Alternate Perceptions Magazine, November 2021
Recalling Plasma. Perception as Passion’s Viable Substance.
by: James Edward Carlos
We die that we might reincarnate. Nothing is lost.
From “Inside and Outside,” the final stanza,
found in Allen Tate”s The Swimmers and Other Selected Poems.
There is no word that death can find to say
Deeper than life, savager than their time.
When Gabriel’s trumpet ends all life’s delay,
Will crash the beams of firmamental woe:
Not nature will sustain the even crime
Of death, though death sustains all nature, so.
And yet, I dare to add, as a tribute to the larger poetry:
As to deception, fate speaks
Of the life that once was, is. Remaining,
Quietly in tremors as if asleep. Late the swim,
Imaging a dream while still is now -
none quite so, as remembered in the mean,
As if accursed. Nonetheless, angels win;
Angels have won the soul.
Philosophy carries on via a network of thoughts, often congealing, and often veering as in departure of a particularity, but what is sustained is a schemata of occurrences, analyzed as if to be understood. Sometimes this connotes a serial resolution, as if one thing follows another. However, for myself, I find an accentuation arises from primal thought, a radiating factor in all directions simultaneously. Therein from any reading of philosophy, consciousness is grasped as the creation of that primal sense of being, and perhaps understood “as the center in which all objects about which man can speak and all the mental acts which intend them take on an indubitable clarity.” (p. 150. “Philosophical Anthropology,” The Essential Writings of Merleau-Ponty. edited by Alden L. Fisher).
Drawing on the evolution of a discourse, comparable to a general gestalt of art’s own schematic culture, a concern regarding meaning and luminosity is an individual artist’s own development, per the viable singular artist; yet per the cultural making a norm of inclusion, the supposed intelligible signification of the general field arises. Such a supposition suggests the manner by which any so-called object clarifies itself as an object but yet is subjectively bound to the essence of the entirety of the forms arising in the creative undertaking. I view these terms – subject and object - as interlocking to the point of suggesting sameness as salient to any divisive notion that is bound to arise through our language’s vast structuring as to divisions of terms. I suggest that halos of energy abound with each entity, a ceremonial unity of any kind of objectification and subjectivity of accounting for what comes forth. And what does appear perhaps by way of apprehension noted is that the luminosity of presence and essence are significations within each other.
Assorted semblances carry the substance of pre-assemblage akin to pre-memory. Memories are bound to each other by way of consciousness being mined per each experience. The conditions of thought are givens by which we find ourselves in any given moment, thus a contact imports a lively, living, co-awareness of how we act, how we emerge into the world in our surround. Maurice Merleau-Ponty speaks of a conception of sensible knowledge. (p. 152, The Essential Writings of Merleau-Ponty. Alden L. Fisher, Editor).
Interpreting a given event, such as a close encounter that appears from the outside of external assemblages, is necessary to grasp the condition that comes with the manner of presentation. These are given to us as to the methods used by Hayyot (holy, living beings) within the Merkavah tradition based on Ezekiel’s chariot over many centuries of forbearance. Within the methods coming forth in encounters is a reservoir of memories of any implication from within the life being as of the present incarnation, but is continually reconfiguring as pre-incarnation based on other lives lived, mainly of one’s own soul soaring as passion through the ages. Presented as lessons, the “angelic” (or “alien”) encounters amalgamate substances of thought into patterns created therein, becoming a means to the content coming forth and constantly changing with each such event.
These patterns of configuration as presented through various manners, e.g., as symbolic by advancing expanses that we study as elements, relevant, that seem related as to emerging, changing, contents within the present life. That life continues is suggested by the writings of Enoch, lessons about the soul’s countenance in various givens of flesh, written for his son, Methuselah, as lessons of being’s depth, a depth that supports the cosmic ascendancy as Creation. Also, within the margins of creativity are the arrangements of related metaphors whereas supports for the condition of the soul, yet at hand in the flesh as is; these metaphoric dispositions are expansive, widening the arc of content. Enoch ascended, becoming the angel Metatron.
Most salient is another method by which you, the central human as to each next encountering, create that arc of knowledge by returning to the earlier configuration as lived. In such instances, you are held and bound for the moments needed as in another time, with another life, shared in that period of time with others. Although a return to the locality, even the weather in the landscape where you are held in your current life is the landscape of the former incarnation differing subtly in the moment. Trees, for example, are but an idea as to a memory of that past life, but in the current life no trees remain. Similarly, once referred to in Old Norse as Ey (island) then eventually became Ioua is now called the Isle of Iona. Such changes are of the moment in an initiatory phase of an encounter’s early memories coming forth.
