Of hard work, opinions, bushmen, city kids and empirical proof

What used to be called apologia

So much of what is published on the internet by apparently non-specialist writers is a chance for people to ‘air their opinions’, have an argument or engage in a dialogue, and I am not averse to the latter as long as that is what it is.

This is particularly so for subjects which are not considered to be academic, scientific or practical disciplines, subjects not protected by a body of accepted work, research, professional standards and so on. Such subjects are generally considered to be the property of anyone who cares to form an opinion, however uneducated or unresearched. I love the expression that George Gurdjieff uses to describe the liberal dissemination of such views: ‘wiseacreing’. The word is perfectly descriptive of the phenomenon.

Some of these pages are not so much a forum as a resource that I am offering from my life’s work. Therefore I will not be prefacing every statement that diverges from the cultural norm with ‘I believe’, or ‘in my opinion’. I am offering this work simply because I have sat on it for so many years that it has become a habit to generally hide it away  except in unusual circumstances or in conversation with someone who has signalled an interest. This is the extent of my apologia for what follows. If you don’t like it I invite you to close the tab on your browser.

If you have already understood that your perception of reality is filtered by a complex series of brain and neurological programmes, then please understand that this introduction does not intend to patronise you, just to be polite to the average brain and to protect and uphold my integrity.


What will be written here is based upon a lifetime of research, study, learning, teaching and living and particularly in the last four decades in a focused and dedicated engagement that includes such study according to defined and learned principles and disciplines, and is not in my view any way lesser than any other discipline in which a person might obtain a G.C.E., BA, Bsc, Bed, MA, Phd, DLitt and so on. In fact 40 years of disciplined study amounts to a lot more, to a Research or Post Doctoral Fellowship.

There is an extensive body of writings, videos, tapes and books written mostly by the man whom I will call my teacher which might one day be published as a library  although I think it likely that such a library would only comprise a certain proportion of his work (for several reasons) but this material is not generally available as far as I know, and I would have neither the rights nor the inclination to publish it for many reasons, not necessary to elucidate now.

One reason is important to know, however, and it applies universally to this set of writings also. There is no such thing as absolute ‘Truth’ with a capital ‘T’, and it is likely that this is the last time you see the word capitalised here. The Universe is a moving diagram. It is in constant development, expanding, contracting, growing and more. I perceive reality as having changed over millennia, and so its description, in order to retain integrity, must change and evolve also. Much of what is written is esoteric or gnostic or other in origin and nature and in these domains the rules of physics mathematics and logic, even the the rules of consistency, do not necessarily apply.

Furthermore things exist in different domains, some of which may be separated into octaves which means that what is true in one sphere or octave may not be true in another and often the reverse is true in the next octave. It’s in the symbol ‘X’ which if you will draw large shows 2 vectors reversing at a crossing point.

There are physical examples of this. When pilots first started to break the sound barrier they had difficulty in controlling the aircraft and in many cases the aircraft crashed until a phenomenon called control reversal was identified. As an example this meant that instead of pushing the stick left to go left, they had to push it right. Many other phenomena such as a change in the power-to-weight ratio of the propeller in propeller-driven aircraft also applied, a problem for which the jet-turbine engine became a solution.

The law of octaves is apparent in the behaviour and properties of matter in different states of solid, liquid and gaseous, the unexpected behaviour of mercury at room temperature, of freezing water, even of the algorithms that govern musical tones, vibrations and harmonics, which is as close to the meaning of octave as you can get. Then again at the arcane levels of non-Newtonian physics we encounter paradoxes and anomalies that are music to my love of reality and sense of awe.

Another application is that as a person develops in faculty, perception and other ways that affect her/his position in relation to other things, phenomena and understandings, what they may perceive and express one year on a specific matter may well be perceived and expressed quite differently the next.

