—  Becoming and belonging —

In many parts of the world up to the 1950s, telephone operators in central exchanges were required to make connections and allow interactions by inserting plugs into jacks on switchboards to complete the call process and link the caller to the person being called.

In the way I make my meanings, I am aware of a perceived or experienced universe - that is Planet Earth in which we live and the mind-boggling cosmos beyond and surrounding us. But I am also aware of a hidden state within or giving rise to the manifested or projected perceived and experienced universe, a state, representing over 90% of the 'niverse' which the physicists are aware is there, but which they have failed to see or measure. I call this, together with the perceived universe, Creation, because it is also a great process. The philosopher and physicist, David Bohm, calls the hidden state the Implicate Order.

The implicate order is, or gives rise to, Consciousness, which is either imbued with potentiality or has potentiality as a major element in it. I tend to believe that there are a small number of major inter-connected elements and that potentiality is a background or imbued presence. The potentiality is projected out into the perceived and experienced universe, carrying with it the means for us to make connections and interactions. This is a triangular process, between each of us and others, between each and all of us and things and also between us and the implicate order, which can be regarded as the divine connection with its potential for interaction.

The process of connecting and interacting is fundamental to our being human or social beings and its absence usually suggests mental illness or a vegetative state. How we use the process also reflects and determines our morality as it presents itself to us in ways that it can be used to advance ourselves at the expense of others or even to hurt others for reasons of personal malice or ideology in addition to ways in which we believe to be good.

Our physical, mental and moral state depends on the quality of our connections and their consequent interactions throughout our lives. A child is shaped by the quality of its bond with mother and father and especially mother, which when healthy is natural and taken for granted and this makes unreasonable interventions by officials of the state, such as social workers, all the more brutal and damaging to both parent and child.

The first connections and interactions outside of family are usually with friends through play and then in school. New friends, such as those found in school, can cause other life-changing contacts, such as joining the scouting movement and later taking up mountain climbing or engaging in drama or other activities.

The wordless catalyst of a first kiss as a sixteen or seventeen year old could lead to lifelong companionship and marriage. That life-changing interaction did not involve exchanges of words or ideas, not even conversation, as it was effected through physical contact and emotions only and yet it could have caused profound change and development. The sacred nature of a first kiss between innocent young lovers, which causes them to fall in love, is a reminder that spirituality or even revelation may depend as much, if not more, on our affective system, or emotions, as it may on reason or intellectual exploration.

In my early Twenties, during a deep economic depression in 1950s Ireland, I emigrated to Canada with a one way ticket and so little money that had I not found work straightaway I would have become homeless and ruined. My fiance waited in Ireland for the signal to join me. I had exchanged letters with three major Canadian companies, including Bell Telephone. I arrived in Montreal on a Saturday morning and had a job in Bell Telephone on Monday, a dramatic example of a life-sustaining connection and interaction, fittingly in a company involved in making connections.

Two months after I arrived, one of the most dramatic interactions of my life took place as my fiance smiled at me as she emerged from the landed aircraft to rejoin me for the rest of our 61 years together.

When I was 24, I experienced another dramatic and life-changing interaction with a stranger during a mountaineering holiday in the Canadian Rockies. My climbing partner and I had reached a hut where we would stay overnight before going on to the summit of Mount Victoria. Just after we arrived, two men came up the pass below to join us before their own early morning climb to the peak. One, whom we recognised with some excitement, was Hans Gmoser, an accomplished climber and one of the few mountain guides in Canada, while the other was his, obviously well-off, client, Herb Grosch. In an aside, Hans Gmoser whispered to us that his client was a distinguished scientist and a vice president in IBM.

It was not our admired mountain guide who changed my life, but his client, because upon hearing that I worked as an accountant in Bell Telephone, he informed me that computers would soon transform my job and urged me to request a transfer to the company's punched card centre.

When I acted on that advice, my boss pointed out that Bell's punched card centre was a mere backstreet operation and thus a bad move, but I persisted. The first computers arrived shortly afterwards and I became one of the world's first computer programmers. That led to my first books being published and a career in IBM and in an Irish government agency, eventually leading to my becoming a fulltime writer.

Another powerful interaction in my life was reading books and being deeply shaped by a small number of writers who eventually changed the very way I make my meanings. Through that process I learned to differentiate between my mere consciousness and my awareness.

In my later years, I was fortunate to be able to involve myself in voluntary work, in a specific area that came to me out of my specializations and even accidental connections, which was helping families who were trying to prevent their children being seized for forcible fostering and adoption by officials of an over-intrusive state. This led not only to many parents keeping their children but I believe to an awakened awareness of injustice in the judicial system and to national and international media exposure.

Throughout this long career, however, I became increasingly aware of another application of connection and interaction: that at a time of great need or crisis one could go directly to the inner state, the implicate order, the unmanifested, which creates and projects what is manifested or perceived and experienced as our universe, and appeal for assistance or deliverance. I saw parents do this when faced with the appalling possibility of their children being seized, mainly parents who had fled from the UK to Ireland, seeking help or sanctuary. Most would call what I am writing about divine intervention or simply prayer and might wonder why my way of describing it is more suitable to quantum physics. My excuse is that what I am trying to describe is greatly informed by affective or emotional experiences, but mainly because certain of these can be so far beyond any norm that neither language nor scientific tool can describe them, such as rare flashes of revelation.