The encountering moments are expansive; a scene is conferred that rests on extraordinary activities taking place in that former life in cooperating as a force of passion within a current life. Looking closely at such events I relate two situations to the reader as examples of how so-called close encounters sometimes reshape the reforming. A cloud of plasma, one of the essential matters conceived as forces (thereof enacting a former living condition), moves from a merkavah (chariot)(seemingly as a low star in the given sky) toward you, hypnotically caught, as if trapped momentarily in a perceptual framework; when the movement of plasma reaches the immediacy of your body’s surround, a transparent dome is formed around and over you like a bubble that expands like enlarging and therein disappearing. You, an adult male human, are suddenly in another form as a boy in the same location, herein a small island Iona in the Inner Hebrides from the Scottish coast. The past is suddenly present, and the present which has produced another occurrence assumes a viable invisibility to the present happening as another visible living circumstance as assumed and resumed momentarily. The past momentarily displaces the current situation as if an interjection of pre-consciousness at some level born and reborn within the same moment, the motivating passion assembling as a continuity but is analyzable as a discontinuity simultaneously. The implication is that the element of time is prescient therefore outside parameters of our regular sequential sensing of episodes.
The sciences at least momentarily suggest these formats for matter: solids, liquids, gases, and plasmas at present but recently the suggestion from experimentation is that water is a composite element in the air, which has concurred visibly within my own experiences. The issue has been raised as to this being a fifth form of matter. The subtly of these processes that occur as if unconsciously are “forces” that shape our lives, and within which we sense the underlying substances of nature. In contradiction to Merleau-Ponty whose ruminations are extraordinary for me and to which I bear a “sensible” passion of my own, I do not believe we have to abstract or detach ourselves from our essential being to grasp our physical corporation. (Ibid. p. 152). Each of these elements as noted condition our receptivity and/or apprehension of what is happening in our immediate vicinity.
With the example mentioned above, once the plasma formed a dome around my embodiment, the past became the corporate forming condition for the lesson of the encounter. I was thrust into the past, with weather and season changed instantly (from a night’s heavy cold winter rain to warm sunshiny summer late afternoon), and within that dome (or bubble) where that presence as perceived instantly disappeared (as developed into an expanding transparent dome or bubble-shape) therein noted moving in my direction on the island’s sole pier. Therein, within the plasma interlude, I resumed my past life and age as a very young boy adopted/raised by monks of the island’s monastery. I was no longer alone as when I stood in this life on that night, but in the change I was with another orphan boy about the same age as myself. He has been an important part of my current life, as he was then).
The lesson in that experiencing concerned the monastic life and eventually, older, as a scribe (e.g., The Book of Kells) involved with biblical illuminations, seemingly an early stage of my current career as an artist and art teacher through my acceptance of the information given as a reincarnation of what had been. In that former medieval time Vikings appeared suddenly off shore, and soon killed my friend who was sitting with me on a dune edge a few feet up from the lone sandy beach on the island at least at the time. The Vikings’ arrows killed my young friend and within the moment one of the two monks that accompanied us from a field back to the beach where we boys found these marauding murderers’ vessel off shore to relay to our mentors this abject “visitation.” This was “too-close” an encounter having tragedy as a keynote in the former existence.
Through the close encounter we are led therein to grasp the inter-subjectivity of such comparative moments acting as precedent to the presumed objective dispersion of embodiments. Therein each incident conveyed by the encounter, I faced functioning enacted in each instance thus drawing me into the seeming ethereality of both lives. In each form a cause arises from the functioning within each life, at those moments. The hayyot carry the ramifications appropriate to each lifetime and insure that we see the connections being distinguished by the perceptions relevant to each lifetime. Ultimately, these separate versions are soul functions, deepening as to the profundity of consciousness. Universal consciousness! The lessons are subtle impositions stretching us into wider margins with each such thrust. We are in an altered state of consciousness at their behest – an act of philosophical and aesthetic penetration, and given awareness of the sub-consciousness, of mass consciousness differing from Carl Jung’s collective unconsciousness, of an aesthetic consciousness which is akin to the Kabala’s center (Tifereth – Beauty) of the Jacob’s Sefirot ladder representing God’s Consciousness, and most essential for human development as to psychic intensity is mystical consciousness. I especially aver mystical in close encountering. The unconscious remains as a hovering element as if to balance the states of life and death whereby psychic conditions are therein engrained. Such a notion upends the common notion of living as a separate entity, and time hearkens as non-sequential, perhaps non-consequential ultimately.
