THERE ARE NO METAPHORS
OR EVERYTHING IS A METAPHOR
Document 396N

 (c)Copyright J.M. Cox, 1988
 
If you want to grapple with what I have said about being properly straightforward, in light of trying to forge a new internal partnership, you must be able to go beyond the great grazing field of metaphors. You must realize that everything that you can see (and I'm using "see" in the special sense of new information and new observation) is correct twice -- once "in here" and once "out there" -- no metaphors and no reflections.
 
 

Throughout history, ever since man started talking, people have thought, "Everything that happens to me is a metaphor for the things I think about." Man realized early on that everything the nervous system in an individual seemed to construct was a metaphor for what he went through in his life, from hunting tyrannosauruses to getting down with his mate in the cave.

 Nowadays, it's almost childish to pick up something and read it and notice, "Hey, this seems to be about baseball, but it's almost a metaphor for a guy's struggle with trying to fight off the rigors of age itself and the disappointments of life." You should not be impressed with that or think the author is involved with something out of the ordinary, because he's not.

 There are many books written -- like Moby Dick, for example -- where the author was not involved with something like This, some kind of revolutionary activity, but the story suddenly becomes to the general mind of the intelligentsia more than a story about fishing. It becomes more of a metaphor for the great activities of humanity -- a representation of the eternal conflict of humanity trying to resist the onslaught of technological progress that's going to bring about a deepening of the feeling of inhumanity of one man toward another. But keep in mind there is no great ability involved, nor is there any real prize, in thinking that you see metaphors everywhere.

 Likewise, to realize that the very things that strike you on the news -- the struggles in northern Ireland or Lebanon -- to suddenly realize that they relate to Wall Street, or that they relate to something in you, does not mean that you have seen a metaphor. What you have seen is the correctness twice. You saw something that was in your own consciousness, in your own vision, and thought, "Hey, that's true," and it seemed to be triggered by something that appeared to be true "out there," but it can be vice versa. It is not metaphorical, and it is not simply a matter of reflections. Strike "simply"; it's not a matter of reflections. Alright, strike "it's not"; Alright, strike "reflection." It's not that what is going on "out there" is almost a reflection for things you've thought. No, no, no.

 Alright, in black and white: The structure of Life is the structure of consciousness -- OR -- The order of consciousness is the order of Life. The structure of Life is the structure of consciousness -- not as metaphor, not as simile, not as a reflection. I can say that, and it is not that obtuse. Plenty of Life's body can hear that. It is so obvious, and it eats up almost all of the world of artistic or literary criticism, because there is no literature, there is no music, there is no sculpture, that is a metaphor for life -- it IS Life. Nothing is a metaphor for anything else except to children. You have to tell a child, "Don't do so-and-so." "Why?" "Well, because a troll will jump out and nibble your toes away and you don't want that to happen." You can't tell a child exactly what he's asking you to tell, so you speak to him in metaphors.

 To believe that there is something humans do, willfully or not, that has a secret message, is to still be playing in the kindergarten arena, even if you're doing it to yourself. To forge a new partnership is to be able to forge a new kind of sight. You must See that the structure of Life is the structure of consciousness. This is so obvious that no one notices it.

 A lot of people who are not the well-educated may not understand what metaphor means, but they are subject to the influence of the reality behind metaphors, that is, the nonverbal energy that is the reality behind the word "metaphor." Why do they watch sports on TV? Why are they captured by the images of electrons floating on the screen of a tube? How much vicarious enjoyment can a body get from watching someone else do something? How many ball games or dirty movies can someone watch without wanting to get in on the action?

 Everybody feels the power of what I'm describing, even without the influence of a verbal, yellow circuit explanation. It is a part of the area that came about and manifested itself in the myths, religious stories, and the idea of the subconscious. On an intellectual level, there is not the straightforward observation, the straightforward dealing of one person with Life. The further down the nervous system -- that is, the more physical the exchange -- the closer you get to a direct energy exchange, and the more there is of a kind of hands-on relationship to what you're actually doing. But the further you go up the nervous system food chain, into the yellow circuit, the less chance there is of a hands-on exchange. For example, writing or playing music is not like putting together a wheelbarrow with your bare hands. It's not something you can hand to somebody. You must find an audience. And you will always have more appreciation than another person -- even your best friend -- for what you created. They can't put their hands on it the way they can a hammer. They can't use it or hold it like a hammer. No matter what it is -- a song, a picture, an idea -- they can't ever like your creation as much as you do. There is not the straightforward relationship that exists between a hand and a hammer -- the creation can't really be touched.