Lessons from Bushmen and city-kids

Laurens Van der Post, author of books on and student of the Kalahari bushmen, told a story about the time he invited a group of bushmen to see a film of themselves that had been made. They were ushered into a theatre, and when the lights dimmed they all turned to face the source of light, the projector. They were then invited to sit in the seats and face the screen, and the documentary was shown.

At the end, Laurens asked them “What did you think of yourselves?” They all giggled (unspoiled bushmen giggle a lot), and when the question was repeated one of them said “What do you mean? What should we think of ourselves?” Massive giggles. “I mean the moving pictures of yourselves on that screen”, to which one answered “Oh, you mean all those pretty coloured lights? We enjoyed them!” They saw what was there quite accurately, not what their brains had been programmed to see.

The assumptions our culture makes based upon what we have been programmed to expect, to think and to interpret make the reception of anything outside our culture difficult. I bet that in the company of those bushmen they would be saying to us “Can’t you see that antelope? It’s right there behind those grasses!” Nor could we find water without a divining rod, but to an unspoiled bushman it is a regular occurrence.

I had a similar experience with a group of city-wise children from London when I was asked to drive them to Woburn Safari Park. I stopped at one point as on the distant horizon I spotted a herd of giraffe feeding from the top leaves of some trees. They were quite clear against the sky if you focused your eyes correctly. For at least a minute, in some cases more, none of the children could see them until I and one of their mothers had been to some pains to get them to really look and to extend their focus. My understanding of this phenomenon was that these children were not used to picking out detail on a horizon that far away, possibly half a kilometre, because they were so rarely asked to. Their brains had not learned to do so in a dense, urban environment. The ramifications of this and related educational poverty that abounds will be examined elsewhere.

We are deeply conditioned not just to expect cultural norms of behaviour but of perception and interpretation, of the consistent stories about reality that we are fed. Throughout the last two centuries this reality has become harder, more sharply defined, more exclusive. The culprit is what passes for education.

First saying from my teacher:

You can only enjoy your life according to the extent and quality of your education.

Empirical and downright different

Much that is going to be written here runs quite contrary to, adjacent to, offset to or very differently to accepted cultural norms as they have developed particularly from the 19th through the 20th centuries to this point. Throughout my life I have encountered a majority of people who want ‘proof’ for everything, and although attitudes among some specific groups are changing, I still hear this today.

In fact there are some people, many quite well-known, who become quite angry, and even one or two who aggressively pursue opportunities to totally ‘disprove’ and ridicule anything that that does not pass their scientific scrutiny.  This latter behaviour I consider to be a disorder, an irrational reaction to an unfortunate upbringing or set of experiences, such as a dominating mother who believes absolutely in the spirits that guide her every decision or a catholic father who intimidates his offspring into accepting his faith as gospel, forcing them to go to church schools, mass and the whole nine yards.

But who is more likely to survive a year in an Amazon jungle? A well-educated, proof-seeking professor of botany, anthropology or zoology or an adult native of the region?

If that is the kind of proof you seek, then you are in the wrong place. If what you seek is argument, then you will not find it here. If you believe in your opinion more than your senses, well….. have a good life.

The Land and Teachings of La-la

However, neither will you find mushy escapism or the fashionable flashing or indiscriminate bandying about of mystical or cool terminology or  buzzwords. Language is vital, and many important terms will be defined while some of the writings will contain language that is hard work. The language of our culture, even the rhythms and colour of it may not always be up to the task, but I will try to keep it as simple as possible, to offer reference and analogy, and stories and yet, to quote my teacher, there will be times when I have to confuse the truth so that it can be understood in time and in the right way.

Please understand that as much as possible what I will write here will be from an established platform of my experience from my perception of reality and from my outlook, like looking out from a spotting platform high over the forest. I offer everyone the respect that I expect in return, and while I have not planned to close the pages from comments, I will be monitoring them and removing abusive or aggressive material, as well as anything which may strike me as delusional and/or misguided, damaging or dangerous.

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