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On Pain and Learning

the Emergence Explorer

Questions for the Week of November 28, 2005

these questions were based on the article
"The Conscious, Subconscious, and Unconscious, a New Look at an Old Metaphor"

Emergence Character Type Babies 9-AI-2

This Week's Questions

[These questions were posed by E D.]

To begin with, I am challenged by your request to recognize what I don’t know. I have grown up focusing on what I do know when reading to learn and have been blind to what I don’t know.

To be honest, your request has provoked a certain amount of anxiety; I didn't know what I didn't know. So how would I explain why I don’t know? Further, having gone through the experience of having read the article, I can see my aloneness when I don’t know. I can almost see (subconsciously?) how... it’s gone. Oh! How the process of fabricating ‘why’ blocks my ability to see what I don’t know. I have to almost force myself to see what I don’t know. Even then the "logical whys" rush in to fill the gap. The result is that this assignment has been very challenging.

[Question 1] I don't understand the section on how children begin to work and not work with the pain found in wounding events. The assertion that they recall pain as a separate element in the event confuses me. I can't see the separation between what I perceive to be a painful event and the pain found therein. If this is true then perhaps saying, "the pain found therein" is inaccurate. I don't know.
[Answer] These "separated experiences" are the experiences wherein your mind is blank or stuck in one frame of life and so, almost your entire focus is on the feelings of the experience. More over, while we all have reference pictures for people who are experiencing various emotions, no one can picture an emotion itself. Emotions themselves are not visual. They are more like a part of the personal geometry of being human; infinitely variable yet never changing experiences; what I call, "meta-ideas." Definitely divine in nature, and simply the pattern of a thing and not the thing itself.

[Question 2] Sometimes I watch Hawken (this person's seven month old son) experience something I see as potentially painful and yet he does not react in any apparent way to what I perceive as painful. For example, he can fall down and bump his head and have no reaction to this bump other than to go on to the next thing.
[Answer] Hawken has yet to separate emotions from experiences. His suffering is entirely rooted in his experiences of aloneness. In other words, for Hawken, his aloneness is simply "one of his experiences" and not something "caused by one of his experiences."

[Question 3] If a person has no sense of time or "after-time," does this indicate a wound that proceeded age seven?
[Answer] Yes. At least a root wound which has lead to the present experience. However, the presently being-relived wound may be based on a series of wounds, each stemming from an earlier wound.

[Question 4] Are you saying that the nature of the mind is to blame?
[Answer] Yes

[Question 5] On the other hand, is the injured nature of the mind to blame?
[Answer] No. Human nature is never an injury. It simply exists. Blame is simply part of human nature. It is even a necessary part in cases wherein people urgently need to be able to detach from painful events, for instance, in the case of the recent hurricane.

[Question 6] At this point, I'm having a hard time knowing what I know and what I do not know. After several reads, the article has become familiar to me in a way that I now recognize the parts as I read. In the past, I have seen this as indicating I know what I'm reading. Now I am not so sure. I am, in fact, sitting here wondering for the first time what do I really know.

According to what I have read, is it reasonable to assume that I fill in the blank spots of what I don't know? I also am coming to believe that everything I don't "know" is a form of wounding, and that everything I do "know" indicates "healing." Steve has been saying this for many years, yet I believe this is the first time this idea has revealed itself as a visible pattern. This should make the next read very interesting.

[Answer] First, let me say this. You're verging here on becoming very Buddhist. Lesley (one of our emergence Teachers who is a Buddhist) would approve (smile).

This said, yes, it is reasonable to assume you have been filling in the blanks in everything you read. You are, after all, human and so, follow the design of human nature.

[Question 7] I just want to take the time to write a little before I even begin the rereading of the article. There is a conflict in me as to how much more I could learn having already read the article three times. The belief that I don't need to read it again is not a new one; however, I am resisting it because of what emerged in me the last time I read it concerning that learning and healing are the same experience. My point is, I am ambivalent about reading this article again. The thought of doing it is provoking ... I'm not sure what. Having said this, I am going begin reading now.

Not two paragraphs in and I already realize that I never saw "imagined space," not as defined nor as written. Three paragraphs into the reading then, and I am surprised that I missed the assertion of the article that Freud omitted how the mind develops in his theory of personality. As for my question, it is this: Is what I've been describing why words don't heal, and pictures do heal? Is it that the written word can only heal to the degree that they create pictures, similar to how the word "t-r-e-e" has little meaning unless the reader pictures a tree?

I suppose this reflects the purpose in having a picture of the mind as a container, like a chest of drawers wherein the drawers are labeled conscious, subconscious, and unconscious. Similarly, I now see how this was done in the diagram where the mind is represented by a picture of the different depths of the ocean. Also in the picture wherein the onion layers represent human personality as the Layers of Aloneness.
[Answer] I couldn't have said it better. The sound or sight of the letters "t-r-e-e" literally has no meaning without having a picture. This idea, in fact, is what has always stunned me about how people, when they talk, must constantly be picturing different pictures for the same words and yet, no one notices let alone gets lost by this happening. People seem to work around this pretty well. Except, of course, for those times wherein even carefully worded statements provoke misunderstandings. Even here though, most of these misunderstandings stem from the two people having different and conflicting pictures.

[Question 8] Could it be said that "why logic' is the "anti-picture"?
[Answer] "Why logic" is more "captions" than anti-pictures. "Blankness" is the anti-picture.

[Question 9] How is the "natural why" not a form of "why logic"?
[Answer] Very good question. "Natural whys" exist without being put into historical time. They exist on the stage of peoples' lives as "props," not "causes"; as the scenery, not as the action.

"Why logic"" on the other hand, exists only within historical time references. And dies as soon as you remove this reference.

Herein lies one clue as to what makes being in the "now" so powerful. Being in the "now" removes peoples' historical time references. There is, in fact, no historical reference in the "now." The "now" simply is. This means removing peoples' historical time references removes blame and so, can set the stage for healing to happen.

This also reveals why I say babies can not blame.

[Question 10] I am curious as to why you make the distinction that the contents of the mind are not the container. I notice you revisit this point repeatedly. Does this mean this idea is very important? If so, why?
[Answer] So far, no one seems to have made this distinction. Yet try picturing the mind without it. What do you picture? Anything at all? Remember, the mind (which is the combination of the container and the content) is not the literal event itself. It is merely our "personal movies" of the actual events, including the blank spots in these movies.

In a way, you might be better able to see this idea if you were to picture a library, one without the building, shelves, and catalogs. Piles of unorganized books everywhere. A library, in fact, is a very good metaphor for the mind, in that we could consider the building, shelves, and catalogs as the container and the books as the content. Neither are the actual events themselves. However, both together help us to picture (and potentially learn from) actual events, mostly events we ourselves have never personally witnessed.

Emergence Character Type Babies