When we live in expectation and we are presented with a situation which does not meet our expectations, that is, the situation in front of us is not a mechanical event, our view of the world is challenged. If our view of the world is challenged, we feel threatened.
Some books are written for people who seek knowledge of the contents.
Some books are written for those who already know the contents: to articulate, clarify and recapitulate what they already know.
Sometimes, these two kinds of book are within the same covers.
Currently I'm in the attic. I have always wanted to have a room in the attic. This is not quite a penthouse with access to a roof garden - the Garden of Paradise - but up here I have a very different sense of perspective. The field of vision is very much further than downstairs. Regrettably, we don't have a cellar, but we do have a wonderful old cupboard under the very old stairs which will make do as a wine cellar when the boxes in there have been cleared.
In the village store this morning I was introduced to our neighbourhood bobby. PC Geoff has responsibility for 3 villages, he told me, and was surprised at my appearance. PC Geoff has been informed that from time to time an undue and inappropriate interest is taken in the lives of my Wife & myself. He expected that this Dorset Diarist, that Appalling Venal Rock Person known and despised by all those personally familiar with KC, RF & DGM activities, would be sporting more of a -- well, PC Geoff didn't quite describe in full detail the spandex, leather, hair of an extensive nature, decorative rings, and other appurtenances appropriate to the condition of guitarist with King Crimson. He did say: "You look more like a vicar".
The last time I spoke with Rafi Zabor, at the end of a Sylvian-Fripp show in New York (1993), Rafi commented: "You look more and more like an unfrocked priest". Dear Rafi: one of the sharpest writers currently breathing (author of "The Bear"). Actually, I feel more and more like an unfrocked priest.
My reply to PC Geoff was the story of the Rev. Stanley Epps, vicar of Wimborne Minster, and who prepared me for confirmation in the Church of England by the Bishop of Salisbury (at age 12). The Rev. Epps told my Mother to "make sure your son keeps up his Latin". Following confirmation, I became a server (an Anglican altar boy) at the Minster, and helped officiating priests to serve communion. Mostly, this was on the low altar to an empty crypt. My Mother recognised in his comment that the Rev. Epps saw in her young son a future priest.
In an English period house, the attic is where servants were housed. The ceilings are normally quite low, and there is little possibility of formal or classical decor. So, to apply a Guitar Craft aphorism - "turn a seeming disadvantage to your advantage" - an attic is an opportunity for informal and eclectic dÈcor.
I have turned this particular attic room into a functioning space, with a table or two at which I can write, a small amp, a small hi-fi, a small Zoom effects unit, more bookcases than I should have, books which address my closer concerns, too many chairs, and small items of furniture which I treasure. A wonderful, practical, useful jumble sufficiently apart from the rest of the house that I cannot hear other people thinking, nor do I feel their negative feelings, nor do I sense their physical presence. All of this is internal perception. Nor do I hear the telephone ring. Nor the front door. All of that is external perception.
Those who doubt "preternatural sensitivities" doubt them because these sensitivities are not a regular feature part of their daily lives. Or to put this slightly differently: for most of us, they are, but we discount & overrule these sensitivities with the everyday mind. These sensitivities are born in all of us, but we are trained to disbelieve, to ignore, to discard, to doubt this particular kind of perception. This is more the working of the intuitive mind, where the heart joins the head in the sorting of sense perceptions. Everyday mind is verbal-intellectual: it translates experience into words, and works by word-association. This has the effect of translating three-dimensional experiencing into one-dimensional commentary.
A training in craft, or discipline, reverses the direction & gives primacy to perceptions which escape the censoring, organising and limiting effects of everyday mind. But, in a practical context. Acting on irrational impulses is not quite the same as learning to trust the intuitive perception. So, a bona fide training provides a monitoring context - an instructor, teacher, and/or community of those with greater experience - to help prevent students becoming barking loons.
And now I've brought up yet another small treasure of furniture: an art nouveau 3-tier screen to protect two book cabinets from direct sunlight. Wish. But in the summer, maybe the sun will return and smile. Meanwhile, it's cold up here.
The Smith of Sidneys and I had a further exchange last night, in addition to the Crimfo for his Encylopedia Of Matters Crimson.