 The more sophisticated the nervous system, the more one feels (if not thinks) that the things going on out in Life are metaphors for what may be going on in other people. If you talked to more physical people who are living farther down the nervous system, they could not answer you if you asked them what in life was a metaphor for what goes on inside of them. "Do you see hunting for food as a metaphor for the hunger you have to reach something higher in your spirit?" "No," they would say, "I just see it as trying to get something to eat."

 As people become more sophisticated, they are top-heavy. A top-heavy person sees almost all of life as a metaphor for something. There is an energy passing through man that makes man see that there is something "out there" that may be similar to what is "in here." The order of consciousness is the order of Life. There are no metaphors. Or, since you can have it both ways, everything is a metaphor. But if you think that everything is a metaphor, you ask, "But for what?" "Well, I think for so-and- so." Scratch "think." "Alright, it seems to be for..." No, scratch "seems." "Alright it is a metaphor for this." OK, now you're closer. Scratch "metaphor." "Alright, this is that."

Now we're getting somewhere. To the Real Revolutionist, it's all the same. This is not a pejorative observation of any kind; to a Revolutionist, it IS all the same. There may be a pragmatic difference between a styrofoam cup and flipflops, but there's not any more difference between family love and the threat of atomic warfare. Ordinary consciousness might interject, "But don't you see that the tensions of life in a nuclear world are beginning to be reflected in the increases in stress in family relationships, strokes, high blood pressure in humans, and so on?" The revolutionist answers (if he answers), "No, I don't see it as reflections; it's the same thing."

 To City consciousness it cannot be the same thing; that's silly. Here's a sort of side comment: There is a way in which individual men can apparently be irrational, that is, apparently act in ways not in their own best interest. But one must keep in mind the structure of Life, which does not allow irrational behavior individuals. Yet everybody believes there can be. What appears to be irrational individual behavior back at the level of the City is impossible for Life. What you must See is that there is a higher-dimensional, more complex area that amounts to Life's greater multirationality. In the same way that no one part can know everything, no one piece can be too irrational, that is, operate in ways that are apparently against its own best interest, and actually be against the best interests of Life.

 Individuals, even groups, that are judged to be irrational are not acting irrationally, by Life's standards. It is simply that the judges are acting on the same level as those they accuse of irrational behavior. Life cannot be irrational. Things that appear to be irrational at the 3-D level fit into a multirationality which can't be seen from that level.

 Life can see what one person does in a framework of multirationality, even when it seems that the person is not acting in his own best interest. For instance, suppose a stand of lovely trees has to be cut down to build a hospital. Some people could look at the situation and see that the group is acting irrationally by taking down trees, even though to Life the activity is not irrational. It is not possible for Life to behave irrationally. Multirationality takes on different forms of what is rational -- your form of rationality and other people's forms. One person's apparent irrational behavior if just someone else's version of rational.

 Another aside: Why is cynicism so roundly and thoroughly condemned? Why does the condemnation of cynicism ooze out through humans all over the planet? What is cynicism? What is a cynical person doing? Some of you are probably cynical several days a week. Consider what energy is behind what humans call being cynical. There is no commandment that says "Thou shalt not be cynical." Yet even parents tell their children not to be cynical. What kind of energy is being transferred and transformed when someone is cynical? Why is it condemned? Why does Life produce it on one hand, and condemn it on the other hand?

 Yet another aside: To what end does Life have people convinced of the benefit of being truthful with themselves, to the extent that there is a belief in some cosmic power which drives them to be truthful with themselves? What is it that says a person should be truthful with himself? Consider psychology, meditation, self-contemplation, religions, certain narcotics, keeping a diary, reading someone else's diary -- what is behind all of those phenomena?

 There is a belief -- a feeling not acquired from the environment, not something one is taught, not singular to the human intellect, not a product of man's culture, which is something Life puts into people. This belief comes out in man as a directive that one should strive for more truthfulness with oneself. This belief has been around since before recorded history. What does it mean?

 If you are ordinary, you'll raise your hand and say, "I know what that means," because in the City, everyone believes he knows what it means. Many of you may have thought that involvement in This Activity was along similar lines, that a person had to learn to be more truthful with himself, more spontaneous. I ask you, "What other choices are there?" City folks say that we have a conscious mind and an unconscious mind, that we are driven by some of our older animal instincts which are, at times, in conflict with the pressures of society and cultural norms. For example, we're told to be polite to strangers, so when someone steps on your toe in the supermarket and says, "Oh, pardon me, did that hurt?" you respond, "Why heavens, no, think nothing of it." What you actually wanted to say was, "You fat pig, why don't you look where you're going! What do you mean 'did it hurt?' you know perfectly well when a 300 pound tub like you steps on my toe that it damn well hurts!"

