The Life Divine – Reading Group, Session #11 [8/16]


Reading

Book Two: The Knowledge and the Ignorance—The Spiritual Evolution

Chapter 7: The Knowledge and the Ignorance
Chapter 8: Memory, Self-Consciousness and the Ignorance
Chapter 9: Memory, Ego and Self-Experience

Pages 499–542 (or 498)

How to Participate

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I can’t attend this one because I am super important and got things to do, but I read along and will be there the week after

I also have to skip this one, with regrets.

Posting a few of the referenced quotes in yesterday’s conversation. I have been reflecting upon these three in particular since we left the call.


@johnnydavis54 's reading from the opening quote in Chapter 8: Memory, Ego and Self-Experience:

Here this God, the Mind, in its dream experiences again and again what once was experienced; what has been seen and what has not been seen, what has been heard and what has not been heard, what has been experienced and what has not been experienced, what is and what is not, all it sees, it is all and sees.
—Prasna Upanishad.


@Matteo’s reading of “The Goal” from Aurobindo’s writings (source?)

When we have passed beyond knowings, then we shall have Knowledge.
Reason was the helper; Reason is the bar.
When we have passed beyond willings, then we shall have Power. Effort was the helper; Effort is the bar.
When we have passed beyond enjoyings, then we shall have Bliss. Desire was the helper; Desire is the bar.
When we have passed beyond individualising, then we shall be real Persons. Ego was the helper; Ego is the bar.
When we have passed beyond humanity, then we shall be the Man. The Animal was the helper; the Animal is the bar.
Transform reason into ordered intuition; let all thyself be light. This is thy goal.
Transform effort into an easy and sovereign overflowing of the soul-strength; let all thyself be conscious force. This is thy goal.
Transform enjoying into an even and objectless ecstasy; let all thyself be bliss. This is thy goal.
Transform the divided individual into the world-personality; let all thyself be the divine. This is thy goal.
Transform the Animal into the Driver of the herds; let all thyself be Krishna. This is thy goal.


@madrush’s closing of the conversation with Chapter 8’s final paragraph:

Time is the great bank of conscious existence turned into values of experience and action: the surface mental being draws upon the past (and the future also) and coins it continually into the present; he accounts for and stores up the gains he has gathered in what we call the past, not knowing however present is the past in us; he uses as much of it as he needs as coin of knowledge and realised being and pays it out as coin of mental, vital and physical action in the commerce of the present which creates to his view the new wealth of the future. Ignorance is a utilization of the Being’s self-knowledge in such a way as to make it valuable for Time-experience and valid for Time-activity; what we do not know is what we have not yet taken up, coined and used in our mental experience or have ceased to coin or use. Behind, all is known and all is ready for use according to the will of the Self in its dealings with Time and Space and Causality. One might almost say that our surface being is only the deeper eternal Self in us throwing itself out as the adventurer in Time, a gambler and speculator in infinite possibilities, limiting itself to the succession of moments so that it may have all the surprise and delight of the adventure, keeping back its self-knowledge and complete self-being so that it may win again what it seems to have lost, reconquering all itself through the chequered joy and pain of an aeonic passion and seeking and endeavour.

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Someone recommended a Hemingway short story and I couldn’t remember the title when I was at the bookstore. Thoughts?

I don’t recall the Hemingway mention, but your reference to Borges led me to re-read “Funes, the Memorious” (and a few other ficciones) last night. What brilliance. I was reminded that Funes is not only a story about hyper-memory, but also hyper-perception, or perhaps, what we’ve studied elsewhere (The Minor Gesture) as “autistic perception.”

Of Funes, Borges writes:

He was, let us not forget, almost incapable of general, platonic ideas. It was not only difficult for him to understand that the generic term dog embraced so many unlike specimens of differing sizes and different forms; he was disturbed by the fact that a dog at three-fourteen (seen in profile) should have the same name as the dog at three-fifteen (seen from the front). His own face in the mirror, his own hands, surprised him on every occasion. […]

It was very difficult for him to sleep. To sleep is to be abstracted from the world; Funes, on his back in his cot, in the shadows, imagined every crevice and every molding of the various houses which surrounded him. (I repeat, the least important of his recollections was more minutely precise and more lively than our perception of a physical pleasure or a physical torment.) Toward the east, in a section which was not yet cut into blocks of homes, there were some new unknown houses. Funes imagined them black, compact, made of a single obscurity; he would turn his face in this direction in order to sleep. He would also imagine himself at the bottom of the river, being rocked and annihilated by the current.

Here is the complete story:

Funes-the-Memorious.pdf (447.7 KB)

John also mentioned “The Circular Ruins,” which is fantastic, too!

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