Monday, 25 December 2017

Oscillation/ Undulation

Life is undulation: life is meant to be undulation: consciousness is undulating.

The main undulation is between waking and sleeping - during sleep there is undulation between deep sleep and dreaming.

While awake there is also undulation in consciousness - between the three major types of Original Participation, the Consciousness Soul and Final Participation - that is; between childlike, adolescent-like and grown-up-divine consciousness - that is; between immersive-in-life un-consicousness -- alienated/ cut-off-from-life self-consciousness -- and conscious participation with reality...

Much of this blog has recently been concerned with the attainment of Final Participation - by means of Primary Thinking; but I have neglected to emphasise that we cannot do Primary Thinking all-the-time, and more than we could stay awake all-the-time. And, more importantly, it would not be desirable for us to live in Final Participation all-the-time - any more than to be awake/ asleep all the time.

Undulation is part of the essence of life; because life is dynamic, polar; life is about love - love is something that entails movement - movement requires undulation...

It isn't just that we cannot be in any fixed and permanent state, but that this would be a denial of the very nature of reality. I am talking, here, about the metaphysical nature of things...

If it is accepted that ultimate reality is a thing that is dynamic/ polar/ moving - then this just is how things are. It is not a matter of what is expedient, or pleasurable, or good-for-us - but that things always are going to be undulating.

Our remote tribal ancestors seemed to understand this, in one way - in that they regarded life as transformation, a cycling of states - an endless mixing and recombining of the same fixed ultimate material...

Our own metaphysics is, by contrast, open-ended, and genuinely creative; yet it returns to that old idea of transformation of state, of life as undulating - but we see this as the means by which there is creation.

But love gives the clearest example. In Love (and I do not mean in-and-out-of love - but staying In love) there is undulation - Love is NOT (think about it, contra what some have said) a steady solid unchanging state of being; love is intrinsically undulating: that is its life and livingess.

We stay-in love, but undulating. Same for life, same for our own specific life.

Do not grasp and hold onto one state, not even the best and most divine state - but undulate; as is right and necessary.

Note: This idea comes, today, from what Rudolf Steiner termed 'oscillation' (in translation), and from what William Arkle describes in A Geography of Consciousness, in the chapter 'Astrology' - it is also memorably discussed in CS Lewis's Screwtape Letters (although I feel that the point is undercut by Lewis's neo-Platonic metaphysics; which philosophy suggests to me that undulation is 'merely' an expedient of mortal life - to be dispensed-with in Heaven...).


  1. @Ama - Thanks! It has been hard for me to grasp this, and I found myself needing to reach for the understanding first thing this morning, as I awoke in an unspiritual state.

    I have a tendency (who doesn't?) to berate myself for 'failing' to stay at the highest level of insight, certainty, virtue etc...

    Yet clearly we are not 'designed' to *hold* the highest levels that we are capable of experiencing. The insight about 'undulation' is that we are 'designed' precisely that we must continue learning, day by day, hour by hour - learning is the priority in mortal life - so any kind of steady state or stasis is precisely what is excluded (because then learning would stop).

    Because learning is difficult, we need sustained and/ or repeated experience, of varied types, to learn a thing properly.

    (By analogy, learning mathematics requires learning the principles, then working through a lot of different problems that apply that principle. There is no substitute for working through multiple and different problems - being taught the principles only is grossly insufficient.)