being and becoming together

“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.”

– Franz Kafka

Being and becoming together is…

…kin to saying the ocean and the wave coexist at the same time. The big permeates the small in the same way the wave is ocean water. There is not a lot to be said with words or shown with pictures about being. Existential being is oft described as ‘not this, not that.’ It cannot be defined for it has no boundaries; it is a circle without a circumference, without a center. Becoming, on the other hand, is replete with boundaries and shapes which form the day to day affairs of one’s personal life as well as longer periods of time such as national and social maturation,  and even much longer periods of time required for the  evolution of a species, a planet, a solar system, the galaxies….Becoming is eternal process. Being is eternal essence.

Becoming is unfolding, an ever active process of matter maturing through various cycles of time in space, evolving from the undifferentiated into myriad living forms and intelligent functions. The biological body is but an abode in which abides the dweller. The abode in which the dweller resides is a manifestation of becoming, unfolding, evolution. The abiding dweller in the abode of the body is an individualized stream of essence as solar intelligence; the same which animates all planetary life, including Hominidae, a family of erect, bipedal, primate mammals.

Individualized streams of solar intelligence dwell in the abode that is the biological body. The existential nature of the dweller, essence, is as ‘a flame in a windless place.’ It is still, silent, unwavering and resolute, self radiant and blissful by nature; it is untouched itself by the myriad of fluctuations within the abode of the body. The body, as biological stock material, is becoming, unfolding, evolving, through cycles of daily time within cycles of national time, within cycles of planetary time, within cycles of solar time, in the empty free open space of existential being.  

Existential being and manifest becoming are, metaphorically, like the difference between soil and plant. The word ‘soil’ is kin to ‘soul’ which is kin to ‘sol.’ The soil is the soul of the land, as the sol of the sky is the soul of man, The word ‘soil’ comes from the Latin solum and included in its meaning is what today we would call ‘ground.’ The soil is the ground of our biological form and function, for without soil soul, there is no food and without food, there is no biological abode in which to abide. The biological body abode in which the dweller abides is not unlike a plant, with advanced features, such as walking and talking, reasoning, conjecture and projection, memory and imagination, creativity and discernment, amongst other marvelous features unique to modern Hominidae, including ‘self-transcendence.’

Being transcends both quantity and quality, coming and going, then and now. Where ever you are, there it is; where ever you are not, there it also is. Becoming is ever on the move, concerned with quantity and quality, coming and going, then and now. Existential being is complete; manifest becoming is ever in process. Becoming can be, metaphorically, likened to the continuum of water temperature from cold to hot, while being can be likened to the wetness of water at any temperature. Being is immaterial and all pervasive; becoming is localized and condensed in forms and functions of matter. Being and becoming together is, metaphorically, as a great grandmother and child, hand in hand, one established in their ground, the other eager to embark upon the evolutionary journey of branching out. Maturation is an ongoing process of ‘self-transcendence.’ We must shed ‘the skin’ of who and what we were to become who what we are; and we must relinquish the sheath of who and what we are to become more than that; to go beyond the limits of present perception and understanding. Such is the nature of evolution.

Evolution can be understood as ‘e-volition’ which is the elevation of volition. Volition is willfulness; and it can be volatile. It takes volition, an intractable determination to move in one direction, to go beyond present levels of consciousness, to become a biological abode in which the dweller, the essential blissful radiance, is expressed outwardly in ever more refined ways. Being and becoming together. Individual volition is one thing; collective volition is a very different thing. The ‘thing’ here is power and force put into motion with volition. No matter how strong is an individual’s willful volition, no matter how much power and force any one individual can apply to any given situation, it is paltry compared to collective volition. Indeed, without collective volition, little individual volition would be available; an individual cannot, for example, drive a car some place or fly in a plane to a destination, without the very basis of collective volition which has made the car and plane available in the first place. Volition is the power and force which propels peoples, nations and cultures, towards civilization. Civilization is a process of refinement, smoothing out and polishing over the rough and crude material which can then make our special hominid abode a joy in which to abide. Any person, as an individual dweller abiding in the biological abode that is the body, is free to embark upon an elevation of volition and begin the transformative process of refinement.

“For the first time in human evolution, the individual life is long enough, and the cultural transformation swift enough, that the individual mind is now a constituent player in the global transformation of human culture.”

– William Irwin Thompson


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