Because of the pertinence of dialectics I think of a process that speaks to the double perceptions that bring forth related contents which is the gaze of two perceivers noting each other when approaching each other, as potential means for a possible relationship to occur. In such an instance of each perceiver noting the other perceiver before us through our senses as involved, and with encounters acting in similar manner between the human and the hayyot communicating thereof, a space “inbetween” offers an “imagic” impact pertinent to the occasion of meeting in the eventuality (or not as when passing by the opportune moment that might have been relayed between the two perceivers as relationship ongoing). A confluence arises as of the reality of the encountering of any two humans, too, just as being an appropriation between the confluence of this life with an earlier life. A complexity is in the natural state of being, all born of sleep, dreams, and visions, but recognized intrinsically.
Another incident involving the surround of the plasma, occurred when drawing one of the Stations of the Cross for the following use at an Episcopal Good Friday service. Having found a congenial model to be available as a Jesus figure, for five days working day and night I was near the end of our shared week, when drawing then the “Nailing to the Cross.” I was kneeling on my studio floor in my home working with gold and silver enamel paint spray, black India ink ala my imagining of the emotional, tangential, similarly thematic, imagery of Georges Rouault. The model lay across the room from me reclined on a mattress on the floor on his back with arms outspread. Suddenly I was enveloped by a transparent yet hued pinkish and bluish vibrating plasma bubble or dome-like enclosure. Therein I was transported to the “actual” scene of my being the man with the hammer after Jesus’s carrying of the cross to Gethsemane. I was horrified at what I was doing, sobbing while tasting my own tears, the dirt, the sweat, the blood. My grieving was so intense that when I finished the vertical drawing (40 x 32”) I stood, undone in a sense, yet severely touched and expressive to the point of shaking; slowly I walked to the model for comfort. Noting my tears and facial contortion, my dejected body, he simply reached up motioning to me to drop beside him and held me then until I reconciled the past life to the current situation. Despite this outburst emotionally, we completed the modeling situation for The Crucifixion next and took the unframed drawings on stiff mat board to the chapel along with placing fourteen easels for the next day’s afternoon prayer service.
I felt that the plasma in each instance thrust me into a past life experience.
The preliminary assumptions found immediate conjecture of lives relived in part
with the following passage by Merleau-Ponty: “It follows that the moments of knowledge in which I grasp myself as determined to perceive a thing by that thing itself should be considered as derived modes of consciousness, founded in the final analysis on a more original mode of consciousness.“ Although, of course, this philosophical passage is not intended to focus on close encounter methodologies, I see the thought being so similar to how I perceive the artistic experience of drawing this set of The Passion drawings, innovated as if by the origin of my part in the earlier living situation, and that of merging two experiences with regard as to imparting knowledge for a given situation on that Good Friday afternoon.
I return to Merleau-Ponty to continue with the same section that I see as elucidating my sense of the horrendous act taking place in my mind during the drawing act as well as an assessment as to how the close encounters address a situation involving a specific theme as to the fourteen drawings taking place in that five days of working as a preliminary analysis for that week including the church rituals “celebrating” the Easter Sunday resurrection: “Since the rounds for our affirmations can only be sought within their proper sphere (sens), the experience of a real thing cannot be explained by the action of that thing on my mind: the only way for a thing to act on a mind is to offer meaning, to manifest itself to it, to constitute itself vis-à-vis the mind in its intelligible articulations. The analysis of the act of knowing leads to the idea of a constituting or ‘naturalizing’ thought which internally subtends the characteristic construct of objects. In order to indicate both the intimacy of objects to the subject and the presence in them of solid structures which distinguish them from appearance, they will be called ‘phenomena’; and philosophy as to the extent that it adheres to this theme, becomes a phenomenology, that is an inventory of consciousness as milieu of the universe.” (p. 154. Ibid.). Herein this passage the implication of meaning/s surrounding the actual successions of encounters as an ongoing set of circumstances within which meaning is the ultimate orientation and direction both of the artworks involved and the life as an artist coordinating the various drawings being enacted. The proper sphere is in the sense perceptions playing on the mind, constituting the imagery ascertained as foundational to the meaning inhered of the creative process.
As to the notion of objectivity the drawings involved were such solid structures that move into and through appearances as per possible to the images being given form in the succeeding moments of creativity, and probable, imagery concerned mythically the final hours of the human-fleshly life of Jesus as to the theme of The Passion becoming constituted in the artistic forms. The theme is such an extension of the encountering within the plasma form initiated by the hayyot in that moment, that the entirety is a phenomenon relevant to the historical period in both situations. The historical aspects of the interfering of the passing of time with the creative passion taking place in my studio between myself as artist and the model presented as Jesus, the Christ figure, a persistent configuration through most of my life as creating images. The theme curtailed the meanings intended for the artworks.
Content or meaning is the melding point in the lesson that gathers two lives together. Imagery in each instance of perception (the viable origin of passion) instills a connecting space of memory-concurrence that suggests the constancy of changes in each lifetime as in the communication wrought of the seeming extraordinary event occurring in the encounter. We become conscious of the meaning being enacted, i.e., the reality we face.
