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Does it matter? Essays on man’s relation to materiality

Watts (DM) – Vibrações

On Selecting Vibrations

terça-feira 29 de março de 2022, por Cardoso de Castro


Você ainda não está pronto para admitir que o que você quer e o que você não quer são um e o mesmo processo? . . . Que como o reconhecimento de uma figura requer um pano de fundo, o sentido de ser “si mesmo  ” requer a apreensão   de que existe algo “outro” e externo, e que a conquista de qualquer tipo de poder, sucesso ou controle não pode ser vivenciada à parte um contrato perpétuo de fracasso, surpresa e imprevisibilidade? . . . Que, portanto, todos os nossos projetos pretensiosos de poder sobre as circunstâncias   são uma espécie de brincadeira ou jogo   que, se levado a sério  , leva ao caos   e à violência – expressando pura raiva   por não poder resolver um problema que era absurdo desde o início?


Are you yet ready to admit that what you will and what you won’t are one and the same process? . . . That as the recognition of a figure requires a background, the sense   of being “oneself ” requires the apprehension that there is something “other” and external, and that the achievement of any kind of power, success, or control cannot be experienced apart from a perpetual contract of failure, surprise, and unpredictability? . . . That, therefore, all our pretentious projects for power over circumstance are a sort of joke or game which, if taken seriously, lead to mayhem and violence—expressing sheer rage at being unable to solve a problem which was absurd from the beginning?

If there is any meaning to the doctrine of Original Sin, transmitted from generation to generation from Adam   and Eve, it is simply that all infants are brainwashed or hypnotized by their parents and teachers, elders and betters, into the notion that survival is a frantic necessity. They are taught, by adult reactions and attitudes, that certain experiences of high tension or vibration are to be regarded as “painful” and “bad” because they may be precursors of the monstrous event of death, which absolutely should not happen  . Let me cite only two examples of this basic brainwashing to illustrate its fundamental principle— both of them down to what we are now calling the “nitty-gritty” level of things.

We now know that a woman giving birth to a baby does not have to go through “labor pains.” She can be mentally reoriented to experience what was formerly called pain as orgiastic tension, and therefore find the sensation of birth as erotically arousing as was the sensation of conception. Adults are wont to impress all infants with the vast importance of having regular bowel movements, but when the infant, with understandable pride, complies and does his production, the adults turn up their noses and complain of the stink. What on earth, he wonders, do these mysterious grownups really want?

They do not know. They have never thought it consistently through. The point, however, is that the cosmos is a complex, multidimensional system of vibrations arranged in crisscrossing spectra, as in weaving, and from these—as in playing a harp—we pluck and choose those that are to be considered valuable, important, or pleasant, ignoring or repressing those which (under the rules of our not always well  –considered games) we deem unimportant or offensive. “Negative” experiences—which may include physical pain, death, vomiting, dizziness, or even sexual lust (according to taste)—are to be avoided, in the same way and sense that the rules of classical Western music excluded the augmented fourth (e.g., C to F sharp) as a permissible interval.

Liberation, in the Buddhist sense of nirvana   or the Hindu of moksha  , is the realization that ultimately, it doesn’t really matter what strings are plucked or what vibrations occur. Thus a great yogi can face   torture with equanimity for the very reason that he can allow himself to writhe and scream, and to dislike the experience immensely. He trusts his nature—that is, Nature itself—to do whatever is appropriate under the circumstances. He knows that energy always takes the line of least resistance, and that all motion is essentially gravity or falling. His basic commitment is therefore to what Ananda Coomaraswamy   called “the perpetual uncalculated life in the present.”

This, however, does not deny the value of culture, art, and morality. On the contrary, it is their essential basis in somewhat the same way that a clean, blank page is the essential basis for writing poetry. Every writer, every poet, loves white paper. As nature abhors a vacuum it sucks out one’s creative energy, and this is why the Heart Sutra   of Mahayana Buddhism   asserts that emptiness (or void or space) is form, and that form is emptiness.

Now then, to see that we live in a universe where, basically, “anything goes  ” is what the Mahayana calls prajna   or intuitive wisdom. But the inseparable handmaid of prajna is karuna  , compassion, which is asking the question: “Given a universe in which anything goes, what are the most lovely, generous, and exuberant things we can do?” Why not ask the opposite question: “What are the most horrible and hateful deeds we can perpetrate?” The answer is irrational or perhaps supra–rational. It is that the whole system of vibration spectra, although comprising intensities of experience that we now call pure agony, is a celebration of love and delight which, were it otherwise, would simply not go on happening. The so–called instinct for survival, for going on and on because one must, is a parody of this celebration—undertaken by beings who doggedly believe themselves to be strangers in the cosmos and victims of its machinations. The beautiful task of a bodhisattva is precisely to deliver them from this belief.

If you get with yourself, get with gravity, get with energy (following its line of least resistance), you will discover that all the vibrations of nature are ecstatic, erotic, or blissful. Existence is orgasm. This is why the Vedanta   philosophy terms the vibration-system sat-chit  -ananda— reality-awareness-ecstasy. The naturally falling, simply and effortlessly given you, is Nature itself; it is not something trapped in the energy system of the world: it is that very system. Death does not abolish you; it is one term or end of the spectrum that is you. Energy cannot be stopped because energy is vibration, and vibration is exactly starting/stopping or on–and–off. Existence includes both being and non-being, solid and space, form and void.

Following the line of least resistance is, of course, easy; but it requires intelligence. It is not followed by imitating some preconceived notion of spontaneous behavior. Such imitations have been covering the walls of Western art galleries for thirty years, and many have affected spontaneity by copying forms of conduct supposed to be characteristic of animals. (Real animals, incidentally, have far higher standards of behavior than human beings. Consider the dolphins. And the sharks don’t fly out of the water   to eat us.)

Indeed, the flow patterns of water are a basic model for the conduct of life, for which reason Lao-tzu   repeatedly uses water as a symbol of the Tao  —which “loves and nourishes all things, but does not lord it over them,” and which “flows always to that lowest level which men abhor.” Read Theodore Schwenk’s marvelous book Sensitive Chaos   (London, Rudolph Steiner Press, 1965), which shows how the flow patterns of gases and liquids are basic to every form of life, how shells and bones are sculptures commemorating the forms of liquid lilt. This is the far-in meaning of Shakespeare  ’s saying that “there is a tide in the affairs of men which, taken at its flood, leads on to fortune.” For tune, for harmony, one follows the lead, the weight, of the river.

Loco è laggiù da Belzebù remoto
tanto, quanto la tomba si distende,
che non per vista, ma per suono è noto
D’un ruscelletto che quivi discende
per la buca d’un sasso, ch’egli ha roso
col corso ch’egli avvolge, e poco pende.
Lo Duca ed io per quel cammino ascoso
entrammo a ritornar nel chiaro mondo. [Inferno, 34. 127–34]

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