Wednesday, January 05, 2022

Being, Meaning, and Another Order

"Each person is at each moment capable of remembering all that has ever happened to him and of perceiving everything that is happening everywhere in the universe. The function of the brain and nervous system is to protect us from being overwhelmed and confused by this mass of largely useless and irrelevant knowledge, by shutting out most of what we should otherwise perceive or remember at any moment, and leaving only that very small and special selection which is likely to be practically useful.

The really important facts were that spatial relationships had ceased to matter very much and that my mind was perceiving the world in terms of other than spatial categories. At ordinary times the eye concerns itself with such problems as where? — how far? — how situated in relation to what? In the mescaline experience the implied questions to which the eye responds are of another order. Place and distance cease to be of much interest. The mind does its perceiving in terms of intensity of existence, profundity of significance, relationships within a pattern.
"Space was still there; but it had lost its predominance. The mind was primarily concerned, not with measures and locations, but with being and meaning."

Aldous Huxley (1894 - 1963)

Postscript. My apologies for the poor quality of this image, but it was captured with a shivering cold hand tapping on an even colder iPhone while out on my morning walk with my wife (these now routine walks have been a very generous "gift" of our pandemic-ridden times). I had a thought to run back into the house to get one of my "real" cameras, but my brain and legs were colder still and simply refused to budge. Searching for otherworldly vistas in ice forms is one of my favorite pastimes in the winter, but I've had precious few days in which to do so (as yet, in northern VA). While work week constraints prevent me from truly indulging myself, the promise of some continued cold weather has me eagerly looking forward to continuing my search for "otherworldly vistas" this weekend!

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