers to move beyond pious subject matter (Beilin 212).
Like other girls of her day, Wroth did not attend school. But unlike most, she was taught at home by private tutors. Her mother was known as a patron of the arts, and in 1973 a previously unknown manuscript containing 66 poems written by her father was discovered. Wroth was also heavily influenced by her father’s literary siblings. Her uncle, Sir Philip Sidney, was famous as a soldier, statesman and poet, and her aunt, Mary Sidney, Countess of Pembroke, both composed her own and revised and edited her brother’s works.
In contrast to Mary Wroth’s literary family, her husband, Sir Robert Wroth, whom she married in 1604, had little to do with the arts. He preferred hunting and the life of the court. Husband and wife often clashed, though as much as Wroth grew to detest Sir Robert, his friendship with the King brought her into a close contact with Queen Anne (Roberts, Dictionary of Literary Biography 121: 297). She performed with the Queen in court masques early in James’ reign, including Ben Jonson’s Masque of Blackness, in January of 1605. Jonson even dedicated The Alchemist (1612) to Wroth.
As a poet, Wroth reversed the customary gender roles of the sonnet sequence. The complaining Petrarchan lover attempting to court a cool, unwilling woman is replaced, in Pamphilia to Amphilanthus, by a woman who wrestles with her own emotions and with the absence of her beloved. In Wroth’s own life the role of Amphilanthus seems to have been played by her first cousin, William Herbert, third earl of Pembroke, the father of two of Wroth’s three children. In contrast to Wroth’s husband, Herbert was a renowned patron of the arts. Sir Robert Wroth seems either to have been ignorant of, or untroubled by, this liaison; he named Pembroke as an executor of his will, and referred to Wroth as a “deere and loving wife.” After Robert Wroth’s death in 1614, Mary was left heavily in debt. She could not longer afford the lavish expenses attendance at court demanded, and she was plagued by vicious rumours, which led eventually to her fall from favour with Queen Anne. For a time Wroth lived in Pembroke’s London home.
Turning to writing after her alienation from the court, Wroth produced Urania, a pastoral romance containing thinly veiled references to court figures. To this work she appended the sonnet sequence Pamphilia to Amphilanthus. The book was dedicated to another friend and literary patron, Pembroke’s sister-in-law, Susan (Vere) Herbert, Countess of Montgomery. One reader of the Urania, Sir Edward Denny, took the romance to contain an account of his own infidelities, and his complaints to the King succeeded in having Wroth’s book removed from circulation. The controversy did not end Wroth’s writing career, however, and she produced a pastoral tragicomedy, Love’s Victory, in the mid 1620s. Wroth spent the last years of her life in seclusion, and died in 1653, at the age of 66.