Variables occur in the functioning within the imagery of the current life bringing forth a particular memory in coincidence (meaningfully as occurring) to the long ago, having lived another life. In such signification is Creation’s own process. Such a significance regarding a universal series of methodologies is the evocation of incarnations followed by immersion endured in each composite image, and with the connectivity of two ages via time’s forbearance always, a residual memory is wrought by each life’s discovered scenically located instance. That the same environmental occurrence perchance as thereby suggesting a moment elucidated that brought two forces of nature into a shared instance, a déjà vu circumstance that seemed as if the location on the Iona Island held the memories of each given lifetime. We are thus persuaded of the island’s presence and history as intertwined. Consciousness in this case is a location-based insight, a means toward a conscience divested as to Being present by way of the previously encountered trauma. The various existential traumas haunt the realities facing the soul. In such a case consciousness and location share memories.
Memory as embodied cognition is related to close encounter differentiation as to stress and trauma, especially as to location-based memory in episodes of déjà vu. The memory, akin to the stress expressed is sustained in the soul as evolutionary impact being again registered in the embodiment. I am reminded that modern dancer Martha Graham once indicated that the body carries past traumas as a memory, akin to an environmental location as indicated in various encounters. Maxine Patronik in an honors paper, Scattered Swirls - Understanding, a Fragmented Past Through Embodied Knowledge, wrote similarly of the body sustaining truthful knowledge of a past experiencing. Peter Levine in Trauma and Memory writes of a relationship between memory and the physical and moving body. I add that stress and trauma indoctrinates one to the
history of the body, and manifests even beyond the specific current life’s development as indicated by the Vikings’ destructive appearances as to the medieval monastic order on Iona. Even smaller stressful episodes participate in such an exchange, such as my error in an illumination while, after my childhood with the monks, then as an apprentice scribe working on the Book of Kells. In depicting the “Temptation of Jesus” I miscounted the number of holy men praying at the bottom of the illumination, drawing initially only eleven of the twelve inscribed as legend. Embarrassed, I then had to squeeze in a much smaller twelfth “penitent” to correct my mistake.
Experience herein thrusts us to the undoing of the past and of this past moment inherent to the lifetime of the soul’s connecting links; then, as to the undoing of the immersion of the moment, innovations appear, and these are motivational in terms of the next moment arising. If as Maurice Merleau-Ponty suggests that the image is recognized and an identification forms of the convergence that each moment is a precedent of recognition, then is implied as a singular moment in the vastness of time and space as coordinating elements of both forbearance as to this moment and a succession of concurring manifestations. Temporality and spatiality are together a fulfillment of the gap between each, akin to how the gaze between viewers is knowledge extended as to meaning reconciling. I.e., Merleau-Ponty indicates that: “The act of knowing is not of the order of events; it is a taking-possession of events, even internal ones,“ and is “always an internal re-creation of the mental image, as Kant and Plato have said, a recognizance, a recognition. ... It is not the eye, not the brain, but no more is it the ‘psychism’ of the psychologist which can accomplish the act of vision. It is a question of an inspection of the mind in which the events are known in their meaning at the same time as they are lived in their reality.” (p. 153. Ibid.) What is ultimately to be understood of visionary epilogues as an internal conditioning of the soul is that the soul is truly in evolution and therefore every act, every moment, is essential to the aggregate in an image coming forth, continually, however that occurs - in the current natural state of becoming or as the sustenance of motivations that arise in an encounter.
The various methods suggested above in this essay are analytical enactments of what takes place within an encounter, but changes are profound and additional enactments occur over time with each new encounter and the next lessons entailed. Other processes are involved but the plasma surround is referential to the re-enactment of former lives, apropos to the current soulful need. Other processes are in evidence depending on the encountering necessity of coming forth. Each encounter pushes one’s mind to another level and layering of consciousness, not as simply conveyed by Sigmund Freud’s early distinction of the three levels of the human mind (the preconscious, the conscious, and the unconscious) nor of the conscious versus the unconscious as in his view of hysteria. At that time, in the closing and opening of the 19th century moving into the 20th century, many fields of study posited exciting new levels of awareness coming forth, not only in psychology but throughout the fine arts ala literature, theater, poetry, music (etc.) in physics, biology, astronomy, mathematics etc. We are blessed with another round vast wealth of information coming forth once again in human history. The implication of the discernments is confluence.
The encounters persist, seemingly, to push us to the multifold of thought at considerably more levels of psychic enterprises ascertaining elements of truth awaiting deliberations. The deliberations speak to motivations and intentions as indicated by the variety of our close encounters, as psychic manifestations apropos of behavioral elements, spiritual acclimations, and the embodiments pertaining to how those are enacted.