RF: Dear Sid, I heard you sending me the e-mail. Preternatural or what?
The Smith of Sidneys: Hi Robert. I'll tell you what is weird about this e-mail. . .it came into my head to write it out of the blue AND I had a feeling that you were there. I swear i'm not making this up. I mean I know you're in the UK at the moment but I don't mean it like that. I just knew you were "there" - and no I haven't been at the left-over mulled wine.
(RF interjection) -- The Sidney then began to rationalise and doubt his experience & sent me another e-mail which I do not include. Tut tut I say. So my further response to Sid's further response --
RF: Your first sense was the right one. You were sensing intention & presence. Now, you have an experience of what life in Crimson is like. This is how communication works on the level where it works. "Normally" this is how it is for artists. The emphasis is on normally - most of the life of the player is abnormal.
When a flash goes off, I register the intention. When a flash doesn't go off, the intention still registers, but I can't rationalise why I'm experiencing the experience I'm experiencing. But, after all these years, I don't have to defend "artistic" sensibilities. So you shouldn't either! xxxR.
The draft lecture continues. How much to address the notion of worlds? These are the "places" which correspond to our personal centre of gravity. Like, the basement, or garden floor (US first floor), first (UK) or second (US) floor, and penthouse.
When we enter a practice, or training in discipline, we learn to differentiate between states and stations. States are where we are in this moment, station is where we live. We might consider a "state" to be where we are visiting.
Even if we live in the basement, it is possible for us to experience a finer world, a world of greater subtlety of perception and experiencing. The subtle world is always present within us: it's a question of us knowing that directly. The first aim of any discipline is to create a bridge between the subtle, which is omnipresent, and the material, which is transitory but where we live for a period of years. The creation of this "bridge" then enables the subtle to connect directly with the material world. The creation of the bridge is in potential: there is no inevitability about this taking place, nor does this occur by happy accident.
As our personal "bridge" begins to cohere, and to become increasingly "substantial", our movement between worlds increases. That is, our experiencing becomes deeper, richer. The "existence" of these more subtle "worlds" is no longer a matter of conjecture, argument, "to be debated by reasonable people". This is a fact.
Everything changes as we "move world". The "price of admission" is different in each world. Each world has a different kind of experiential time, for example. Communication is different in each world. If we combine time and communication, in the creative world communication is instantaneous. Last night Sid & I bumped heads in the Crim Zone. Doesn't mean we live there - we got to visit. That's what it is.
If we find ourselves inside the creative world, our lives can never be the same again. If we have been standing by when music leant over and took us into its confidence, music can never be the same again. If an angel did descend from the heavens on a chariot of fire and blow a trumpet of gold in my ear, nothing will ever be the same again. Nothing. I will suffer, and endure, and persist, and I will not accept that this life offers anything less than what I know it might be. And for this, I pay a price. I pay the price, ahead of time, for admission to that world, even for only one more time. And the suffering, the indignity, the cynicism, the hostility, and the sheer nastiness of professional life, burns away our dross - in time. Then, in time, something changes. If we are not willing to have our resolve tested through long, endlessly long, periods and years of seeming rejection by our Friend, our Beloved, then let us enjoy the riches of the everyday life already available, already on offer. These riches are substantial, and natural, and our right to enjoy them is already a given. But if we need more than Paradise, the price is high and tempered as a measure of our personal necessity.
In Greenwich Village, New York, one Saturday afternoon during March 1978 in the company of Karen Durbin, M. Mark and Jon Carroll - three exceptionally bright writers and editors - I visited the Vibratory Chamber - and, while there, took the decision to no longer censor my intelligence. This from an Englishman, freed from England and the oppressing Englishness of constant negativity, criticism, envy, resentment, and an Englishman trained in the concealment of personal merit, however pitiful, and aspiration, however lofty. You can do that kind of thing in America. Like, aim high and know you have the chance to realise your aim.
In Deepest Dorset, one Friday afternoon / evening in January 2001, I realise that I have taken a decision: I am no longer prepared to censor who I am.
Those with experience in a practice will know & recognise, in the above comment, it is in the nature of decision-making to know that a decision has been taken, but that the actual moment in which the decision is taken, is invisible. The interesting question is, who has taken the decision? The answer is clear, and invisible.
