Friday, 29 November 2013

"It Comes To The Same Thing"

Tired after a round trip to York but I managed to read some of Poul Anderson's and Gordon R Dickson's Earthman's Burden (New York, 1979) over coffee in Ye Olde Starre Inne:

"'Haven't you read the preliminary psychological reports? It seems that Hokas have a hitherto unknown type of mind - given to accepting any colorful fantasy as if it were real...nobody knows, yet, whether they actually and literally believe it at the time, or just play a role to the hilt, but it comes to the same thing.'" (p. 43)

It comes to the same thing!

Every being that is both social and individually self-conscious, i. e., on Earth, every human being, soon learns to play the role of a named person with a specific set of inner recollections and outer interactions. We need not identify completely with this role but must maintain it for practical purposes, e. g., I must remember and answer to my name, not to anyone else's. But I can also change my name to express an altered perception or understanding of the self, its relationships and responsibilities.

To take a new name in religion is not just to change the label on a parcel but also to express a new understanding of the contents. Each of us is a currently conscious organism that is more than the sum total either of its memories or of others' perceptions. I am now. Either in spontaneous awareness or in disciplined meditation, I can transcend that social/psychological construct called "Paul" or (fill in the blank).

We can be like a Hoka between roles.

(There is more on the Hoka stories but it will have to wait till tomorrow or the day after.)

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Paul!

Good! I'm glad you seem to be finding more that is worthy of thought than you had at first expected would be the case in the Hoka stories.