A healthy child with loving parents can achieve this kind of spiritual interaction in simple innocence, but it becomes more difficult with maturity. Although I have never met any, there may be saints who can conjure up divine interaction. I must add that I have read the works of a few who appeared to have achieved it, but my own personal experience has taught me that such an appeal to a holy intelligence or God, or whatever we call it, can only be in a crisis more serious than any death, such as if in a place so unbearable that only death can deliver one from it, at which point death itself is the most desired outcome. I believe that as one leaves childhood and matures and grows old, one also acquires such respect for the potential of divine intervention that it becomes a kind of blasphemy to treat it lightly and as I write this I am conscious that such hesitation might also be triggered by fear that refusal could undermine one's faith.

I come now to the most difficult part for me, because I am trying to reach beyond my earthly limits of expression and I both lack the Wagnerian talents to project what I have only partially grasped, and am trying to communicate experiences that were beyond what I could define in either mental or expressed language, let alone communicate to others.

I believe or feel that at the centre of all things, that is in both the perceived universe and the unmanifested state that is behind it and supports or projects it, there are a small number of interconnected elements within a milieu of potentiality. I believe that if the scales were lifted from our eyes or a suppressed and hidden faculty within us freed or if a curtain between us and the hidden state were lifted that we would not only 'see' or experience these and their interaction but rejoice in them and instantly recognize them as states we have always known, as if from some past, but have been temporally blind to them.

I believe that one key to understanding this is in accepting the importance of not just the potentiality but of the connectedness itself.

A number of great physicists have sought, but failed to find and express, what they believed to be the grand unified theory. I am not a physicist and could neither try to express such a theory mathematically nor even understand it should they succeed in expressing it in the language of physics. What I am trying to do here, and not for the first time in over twenty years, is to get a little closer to expressing in mere words something that I and apparently a few other people have had a glimpse of. So it is also a reaching out - yes seeking a connection - to anyone who might be able to advance an explanation of it further.

A possible way to do this is to put aside for the moment concepts of the perceived universe and of a hidden background and to consider being itself, the incredible fact of being at a moment we call 'now', each of us in a state of being within a vastly greater state of being and then to reflect on being and becoming.

The experience I am trying to describe is one of a recognition or full awareness of being itself, and its interconnectedness.

The state of pure being when experienced includes an awareness of its interconnectedness. Put another way, a central or fundamental element of pure or divine being, if experienced, is the interconnectedness of all things. This experience is so rare that it may happen to very few individuals only once in a lifetime. When it does, the sheer beauty and joy experienced are as much from the astonishingly simple and even, at the time, obvious interconnectedness as they are from bathing in the overall state of being.

Both the elements, which make up the interconnectedness and the overall state are beyond not just words, but beyond any human capacity to hold them as describable concepts and communicate them once one loses the enhanced and most likely very brief ability to experience them. Their revelation may have occurred during a near death or similar peak experience or great crisis condition, and perhaps for the few saints who may from time to time exist through prayer or other spiritual state.

It is also entitative in the sense of not just an awareness of being, but a being or a general state of being considered by itself.

Love, beauty and truth are attributes of being, not just the interconnected elements. The most fundamental element of being may be consciousness. Beyond both being and consciousness is chaos. Chaos, which appears to contain a tendency we might call evil, although probably beyond even evil in its destructive potentiality for any state of being. Chaos appears to constantly threaten the good attributes of being, allowing their replacement by the opposites of hate, distortion and deceit. A Biblical interpretation of being is that it was created out of chaos, interestingly by God uttering or expressing it in words.

Returning to the interconnected elements (to a struggle to express what may be impossible to express), apart from potentiality and consciousness, another fundamental element of being appears to be action or activity, within which free will may be expressed, it in turn shaped by its tapping into potentiality. So one connection may be between potentiality and activity, giving rise to a state of becoming. Another fundamental element of at least our earthly state of being might be described simply as Identity. We can have a faint memory of, or a simple idea of, antecedence and a desire for reunification. If healthy and good, we will have a deep need to be linked with other humans and to be loved and we may have a keen and even painful sense of our selves, especially if lonely or feeling dispossessed. Our sense of identity draws on potentiality to develop its most noble characteristic - that of aspiration.

So the interconnected elements are:

Consciousness/awareness
Potentiality/Impetus giving rise to action/free will, expressed in a movement or tendency out of chaos towards a state in which love, beauty and truth develop and eventually preside
Identity/aspiration.

Or looked at another way:

The interconnected elements of Being

Consciousness/awareness wanting freely chosen and sought after love, beauty and truth, that is enhanced being.
Potentiality/Impetus as the mechanism for achieving the enhancement. The mechanism also uses conflict and contradiction to create new possibilities.
Identity/aspiration on the part of the central being and its constituent parts, those integrated and those separated but longing for unity.

Out of consciousness, brought out of chaos into a seedbed of potentiality, Being emerged, both at a grand or unified level and in conscious if limited beings, such as we humans. We share with the grand or unified level of being its background or fundamental interconnected characteristics, such as consciousness and the ability for action, both supported by potentiality, the first in expanded levels of awareness and the second in enhanced or better actions. We also share in the impetus or tendency to move out of chaos towards a state in which love, beauty and truth develop and, hopefully, eventually preside. How we act is shaped by our levels of awareness (refined out of consciousness) and our identity/aspiration, using our free will. All this is against a background of chaos and of Earthly and human malevolence and suffering.

And to close on some thoughts about the nature of a mere human's connection or relationship with the grander state of Being. This can range from the depths of displacement and dispossession, for example, such as a social leper, say one labelled as a sex offender, whose transmogrification and crucifixion appear to lack any contact with a caring being, to a blessed few who feel closer to both their fellow humans and to a divine being. Ironically, the fastest way to the sublime state can be through first experiencing the depths of social ostracising and through the consequent loss of all pride and vanity and desperate appeal to the divine finding acceptance into the central being.

When the individual, including the formerly lost soul, does make connection and begins to enjoy the interaction, we might describe the experience as one of becoming and of belonging.

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