Draft Excerpt One:
Each world has its own kind of time. The material world knows time as linear, as measured and measurable. Our bodies are born, move through a period of years, and then die. We become familiar with the experience of sequential time. Were we to suddenly experience eternity in terms of our everyday linear experiencing, for example, we may experience this as an unbearable acceleration of information. The acceleration of the associational mind, throwing up an encyclopaedia of spreading information flows in response to every particular thought, might drive us mad if we were unable to unplug.
Draft Excerpt Two:
a) Conventionally and traditionally, these four qualities of working, or experiencing, or doing, or states of presence, or states of consciousness, are referred to as "worlds".
The automatic, mechanical, or habitual, world.
The world of awareness, or alertness, or sensitivity.
The conscious world, where we become aware of our awareness.
The creative world. I'll say nothing on this now, assuming that we all know what we understand by the word, while knowing that actually we don't.
Key words which relate to these worlds:
sleep and accident;
noticing and contact;
separation, judgement, intention and decision;
ex nihilo. Literally, out of nothing. Where did that come from?
The automatic world is also referred to as the world of sleep. It is not possible to exaggerate the terrors of this condition for the human being.
The world of awareness, of alertness, begins when we realise that we were asleep. We only know we were asleep when we have woken up. This experience is called "noticing". This is where the proper life of a human being begins.
The conscious world is where we know our knowing, feel our feeling, see our seeing: all at once. It is where we separate from what we are, and know that who we are is not what we are.
The creative world is beyond our knowing, but we can become aware of its presence in us. Sometimes, we even find ourselves in it. Our response to a "creative accident" might be: "where did that come from?"
These states of experiencing are also sometimes referred to as the floors of our house: the basement, garden or first floor US), first floor (UK or second floor US) and penthouse.
Each has a perspective available to it that includes the prior perspective, and each has a different experience of time. As we move up the house, time widens. The penthouse has access to the roof garden.
b) The world the human automaton experiences, perceives and receives is not the world as it is, but the world we believe it to be. This belief is based on expectation.
Expectation is a prison. Expectation has the characteristic that we neither see the world as it is, in its "living" moment; nor as it was, in a frozen historic moment. When our expectations are challenged, or confronted, our mechanical world is threatened. Our response may be hostility.
The automatic world I inhabit may be threatening, supportive, welcoming, rejecting, a wonderful place to be, a wretched place to be. But, it is not the world as it is. It holds this danger: we are held responsible for our actions, whether intentional or not.
Intentional action generates intentional results, as well as unintentional consequences. Where our behaviour is intentional, we are generally able to manage the unintended consequences. Another way of putting this is that intentional results tend to balance unintentional consequences.
Unintentional actions generate only unintended consequences, unbalanced by the results of intentional action. In time, the inevitable consequences of unintentional action may well sweep us away, and "I was asleep when I said / did it" is not a defence.
If we accept the notion that the creative impulse is benevolent, and intelligent, the fact that we are not swept away by the repercussions of our dopey activities, as often as we deserve, may be attributed to redemption. And redemption belongs to another world.
c) Garden floor
We are only aware that we were in the basement when we have left it. This is "noticing". This is the experience of waking up.
The world of awareness, or sensitivity, or alertness, or being awake, is where we are in contact with what is going on within us, and without. We are in contact with the sense of the presence of life within our bodies, with our thinking, and with our feeling lives. We are in contact with the stream of impressions from the sense organs.
This does not confer the power of intentional action, but at least we are aware of where we are and what's happening to us. Then, we have an opportunity.
The shift that takes place, from the automatic, dull, habitual and mechanical world of somnambulant living, is when we notice. This is how we know we have been asleep: we are now awake. While we are asleep, we are not aware that we are asleep.
One of the dangerous forms of sleep is the dream that we are awake. This nightmare is particularly prevalent in the early stages of acquiring discipline, when the capacity to focus and direct energies is beginning to be developed, but conscience is not yet engaged. The elementary development of psychic powers, without conscience, makes us a possible danger to others. This is only one of the reasons why a practice requires supervision by someone with greater experience than ourselves.