Like Joseph Campbell I have to keep explaining the meaning of metaphor. There are two truths to everything: relative and transcendent. There is no absolute as an object. Everything is relevant to “my position,” as you said. My position or belief is the eye of the hurricane which is the World according to Me. When two worlds collides, each struggles to maintain its position against the force of the other.
So where is Truth, since Truth does exist? Truth has to be discovered. Truth that is not relevant to me and you is Revelation, a discovery, a surprise, a Satori, a Eureka! We come upon truth when we relax out position, when we put on a wide angle lens instead of the zoom lens. The Zoom lens is the relevant lens because it focuses on objects close up, and this is the lens of our position. Every mind is going to have one of these lens in order to function in the world.
But the Wide Angle lens is the lens of discovery. If we just walk around with a narrow focus lens on, we never really know where we are because the background or context is out of focus.
When we suddenly discover that our zoom lens can zoom out to wide angle, we see the whole background and suddenly reality where we are in relationship to the whole context instead of the context according to Me. The narrow lens projects a background behind the object of its attention. Like a green screen the narrow lens project a background or narrative behind what the mind perceives that holds its position.
Metaphor is the tool language uses to point to the relevant, the fact of a cigar (it’s just a cigar) and at the same time points to a greater understanding of the meaning of the cigar that is hidden from the narrow view. The cigar is a symbol of male power, so it is not just a cigar, yet it is just a cigar.
Beneath our Just the Facts mind, there is a matrix of cultural symbolism that the facts point to that creates a background narrative that is unconscious to the narrow lens, a background the narrow lens projects onto reality without realizing its on a green screen created by the narrow lens that doesn’t use the wide angle lens in its bag.
A good analogy is my own camera bag. I have a zoom lens that is both wide and narrow. This is my operational mind, and the wide angle and the narrow lens zooms in and out seamlessly.
But I also have a primary wide angle lens that is just wide, very wide. When I put that on the camera I see a wider view that includes the wide angle view of my zoom lens. I say WOW…I didn’t see that greater context. Everything is so. sharp, and everything that I previously related to my zoom in and out wide angle is now revealed to be limited. it is still there but the meaning changes because I see an larger context, one that I didn’t see before.
The facts stay the same when you put on a wider angle lens, but the meaning changes because the reference changes. All objects have meaning relevant to the background or story context in which they are perceived. Change the background and you change the meaning of a cigar. The cigar has a different meaning in Bill Clinton’s hand than it does in the mouth of my Uncle Robbie, who smoked cigars and let me make cigar banjos out of his empty boxes.
I’m excited about this talk because the metaphor of the zoom lens and the wide angle lens energizes me. When we are born into a culture we are given a zoom in/zoom out lens. We can focus on objects and the meaning of that object is determined by the wide angle or context or world in which we view that object. So objects change meaning according to the stages of the evolution of our consciousness, or the stages of man through infant, childhood, adolescences, adulthood, and then retirement. Each stage brings about a wider lens, a wider context, and then we jump like a caterpillar to a butterfly by expanding our wide angle lens. Culture gives us that lens.
However there is another wide angle lens that is still in our camera bag, and this lens is so wide that it includes culture and the zoom lens that comes with culture. We could call the Buddha Nature lens, or Christ lens..the name doesn’t matter but it does get in the way because all names come from Culture, the language of culture, and when your lens includes culture, you are going beyond language. So we have to use metaphor to communicate what we see with this lens that transcends culture.
The Russian Nesting Dolls are a metaphor for the stages of birth in culture from one mother to another, one world to another, but what lens can see all of the stages, all of the culture, without creating another culture within the culture?
I have been using this metaphor of the wide angle lens for some time, but this morning was the first time I saw two wides angle lens, the one that comes with culture, and the one that comes with the Heart, the one culture doesn’t want us to use. When we use this lens, we drop out of culture. We don’t believe culture anymore, but at the same time we are in culture and can’t leave it. Culture is our language. We can’t leave thinking, but we an stop identifying with thought’s background story, what’s on the green screen projected by Memory and Culture.
Culture is memory, collective and individual. And memory is personal. The Prime Wide Angle is impersonal. Awareness is impersonal. Seeing is impersonal. But when what we see is the foreground in front of Culture, it becomes personal.
When we use the Print Wide Angle lens (Buddha nature perhaps), reality is both impersonal/personal. We are in the world but not of it.
Culture has a pain body. You and I have a pain body, a memory of unforgiven pain, a wound buried beneath the surface of the conscious mind. This buried pain projects its memory on the green screen of reality, shaping events so that they reenact this pain like a civil war reenactment, or repeating how a Walmart clerk offended us. When the Pain Body is active, it creates a pain story out of every simple event. The Pain Green Screen projector turns on, and simple events become monsters.
The Culture Lens creates ambiguity, and ambiguity creates anxiety because we must know the truth or the One without a second, but what we perceive is ambiguous, or Two. But basic ambiguity of the Culture Lens is the I believe I am the photographer that is separate from the photographed. This basic ambiguity breeds further ambiguities, and we keep messing with the lens in order to bring reality into focus, but the back ground is always a little blurred, so the foreground or object is always ambiguous. Nothing ever complete adds up. Something is always left out, so be completed, The camera is out of adjustment or the object is out of adjustment. We never get to the original cause of the ambiguity, which is the cultural Lens we are given when we get our camera bad of the mind.
The reality our culture creates is totally personal. Everything affects everyone personally. How do you feel? the reported asks after a hurricane. It’s as if we have created a Cultural Mythic Person activated by media in which we all live as the One with many faces. We all want to know how this Impersonal Person feels because He is Us. Media is a replica of our own mind with its roof brain chatter, a closed system.
As Joseph Campbell found in Ulysses, James Joyce historical real characters were metaphors to the One Self, as we are all faces of the One Self. Our modern Media has created an electronic version of the One Self. Just as the scientist sits outside of reality operating on it; we sit outside of Media Reality commenting on it, trying to nudge it our way. We have created an electronic Yahweh totally outside of the reality he has created. The photographer does not believe he is that which he is photographing.