Imbolc Anniversary Moon
While writing the pendulum piece yesterday, I began to consider my inner life in a way I hadn’t before. It occurred to me, probably obvious to you, but not to me, that the inner world is timeless. It’s not part of the body (I’m not sure what I mean by this.) and does not participate in the changes of aging. That world, one we each carry within us (or about us, or as us), is quiet relative to the constantly moving, pulsing, buzzing blooming nature of reality beyond it. (Thanks to William James.)
chalice well, Glastonbury
Perhaps this is what the New Testament means when Jesus says, “The kingdom of God is within you.” Not only is the within timeless, it’s also boundaryless, extending into an infinite realm, not all known, at most partially. That’s not to say it’s static, not at all, just ask your dream life.
This is exciting to me, considering the world within. The weird part, the somewhat new part for me, lies in the metaphysics of the within. As I consider it, feel its reality, my inner world seems separate from the physical realm altogether. I know, in terms of contemporary neuroscience, that this could be challenged; but, in spite of that, this private place seems untethered from both the outer realm and my body and, oddly, my mind.
The mind, in my use of it here, is a tool, a way of managing the interface between my body and my current concerns in the world. It does have a Janus faced quality in that it can look out to the world as the dasein of Heidegger suggests; but, it can also look inward, into my inner world. Using the mind as a point of reference, it becomes a mediator between inside and outside, but, in a manner similar to the inner world, a part of neither.
So, when I say the inner world is not part of my mind, I say that because the mind is the tool I use to know that world, as it is the tool I use to know and interact with the outer world.
Therefore, we can ask, what is the ontological character of the inner world? Does it have being in the way of, say, a rock, a tree, a dog, another person? I don’t know the answer to this question. It is, in the sense of isness, real since it can be perceived as Bishop Berkeley put it, but its isness seems different qualitatively from my body or the world in which it moves and lives and has its being.
This inner world is the homeworld of the imagination, of the interplay between ideas and intuition. It is the realm of memory and the alteration of memory, of the creation of memory. It is the place of fairy tales, of myth, of legend, of gods and goddesses. It can be explored with some difficulty. It often manifests after it has done its own work, throwing up a new way of seeing. In fact, my understanding of it as timeless and spatially infinite is just such a new of way of seeing for me.
I’m not saying this well. What is amazing to me, what is pushing me to explore this idea is the vastness of the inner world and its unique nature for each human being. Maybe for each dog and cat, wombat and shark for all we know. In other words in a room full of people we see them in this familiar world as distinct entities, yes, but still in this world. Yet, each person is a holy well that, like the holy wells of Ireland and Wales, provides entrance to another world, a world sui generis.
So, in fact, that room full of people is not only what it appears to be, but is also a collection of unique worlds, worlds unseen by any eye but each person’s inner eye.
Still exploring this idea, trying to suss it out.