 This is not just a contemporary post-Freudian dynamic; throughout history people have been saying that polite interactions of that sort are the required lubricant for the wheels of society. But you begin to lie to yourself, and you forget that you're doing it simply out of courtesy. So it begins to build up a kind of psychic armor. A sort of moss-coat begins to grow on your own truthful, spontaneous self. This reaches the point where you are no longer truthful to yourself, and you get out of touch with your so-called feelings.

 (The familiar contemporary statement, "I need to get in touch with my feelings," could almost be another aside. Here is a place to ask, "Really? What are you in touch with now -- Western Union?" What is it that makes you think you are not in touch with your feelings? "Oh, I don't know, it's just a feeling I had...") As always when I ask you to consider to what end Life functions in a certain way, there is not simply a right or wrong answer. I'm just presenting another way of looking at the question that may have some benefit to you. Just ask yourselves nonverbally what Life could possibly be up to that it has made people believe that they should be more truthful with themselves.

 (Notice one of the little sidesteps to the question is the assumption that people are NOT truthful with themselves. How can that be? Who are people truthful to; who are people untruthful to? In what way are people untruthful to themselves?)

 At least on the 3-dimensional level, linear consciousness takes us down side treks that make us believe we are being truthful with ourselves when we say we are not being truthful with ourselves. Ordinary people think they are being truthful with themselves then because they can even say they are not. This whole trek is just to a little cul-de-sac. To what end has Life done this? Why would Life convince you that you are considering a valid question -- one that could take you the rest of your life to pursue -- when once you look at it in a different way, you discover it is insanity to spend any more time with it because the question is moot. Why is it that you initially thought the question was pertinent?

 Insofar as there is any reality to be explored (whatever reality is), that sort of straightforwardness in examining your own truthfulness with yourself is minimal operating procedure for someone involved in This Activity. It is not something you finally ask yourself on your deathbed, or when you have some illuminating experience such as suddenly having a picture of Buddha's brother-in-law float under your door and start speaking to you. It is something you do right now. You start there as a minimum requirement. That is one of the reasons that I tell you not to continually drink or use drugs to excess, or any number of other rather materialistic examples I could mention. They are distractions.

 You must see that there are things which affect not just you individually, that are not unique or singular to you, that are not passed to you from some virus, and are not due to some personal trauma you believe you suffered. All humans believe that they are not being truthful to themselves, and that there are reasons for the dishonesty. To be nonordinary, you must operate on the basis that there are no reasons, no excuses, nothing to hide, nothing to reveal. There is only that to abandon; there is only that to transcend.

 Another aside question for you: Suppose you are running up a hill and see a church with a name like Snellville Episcopal Church of St. Michael and All the Angels. (I'm not Episcopalian, but I've always wondered whether those churches that had names with only a few saints or angels were offshoots of churches with all of them in their names.) So you see this church and you wonder: What is the difference between ritual and entertainment? (Can anyone believe that it is possible to have that kind of thought triggered just by jogging at 6:30 in the morning past the front of a church? No, what is more likely is that you would remember something like a quip which defines exercise as an unnecessary, unjust tax placed upon otherwise decent, peaceful, fun-loving people.) In a religious setting, like a Catholic mass, an Episcopal service, or a Temple meeting, you could walk in and see some kind of ritual with which you may or may not be familiar -- but it's also something else. This is not a cynical observation, but you must also see that ritual is a form of entertainment.

 People do not look at ritual that way. Why, in Life, is there a great division between entertainment and ritual? In both situations, there are two types of participants: the dominant people in the front of the room up on the stage or altar, and the passive participants in the audience or congregation. Doesn't "entertainment" cover it all -- ritual, sports, nightclubs, lectures, sermons? What is the difference? The city answer would be that the defining difference is "Ritual imparts some information, whereas entertainment does not." Doesn't it seem to be true that ritual conveys information of some kind, whether you agree with it or not, whether it is useful to you or not? For instance, a Catholic mass is not mere entertainment; the purpose of the mass is not to watch some guys dressed up like women walk around waving things in the air. Instead, the ritual is in some way conveying a message to Catholics, a representation of the story of Jesus' death, and a chance for new life. Whereas watching a James Brown concert is just entertainment, right? Think about it.

 Let me tell you something (and there is much more implied than I've going to verbalize here): anything that entertains you conveys information. Think about the simplest joke you can remember. Whatever it was, information was conveyed. Even with nonverbal examples, like James Brown leaping up in the air and landing in a good split, you are entertained to the point that you involuntarily "ooohhh" and "aaahh." It doesn't matter what example you pick, if you're being entertained, information is being conveyed.

 Consider another example, that of watching a comedian t.v. If you laugh at the jokes, however, crude, dumb, childish, scatological or offensive they may be, between you and that joke some information is passed. Forget some outside objective view which questions the pertinence of the information. If you are entertained, even by the crudest joke, information has been conveyed. 

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