Saturday, July 16, 2005

Original Knowledge

The other night I told my friend that I believe in

Original Knowledge,

That each of us know or can know all we need to know,

If we just access that part of us that connects to the Oneness.

I should have known that it wasn't original.

I got this letter two days ago.

"I stopped by borders to get the Joseph Chilton Pearce book, The Biology of Transcendence - a Blueprint of the Human Spirit.

In the introduction he refers to Robert Wolff's book Original Wisdom.

I thought that you might enjoy it if you aren't already familiar with it:

Robert Wolff's book Original Wisdom is a memorable account of his younger years spent among the Malay people in the early and middle part of the twentieth century, a people who are now essentially extinct culturally (though not physically), and his life among the elusive, indeed near mythical Senoi, who were in Wolff's time a scant handful of aboriginal people living without restraint or law in the remaining Malay jungle.

Unless they choose to be seen, the "Primitive" Senoi were, in effect, invisible and unheard in the clamour of encroaching culture, a presence that the Senoi knew would eventually spell their end. The Malaysian government of the time was clearing the jungle for rubber plantations and the Senoio knew that they could not live without the trees that encompassed their world and communed with them on many levels.

These people made up an society of benevolence and what we would call unconditional love, though I doubt that they had a word for it or could grasp the concept of love any more than a fish could grasp the concept of water. What else is there, a fish would ask.

We most often coin words for that which seems other to us; it seems that in lacking something we label it, thereby creating a semantic substitute. The Senoi lived with unquestioned acceptance of each other, without judgment or censure, in a natural and spontaneous manner that was simply the only response they knew.

A hallmark of the Senoi was their unbroken silent communication with their environment and each other, as integrated, self-contained way of relating that needed no reference to anything outside itself, and that did not, there, lend itself to analysis or description by an outsider.

Walter Stace wrote about the "extraverted mystical experience" a fusion of the heart and mind that occurs in a waking state and encompasses self and nature as an undifferentiated unit.

This might describe how the Senoi lived -- with a level of awareness beyond our comprehension; with a quality of being, a quiet steady joy, unknown to us; and with capacities of mind we can't grasp.

Senoi life was constant divine play,

unavailable and invisible to those caught in grim necessity.

The Senoi refrained from judging self or others not from some noble virtue but because their minds, not having been formed in the same manner as ours, simply didn't function that way --never having been judged or restrained, they had no concept of either and no neural paths for relating in these ways.

We, on the other hand, having been restrained and judged since birth, automatically judge others, restrain them if possible, and teach our children to do the same.

Not judging the actions of ourselves and others and trying to modify behaviors accordingly may seem negligent to us, but to the Senoi a person's actions were simply the given of a situation, like the direction of the wind or the slant of the sunlight.

This mind-set, embodied in Jean Piaget's decription of early childhood as"the unquestioned acceptance of the given," Eckhart's "living without a why," J. Krishnamurti's "choiceless awareness, " Jesus' "kingdom" of relationship, and Matthew Fox's original blessing, is a state of mind that can open us to the higher function of our forebrain while freeing us from enslavement to the hindbrain

--a shift that wholly changes perception."


At the same time, another reader posted this.

"There will have to be rigid and iron discipline before we achieve anything great and enduring, and that discipline will not come by mere academic argument and appeal to reason and logic.

Discipline is learnt in the school of adversity."

Will it be Nature or Nietzsche?

Who knows?

We all do.


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4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know.

What is the answer?

12:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

nice post. the answer is the question.

2:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The post is glorious. It brought up such longing for that kind of consciousness.

Joseph Chilton Pearce says, "that we are shaped by the culture we create makes it difficult to see that our culture is what must be transcended, which means we must rise above our notions and techniques of survival itself, if we are to survive.

Thus the paradox that only as we lose our life do we find it." We are so shaped from the beginning -even from the womb - that we have to work hard to have an understanding of this Original Wisdom.

2:41 PM  
Anonymous Catalina said...

I gather the Senoi of the jungle were an egalitarian 'society', without material possessions and therefore, without the concept of possessiveness. Probably they enjoyed sufficient abundance of natural resources to work far less than our 40 hour week. A base example of how 'psychosocial relationships are responsible for the health of communities.'

I think most of us have experienced some degree of this 'way of being'- non-judging, non-aggressive freedom for brief periods, perhaps in a garden, hiking in the mountains, riding a bike, with dear friends etc. Despite that we live in a hierarchical society where each person owns a comparative fortune in material wealth. Is it possible to integrate that free childlike consciousness into the body of this collective society? To wear it into the profession, the meeting, the traffic jam, the political forum, the family with chronic disfunction? Are there situations that rightfully call for aggressive behavior and words, or are there not?

By the way, the ending quote "discipline is learnt in the school of adversity" is from Mahatma Gandhi-- a leader pinned between two worlds of thinking.

10:43 PM  

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